Surviving a Mixed Relationship
Yes, I'm in a mixed relationship. It has been 18 years now, starting with romance and developing into so much more. Inevitably, it is fraught with complications. There are differences in so many things. There are the explosions, when those differences are too great to bridge; there are the make-ups, when differences are, sometimes only briefly, forgotten. In these past few years we have likely all had this kind of relationship.
We are a conservative Republican (me) and a liberal progressive.
To keep this relationship alive is an active effort in which we both must engage, and we've been doing it for years, successfully. The overall relationship is worth the effort, yet shortly may be subject to the greatest test of all: the Presidential Election circa 2012. I am confident that our relationship will endure, but only because we survived the last one, and that is due to the actions that I myself did or did not take. So without further ado, here is how to survive a mixed political relationship (as the conservative):
- Recognize that your friend is never wrong. Even if they are, they aren't, it's just that simple. Grit your teeth and bear it.
- Recognize that you are always wrong. You only recite what you've been fed and you have been fed nothing of substance. Evidence does not matter, don't even try. Grit your teeth and bear it.
- Recognize that you will be engaged in battle whether you want it or not. Grit your teeth and bear it.
- Recognize that you will always lose. Grit your teeth and bear it.
- Letting your friend vent is nearly impossible without a response. You will still lose. It doesn't matter what you say, logic is useless, give up and ...Grit your teeth and bear it.
- Response will trigger all out war, on you. You will be called names, be accused of stupidity, ignorance, and hatred, (and probably racism, for good measure). Grit your teeth and bear it.
- Any and all response will be met with derision, facts are no obstacle. Grit your teeth and bear it.
- You get the idea...
It is the irony of all ironies that your friend will behave exactly as he states you are behaving (even though you aren't). It is tragic and heartbreaking, not to mention mind-bending. These poor lost souls wander the earth believing that they have all of the answers to all of the questions, and never once ponder that they might be incorrect. Had this attitude been prevalent in the dawning, and complete history of, mankind, we'd still be living in caves (without fire).
Yet there is more to any relationship than politics. There are the smiles, the laughs, the shared interests in, you know, other things, that allow the mixture to exist. And having those other things is vital in any healthy relationship. Those other things are what truly drive our lives, our true selves, no matter what our political ideology.
Friend, family member, co-worker? Just remember that differences do not need enemies make. It takes work, but you too can keep yourself and your friend happy and your friendship intact! Grit your teeth and bear it. You weren't going to change the vote either way, why destroy an otherwise good friendship?