Dating across party lines: Can a divided nation find love?

By Gaby Salazar | Copy Editor

When you’re looking for someone to date and possibly fall in love with, you want that person to share a certain set of values and beliefs with you.

My parents gave me this piece of advice at a young age. I was raised to believe that shared values lead to healthier family relationships. I wondered how this applied in today’s political climate. Now it’s hard not to talk about politics when dating. We want to know right away how our partner feels about climate change and gun rights.

This generation of young adults is arguably the most politically active and as a result, this country has never been more divided. Our nation’s biggest divide is not due to religion or race. It’s now political affiliation.

You can chalk that up to rampant bias news reporting or the president himself, but it makes me wonder how this is affecting the dating lives of young adults.

In 2015, about 80% of men and about 70% of women said they would be willing to date someone outside of their political party according to a Match’s Singles in America survey. Today, the statistics are much different, with millennial men and women saying that an average of them (45%) would date outside of party lines, according to a poll conducted by Wishbone, a dating app.

Today you can find apps specifically for dating Republicans or Democrats. A few examples include a dating site called BernieSingles. The site was created for a way Progressive and Democratic Socialists could appease their “Bernin’” desire for romance with other like-minded singles. Conversely, you can also find a dating site for Trump supporters called TrumpSingles, a match-making service that is dedicated to “Making Dating Great Again.”

In 2016, Bumble rolled out Election Filters. Users could quickly tell which political party potential suitors belonged to with the use of these filters. Bumble found that a user with a Democratic filter had a 77% chance of being left-swiped by a Republican while a user with a Republican filter was 90% likely to swipe left on a Democrat. In the era of political correctness, these statistics aren’t surprising.

There is plenty of evidence to prove that politics matter more to young singles now than ever before. Even though things have changed, I don’t believe that dating has changed fundamentally. What has changed is an increase in politically active singles, which makes the idea of dating across party lines pretty undesirable. It’s more difficult to look past political identities because they are so rooted in our values and beliefs. Our nation’s division continues to be fueled by biases from the media.

A big part of human attraction is rooted in shared interests. You want your date to be able to laugh at the same politicians as you. I’ll admit, it’s nice to have someone close to you also agree with you on important issues. Or maybe you simply can’t see yourself being with someone who doesn’t share the same moral beliefs as you.

All these reasons are valid, but I think we are more than capable of looking past political identity. If there is anything this country needs, it’s the willingness to listen to each other, not behind a screen, but in person.

Real, meaningful conversations don’t happen in the comments section, so we need to stop acting like it will. When dating, we shouldn’t limit ourselves to only those ascribed to the same party as us because doing so does not allow us to grow in diversity of thought. Imagine if your future boyfriend or girlfriend is just across the party line. You’d never know unless you make the move. Dating shouldn’t be the first place to find political strife, because the potential for real love requires respecting that person, no matter who they voted for.

Gaby is a senior communications major from Dallas.