DEAR AMY: My husband and I are in our early 30s. We have been married for three years. We come from very different backgrounds: I grew up in a large liberal city, and he grew up in a smaller conservative farming community. We communicate decently, and overall are happy, except when current events or politics come up. He’s a veteran, and leans toward conservative views. I’m the opposite. Politics and social issues are the only subjects we can’t discuss without becoming angry and yelling at each other. There are moments where I end up thinking, “How is it even possible I’m married to someone with that kind of view?” In today’s political climate, these fights are happening more often. We just cannot seem to talk/debate like calm people. Our discussions start out calmly, but escalate. We’ve attempted to bar political talk completely from the house, as we know what it does to us, but the conversations are inevitable as elections draw closer. How can you live and love peacefully with a spouse whose political and social views are so totally opposite of yours? Is there hope for a future for us? There are days when I cannot stand him, knowing where he stands on certain things.
Left Out Liberal
DEAR LEFT OUT: I never imagined it would come to this, but I do now believe that if maintaining a peaceful relationship is a core value for you, you should completely avoid discussing politics until after the election.
My (naive) assumption before this election season was that loving relationships would naturally take precedence over political points of view.
Now I feel like this: The less discussion between political opposites, the better, because both sides seem to be conducting a version of trench warfare.
Opposing warriors may emerge to peacefully play a (metaphorical) game of battlefield soccer, but beyond a brief respite, minds will not be changed. And because positions will not shift, if you want to maintain that rosy and peaceful attitude toward your spouse, the less you actually know about the particulars of his political beliefs, the better.
Wait until after the election to see how you and your husband behave and relate to one another, before you make any big decisions.
I’d love to hear practical solutions from others.
DEAR AMY: I am a freshman in high school and “Richard” is in eighth grade. He gave me a note saying that he loved me. I do not reciprocate these feelings, so I let him down gently. I got another note saying he acknowledges that I don’t feel the same way toward him, but that he would like to “mend the friendship.” The thing is, I was just being nice to him. He has no friends for a good reason. He is annoying. I am at a special education school, so I understand that people are here for different reasons because I am one of them. He also mentioned in the letter that he didn’t want me to “sugarcoat it” if I didn’t want to be friends anymore, and that I don’t need to talk to him ever again if I don’t want to. He said he doesn’t want to lose me. Honestly, I want to lose him. How do I leave with the least damage possible?
Want to Unfriend
DEAR UNFRIEND: You should take this to your school counselor, who will know the particulars of both your and “Richard’s” challenges. The counselor will be able to advise both of you, separately and (possibly) together.
You also might cope by folding Richard into your larger group of friends. If 10 people are nice to him, it will take the pressure off you. I realize that this might not be possible in your specific situation, but if you tried this and it worked, it would be awesome for everyone.
DEAR AMY: You’re usually so compassionate, but I was shocked by your response to “Tired Traveler,” who complained about being trapped on a plane with noisy children. Everyone who travels has a right to be respected by fellow passengers.
DEAR DISAPPOINTED: “Tired Traveler” wanted families with babies and children to be housed in the back of the plane.
As a frequent traveler, I totally understand the frustration, but I have been as bothered by loud and belligerent grown-ups as I have by crying babies.
Babies, at least, will eventually mature. At least, that’s what I tell myself.