Dating Games: Talking Politics, Religion, and Race
Dating can be stressful. Adding to the sometimes stressful dating process is the fact that we are living in a time where we all have strong opinions about a lot of important topics. Because it’s a polarizing time, it’s important to be very clear about what issues are important to you when it comes to choosing potential partners. The days of avoiding conversations about politics, religion, and race is over. A lot of us have very strong opinions about these subjects and it’s important to figure out if you’re on the same page BEFORE developing feelings for someone who might have a conflicting world view. It’s important to ask questions rather than make assumptions about how a potential partner feels. Let’s take a look at what to be on the lookout for when tackling the topics of politics, religion, and race and with potential love-interests.
It seems like everything is political these days. For better or worse, we currently live in a liberal and conservative world, which is why it’s important to discuss political leanings with those we are sharing our time and potentially becoming intimate with. There are endless topics you could choose to discuss here. This could include anything from decisions being made by our current president to issues like gender equality and LGBTQ rights. For some, political affiliation might not be a big deal, but for others, it could be a deal-breaker. Bringing up political issues that are important to you, will help you to figure out if you’re ideologically on the same page with a potential partner.
Deep discussions about religion used to be a big no-no on early dates. In a lot of cases, if and when religion was discussed, it was more of a general discussion like checking off the ‘select your religion’ box on an online dating profile. Now, it’s more important to discuss your level of involvement in regards to your faith. For example, just because someone may be a Christian, doesn’t mean they have the same beliefs as you do. They might go to church every Sunday, while you might prefer to worship in private. They might be more literal or strict in their interpretation of the Bible, while you may use the Bible as a general guide. These differences could cause major conflict, especially if permanent partnership or starting a family is something you are both considering. Asking what faith or religion someone belongs to should be the start of a longer conversation, especially if it’s currently a big part of you or your potential partner’s life.
Race and ethnicity can be a very sensitive subject for some to discuss, but it is especially important to discuss with potential partners right now. Especially if you are dating someone of different ethnicity or cultural background, it is important that you are dating people who respect who you are. To get this conversation started, you could ask your potential partner what their friends are like...better yet, meet their friends if there is an opportunity to do so. Do they have a diverse group of friends? Are they making racially-charged jokes that make you uncomfortable? Also, asking your potential partner’s opinion about certain racially-charged news stories is a good way to get their honest opinion about issues where race is a factor. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but it’s important that you get as much info as possible before jumping into a relationship with someone who thinks you’re amazing, but holds strong opinions that might conflict with your identity and the pride you feel for your culture or respect you feel towards other cultures.
I'm Already In a Relationship...HELP!
Bringing these topics up early in the dating process can save you time and energy when selecting and weeding out potential partners. If you are currently in a relationship where you’ve noticed that your partner has expressed some opinions about certain subjects that have been upsetting to you, do what you can to start a loving conversation with them about their views. It’s important to avoid taking a combative tone with them when starting the conversation. An accusatory tone could cause them to shut down and not be open to hearing what you have to say. Bringing things up in a non-confrontational way could actually make your partner more open to considering your point of view. In some cases, if your partner has extreme conflicting opinions about a topic that you feel strongly about, it might be important to possibly reevaluate the relationship for the sake of your well-being and possibly even theirs.
This is a time in history where we are getting to know the true feelings of those around us. Learning these truths can be extremely difficult and are a test of the strength and future potential of a relationship. Though it might be difficult to learn that there might be fundamental differences between you and a partner, it’s important to get to the truth for your future happiness.