Voting Differently Than Your Partner? Keep the Peace, While Increasing Sexual Tension

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According to a poll on the Today Show (Today.com: http://on.today.com/Qgbwp6) roughly 26 percent of people surveyed will be voting differently from their partner. Relationship therapist Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil knows politics can be a dangerous topic for couples, and has suggestions on how those with opposing political views can make a relationship work.

America goes to the polls today, and according to a poll on Today.com (http://on.today.com/Qgbwp6), about 26 percent of people will be voting differently from their partner, and the New York Times also addresses what can happen with couples vote differently (http://nyti.ms/QgbH3V). Relationship therapist Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil offers advice for people who face a stressful day today - both politically and relationally. She believes that if handled correctly, this opposition can actually make a relationship more exciting.

  • Don't clam up. Dr. Bonnie says couples should chuck the adage that it's not "polite" to talk about politics. "Walling off an area of life from a significant other because of the problems it may cause isn't healthy," she points out. Additionally, when managed correctly, tension and conflict can lead to a passionate relationship - voting differently could actually be good for couples' sex lives! Even still, she understands that there's a reason people don't like to talk about politics, even with their partners - emotions run high and sometimes it's easier not to say anything at all. But Dr. Bonnie believes that it's important to communicate on these issues, but to do it in the right way.
  • Use Smart Heart Skills and Dialogue to fight fair. To have these conversations, Dr. Bonnie suggests couples use her Smart Heart Skills. In order to do this, set aside a specific time where each person knows politics will be discussed - no one should ambush the other person and expect to have a productive discussion! "During this time," Dr. Bonnie says, "each person should provide space for their partner to honestly express their views." When it starts to get heated, know that the best sex comes after a good fight - but to maintain the longterm peace also consider the next tip:
  • Walk a mile in the other person's shoes. Everyone has a history that made them who they are today. Dr. Bonnie says it's helpful for couples to know their partner's history, and when it comes to politics, it's no exception. "Knowing where your partner came from will help you understand why they believe the things they do," explains Dr. Bonnie. Each person should try to walk in their partner's shoes before letting a political stance get in the way of their relationship.
  • Re-focus on priorities. For most people, politics plays a relatively small role in their overall life. It's important to be well-informed, but, as Dr. Bonnie points out, it's also important to re-focus on the relationship. She says that after partners discuss their political views, it's helpful to spend time investing in their relationship - have an election-night dinner, drink a glass of wine together, or go see a movie to bring a sense of levity to what can otherwise be a stressful situation.

Dr. Bonnie talks more about these skills in her book, Make Up Don't Break Up, as well as in this video: http://youtu.be/a-hlUgnwLXc. And check out her “5 Star Video Contributor" via YouTube/Google”https://www.youtube.com/user/drbonnieweil with more videos about dealing with the hurricane.

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