CLEVELAND, Ohio — Love, dating and relationships can be so complicated.
“When lack of open-mindedness is shown in their political views then that would be a deal breaker,” said Angelica Escuadro, a college student in Cleveland.
With the way politics have become increasingly divisive, is divisive partisanship dictating our relationships and love lives?
A 2016 study done by the Pew Research Center showed that nearly two-thirds of conservatives and about half of liberals say most of their close friends share their political views.
“If you even look at dating apps they have the option to put liberal, conservative, independent and I think that’s important,” said Lysett Roman, a Cleveland law student.
Now there are dating apps that are looking to help people maneuver the political divide. A new app on the scene is DonaldDaters, created by Cleveland native Emily Moreno.
“I have friends that were constantly talking to me about the fact that they were not able to get a date because of who they supported in 2016 and so rather than just feeling sorry for my friends, I decided to go out and do something about it,” Moreno said.
DonaldDaters has a team of paid employees in their Cleveland office. Moreno is the CEO and says this started as a ‘passion project’. She runs the business from Washington, D.C. where she works another full-time job.
Since launching in October, the app has over 30,000 downloads and promises to ‘Make America Date Again’ and in their words, ‘without bias and liberal intolerance’.
“Right now we’re allowing people and connecting people that have a shared support of President Trump,” Moreno said.
Relationship Coach Kathy Dawson warns that politics shouldn’t be the only reason for getting together.
“What happens if you both start out thinking the same way, and then you decide to change even incrementally to the other viewpoint?” Dawson said.
Psychologist Jane-Timmons Mitchell says humans have paired off like this for a very long time.
“The idea of selecting somebody to date based on a common interest, again, is not a new thing,” she said.
The numbers show mixed political relationships are rare. A 2016 survey done by the Pew Research Center showed just 9 percent of Republicans and 8 percent of Democrats said their partner was from the other party.
Experts agree it’s important to be compatible with your partner on core values, but the red flag these days is the harsh negativity that has permeated daily discourse between the two sides. Some married couples are even unable to bring up politics.
“We use divisive language and I think that we’re following the examples that we get, sadly,” Dawson said.
DonaldDaters isn’t the first to pull at people’s political heartstrings. There’s also liberalhearts.com and conservativesonly.com. You may find your perfect match on one of these sites, but could there be unintended consequences?
“I think we’re losing the richness of the points of view of people that are different from us,” Timmons-Mitchell said.
To put things into perspective, a study on the partisan divide in the US done by the Pew Research Center found in 2017 that 44 percent of Democrats and 45 percent of Republicans had a very unfavorable opinion of the other side. In 1994 the same study showed that fewer than 20 percent in each party viewed the other party very unfavorably.