The Scoop: Julie Spira, aka the Cyber-Dating Expert, has spent her career keeping her finger on the pulse of today’s singles. Over the last 25 years, she has coached singles on the perils of online dating and written self-help books and advice articles full of heartfelt insights into the modern dating scene. In 2015, during the presidential campaign, Julie noticed polarization creeping into dating habits to the point that bipartisan relationships became a rarity. The dating expert conducted research into how politics has encroached on dating and is working on a book titled “Love in the Age of Trump: How Politics is Polarizing Relationships” to explain how swiping left and right has changed for people on the far left and the far right.
I received a nasty shock a few weeks ago when I walked my date to his car and saw a Make America Great Again hat in his front seat. We had talked about politics briefly on previous dates, and he’d been quick to say he passionately disagreed with Washington politics — which I’d thought meant the current administration, but I guess he meant The Swamp.
I’ve been on radio silence with him ever since. My last relationship ended because we disagreed about Trump and couldn’t stop arguing about it — and I’m not about to go through that again. When someone’s views and values are diametrically opposed to mine, we’re not compatible, and I can’t pretend it doesn’t matter to me.
Politics has become a dealbreaker for many singles, like me, who want to date without getting into a debate. Since the rise of Trump’s political star, controversial economic and social issues have been at the forefront of many people’s minds, and their positions on immigration, taxes, feminism, climate change, and other issues have held more weight on dates.
A Match.com survey found that approximately 30% of users ages 18 to 24 viewed politics as important to a relationship, and 17.5% said they would avoid talking about politics in case it changed their opinions about the person.
In 2017, while conducting her research, dating expert Julie Spira lost a cherished relationship because of Trumpian politics, and the experience got her thinking about why politics has become a dealbreaker for some couples. She decided to investigate the impact that Trump’s presidency has had on a personal front and discover how bipartisan relationships can survive today’s divided times.
Julie is currently writing a book called “Love in the Age of Trump: How Politics is Polarizing Relationships” to offer her advice to singles entering this divisive dating scene and struggling to make authentic connections with people across the political spectrum.
“From how to bring up politics on a date to how to cope with a relationship where you disagree, I’m bringing it all together in one big bow,” she said. “It’s been my passion project to make sure that love doesn’t get kicked to the curb.”
Interviewing 100 Singles & Couples About Their Politics
Julie has over 25 years of experience as an online dating expert and coach. She has made a career out of understanding what’s going through the minds of singles, and right now sees politics as one of the main issues confronting modern daters.
In the months following the 2016 election, she took the time to interview over 100 singles and couples about the role politics plays in their relationships and the toll it can take on their love lives. She spoke to Trump supporters, Clinton supporters, third-party supporters, and non-voters to understand the full scope of opinions on this hot topic. She then used their answers and her unique perspective as a dating coach to write a book about the intersection between dating and politics.
“I have taken a deep dive on this,” she said. “No one else has tackled this subject the way I have.”
In addition to personal interviews and anecdotes, Julie drew from the findings of studies and polls to measure the long-term effects of political views on relationships. Her goal was to establish how today’s singles feel about dating across party lines in one of the greatest political divides in American history. As she explores each topic, Julie proposes solutions to ease the political tensions on the first date and beyond.
Throughout the book, Julie provides concrete advice for singles and couples navigating such a tricky dating landscape. She proposes solutions for those who find themselves dating someone at the opposite end of the political spectrum and helps individuals decide just how much their political positions matter to them.
“It’s a book about values, attitudes, and life, and how to find the right partner in a political world,” she said.
While she works to find a publisher for her book, Julie has launched a new website LoveInTheAgeOfTrump.com where she compiles her research and outlines her conclusions about love and politics.
“I’m the first to really tackle this emotional subject,” she said. “There are so many books on Trump, yet no one is really talking about what it means for romance.”
How to Pick the Right Date & Cope With Disagreements
Julie’s book is full of advice about how to get into a happy, healthy relationship with people of all walks of life. Her main point is that singles need to be transparent about their politics, especially if it’s important to them. “If you feel strongly about politics and it’s a real big part of your life right now,” she said, “you shouldn’t be hiding that.”
Julie encourages singles to frame their politics in a positive light by saying, “This is what I care about and this is who I am” from the outset of the relationship. Online daters can mention it in a dating profile or bring it up casually on a second or third date. “Don’t mention it on a first date,” she advised. “The goal of a first date is to keep things light and see if you like the person enough to put a second date on the calendar. Then you can dig a little deeper.”
Not all dating sites ask specifically about politics, but users can always state their opinions in the open-ended sections. If you support a particular cause or candidate, you can bring that up in your personal bio or post a photo of yourself at a rally. You can send a clear signal to potential dates by wearing a MAGA hat or a Black Lives Matter button in your profile photo. That’ll allow people who are incompatible with you to filter themselves out without any awkward questions or heated discussions.
“It’s been one year since Donald Trump took office, and singles are still dealing with the big political elephant in the room.” — Julie Spira, dating expert
Another way to target dates on the same side of a political issue is to join a niche dating site for Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Tea Partiers, etc. You can rest assured that the people on these websites will agree with you on the important issues.
“There’s nothing wrong with saying I lean left or lean right,” Julie said. “What’s wrong is not being authentic in the kind of partner you want.”
Of course, couples don’t have to agree about everything, and Julie has seen bipartisan couples make a relationship work. By agreeing to disagree, they can move forward together without getting mired in hurtful arguments. These couples place their love for one another first and respect each other’s differences without feeling threatened or insulted.
Extreme Partisanship Can Lead to a Romantic Backlash
Politics has become one of the most prominent dealbreakers in the dating landscape. According to teen polling app, 47% of millennials said they wouldn’t date someone with different political beliefs, and 36% said their families would care if they married someone from a different political party. It has basically become as important as religion or spending habits to some single Americans.
Julie compared dating across party lines with dating a smoker. It’s a no-go for many of today’s singles. In fact, the dating expert said that some singles have expressed more willingness to date a smoker than dating someone who disagrees with them about Trump. “I’ve been coaching singles for over 25 years now, so I know what their dealbreakers are,” she said. “Right now, singles feel like a partner can quit smoking but they’re not really going to change their political attitudes or voting habits.”
A recent Politico article drove home the importance of political opinions in the dating world by revealing that Trump-friendly politicos in DC are having a hard time getting dates. The article focused on 30 millennial staffers who candidly commented on their personal struggles in the dating scene. Some men and women in the administration admitted to dodging conversations about their jobs or outright lying to dates to avoid being rejected because of their role in the Trump administration.
“I know that I need to be careful about broaching the Trump stuff,” said one former White House staffer. “I need to be able to get it out at the right time.”
Julie told us that she has seen evidence that men are more willing to date across party lines, and that male Trump supporters can receive a lot of hate on dating sites and apps from women who perceive them to be misogynist racists because of who they voted for. This judgment can cause them to go underground with their opinions and try to hide their political inclinations until the person has gotten to know them better.
“I feel that there has been a shift in the way we vet and select partners,” she said. “This is the new normal. It’s not going to go back to the way it was before.”
Julie Provides Insights on Love in the Age of Trump
We live in turbulent political times, and the divisive rhetoric and uncompromising attitude on both sides have driven American families, friends, and couples apart. I experienced this firsthand in 2016 when my boyfriend and I argued until it was clear we were at an impasse.
I can compromise on a lot of things in a relationship — religion, income, and age don’t really matter to me — but my political beliefs are too important to compromise on. I want to date someone who shares my values, and I’m not the only one who holds that bias. Julie found that a majority of today’s singles have prioritized political views when seeking a potential partner, and some have ended relationships based on voting patterns or political support.
The dating expert attributes this sudden shift to Donald Trump’s contentious presidency and rise in activism across the US. “I feel that politics has gone from the kitchen table to the bedroom,” she said, “and it has impacted relationships in a big way.”