For many couples, political loyalties can make or break a relationship. Whether you disagree on every issue under the sun or just a couple minor topics, a respectful ideological debate can quickly turn into an upsetting argument if not conducted with the right mindset.
Having a partner who challenges your beliefs can be a really positive thing. Not only will it keep the life you build together interesting, but it will also help push you to continually learn and grow. You should be with someone who wants to learn from you just as much as you want to learn from them.
Believe it or not, it is possible to have a debate that doesn’t end in a screaming match — or worse, a breakup. If you want to have a healthy and respectful political discussion with your honey, follow these six must-know tips:
MUTUALLY DECIDE TO DEBATE
Both partners need to be willing to have a debate. One partner may not be in the mood to discuss politics for a myriad of reasons. If one partner is simply talking down to the other partner in a one-sided exchange, it's no longer a debate.
CHOOSE WHEN YOU DEBATE CAREFULLY
There is a time and a place for debating. You probably shouldn't get into a heated political discussion in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner or at the office holiday party. You and your partner may be having a fun political spar, but your discussion could alienate those around you or dampen the mood despite your best intentions. If your partner tries to spark up a debate in front of your friends or on Facebook and it makes you uncomfortable, politely request that you two continue the conversation when you have more privacy.
DON'T USE AD HOMINEM ATTACKS
Calling your partner names, using slurs, or trying to put them down personally for what they are arguing is never a good idea. You can be critical of their opinions and their train of thought, but you shouldn't start mud-slinging and making your attacks personal.
All too often, people listen to respond rather than listening to understand. If you're already thinking of the retort you're going to use before your partner has finished a complete thought, chances are you aren't being open-minded enough to hear a new viewpoint. You should always go into a debate with a willingness to change your mind in the face of new evidence.
KNOW WHEN TO STOP
Even amongst the most loving of couples, political debates can escalate and get heated quickly. If emotions are high, you may want to take some time to cool off before you continue where you left off. It's a good idea to have a "safe word" or signal so your partner knows you need a mental break.
AGREE TO DISAGREE
When all is said and done, if your partner doesn't come around to your way of thinking, remember that you still care about them and come to a mutual understanding. It's okay to disagree with your partner on some things — how boring would it be to date someone who never challenged you?
Besides, the best part about having a disagreement is the makeup sex afterwards!
SHARE this story with your friends and significant others who love to debate!