How do politics affect our romantic relationships?

One researcher says your biology plays a part

Picture this: Girl agrees to go on date with boy. Girl and boy are having a great time together. But girl has a really bad feeling about boy.

Girl thinks boy is a Republican. Date comes to a screeching halt.

No, this is not some weird political romance novel. It’s the true story of Jessica’s first date with her now-husband, Ross. (Side note, he’s not a Republican.)

“I sort of stopped and was like, can we set the record straight on this, like are you a Republican or not? Because if you are, like we could just end this date right now,” said Jessica Morales Rocketto.

It may sound a little dramatic—refusing to date someone based on political ideology. But on this week’s podcast, host Andrea Seabrook and producer Rachel Quester explore the wonky world of how much politics actually affect our romantic relationships.

For liberals and conservatives, compatibility on political ideology is more important when picking a spouse than personality or physical characteristics. That’s according to John Alford, a political science professor at Rice University.

Alford says that our biology predisposes us toward one ideology or the other—that the brains of liberals and conservatives are just wired differently. And that, he says, is why it’s really difficult to marry across the aisle.

“One of the nicest views about the United States is this idea of the United States as a melting pot where over generations, differences disappear…. because we’re mating disproportionately with people of like-political views, there is no melting pot,” Alford said.

Now for those who haven’t already picked their mate, there is hope for the politically minded single.

Two dating sites, Red State Date and Blue State Date, match people based on compatible political ideologies. Alex Fondrier, the founder of both sites, said the purpose of the dating service is to help people passionate about politics find others who share that same passion.

Listen to this week’s podcast for political dating advice, and why you should start every date with this question: What’s the first word that comes to mind when someone says Hillary Clinton?

[QUIZ: Which political animal should you date?]

Want to keep up with all the latest DecodeDC stories and podcasts? Sign up for our weekly newsletter at decodedc.com/newsletter.

Print this article Back to Top