Dear V: Parents’ political views causing tension in relationship

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Dear V,

I’m a junior at UM from New York City. My family’s pretty progressive, tolerant and open-minded, to say the least. I’d actually go so far as to say we’re about as liberal as they come.

Recently, I started dating a guy whose family isn’t so progressive. He’s from a rural town in the deep south. As a college student, he’s pretty forward-thinking and we don’t disagree on much. In fact, I didn’t realize he was from such a conservative family until he warned me before I met his parents a few weeks ago.

Talk about a shock. His parents were unbelievably racist, ignorant and just plain out-of-touch with reality. This isn’t a Republican versus Democrat thing, either – I have no problem with members of either party – but it was just like being back in 1950 in that house.

I don’t know what to do. I’m really interested in the guy I’m dating, but I was absolutely taken aback by what I saw when meeting his family. I’m a bit uncomfortable being over there, and it’s hard to imagine that my guy has completely shaken off all of that harmful ideology.

What should I do?

Sincerely,

Progressive Patty

Dear Patty,

It can be hard to date people who are dramatically different than you at times, be it culture, religion or even political ideology. Most of the time, conflicting behaviors or awkward nuances in conversation and body language can be talked through. But when it comes to political beliefs, that’s where many people draw the line in the sand.

It depends on whether you see this guy as long-term potential or not.

If you’re ready for a long, committed relationship, this problem of conflicting political views will keep rearing its ugly head every time you visit his ‘rents, with your potential in-laws saying stuff that leaves you with your mouth agape. You’ll have to learn to bite your tongue if you want to stick around.

But if you’re just looking for a fling and don’t see this relationship lasting years, then who cares? Just shrug off the dumb things his family says and let it go.

After all, it’s not your battle to fight. If your guy has an issue with something his family says, he can speak up. It’s not up to you to change their minds, and if they’re not trying to get you to agree with them and are merely speaking out loud, learn to laugh it off.

Try not to start any kind of conflict that could potentially drag your guy into it. There’s nothing worse than being stuck in the middle of a fight between family and your significant other.

Just grin and bear it, and be thankful that election season is finally over.

-V

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