As everyone knows, America isn’t doing so hot, politically and socially. But this isn’t a post about despair. This is my personal obstacle-ridden story of hope for anyone who feels pessimistic about America’s future, or even the world’s future.
Travel with me back to 2015, for a moment. The Obama administration was on its way out, and that presented the two main political parties with a chance to put their best guy or gal up for the vote in the following year. Blah, blah, blah, cue the anger and hatred from all around. My current relationship had humble beginnings that also happened to be in the middle of 2015. Lucky us, right? Well, sorta.
In the honeymoon phase of dating, everyone puts on a nice happy front for their partner. You avoid political discussions. At. All. Costs. Except we couldn’t avoid it forever because the tension was all over the news and creeping into all social media platforms as well. So naturally, these issues would find their way into our daily conversations. And when we discovered that we are political polar opposites, that’s when the problems really began.
The real kicker is that these arguments and problems stemmed not from incompatibility with each other, but from the immense pressure that bombarded us from everyone else’s hysteria. The entire country was an echo chamber of frustration that felt impossible to escape. And it magnified all of our individual insecurities and doubts that come with a new relationship.
After an exhausting year, several break-ups, and several getting-back-togethers later, he and I came to a point where we just couldn’t fight about politics anymore. It wasn’t worth it. A relationship is supposed to be your place of comfort. Despite what I’ve been told, I realized that politics really have nothing to do with my relationship. I think we both pictured ourselves with someone who believed the exact same things as us, and that’s just not how it panned out. So we essentially had to re-teach ourselves how to talk to one another, and this surprisingly re-shaped how we viewed each other.
If you want to know the big secret to mending a broken relationship, I think it’s humor. Constantly joking around is the biggest thing that we rely on, in my opinion. We have the same absurd sense of humor, and we’ve found that laughing together at our problems (big or small) is far better than getting angry. He’s the only person in the world (besides my sister) that I can come to, completely pissed off, and he’ll make me laugh so hard that I’ll forget what I was mad about in the first place. I think sharing the same humor is more powerful than anything else, because it makes the other person seem so relatable, so human. And that’s what we were missing before. We were allowing outside influences to make us dehumanize each other.
But with laughter, we’ve realized that we are not enemies, no matter what the media or anyone else tries to tell us. As cheesy as it sounds, we’ve learned to drown out the negativity with our giggles. Neither of us are Nazis or terrorists. Neither of us are incompetent, hateful, or evil. We both share a passion for important issues, we just disagree on how to go about solving them. And that’s okay, we can deal with a difference of opinion. Because at our core, we are the same. He is just as compassionate, logical, capable, driven, and loving as I am. He just happens to be much funnier, but I’ll let him have that.
After 3 solid years of getting to know so much about the best person I’ve ever had, I would never allow something as minuscule as political differences get in the way of us. Now, we’re in such a good place that we’re even able to make light-hearted little jokes about each other’s political leanings, and nothing bad ever comes of it. We each allow the other person to be themselves in their entirety, and that’s the most important thing in not only this time frame but also this country. And despite the notion from others that dating a Democrat or dating a Republican means that you need to change them, we both know that’s not true. We are the biggest force to be reckoned with, because we refuse to hate each other for our differences. Our mutual respect is our strength. If anything, dating someone who is the opposite of me has strengthened my political beliefs. I’m sure he’d say the same thing. And that just goes to show that neither of us is here to stifle the other’s growth. Even if I don’t always agree with him, I would defend his right to be respected and heard, just like I know he’d do for me.
I know there is still hope for the future; we’re just hitting a little rough patch as a country. All it takes is for us to have a little humor, have a little respect, and find strength in leaving opposites in tact.