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Can you date someone with different political views?

Wednesday September 19, 2012

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For many of us, politics are a big deal. Some people are even defined by their politics and it becomes an important part of their personality. When it comes to speed dating, some people screen their matches based on their political ideals and affiliations - if they give a wrong answer, they don't have a chance. Is this fair? In a time of high levels of tolerance and individual dependence, does it really matter if the person you are dating holds a different set of political views, or maybe even doesn't care at all?

For some people, this will be a resounding, "YES!" For those who are really into politics, the idea of dating a person who disagrees with their beliefs seems impossible. After all, if a relationship is the aim, then this should be fundamentally based on common ground and shared qualities. If both parties disagree on key issues, how can they ever truly communicate with one another in the long term?

This can go as far as vital differences in how they see family roles and the upbringing of children, things that may prove difficult to reconcile further down the line. They would argue that it's better to catch these things early. In more immediate terms, dating should be fun. That's not easy if you're arguing all the way through your date, unless that's what gets you both going...

Even if you only have a more passing interest in politics, if you don't agree with someone's opinions on a number of issues it is always likely to turn you off. You start to see them differently. You begin to put up barriers and find excuses for not liking them and things are never likely to succeed from here.

Worse for some would be a date who doesn't care about politics at all. To disagree on issues is one thing, where the other person can justify and rationalise their beliefs, but to be apathetic is a different situation entirely. Some of us love to debate these issues with each other and if your date is uninformed and can't engage with the argument, it can make the whole experience fall flat. For someone very interested in politics, it may indicate that the other person doesn't care about the wider-world, making them seem self-centred and perhaps even unintelligent.

Having said all of that, politics does not have to be the end of the matter, it may instead prevent two people from having an otherwise wonderful relationship. Other than the political parties they support and certain beliefs they may have, they could make for a perfect couple, each compensating for the other's flaws.

We put red flags up all the time in our daily lives, giving ourselves excuses not to do things. Citing politics as a reason for not dating someone without getting to know them first seems to me to be a little short-sighted - you might really hit it off. It has been true for a long time that people claim support for parties based on their family history without knowing a thing about what they stand for. It's important to take things lightly.

Speed dating is best when you don't put parameters in place before you even meet someone. If you keep an open mind and take things easy you might just be rewarded. Come to our next event and see for yourself, you never know who you might meet.

Here's a few speed dating events in London that might be for you.

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