Perhaps it was my own fault for assuming. But, when the guy I was chatting to on Bumble asked me how I felt about the European Union referendum results, I made the mistake of thinking that he and I were on the same page.
Suddenly I found myself in unfamiliar terrain. Never before had I dated someone with whom I disagreed so fundamentally. Should I just pull the plug now and un-match him, I wondered to myself.
As a “remainer,” being a part of the EU is something I feel strongly about, as do many people my age. Indeed, a YouGov survey showing an age breakdown of voting revealed that 75% of 18-24 year olds voted remain. And, on June 24, when the results were in, I — along with all my friends and family — felt profoundly sad that the nation had voted to break ties with the EU; a decision that will undoubtedly impact on our daily lives.
Now, just days after this historic, future-defining referendum, I was faced with yet another decision: could I feasibly date someone who’d voted leave?
Of the electorate, 51.9% — some 17,410,742 people — voted to leave the EU. That’s a lot of people to rule out of the pool of potential partners. Was I going to die alone because of Brexit?
“Even after debating the issue for weeks ahead of the referendum, I was devastated that I could’t convince him to vote remain,” Obiri told Mashable.
Obiri’s partner felt that there needed to be real change in government, maintaining that the money sent to the EU is “a national scandal.”
“We have promised not to talk about the issue again as it ends in arguments so we are avoiding the news as much as possible,” Obiri continued.
Faced with this brave new non-EU world, Mashable asked dating experts how to ensure we ~remain~ in our relationships (see what we did there?)
Try talking about it
Jack Knowles, founder of dating app Temptr, says that while the Brexit result has been “incredibly polarising,” voting in or out shouldn’t make a difference to your choice of partner.
“This important decision was crucial for a lot of young people living in Britain, and if they feel as if a partner isn’t there to support their views and instead opposes them, things can seem quite bleak for the future of their union.”
“Talk about the vote calmly together, express to your loved-one why it is you feel the way you do,” advises Knowles.
Respect, even if you don’t reciprocate
Matchmaker Lydia Davis says it’s still possible to get on as long as each person’s views are respected, even if they’re not reciprocated.
“Think about what makes a successful, long-lasting relationship? Love, understanding, kindness, empathy, friendship. The list could go on and on, but it doesn’t usually contain political views on remaining or exiting the EU,”
Think about why you’re together
Dating expert Zoé Coetzee says that couples in serious relationships should remember why they love each other.
“When you started dating, what was it that brought you together? Was it the way he always looks for the positive outcome or the way she smiled when looking at you?” Coetzee toldMashable.
“Look at your partner and mentally go over what made fall in love with. Chances are it was not a shared political viewpoint that drew you together in the first place, and so go back and remind each other of the best parts of your relationship that set off the spark,” Coetzee continued.
Agree to disagree
Dating guru Hayley Quinn thinks that even if you both feel strongly about your respective decisions, it doesn’t have to cause conflict.
“You could adopt an ‘agree to disagree’ position,” says Quinn.
“However, if emotions aren’t dealt with and either party feels they haven’t been adequately listened to then this is likely to create problems further down the line.”
Quinn advises taking a “non-blaming” stance. This means avoiding statements like “you should have.” You should say your piece and draw a line under it, says Quinn.
Depending on the stage you’re at in your relationship, your views on the EU referendum result could be a deal-breaker or just a discussion topic. While the EU referendum has proved a pivotal moment in British history, we shouldn’t let it impact on our future happiness. The deed is done, after all. Maybe it’s time to leave the EU out of our relationships.