Yes, It’s OK to Date Across the Political Spectrum

by Heather Robinson


From The New York Post


Is President Trump making life difficult for Cupid?

An April 2017 poll of 1,000 Americans conducted by Virginia-based Wakefield research found one in five Americans knew of a couple whose marriage had suffered specifically due to the presidential election.

Anecdotally, it seems the trend continues.

“It’s generally liberals saying, ‘I won’t date someone who voted for Trump,’ ” said Michelle Frankel, owner of NYCity Matchmaking, who adds that in her work as a professional matchmaker, “In the last year and a half, political preference always gets brought up as a deal breaker or a ‘must have.’ ”

In recent weeks, I learned a bit about how our country’s deep political rifts play out in people’s love lives.

For Yelena, 34, an attorney, and Frank, 43, who works in finance, attraction and family take priority over political disagreement — but it isn’t easy. The Brooklyn couple have been together for 13 years and have three children.

Yelena, a Democrat who says she “leans liberal,” became angry when, during election season, “Frank, to torment me, acquired a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat and put it on our son’s head,” she recalled.

“My intention was not to torment,” said Frank. “I thought it was cute.”

They try to avoid talking politics, focusing instead on what they share: “Family, mutual attraction and other shared values,” said Yelena.

Frank agrees but wishes they could talk politics.

While they say they love each other, Yelena adds, “Honestly I wouldn’t recommend” seeking out a partner with whom you disagree politically.

As Valentine’s Day approached, I spoke with two dozen single New Yorkers at random, and I heard that about half would not cross the political aisle for love.

Some have a perception that those on the other side wouldn’t date them.

“Trump supporters like blond girls so they wouldn’t go for me,” said Jiang Yaun, 30, of Williamsburg, who works in fashion merchandising.

Celebrities, too, are personally affected by politics; at Belgian Beer Café in NoMad, Kevin Dillon, 52, of “Entourage” fame, said: “My mom is a Democrat and my dad is a Republican; they’re in their 80s, they’ve argued the whole way, and their love is enormous.”

Dillon added that his girlfriend is a Democrat, he’s an independent and that he values keeping an “open mind.”

Frankel recommends people date across the political aisle, especially if both parties value independent thinking, and adds, “My husband likes Fox News, I like CNN, and we make it work.”

One New York couple who have taken that approach are James Myers, 33, and Corinne Fisher, 32, both professional comedians from Harlem. Myers is vocal about his support for Trump; Fisher, who was a staunch Hillary Clinton supporter, is just as vocal about her opposition.

“James and I had political fights twice a week leading up to the election. There were times I was thinking, ‘Is this worth it?’ ” she said.

Fisher said she defends Myers’ freedom to choose.

“I stick up for his right to think something, even if I totally disagree,” she says.

She has been hurt by the way some have reacted to her boyfriend’s open support for the president, such as “people saying ‘dump him’ or ‘don’t have sex with him,’ ” she says. “I said, ‘You’re telling me to give up on love?’ That is the last thing we need at a time the country is so divided.”

She also respects Myers’ courage. “He gets private messages from other people who aren’t courageous enough to be out about their views,” she said.

“My love for Corinne is based on deep respect,” said Myers. “If you respect someone, you don’t have to agree with them on everything. She’s been pretty brave about this whole thing.”
Myers added that passion can trump (pun intended) disagreement.

“Mingle with those with whom you disagree,” he said. “It can be hot.”

For many Americans it seems that politics and love dwell on a slippery slope.

Perhaps that’s why, in our graceless age, it is all the more admirable to believe, as did Virgil in 37 BC, that “omnia vincit amor” — “love conquers all.”

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