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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Good match, but opposite ends of the political spectrum

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Author Topic: Good match, but opposite ends of the political spectrum
luanne
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I just started talking to this kind, respectful, superbright guy. We're opposites in some areas, but I feel like that's okay, even necessary, 'cause the conversations are really intriguing. We appreciate each other. My instinct says he has romantic aspirations. This is exciting, because I like him a lot and I want that too.

But: he's a conservative Christian, and I'm an I-don't-even-know. I like that he has a spiritual side and is involved in the community through his church. That's him and I wouldn't change it for anything. (Well, maybe a LOT of $.) But his convictions about religion are a lot stronger than mine. He may only want gals who share that passion. However, I couldn't see him discarding a relationship over it, because he's so open and understanding about everything else.

I want to know if anyone is involved with, or knows someone, who has a similar disparity in their relationship, but can work around it. And if stuff like this doesn't usually work out, I'd like to know that too.

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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It really depends on how different you are and in what areas, and on what both people want.

For instance, does he accept whatever your beliefs and spiritual practices (if any) are? If he says he only wants to date people who share his beliefs, and at that level, and has been clear about that, are you one of those people?

As well, do his beliefs or practices impact, or may impact, you and your life in any negative ways? For instance, as someone who fully supports reproductive choice and has also worked in abortion clinics and likely will again, my own feelings about being with someone strongly antichoice aside, that person is not likely to think at all well of me or treat that area of my life and person very well.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
luanne
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He actually hasn't brought it up yet. I feel like he wants to avoid talking religion or politics for tact's sake, at least until we've had more time around each other. He's not the pushy type, but I know a lot of people who are, and I guess I'm an itsy bit wary. I like him a lot and I don't want one thing to ruin everything else.

-I'm also inclined not to fight for my point of view, especially about abortion, which I fully supported until I found out I was an unplanned baby & my mother didn't know whether she wanted to have me or not. Yikes... I like existing. I'm still pro-choice, but not enough so that his POV offends me. I feel like I could mind my own business about abortion and any other political/religious debates, and wonder if it's reasonable of me to expect the same from him.

[ 01-21-2011, 07:42 PM: Message edited by: luanne ]

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Heather
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Well, I don't think not being compatible as romantic partners, if that turns out to be the case, is really about one thing ruining everything else. We're just not going to be a good fit with everyone we have that interest in, that's all.

But if you've just started talking, and that hasn't included talking about things like this or what you both want and need in a romantic relationship, I'd also not skip too far, too fast, in your heart or your ideas. In other words, if you aren't anywhere close to there yet, I'd try and be where you two actually are and manage your feelings and hopes accordingly, you know?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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luanne
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Thanks for the sound advice. I've been meaning to rein in my feelings so they don't get too far ahead of the game, but sometimes I don't even realize it's happening. [Roll Eyes]

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Djuna
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I had a short relationship recently, on-off for a couple of months, with a Christian woman who took her faith pretty seriously. I'm an atheist - to be frank, religious belief seems like nonsense to me, but I can certainly respect that it doesn't to everyone. Someone disagreeing with me doesn't necessarily make me want to try to make them change their mind, you know?

Anywho, the way we made it work was by respectfully talking out disagreements as they occurred. And crucially, we recognized that we almost certainly weren't going to get married, because at that level we were incompatible. For example, we disagreed pretty strongly about how to raise kids, or if we even wanted them. I think disagreeing strongly about how to parent is usually going to be a long-term deal-breaker for me.

I've been reading quite a bit of Dan Savage's advice column at The Stranger lately, and while I wouldn't whole-heartedly endorse it as a shining example of how the world should be, he has a lot of good stuff to say. Two examples occurred to me.

One, our society mostly views a relationship as finally "successful" only when one of the people dies while the relationship is still good. In my situation above, we made each other reasonably happy for two months and broke up over something we couldn't agree on. In this case, it was the amount of time we wanted to spend together - one of us wanted to see more of the other than the other had to give because of studying and so on. Anywho, I would still view that as a successful relationship, because it did its job. It made us both happy, for a short while, which is all it was ever going to do if we were honest with ourselves.

Second, Dan Savage has an awesome concept called "the price of admission". Basically, the "price of admission" is the stuff you have to put up with in order to "ride that ride" (that is, have a long relationship with a person). And you get to decide whether you're willing to pay it.

So, if the price of admission is raising my children in what I think is a harmful way because we can't find a way to agree on raising children otherwise, then I don't think that's a price I'm willing to pay. However, if the price of admission is just putting up with the other person's miserable gloating when a Republican wins an election, then I think I could just. About. Put up. With that. [Smile]

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“In a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”

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CoatRack
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My ex and I weren't at opposite ends of the political spectrum, but our religious values differed quite a bit. She was a conservative Jew, I am an agnostic UU, and we were both really active in our respective congregations - she's considering becoming a reform rabbi, I'm looking into seminary. Many, many weekends were spent with shabbat dinner on Friday night, shul on Saturday morning, her family on Saturday afternoon, then my church on Sunday morning/early afternoon if there was any kind of event or even just a long coffee hour.

That meant that Friday and Saturday nights were "out" for dating, by and large, and we had to do a lot of planning around other church events for both of us.

It worked out fairly well, actually. Certainly not the reason we broke up. We both respected the other's religion even if we didn't totally "get" it at times.

We broke up due to a long distance move.

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Hey folks, my name is Andrew and I was a mod here for awhile a couple years ago. I'll be here for a couple weeks while Heather is out and the site is even more short-staffed than usual

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Britster
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I think that such differences matter according to how important they are to the people involved. Every person is just about bound to differ from another person, but what counts more for compatibility is how much people are willing to compromise over differences, and that willingness often depends on the importance of that issue.

Another thing is that people change, so while at some moment, an issue may seem so important, but later on it won't. For example, when I was first interested in my now boyfriend, I wanted to be sure if he was going to stay in the United States before I was willing to get involved. Now, we've been together for a year, and my feeling is that if he decides to go back to China, I'll go with him. So everything is not an immediate issue, and some differences may be naturally resolved later on if that is how the relationship goes.

I'd say relax, talk, and see where it goes.

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