You’ve probably heard that it’s not good to talk about religion or politics on a first date. Definitely don’t bring up Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Or which party you hope will control Congress. Or the Supreme Court. Just talk about light things.
Are you freaking kidding me??
You have opinions, ideas, a vast amount of life experience, people and things you care about deeply. You think about the future, and plan for it. You have children, nieces and nephews and grandchildren whose lives will be impacted in extraordinary ways based on the outcome of this, or any other, election, right? (Yes, especially this one.)
Should you talk about politics when you’re dating? Hell yes, if you’re a grownup!
Our politics reflect our values and core beliefs about human beings and the planet. Where we side politically is the expression of how we look at our community, our country and the world...and more importantly, our place in it.
As a dating and relationship coach for women over 40, I can tell you that, hell yes, I want the women I support to know a man’s politics. And the sooner they know, the better.
When I was single (for 30 freaking years) and looking for a husband online, here’s what I put in my online profile: If you are a Rush Limbaugh fan we are not a good match. And, thank goodness, Rush fans fled. Just what I wanted.
Larry, on the other hand, appreciated that request (among other things). On our first date we went through all the ‘don’t do’s’ by talking about politics, religion, money...we covered it all. Six months later I became a first-time bride at age 47.
That my husband aligns with my political values is something that creates a very strong bond between us. We spent a month together in Nevada campaigning full time for President Obama. We hold hands as we march together against social injustice. We sometimes cry together at the inequality of our economic and justice systems. His political beliefs tell me who he is, at his very core. And I admire and love what I see.
Maybe you’re ambivalent about politics. That’s cool. That reflects a value. But I do want to say that our political system is like money, taxes and death; an unavoidable part of life. That’s especially true now, with one of the most consequential elections of our history looming.
Do you want more reasons to bring up this oh-so-controversial topic on the first date? Here they are:
1. You should bring up Trump because grownups talk about things that matter. That includes politics, money, sex and religion. That’s especially true of grownups who are in search of a compatible lifetime partner. The point of talking about these topics, including Trump, is not to change someone’s mind, but to understand how they think and feel. You will learn so much more talking about Trump than talking about your last vacation. Just sayin’.
2. NOT talking about the election right now would be weirder than talking about it. It is everywhere. It’s the elephant in the room and isn’t likely to go away, even after the election is well over. (A note: again, you’re not trying to change anyone’s mind. The purpose of dating is discovery. Learn what you can about each other. Dig in a little. Give your date a chance to express and explain. You do that too. That’s how you date like a grownup.)
3. You will get a good sense of his values. You want to know whether he thinks it’s OK to rate women’s bodies and talk about the handicapped, minorities, and immigrants in derogatory ways. Or whether it’s OK to tell lie after lie, and take advantage of people who are scared as hell. I know I would.
4. If he still supports Trump, consider that he may be psychologically and neurologically “different”, and not in a good way, as explained in detail in Psychology Today:
“Some believe that many of those who support Donald Trump do so because of ignorance — basically they are under-informed or misinformed about the issues at hand. When Trump tells them that crime is skyrocketing in the United States, or that the economy is the worst it’s ever been, they simply take his word for it... The Dunning-Kruger effect explains that the problem isn’t just that they are misinformed; it’s that they are completely unaware that they are misinformed.”
You can decide if you want to continue to get to know someone who doesn’t get it and doesn’t want to. If you are interested in being with someone who likes to learn an grow, this is telling.
5. Ah! If he doesn’t support Trump, you may instantly have something in common! You can bond over your mutual distaste, distrust and dislike for this candidate. More importantly, focus on the positive. Bond over the non-super-rich having a voice, equal opportunity to education, Supreme Court justices who value individual rights over those of corporations...you know...the good stuff! And you can celebrate together on November 8th when he loses in a landslide!
So put it out there and use this topic as an opportunity to learn about the person you’re meeting.
How do you do it? Easy. Tell him how you are going to vote and, in the most fundamental terms, why. That’s it. Don’t be afraid that he’ll disagree. That’s just fine. You’ll learn something important about each other.
What’s not fine is getting to the third date and finding out that you are completely incompatible in the way you look at the world and your place in it. Who has that time to waste?
And, hey, don’t forget that your vote – your voice – counts! (Yes, even if you disagree with me.)
Full disclosure (in case you haven’t yet figured it out): I believe that Donald Trump has narcissistic personality disorder, is ignorant (by choice), has an insatiable greed for power and money and will achieve it at any cost. He can potentially destroy this country, and the world order.
You can learn more about Bobbi Palmer and Date Like a Grownup right here. (Oh, and get access to a powerful, free coaching session.)