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How central are your principles to your relationship?

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
So I've been with my man for coming on 2 months now, and all's going wonderfully... well - most of it.

He's great-looking, makes me laugh, we have loads of fun together, he knows me really well already, he's understanding, he can cook :hyper: , he's totally passionate about his work, sex is almost too good (see Sex boards!!) and we've got a great balance going between being all wrapped up in each other and still being able to say "right, I need a few days with my friends and on my own - leave me alone for a bit".

But there's one thing that really niggles me to the point where I'm considering ending it. While he's incredibly understanding and insightful when it comes to things I'm going through and any little concerns I might have about the relationship, he comes off as really bigoted when we discuss politics or social issues (bear in mind I study Politics and Sociology so I like to talk about it).

Last night we were talking about British attitudes towards sex, and how as a society we can be quite tight-lipped about it, which leads to higher teen pregnancy rates etc., while in other cultures it's widely and openly discussed. His immediate reaction was - "well, talking about it with people you don't know really well is just wrong - it's something that's private, that I share only with people I care about, and I'd be really pissed off if someone random tried to discuss my sex life with me" I pointed out that that was exactly what I was saying, and that perhaps his attitudes were that way as a result of British culture and his upbringing, and he just wouldn't accept that - as far as he was concerned, it was just wrong, black and white, end of. He's also said things like "Some people in prison just aren't worth it - get rid of them and stop wasting everyone's time. Some people are just evil" which really gets my back up because it comes off as so bigoted. I work in the housing sector, doing counselling etc for homeless people, and I honestly believe that nobody's 'just evil', they've just had a hard time in the past, and if anything, need a helping hand. I was really embarrassed to hear him sound so narrow minded last night in front of some of my closest friends, and I don't think this bodes well for our relationship.

On the one hand I do value having someone with such different opinions so close to me, as it forces me to reconsider my ideas and think about why I feel the way I do. But at the same time some of these comments really contradict the very core of who I consider myself to be, and if I hadn't had the time to get to know the rest of him and heard him talking the way he did last night, I don't think I'd give him the time of day.

How important are things like this to your relationship? Would you end an otherwise great relationship if your partner's views were so opposed to your own? What should I do?!!

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    i totally understand what you're saying. maybe talk to him and say exactly what you've said: that you have no problem with him having a different opinion, BUT the way he says it and refuses to discuss the point - just argues that he's right and you are wrong, makes you feel unsettled!
    explain to him that you're only mentioning it because you value the relationship so much. Maybe explain that you can understand some of his points, but you're friends arent as open minded maybe, so could he tone it down abit?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I can see where you are oming from but everyone has a different opinion and we can't expect people to change that instantly. Really, like lost said, maybe he should think about the way he phrases it and in front of your friends too incase they have a strong opinion on the matter too.

    Having said that though, I wouldn't let it end what sounds like a really good relationship. As long as his one way opinions do not reach into the relationship perspective of things and he is not offending your friends then or anything like that then you can be glad that it doesn't stretch that far.

    Is there no way you can discuss that type of thing with your friends? There must be mountains of things that you two have in common so focus on that with him instead. I know it is not ideal to have to avoid conversations that you enjoy with your boyfriend, but for me, i have friends for different things depending on what they are into. Come to a compromise even?

    Hopefully it should avoid unpleasantness on yours and everyone elses behalf and you may be able to enjoy your relationship more. Every one has faults, no one is perfect. This may just be your lads fault. :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I wouldn't end things if I didn't agree with him, but I would if he wasn't willing to respect and listen to my opinions and views, even if he would never agree to it.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    My ex says stuff that makes him sound such a chauvanist and quite racist...I hate it and used to keep telling him that I didn't agree with what he was saying, but he'd just argue that he was right and I was wrong...it got very draining after a while.

    I agree with Scary Monster - if your partner doesn't respect your opinion then I'd dump him.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    WildSpirit wrote: »
    I can see where you are oming from but everyone has a different opinion and we can't expect people to change that instantly. ......

    Is there no way you can discuss that type of thing with your friends? There must be mountains of things that you two have in common so focus on that with him instead.

    Absolutely, I really love that he has a different opinion to me, I just find it frustrating that he can't be open-minded enough to enter into a discussion about things, criticise his own perspectives etc., the way my friends and I do. The last thing in the world I would want is to be in a relationship where I felt I was trying to change the person I was with.

    My friends and I discuss things like that all the time; we all study similar subjects (sociology, social policy, politics etc) and so conversations on those topics come up a lot, and that's where I feel the problem lies. My boyfriend and I do have things in common, but social issues are so central to who I am and what I'm passionate about that it seems a shame not to be able to share that with him. He's completely into his art and I love learning about the things he's doing and listening to him talk about his ideas and passions. I just feel a bit sad that I can't do the same with him in terms of the things that are important to me.
  • BunnieBunnie TheSite's sweetie pie Posts: 6,099
    I can see why you are a bit pissed off, but to be honest, everyone is entitled to their opinion.
    Me and my boyfriend have different opinions on various different subjects, and due to us knowing the differing opinions we dont 'shove' it down eachother's throats.
    You need to have a word, but at the same time, perhaps chill a bit yourself. Take a step back and look at the bigger picture, not just the bits that are niggling (easier said than done I know).
    And always remember, No-one is perfect!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'm in quite a similar situation in that my boyfriend has very conservative views, and I, er, don't. We don't really talk much about politics, and I tend to ignore him if he's talking out of his arse (i.e. change the subject) but I guess there will come a time when we have kids and then it will get interesting. I guess we will both have to learn not to push our views and realise that ultimately our children will believe what they want to believe, not whatever their parents do.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Bunnie wrote: »
    I can see why you are a bit pissed off, but to be honest, everyone is entitled to their opinion.
    Me and my boyfriend have different opinions on various different subjects, and due to us knowing the differing opinions we dont 'shove' it down eachother's throats.
    You need to have a word, but at the same time, perhaps chill a bit yourself. Take a step back and look at the bigger picture, not just the bits that are niggling (easier said than done I know).
    And always remember, No-one is perfect!

    You have a very fair point. I guess I tend to surround myself with people who at least come at issues from the same kind of perspective as I do, even if we don't arrive at the same conclusions, and so being with someone so drastically different from myself is going to be a challenge, but one I should probably work at. Cheers for the responses guys, you've all helped a lot!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I get round this issue by having no principles.

    Seriously though, I really dont think I could date someone with very different views on politics than me. Its something so important it would really bug me.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I've learnt the hard way never to talk about religion or politics to anyone because it stirs up too much shit, not that anyone is wrong in their views, their views do not dictate if they are a bad person, it's just some people take it too seriously.

    What the hell do you talk about then? How can you not discuss what is going on in the world around you?
  • **helen****helen** Mod malarkist Deactivated Posts: 9,235 Listening Ear
    Absolutely, I really love that he has a different opinion to me, I just find it frustrating that he can't be open-minded enough to enter into a discussion about things, criticise his own perspectives etc., the way my friends and I do. The last thing in the world I would want is to be in a relationship where I felt I was trying to change the person I was with.

    Hey, I thinks there's lots of great stuff been said already, and it's so so interesting to hear how different people feel about this issue.

    I just wanted to say that if your guy is as great as he sounds then your influence might well rub off on him in time - as often happens with couples in all areas of your life. Introducing politics into a relationship can be similar to introducing anything you might like to share with them - food, music tastes, even sex styles ;) Some stuff you might grow to like/understand/admire and other stuff you may well just continue to dislike/disagree with. The same goes for political opinion - if someone is generally open to meeting new people, having any kind of discussion about these things then there's a good chance that their opinions will develop the longer you're together - it may be subtle, but I've seen it happen time and time again. If he really likes you as a person then the chances are he will really listen to what you have to say about stuff and take some of it on board.

    The important thing is to not see this as 'changing someone' as it's not manipulation - try not to force anything down his throat - but just enable him to see the world from another perspective. Remember that your opinions are based on your experiences and influences - one's that he may not have had before. If he gradually starts to have similar experiences and influences to you - then things may change. The key is not to make an issue of it - or push it. Just see what happens.

    Anyway, that's my rather long tuppence worth :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    me and my gf of 3 years are kinda like this.

    for example, she was raised in a catholic family and ive been devoid of any religion my whole life, so we get into some great debates about that

    and she studies theatre and im a film student, so thats a lovely can of worms.

    i think its better to be like that than someone who either has no views or agrees with whatever you say....

    keeps it interesting no?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'm very wary of dating anyone with different viewson religion than me.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I love saying controversial things every now and again to my girlfriend and my friends just to stir things up.

    I conversely, couldn't be with someone who didn't like me having my own opinions or judged me for them. Too many people label other people (left wing, right wing, you name it) for their political views and automatically prejudice them.

    Though if they had radical views (hatefully racist - I was speaking to someone once and they said how they 'smashed in' a 'paki' the other night as if it was a good thing) then I'd be happier without them in my life :).
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Butterflykisses, I feel like I couldn't understand you more. I'm also very passionate about social/political issues, and also enjoy talking about them a lot. And I too tend to surround myself with people who think similarly to me (it's kind of natural, isn't it?).

    Anyway, if I'd read your post a few years ago I'd have said that I wouldn't have beared dating someone with those kind of views. But now - well, I tend to agree with Helen, I've really seen so many couples that after some time begin to open up their minds to what the other person brings into the relationship (not as a result of actively trying to change the other person, but as a result of a natural interchange of ideas), that now my personal choice would be to wait a while and see what happens. And I mean that both ways.

    I would be wary though of an attitude that suggests that he's not all that interested in your things and what you do and what you think - more than agreeing on the actual matters I would expect from a partner that he was interested in getting to know the things I'm passionate about - like you say, it's such an important part of who you are. Maybe this part would be more of a decision factor than the other to me. And I also would expect that he was open to listen to your point of view even if he doesn't agree with you. Although that takes practice too!

    Anyway, good luck :thumb:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Well, my politics are kinda central to my life... They are what I eat, they are my career, my volunteering, my paid job, my student union work and my activism. I couldn't be with somebody so small minded that they couldn't accept an opinion of their own, especially if they couldn't back up their beliefs.

    So it's very important to me... But then my life is my political, philosophical and ethical beliefs. If you disrespect my politics essentially you're not respecting my lifestyle.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    i think it's really tiring to discuss things with people who aren't open minded, and ready admit it when they've made a mistake!! i mean, some people just don't want to accept facts that go against their beliefs, even when it's blatantly obvious that they're wrong.....i can imagine what you're going through, it'd bug me as well..and i don't know if i'd want to be in a relationship with someone who doesn't respect me enough to listen to what i hav to say and consider it, because i know i'd do the same for him....
    but hey, it's up to u...weigh the pros and cons...there's more fish in the sea, but if you feel that you can do soemthing about this, then talk to him!!:yes:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Namaste wrote: »
    Well, my politics are kinda central to my life... They are what I eat, they are my career, my volunteering, my paid job, my student union work and my activism. I couldn't be with somebody so small minded that they couldn't accept an opinion of their own, especially if they couldn't back up their beliefs.

    So it's very important to me... But then my life is my political, philosophical and ethical beliefs. If you disrespect my politics essentially you're not respecting my lifestyle.

    See, this is kind of how I'm feeling; politics and my ethical beliefs are the most important thing in the world to me. However, I'm equally very aware that he does respect my lifestyle. He's always saying that there should be more people like me in the world, that he admires the voluntary work I do and the paid work with my homeless clients, etc., so I know he 'gets' where I'm coming from, or at least understands it to an extent.

    The part that makes me think *Helen* and bluewisdom might be right is the fact that he hasn't travelled much and hasn't really been exposed to a wide range of people. I come from one parent who has a very well-off background, and another who grew up with nothing. I've grown up with one foot in the gutter and the other in yuppieworld, among people from all races and lifestyles and I've sought to maintain that understanding by travelling as much as I can afford to. He hasn't had those experiences, and I get the feeling that his narrow-mindedness might come from closed eyes, rather than a stubborn heart.

    I do care for him though, and it's been a long time since I've felt truly cared for myslef, so I may as well wait it out and see how it goes. Maybe I'll drag him to Russia with me this winter....:)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I can handle someone who has different views to me. I think you'd have to be pretty closed minded to give that as a reason not to go out with someone (well, until you get to the stage where every value you have is differs). But I think what most people are saying in this thread is more people's manner. I couldn't stand to go out with someone who never considered anyone elses opinion, or refused to accept any evidence that didn't support their POV, or showed a lack of respect towards my opinion. But it wouldn't matter what their opinion was. Hell we could agree on everything, but if she was a cunt to anyone who disagreed with her, then I'd probably not want to be with someone like that (well, y'know, it'd depend how hot she was).
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I can handle someone who has different views to me. I think you'd have to be pretty closed minded to give that as a reason not to go out with someone (well, until you get to the stage where every value you have is differs). But I think what most people are saying in this thread is more people's manner. I couldn't stand to go out with someone who never considered anyone elses opinion, or refused to accept any evidence that didn't support their POV, or showed a lack of respect towards my opinion. But it wouldn't matter what their opinion was. Hell we could agree on everything, but if she was a cunt to anyone who disagreed with her, then I'd probably not want to be with someone like that (well, y'know, it'd depend how hot she was).
    Would you go out with somebody who believes all gay people should be shot?

    I think it's more about how your politics interact with your relationship. If you work with Stonewall for example, then why the hell would you want to go out with a bigot who doesn't believe in gay rights?

    If people don't respect your ethics and of course, our lifestyles are heavily impacted by our ethicas then how can they respect you as a person?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    If people don't respect your ethics and of course, our lifestyles are heavily impacted by our ethicas then how can they respect you as a person?

    But respecting your ethics doesn't usually have to mean agreeing.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Namaste wrote: »
    If people don't respect your ethics and of course, our lifestyles are heavily impacted by our ethicas then how can they respect you as a person?

    Yeh but there's a difference in saying "all gays should be shot" and "some people are born evil." Shows a bit of snobbery if you're not going out with someone who's maybe less educated on matters of politics, sociology, philosophy etc etc.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Yerascrote wrote: »
    Yeh but there's a difference in saying "all gays should be shot" and "some people are born evil." Shows a bit of snobbery if you're not going out with someone who's maybe less educated on matters of politics, sociology, philosophy etc etc.
    It's not snobbery though, we have the opportunity whether or not to educate ourselves to a certain point (you don't have to go to the university and yes, some people have more opportunities than others) and no, I wouldn't go out with a bigot... Would you?

    Which is the point I mean, I wasn't comparing it.

    People look for partners on the same wavelength... There are people who are put off by my politics and lifestyle, I don't mind really and I don't consider them a snob. Politics is one of my main areas of interest and yes, I do like my partners to be intelligent enough to pick up a book now and again. I do not think of non political or less academic people as below me, THAT would be snobbery... I am just not attracted to that.

    But the fact is that the lifestyle I live, I'd need somebody to respect that and a least see the world as I do a little bit. I'm not saying to agree with all my opinions, that would be boring, but similar politics and ethics does help. I also cannot stand people who claim to be right about their politics, or narrowmindedness, I find them HUGE turnoffs.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Rachael wrote: »
    But respecting your ethics doesn't usually have to mean agreeing.
    I know, I didn't say that. But I don't see how a partner can respect you as a person if they're so narrowminded as to think for sure your lifestyle is "wrong". Surely that hints at a lack of respect or would make them think less highly of you.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Namaste wrote: »
    I know, I didn't say that. But I don't see how a partner can respect you as a person if they're so narrowminded as to think for sure your lifestyle is "wrong". Surely that hints at a lack of respect or would make them think less highly of you.

    But then in turn wouldn't you think that their lifestyle is 'wrong'? I can deal with a slightly homophobic friend by pointing and laughing at them but to go to the extreme if they went around beating up gay people then that is where our friendship/relationship would end.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Rachael wrote: »
    But then in turn wouldn't you think that their lifestyle is 'wrong'? I can deal with a slightly homophobic friend by pointing and laughing at them but to go to the extreme if they went around beating up gay people then that is where our friendship/relationship would end.

    Yeah, you should respect their lifestyle, but if you go out with somebody then there isn't the distance that you can have with friendship.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Namaste wrote: »
    Would you go out with somebody who believes all gay people should be shot?

    If they could justify it with a logical argument, then yes. But the chances of anyone being able to justify any sort of reason behind such a stance is pretty low. Which means that 99 times out of 100, they believe such a thing because they're a fucking idiot who ignores any evidence and instantly dismisses any argument that might contradict their stance on it (which is the reason I couldn't go out with them). In short, I couldn't go out with them because they were an ignorant twat, and therefore I couldn't respect them, not because of their opinion.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Namaste wrote: »
    If people don't respect your ethics and of course, our lifestyles are heavily impacted by our ethicas then how can they respect you as a person?
    Well that's an issue of lack of respect, not conflict in political or moral opinion. It is quite possible to disagree with someone's stance on something, yet respect the fact that they've come to an informed opinion, and respect the passion with which they believe it/live their lives by it/argue their case. Equally, even if someone agrees with everything you stand for, if they've formed their opinion based entirely on what they've read in the tabloid newspapers, I'd find it very hard to respect that person's opinion.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I like to go out with people who have different views and have interesting discussions about it. So long as they are not racist and completely bigoted.

    It would be too boring to go out with someone who agreed with me all the time.

    Everyone has had different experiences and been brought up differently and seen different things to shape their opinions.

    You can teach each other things...as long as you can keep things civil.

    Having said that, there are not many things I feel I have a strong, fixed opinion about. I'm still learning and making my mind up.
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