Can a conservative and a liberal find love together? Not likely.?I have always fancied myself open-minded. Scratch that ? I know I’m open-minded. Most of my liberal friends can’t meet conservatives halfway, and most of my conservative friends can’t meet liberals halfway. I’m the person who can accept differences and attempt to understand other points of view. Though I am usually left gobsmacked by conservative ideology, I can generally accept differences.
UPDATE: I APPARENTLY WAS MUCH MORE PATIENT WITH CONSERVATIVES WHEN I FIRST WROTE THIS A FEW YEARS AGO. I’M DONE. ZERO PATIENCE LEFT WITH THEM!
But when it comes to dating and spending time getting to know someone on an intimate level, I have found I only want to spend time with men who are of like mind in political affiliation or, minimally, centrist left-leaning. My experience has been that men are less concerned about a potential mate’s political affiliation. But for me, if they’re too far right of the center, it’s almost always a deal breaker.
Why I Won’t Date Conservatives
- Conflicting value sets. We see the big picture differently. I’m for the greater good and conservative men tend to have a far more narrow paradigm.
- Conflicting priorities. For example, a conservative man may be deeply offended by someone not standing during the Pledge of Allegiance, and, while I do value our patriotic rituals, I’m far more concerned with the well-being of human beings.
- Conflicting religious beliefs. I’m a Christian, and my faith is questioned by the majority of conservatives. Nearly every day, I see a conservative say ?Christian Left is an oxymoron.?
- Conflicting positions on programs for disadvantaged people. I feel that our biggest priority ? on a religious level, as compassionate human beings, and as a nation ? should be the betterment of our people. Conservatives refuse to acknowledge our?responsibility?to serve ?the least of these,? both as a religious commandment from their own Holy Book and a moral code for us as a nation and as human beings.
- Conservative men, almost without exception, take issue with my ?live and let live? philosophy and my definition of fairness: I will never stop supporting gay people, minority populations, and a woman’s right to have control of her own life. I also will never attempt to pull people away from their religions and judge them because they are not Christians.
- Conflicting view of the Constitution of the United States. I feel that liberals are all about making sure that people are equal. Conservatives tout the Constitution, but equality, in their mind, only extends to people who are just like them.
- They are hypocrites. I can?respect conservatives? unwavering support for the unborn, but the problem for me is that, almost without exception, their concern ends the moment that child takes its first breath. At that time, the child becomes a ?welfare baby? and a burden to society.
- Proactive v. Reactive. I see a problem and my mind immediately starts working to find solutions so that I can act. Most conservatives see a problem and do nothing more than complain (I realize there are exceptions). Example: they hate abortion, but most are completely non-supportive of ensuring that poor women have access to affordable or free birth control. Their mindset: ?I’m not going to pay for someone to have sex.? It’s a never-ending circle without proposed solutions.?
- Rational decision-making that is void of logical fallacy. Liberals will seek out knowledge and understanding and find facts to back up their beliefs. Conservatives (most) immediately close their minds and are reluctant to even look at data and facts that could possibly change their paradigm.
- They think they can “fix” me. Without exception, those who attempt a relationship with me do so because they think they can change me to the dark side (make me Republican) once we are in a relationship.
- I see them as morally corrupt. In the end, on an intellectual level, I do realize that most of them are good people who, I think, are simply more narrow in their thinking than I am. But invariably, if we get ?up close and personal,? I begin to view them as unethical and uncaring because of their lack of concern for people who were not born with the inherited advantage that they were born with.
Note: I am speaking from my own perspective and experience. I realize that my perspective is not shared by everyone and that there are exceptions to all of the above statements.?
My conservative friends assume I’m a zealot and a “weirdo” for refusing to consider dating a Republican man. I actually did try a couple of times, including a date with a local Tea Party leader who spent the entire date trying to convert me. But a recent study shows that I’m not unique at all. When it comes to politics, opposites don’t usually attract. If?we visit a person’s dating site profile and it gives clues to political affiliation ? or, as in the case of my own dating site profile, outright states that I’m a liberal ? we are naturally drawn to people who think as we do,?particularly?about social issues.
Sanford Business School political economist Neil Malhotra became interested in the topic as he observed increased partisan polarization in the U.S. in recent years.
?We underestimate how much politics affects our daily lives,? says Malhotra.? After an election is over, we don’t think about it, but in fact our political affiliations strongly affect other aspects of our lives, such as our romantic choices.? And that has important implications beyond the households that politically similar individuals may form, he says.
?At the highest levels within our political system, we increasingly see that people are unwilling to work and communicate with each other,? he observes. ?Simply put, our society has become more and more polarized, and we wanted to explore if political preferences in romantic relationships could begin to explain part of the divide in America.? (Stanford University School of Business)
In September, 2012, Malhotra and Yale researcher Gregory Huber worked with popular dating site OkCupid to conduct a study: ?Political Sorting in Social Relationships.? It’s important to note that OkCupid is the only free dating site that has hundreds of comprehensive questions that users can answer ? with topics touching on nearly every aspect of a person’s thinking ? so OkCupid was absolutely the best site for the researchers to use to conduct this study.
The study -?Political Sorting in Social Relationships
The first experiment involved 197 test subjects in a Stanford behavioral lab. The subjects were shown fully completed fictional dating site profiles. Researchers shifted the variables; they altered profile information ? such as religion, level of education, and political preference ? while leaving the same photo. Results indicated that interest in a person’s profile changed when the variables were changed, even if the photo remained the same. Specifically, physical attraction ? using the same photo ? increased by 2.2 percent if the profile verbiage changed to indicate political leanings that were similar to those of the test subject.?(Study)
- Religion caused a 4.5 percent swing in interest
- Education 3 percent
- Political affiliation 3 percent
Researchers gathered data from real OkCupid users to measure ?joint communication behavior.? If site users replied to sent messages, it indicated dating interest.?The biggest predictor of interest is relative age (generally within five years of each other): ?age differences (i.e., users not in the same 5-year bin) are 101.9%?smaller in cases of joint messaging.??(Study)
The percentage of interest increase when people shared the following attributes:
- Religion: 50 percent
- Ethnicity: 16.6 percent
- Ideas about how to balance the federal budget: 10.8 percent
- Interest in politics: 10.7 percent
- Education: 10.6 percent interest boost
- Similarity in height: 9.8 percent
- Political party affiliation: 9.5 percent interest
Note that interest in politics and ideas about balancing the federal budget are more important to dating site users than education and physical appearance (height).
Malhotra’s analysis of his findings:
?Things like race and education are traditionally very big factors when we look for our potential partners,? he said. ?So it’s notable that political affiliation is having an effect this powerful and is rivaling other forms of sorting.
We see congressional districts becoming more lopsided as people with the same affiliation choose to live near each other. People forming households based on shared ideologies might lead the next generation to become even more polarized. Research shows that if your parents have different political beliefs, you’re more likely to be moderate, whereas if both parents have the same beliefs, it can make you more extreme.???(Slate)
Couples who display extreme differences in political ideology are rare. Previous studies indicated that shared political preferences developed as the relationship grew; Malhotra’s study disproves that theory. Generally, couples start out with shared political interests rather than grow more alike with age. The exception to this is when a couple marries prior to developing strong political opinions (usually when they are young adults). Shared life experiences, media viewed in the home, and familial influences often cause them to grow in the same direction politically.
Perhaps more importantly is the long-term influence of political matching in couples who have children.
As Malhotra explains, when people pair with individuals of similar political beliefs, their households can become echo chambers that transmit extreme views to the children. In fact, research shows that children are more moderate if their parents have differing political viewpoints. There is a genetic story at play, as well. Studies of twins demonstrate a genetic predisposition for certain political beliefs, which suggests that offspring of like-minded individuals may be predisposed to more extreme beliefs.?(Stanford University School of Business)
Alex Fondrier, creator and chief executive officer of Political Matchmakers, the company that owns the websites?RedStateDate.com?and?BlueStateDate.com, agrees with me: it’s about finding someone who shares your values.
?When it comes to long term relationships, when it comes to marriage, when it comes to raising children, is when those shared political values become more important,? Fondrier says. (Source) ?[There is] a three-part political assessment that asks you a couple questions on your economic, foreign policy and social views, so we put you on the political spectrum there. But you also have a breakdown of how you scored,? Fondrier says.
Additionally, fiscal opinions have a greater effect than social policy opinions. This surprised me, but I assume it has to do with where money is spent ? on social programs or on war.
?When you sort for religion, you can in part be sorting for beliefs about abortion and other social policies. But your feelings about the role of government in the economy might be a different matter,? Fondrier explained.
My friends ? most of whom are married and blessedly out of touch with the world of mid-life dating ? and I have been fascinated with the bizarre antics of men who are seeking partners via online dating sites. Being strictly honest, my online dating adventures have morphed into being as much about entertainment and the study of human behavior as they have been about finding a life partner. This is not to suggest that I’m not genuinely interested in finding a life partner or that online dating is a game to me, but?I’m also pleasantly surprised to find that I’m not alone. Whether they realize it or not, people do make decisions about life-mates based on many factors,?including?political?party affiliation.
So liberals: marry other liberals and make lots of babies, especially if you live in Texas. You can help me and my fellow Texas?
pariahs?liberals in our goal of ?turning Texas back to blue.?
If simply disagreeing with someone politically doesn’t seem like a rational reason for refusing to enter a relationship, think again. People feel passionate about their beliefs ??sometimes passionate enough to kill.