A divorce attorney gives pointers on how to disagree without causing a relationship rift.
If you're a Democrat and your husband or partner is a Republican, or vice versa, election time can be a real pressure cooker. It's like there's a fight brewing at all times, and anything (and everything!) can set you off.
You're not alone. Celeb divorce attorney Stacy D. Phillips says many personal relationships suffer during political races when couples hang on ferociously to their political views that differ from those of their mate's. But no matter how much mudslinging goes on between Obama and McCain, it is possible to keep the peace under your own roof. "No couple has to ruin his or her relationship or cause a permanent rift just because they are polarized on candidate choices or political views on propositions," Stacy says. Here are her top tips:
1. Agree to disagree. Talk openly about the fact that you are on opposite sides of the fence ... and what you plan to do about it ... as soon as possible.
2. Set some ground rules that both of you can honor. For instance, should or should you not talk about politics? If so, what are the boundaries for discussion? Should you post yard signs or shouldn't you? See if you can come to terms with some guidelines. Having specifics in place will preserve both your sanity and your relationship.
3. Consider refraining from any discussion about politics. Many couples who are staunch about their political beliefs are wise to refuse to discuss political points of view (especially if alcohol is involved). Refraining is something you both have to agree to and when you make such an agreement, keep it.
4. Employ a sense of humor at all times if you do get into heated discussions over your personal political preferences. Humor has a wonderful way of breaking tension and allowing your communication to hit the "refresh" button.
5. Set time limits for any political discussions and make sure each of you has equal time. When the timer goes off, resist the temptation to carry the discussion any further.
6. Focus on what you have in common immediately after you run out of breath spewing your political viewpoints. This election will come and go, but hopefully it will not take your relationship with it. Realize that disagreeing over politics is not a relationship-breaker. Focus on those aspects of your relationship that indicate you belong together.
7. Promise to make equal donations--or agree not to make any donations at all to either political party. Couples tend to resent one donating more than the other. Be fair, up front and honest, or risk having such silly deception impact your relationship adversely.
Stacy D. Phillips, managing partner at Phillips, Lerner, Lauzon & Jamra, Los Angeles, is a certified family law specialist and author of "Divorce: It's All About Control--How to Win the Emotional, Psychological and Legal Wars." Phillips represents many celebrities in film, television, music, sports, and politics.
If you and your man have opposite political views, how do you cope?