Relationships are among the casualties of the recent political wars on social media.
We may know a couple or two who have split up because of "irreconcilable political differences," especially when each party identifies with opposing beliefs from the different ends of the political spectrum. Regardless of which side you are on, the daily vitriol being spewed by leaders, famous personalities, and their respective followers makes it seem impossible for any relationship between two people with different views to prosper.
Being an optimist, I sought couples who have either made it through divisive political eras or who seem to well manage their differences on certain issues such as drugs, death penalty, and partisanship. Perhaps these couples can share how they make things work.
So first, I asked the question:
A "Dilawan-DDS" Success Story
Jover Laurio, a part-time law student who describes her political ideology as "Dilawan (Yellow)," recently celebrated the fifth anniversary of her relationship with a boyfriend who is a staunch supporter of President Duterte. Both of them volunteered in the campaigns of their respective presidential candidates in the 2016 elections. She shares the following tips on how their relationship survived in "a world of trolls and fake news":
- Ask yourself how badly you want the relationship to last.
- Respect each other's choices.
- Do not talk about politics when you are together.
- If you and your partner are vocal "Dilawan" and "DDS" supporters, unfollow each other on Facebook and Twitter so that you will not be affected by each other's posts.
- Do not assume that supporters share the bad traits of their chosen leaders. (To explain: Although President Duterte is often slammed for misogynistic remarks, Jover claims that her boyfriend is a perfect gentleman.)
- Love each other enough that your relationship will survive any political differences.
Jover adds that after all, a president's term lasts for only six years whereas her commitment to her partner lasts for a lifetime.
Nipped in the Bud
Unlike Jover, Carrie* did not get to celebrate another anniversary with her long-term boyfriend. Although she and her boyfriend had broken up several times, Carrie would always find her self back in the guy's arms after a few weeks or months of cooling off. However, the 2016 elections gave her love story a different twist, if not an absolute resolution.
Carrie wrote in one of her blog journals:
"To me, our differences were no longer political by their nature. They were already fundamental, which probably explains why we just cannot seem to get along and make things work despite our shared passion for development work."
Since the break up, Carrie had been more prudent about dating, filtering men at the onset by probing about the leaders they support and more importantly, their stand on issues that she strongly feels about.
Political compatibility is also worth celebrating for couples like Chef Adrian Cuenca and girlfriend, Mitzi, as this allows them to explore issues on a deeper level. Mitzi says that sometimes she plays the other side's advocate "just so [Adrian] can see things from another perspective, or to understand why people think the way they do." Other times, Mitzi kids that she does it just to get under Adrian's skin.
Generally, relationships seem to work where mutual respect enables acceptance and tolerance. Couples who have been faithfully married for years manage to conquer differing opinions through silent acceptance or by simply not talking about politics. On the other hand, relationships with histories of repeated betrayals already tell an utter lack of respect as such, attempts to bridge political differences may only go so far.
* Name and personal information were slightly changed
"When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it—always."