“My Boyfriend Has Asked Me to Never Discuss Politics with Him”

I’m a college student in the South (think Deep South) and I met a guy about two months ago through a mutual friend. “Eric” is also a college student here in the South but at a neighboring university. We’ve now been dating roughly three weeks and we have a problem. I love politics. I an majoring in political science and keep up with many major political events. I want to be a political journalist after graduation. I love talking about politics and political topics; it’s my passion. While I grew up in a red area, I’m a Democrat. He’s not party-affiliated, but he has many opposing ideas to my own. This is not the problem for me. I’m fine with it because we have a great relationship and none of his opinions make me uncomfortable. The problem is that he gets angry every time I talk about politics or anything political.

I don’t know if it’s our differing views or if he feels attacked because I’m (usually) more knowledgeable about political events than he is. Every time it comes up he gets upset, which makes me upset and we just end up arguing — not even necessarily about politics but just arguing about how he feels like I belittle him. His solution is for us to never talk politics, but I just can’t do that since it’s such a major part of my life.

I know people say politics and religion shouldn’t be discussed because they cause issues, but I think in today’s society it’s just impossible to know someone without knowing the political morals and values they hold. I really care about Eric and he’s an amazing man, but I feel like I can’t talk about the thing I’m most passionate about around him for fear of messing up our otherwise amazing connection. What other solutions could there be so that we can communicate about politics without there being tension? – A confused college student (who hasn’t been in a relationship in two years and is kind of lost with relationships)

“We’ve now been dating roughly three weeks and we have a problem.” I don’t even need to know what the problem is to know that if you are having issues big enough in the first month — hell, in the first three months — to warrant a letter to an advice columnist, you’re probably not dating someone who is the right match for you. Knowing what your specific problem is, I can say that with even more confidence: You are not dating someone who is a good match for you.

That this guy knows how important politics is to you — it’s your major, it’s your passion, it’s the career industry you want to pursue — and has suggested you avoid ever discussing it because you can’t seem to do so without an argument or without his feeling belittle–speaks volumes of how much he values you. Which is to say not very much. He probably feels pretty inadequate discussing politics because he doesn’t know as much as you do and therefore can’t hold his own in a debate against you, and then he feels frustrated and angry, causing him to want you to just shut up because then he won’t feel so inferior.

You’re in college, you’re young, you admittedly don’t have much relationship experience, so let me help you with this: someone who wants you to shut up about something you’re passionate about because your knowledge and intelligence make him feel inferior, and/or because your opinion differs from his, is NOT someone you should be dating. You aren’t a good match. You should be with someone who respects you, respects your opinion (even if he doesn’t agree with it), respects your intelligence and knowledge, and gets turned on by your passion. That isn’t this guy. I’d cut him loose now before you waste any more time and energy getting attached.

And to your question about how to discuss politics without there being tension: We live in a politically tense climate right now and I’m not sure it’s reasonable to expect or strive for a lack of tension in political discussions. Tension is what fuels change (and we need change!!!). Tension is the root of progress. Every political movement in our society’s history that led to more equality among our citizens and better protection in terms of laws and services was born out of some kind of tension. That doesn’t mean there needs to be a lack of civility or that your political discussions have to be hostile. Be an active listener, hear opposing viewpoints, practice empathy. But don’t become docile — don’t avoid tense topics and heated discussions — because some guy you dated for three weeks made you feel like that was the only way you were going to maintain a relationship. It’s not. And the right match would never make you feel that way.

A lady I work with is retiring this Friday. She’s moving to another country but will come back twice a year to see her two sons. We’re having a lunch for her and, the next day, a farewell presentation where she will be given a gift. She’s also having a going-away party this Friday night. The party isn’t a work function. Her friends outside of work have organized this and she’s invited everyone from work, and she says everyone from work is going and a lot of people are bringing their partners.

This lady is a good person, but she is extremely extroverted and loud and annoying. She asked me if I was going to the party, and I told her that it depends on my mood. She didn’t like my answer. She’s very persistent and sometimes can’t take no for an answer. I don’t want to go to the evening party because, basically, I just don’t want to go. If I go to this party, I’ll have to spend a couple hours there and I’ll miss out on going out with my friends.

What do you think I should say to her? I don’t want you to tell me to go; I want you to tell me what to say. My idea would be to say I’m going and then ring her later on to say I’m not feeling in a good mood or something came up or I’m not feeling well or something. And then wish her the best on the phone.

Any ideas? — Not feeling it


My idea is that you need to grow up and develop a lot more tact. You don’t say how old you are, but you sound like a teenager. Are you a teenager? It’s the only excuse I can think of for telling someone that your presence at their going-away party is dependent on whatever mood you’re going to be in that evening. That’s such a rude and arrogant response — something someone who is immature and doesn’t know better would say. If you knew you weren’t going to go, all you had to do was make up some excuse that allowed this woman to believe you WOULD come if you were only available. “Oh, I wish I could make it, but it’s the same night as my friend’s birthday party and I’ve already planned to spend the evening with her and our mutual friends.” Sometimes a white lie really is the best reply — when done right, it allows everyone to leave an interaction with pride still intact. Instead, your response immediately let the guest of honor know that she is of so little importance to you that you can’t even be bothered to commit to a “yes” or a “no” in regards to attending her going-away party. You have to wait and see what your mood is like.

At this point, because you didn’t make up an excuse quickly enough and you’ve already told the host that you are essentially available to go to her party, you have to show up. It’s not for her benefit but for yours. If everyone you work with is indeed going to be at this party, many of them with their partners, your absence is going to be noticed. When asked where you are, people will be told that you just weren’t in the mood to show up. That’s going to affect people’s opinion of you. They’re going to think you’re rude. They might even think you’re unprofessional. (Just because this isn’t a work function doesn’t mean it won’t reflect on your professionalism.) It could likely affect your relationships with the co-workers who aren’t moving to another country. You need to suck it up and make an appearance at this party. Go early and hang out for an hour. Bring a friend as a plus-one if you want, and then go meet your crew afterward. Sacrifice an hour for your standing at work.

Send a quick email to the lady who’s leaving, or catch her in the hallway, and say, “Hey, sorry about my response to you the other day when you asked about making it to your party. I was having a bad day and you caught me in a moment. I have some plans with friends later that evening, but I would love to stop by for a bit before I meet up with them and to give you a proper farewell. We’re really going to miss you here, and I wish you all the best in England.”

Go to the party, have a drink, be sure to say “hi” to co-workers, give the annoying lady a hug, wish her well, and then go meet your friends. It’s an hour of your life, you can do it. And next time, have a white lie reply ready to go!


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy​(AT)​dearwendy.com.


  1. Wendy nailed both of these answers. LW1, if you’re arguing after 3 weeks – he’s not right for you, and you don’t want to be with someone if you can’t talk about topics you’re passionate about. LW2 – “it depends on my mood”? Really? I’d be so pissed if you said that to me. You should’ve said that you already had plans and couldn’t make it – simple, done.

    1. All of this!!

      for LW2, you didn’t even have to give a definitive response, you could’ve just said “let me check my schedule first” and then come back a day later with some vague “sorry I already have other plans” excuse. “Depends on my mood” is a horrible excuse!

      1. She knows it’s a horrible excuse, she clearly doesn’t like all of the attention that this women was getting for leaving, and acted like a brat to her on purpose. I think the only reason she should go is if she cares about everyone in her office talking crap about her at the party if she doesn’t show up.

  2. I have usually found that people who don’t understand why someone else isn’t willing to have an “honest” “debate” about “politics” “without getting so upset about it” are actually just obnoxious in their arguments.

    ” I’m (usually) more knowledgeable about political events than he is”
    ” not even necessarily about politics just arguing about how he feels like I belittle him”

    Maybe if he feels like you’re belittling him, it’s because you’re …belittling him? Like you believe that your ” more knowledgeable about political events than he is” and it comes across in the way you argue.

    1. LisforLeslie says:

      He may be uninformed or have information from only one source – Fox News, Breitbart, USA Today whereas the LW is reading multiple sources. She may not be belittling him so much as offering him a more complete picture.

      Some people really hate when other people know more than them.

      1. People who read Fox News are usually pretty happy to get into it with others and are just as likely to not want to understand why people get so bent out of shape about their opinions on immigration or Uranium one.

        People who feel belittled by partners who breezily claim to be “much more knowledgeable” than their partners are usually not inventing it out of whole cloth.

      2. LisforLeslie says:

        I get what you’re saying. But sometimes people will claim to be belittled if you challenge them – period. That any attempt to correct their misinformation is equivalent to dealing them an insult.

    2. I agree – is it that she wants to “debate” or discuss. they are very different.

    3. Scarlet A says:

      I disagree. Of course LW1 is usually more knowledgeable than her boyfriend about politics, it’s literally her passion and career path! I hate this idea that we can’t express we know a lot about something without people assuming it comes from arrogance. I got no sense from the letter LW1 is a “why can’t we debate honestly” stan, she refers to talking and communicating throughout, not debates.

      I know the kind of people you’re talking about who are honestly annoying and come to political discussions excited to debate and even play devil’s advocate, but there’s no evidence in the letter that LW1 is one of those, and in fact some pretty solid evidence she isn’t. People like that generally use their favourite buzzwords: debate, honest, why oh why can’t people just be calm and logical/rational, and all of those are missing from LW1’s letter.

  3. LisforLeslie says:

    Wendy is spot on as usual.

    LW #1 – the issue about discussing politics is that you don’t discuss it in polite company – as in, you don’t invite controversy into your social gatherings. The person you absolutely should be discussing politics with is the person you are dating. That’s how you learn if they share similar values to you on a wide array of topics or as in current politics, if they are a raging misogynistic, racist hypocritical bigot. But you know maybe they’re just a single issue voter.

    Other topics in this category would be religion and money -again, things that you discuss with a significant other. That would have to be one hypnotic and magical dick to get me to shut up about things that I find important like my major and the world I found fascinating.

    You can do better.

    1. “That would. have to be one hypnotic and magical dick..”

      OMG, I am SO stealing that. 🙂

    2. Avatar photo Cleopatra Jones says:

      Around here, we call that ‘dick-notized’. 😉

      1. LisforLeslie says:

        Noting that for future use!

      2. ….aaaaand I’m stealing that too.

      3. OMG, where has that little gem been all my life???

  4. LW1: There’s a much larger issue here than the political incompatibility. This guy, who you’ve know for all of a few weeks, has told you that his requirement for being in a relationship with you is that you hide who you are. Hide your beliefs. Hide your passions. Hide your values. Because he cannot handle hearing differing opinions, or even being reminded that you have those opinions. They make him angry. YOU make him angry. The person you really are.

    If he’s angry and fighting with you every time you say something he doesn’t agree with NOW, when the two of you should be in that new-relationship haze of hormones and over-the-moon happiness, how do you think this is going to work out 6 months from now? A year from now? Are you never allowed to talk about your classwork IN YOUR MAJOR with him? You can’t talk about the news. You can’t talk about your job prospects. You can’t talk about a rally you attended, or volunteer work you’re doing for a candidate.

    About the only way I see this working is in a NSA sex arrangement, where you hookup and go home and never have any deep conversations. And it doesn’t sound like that’s what you’re looking for here.

    1. “About the only way I see this working is in a NSA sex arrangement, where you hookup and go home and never have any deep conversations. And it doesn’t sound like that’s what you’re looking for here.”

      Definitely what I was also thinking, but you said it a lot more tactfully than I could’ve….but she’s already emotionally attached to the guy so that wouldn’t be a good idea.

  5. Oh, and LW2? You were spectacularly rude to that woman. You should apologize.

  6. LisforLeslie says:

    Oh and LW2 – “Maybe if I feel like it” is NEVER an appropriate answer for work or work-adjacent activities. Lie. Make up a commitment. But yeah, you sound like a brat. I am pretty introverted and if I asked someone to attend an event and that’s the excuse they used – EVEN THOUGH I GET THE SENTIMENT – I’d be totally put off because you’ve essentially said you can’t be bothered and that you can’t manage your own moods. No one needs brutal honesty when a white lie will suffice.

  7. Northern Star says:

    LW 1: Sounds like you two are not compatible. Your biggest passion in life is something he won’t share with you. You can’t somehow FORCE him to talk politics. And if you NEED that in a partner, you’re just not going to last. Many of my friends have differing political opinions than I do—my own husband does. And we really don’t spend our time discussing politics. We have other joys and interests in life. If politics is your main joy—find someone who shares it.

    LW 2: You were incredibly rude to your coworker. Now you definitely have to show up at that party—and you should make an effort to be far more tactful with other people in future. Observe the Golden Rule: Treat others the way you would like to be treated.

  8. If someone said to me “if I am in the mood” i would reply, “Oh well I am not in the mood for your rudeness so don’t bother coming”. So rude.

  9. Honestly – unpopular opinion coming up – I do not like discussing politics – it bores the snot out of me. I admit to not knowing or understanding how politics works especially in this political climate so it is a topic that I usually just avoid. I don’t like political movies or shows either, again it’s just my preference. I’m not a dick about it or anything, (FTR – I am on the liberal scale) it’s just not a passion of mine to discuss and with that being said I don’t think I could ever date someone who is a very political person (professionally or personally). It would not be fair of me to tell them not to talk about what they love so we clearly wouldn’t be a compatible match.

    1. I think that’s the key. If you know you don’t want to talk about politics, don’t date someone who really wants to talk about politics.It’s possible to be incompatible for so many reasons, inability to muster even slight interest in another’s passion is only one of the many.

  10. Or she literally only wants to debate politics and maybe he isn’t always in the mood to be yelled at? Some people don’t know how to have a discussion without bullying. I don’t think they’re a good match but I feel for the guy a bit. I am interested in politics but I hate having an entire evening revolve around really intense topics. It’s cool for a bit but I get the feeling this girl does not stop. Give him a break. Well, break up with him and find someone who likes to debate as much as you I’m sure there are some in your school

  11. For lw2 I think Wendy you jumped down her throat immediately. I love you girl but you just love to dig into people huh? This woman is having like, 3 parties. I don’t think the lw has to go to all of them. She doesn’t even like the lady. I’m sure the woman will be having plenty of fun with her real friends and won’t notice the lw isnt there. And then she’s moving to another country!! Who cares??? If this was a close friend or family member, sure. But the lw doesn’t even give a shit so why does she need to stand on ceremony? It’s not that big of a deal. Own your choices, and be honest. You don’t wanna go, you don’t feel like it, good luck. Bye.

    1. As Wendy said, she doesn’t need to be rude just say no thanks. You can do what you want to do without being a bitch.

    2. And it isn’t about the lady that is leaving. It is the feelings of every other person in her office. If this is just some job, then whatever. But if the LW wants a career, you treat people with basic dignity.

    3. If LW2 hadn’t already provided her rude answer of “if she’s in the mood”, then yes she could totally skip the party by making up alternate plans as Wendy suggested without negative social consequences. The LW really effed up with that initial response to the coworker. A little tact goes a long way.

  12. LW1, it’s been THREE WEEKS and you are IN COLLEGE. At a different university than this guy, no less! Unless you attend a women’s college (which is awesome, I did) then you are sitting in the midst of a veritable cornucopia of men who will be more compatible with you. Stop seeing this guy you can’t even have an animated conversation with at THREE WEEKS IN (seriously – come on, you know this). You are not going to have a problem finding someone who shares this passion of yours. I get where you’re coming from; my husband and I are political junkies and talking about the issues of the day is how we maintain our marital bond.

  13. dinoceros says:

    LW1: It’s way too soon to be arguing all the time. You should be able to go the first three weeks without fighting. No human being is important enough to overlook that in exchange for keeping them around. Also, he opposes what sounds like one of the most important things in your life. You two are not compatible.

    LW2: It seems like you were trying to be rude. You could have easily just said, “I’m not sure if I’m free!” and it would have been fine. But you chose to give an answer that would imply that you don’t *want* to be there. If you had just said the polite thing, you wouldn’t have even had to write a letter because it would be a non-issue. If you don’t want to go to the party, don’t go. Just decline politely and say you have plans. Also, writing an advice letter and telling the person what to do or not do before they even respond to you is kind of rude too. It sounds like this might be your normal tone. It might be the reason why you are in conflicts like this.

    1. Northern Star says:

      “It might be the reason why you are in conflicts like this.”

      It seems being rude is LW 2’s specialty.

      From the letter: “My idea would be to say I’m going and then ring her later on to say I’m not feeling in a good mood…”

      Yeah, that’s a genius idea! Do that. LOL.

      1. LisforLeslie says:

        Yeah! You know we argue with one another about immaturity/maturity/kid/adult blah blah blah but this is one of those big things that just makes me gnash my teeth. Adults manage their emotions without telling anyone they are managing their emotions. A tantrum throwing baby-man in the White House notwithstanding, adults do not tell acquaintances about their moods and act on every whim. If you accept an invite – you attend. If you do not want to go, you feign another commitment.

      2. AttacKitten says:

        I’ve been reading Wendy since The Frisky days, and I don’t think I’ve ever commented (love you Wendy!), but this letter writer just made me nuts. As omnivert with a tendency to ‘not be in the mood’ to do stuff, the grown up thing is to always have a half dozen white lie excuses on hand FFS! To say to a work colleague, even one that is leaving “I don’t know if I’ll be in the mood”? Oh hell no. And don’t think that answer hasn’t already made it all around the workplace prior to the party. If she shows up I hope she hears a bunch of variations on “So glad you were in the mood to join us, I know it must be a burden.” If she hadn’t mentioned it was a work event I’d swear it was a 13 year old pouting off about having to go to an event for her dad’s new girlfriend. Stay tuned for the follow up letter about getting passed over for good work projects and getting left out of work events.

    2. Right! I don’t want to go to work tomorrow. Perhaps I will call and say I am not in the mood.

  14. LW1 – I am wondering if you want to spar as opposed to discuss. If he gives an answer and you say “How could you say that?!” or “well based on the court case blah blah blah, that is misinformed”. I are you doing most of the talking or most of the listening?

    What do you want from him? He might want to kick back and have fun at a party rather than talk about Syrian refugees or the nuances of gun control. I mean, you might be a Debbie Downer. Or is your goal change him?

    My guess is you want to be in a relationship where you can talk about the issues of the day long into the night with a partner who is smart and articulate. In this dream, I see you in a wood paneled library. This is not the relationship for that. I would suggest joining liberal on campus organizations for that and enjoy your fun guy on the side.

    1. I got this impression as well. I dated a guy who wanted everything to be a debate because it was “fun” to him. I am all for a good debate but it becomes flipping exhausting. Can we just talk about one thing without a back and forth. Even if I knew more than him about an issue I would play dumb due to sheer exhaustion with the whole thing. Some people simply want to occasionally have a conversation about light hearted things not always stressful, tense subjects. I have a pretty firm rule after a certain time of day when SO and I are at home that I won’t rehash stressful things (when can be avoided) so I can just wind down.

      1. So there are times that I love to speak about politics. But, really combative people or people who make things personal are not my speed. I know in college there was times that I would sit on a porch, kind of drunk, talking about issues and how we could fix things. With the right crew, that is great. But I have had people call me names and or start yelling, and that isn’t my speed.

        I feel like in college there are times to explore the big ideas when you are finally out of the shadow of your upbringing but it is also great to just drink and dance and cheer on a football team and enjoy that freedom as well. Both are great

      2. Ah yes, we call this “have a few drinks and solve the Worlds problems”. Can be very fun. We cover everything from politics to relationships. We get a lot of good ideas flowing. NOT fun with people who take it personally or badger you about their “RIGHT” view. Also, many people cannot handle your opposing views. Everyone does not have to agree with everything. Accept that other people have different views due to a variety of different reasons; upbringing, life experiences, etc. I have much more conservative views than many on this site but it doesn’t make me lose my mind when someone disagrees. As they say, you do you boo. Ok so that’s just what my husband says when I come to bed with some odd face mask and moisturizing hand gloves on…I don’t just wake up like this baby!

      3. I love you ending with moisturizing hand gloves. There are so many bed time rituals that spouses see that noone else will ever know.

        I find that when you have a group of people talking, and not yelling, you find that people agree more than they don’t. They just have different approaches. Even with very different views. Talk about healthcare, abortion, guns, anything. People see the same problems, just tend to want to approach them in different ways.

    2. I think all she wants to do as well is just spar with somebody like you said. No relationship is going to go well for her if that is all that she does.

  15. Bittergaymark says:

    LW1). Uh, why are you dating this guy again.
    LW2). Well, FINE… Don’t go to the party. Trust me — You won’t be missed. NEWSFLASH: Bitchy people who are socially clueless never are. Get a clue, dearie! You are seriously the most clueless most self involved LW on here in ages. And bittergaymark my words, that’s REALLY saying something…

  16. LW#2 – I spit out my water reading that you told her “if I’m in the mood.” Aye. You don’t do that to people. At 20 I had 0 tact, now I know to offer reason with tact. Show up, suck it up, and then learn to be an adult.

  17. “…we have a great relationship…”

    No, you do not.

    If, three weeks into a relationship, you’re fighting all the time, you do not have a great relationship.

    If your partner wants you to suppress something that is a major part of who are, you do not have a great relationship.

    Break up. Do not invest any more time in someone who is clearly not right for you just because it’s been a few years since you’ve been in a relationship and you like him. There is a guy out there who would love to endlessly debate politics with you, and who will support your career path and respect you. You don’t want to miss out on Mr. Right because you’re already with Mr. Wrong.

  18. “I know people say politics and religion shouldn’t be discussed because they cause issues”

    this is only said regarding discussion at… dinner parties, with casual acquiantances, with coworkers, with relatives you have tense relationships with. OF COURSE you should be able to discuss politics and religion with your SO! And good friends!

  19. I love Wendy’s response to LW#2. I have coached my 9 yo girl for years that sometimes, a white lie is the kindness thing you can do for someone else, and then it’s ok. If you’ve already messed up your response when being put on the spot, following up with the extra details about previous plans and stopping by is a smooth way to fix the situation. And learn from it for the next time. 🙂

  20. Avatar photo Dear Wendy says:

    So, since you hate talking politics, it wouldn’t make sense for you to take a political person/ political science major/ someone who makes a career or politics. Those kinds of people are most certainly going to talk politics. It’s ok for to not talk politics, but not ok to date someone who is or has made a life in politics and then ask them not to ever discuss it, which is what was going on in this letter. Not sure why that rubs you the wrong?

  21. Texican Ashley says:

    You say you hate this woman never takes no for an answer, but…you didn’t actually say no you said the long form version of “Maybe”. There is your problem right there, you are trying to act all high and mighty and umm…hard, but you have the spine of a jellyfish, as also evidence by you writing in to smooth things over. You say you really don’t want to go to the party….so don’t! Own your rudeness! Don’t half ass this go whole ass and don’t say anything, dont apologize and don’t go to the party and I guarantee this will be the last time you have to worry about too many things to do on a Friday night.

  22. Cleopatra_30 says:

    I have a profile but feeling lazy to sign in for this comment, and phone format is a pain.

    LW1, while it is definitely a red flag that this is an issue barely a month in, you did mention that he states you ‘belittle him’ when it comes to political talks. Are you? How are these conversations actually going?? Are you potentially a little too far into the political realm that your arguments or statements may be coming off unintentionally as condescending or degrading? It is one thing to respectively discuss opossing political beliefs, another to be closed off and degrading to the other person where they don’t feel comfortable even having conversations around it with you.

  23. That first submission. I honestly would be super annoyed if one person just wanted to talk about one thing all the time. I get that it is their passion. But it’s not mine, so it sounds like he’s over it as well. I actually disagree with what Wendy says. About how it probably makes him feel inferior. That’s all on her. I feel like by her constantly trying to get him into debates that she’s the one that’s purposely trying to make him fill inferior

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