Prove your humanity


With the current political climate in America, being open about politics on dating apps may not be a bad idea.

The dating app OkCupid has announced a new feature that allows users to add a badge that states “I’m pro-choice” under their name and age in response to Texas’ new abortion legislation. OkCupid isn’t the only dating app to allow users to display their political beliefs.

Tinder allows users to filter matches by religious and political beliefs, as does Match.com and Hinge. Bumble also allowed users amidst the 2016 election to put a filter on their profile with their party affiliation or candidate they endorse. 

Is this a good idea to find one’s perfect match, or does it promote close-mindedness?

It is often said that when looking for a relationship, the two things you should have in common are religion and politics. This is because these issues shape both the big and small decisions people make every day, from how you will spend your money and raise your children to the shows we watch and friends we choose. It’s likely that a long-term relationship would suffer from a lot of tension if the couple does not agree politically.

According to Wakefield Research, in 2016 30% of couples were politically mixed. Most of these marriages were between partisans and independents, and 9% of all marriages were between Democrats and Republicans. Today, only 21% of marriages are politically mixed, and only 4 percent are between Democrats and Republicans.

In addition, 22% of Millennials (more than one-fifth) have ended a romantic relationship because of political strife.

Americans are becoming more politically polarized than ever. According to a Brown University study, in 1978 the average American rated the members of their own political party 27 points higher than members of the other major party. By 2016, Americans were rating their own party 45.9 points higher than the other party, on average.

Based on these findings and trends, politics has proven to be a subject that is very important to the American people. If you want a long-term relationship, then being upfront about politics may be a good idea. 

This also applies to those who choose not to display their political ideology in their profile. By making that choice, they may find like-minded people who either don’t see politics as a dealbreaker, don’t have extreme views or are not politically active.

Furthermore, displaying political views on one’s dating profile may promote open communication from the start of a relationship, instead of keeping certain subjects taboo. 

“If two people meet and don’t discuss politics at all, as if politics is not part of the relationship, this will inevitably cause issues later on; after all we are all influenced and affected by the political tides around us,” says Marc Hekster, consultant clinical psychologist at The Summit Clinic. “One’s political views are, ultimately, an expression of a part of yourself and how you see the world and those around you.”

While bringing politics into the dating app sphere may serve a useful purpose, it could backfire if the apps are used to make friends — which OkCupid, Tinder, Bumble and many other popular dating apps are used for. In this aspect, sorting people out based on politics is dangerous. 

Doing this may lead to people being characterized by the stereotypes of their political party.  The benefits of surrounding oneself with people who have diverse thoughts and opinions are similar to having diverse classrooms and workplaces; diversity provides different perspectives, increases creativity and results in decisions that cater to lots of needs. Friendships with those that politically disagree cause both parties to learn and grow.

“The bond you have with someone has to supersede political views if it’s ever going to work,” adds psychologist Madeleine Roantree. “There has to be a level of respect there too, towards the other person, and an acceptance that they might have different views.”

However, in a long-term relationship, a couple has to make joint decisions that aren’t necessary in a friendship. OkCupid is correct that these things are important and even vital in relationships, but we shouldn’t let them define our friendships.