“Never equate a conservative with a vegan Marxist.” How the political divide has changed dating.

BRUSSELS — On Tinder, Daphné wanted to let her potential partners know that she was liberal. But it was by using another dating application – Inner Circle, which does not allow you to display your political beliefs – that she finally met her now ex-boyfriend.

Not that she cared much at the time. In the wake of the pandemic, Daphne, who asked not to use her real name for privacy reasons, decided not to worry too much about political differences.

As we will find out, it didn’t work.

Daphné is one of the thousands of singles working in the Brussels bubble and looking for love. But inside that bubble are people from across the political spectrum, and – horror! – they don’t always get along. And with two wars raging and a predicted increase in support for the far right in the European elections, this divide could become even greater.

Marjorie Libourel, a Brussels-based matchmaker and relationship expert, said she has noticed growing political intolerance. One recent client, she said, was a right-wing man, who had explicitly asked not to be matched with a left-wing woman.

“There’s definitely a tendency to have almost a mirror effect — a narcissism when people want to date themselves,” said Libourel, who has spent the last six years helping people find their soul mates.

Marjorie Libourel, a Brussels-based matchmaker and relationship expert, said she has noticed growing political intolerance. | Aamir Qureshi/AFP via Getty Images

“I would never compare a conservative with a vegan Marxist who doesn’t believe in capitalism – there’s no way it will work,” Libourel explained.

Back to Daphne and her ex-boyfriend (whom we’re not naming for obvious reasons). He’s a conservative, she’s a progressive feminist – but at first it didn’t matter. By the time things started to go wrong, they had moved in together.

Although she had always held views on the right side of the political spectrum, Daphne says her boyfriend began delving into anti-woke literature and “expressing increasingly strong feelings in favor of the government.” Israeli, often echoing stories that I found very disturbing.”

As the political divide between the two widened, Daphne felt increasingly uncomfortable at family gatherings filled with right-wing ideology and peppered with anti-Palestinian rhetoric. “They just assumed I agreed with them,” she said.

Then came the Hamas attacks on Israel on October 7, 2023.

“Our debates became more and more heated,” she said. “It was no longer a question of accepting or disagreeing: our values ​​were at stake.”

They separated a few weeks later.

In the world of dating apps, filtering out those with opposing views is a reality.

According to Micheal Kaye, associate director of global communications at OkCupid, a dating app that matches profiles based on a wide range of questions: “Some (European) countries have a higher rate of people looking for dates having the same political views as the United States. States. »

Kaye said that in France, over the past three years, 75 percent of people surveyed on OKCupid said they would prefer to date someone who shared their political views, compared to 56 percent in the United States. Elsewhere in Europe, the figures were 73 percent in Spain. and 67 in Germany.

It could also explain why France, where the old center parties have been virtually wiped off the political map, is the only EU country with a dating app targeting supporters of just one camp. The pitch of Droite au coeur, a right-wing dating platform, is to “connect women and men who are proud of our country, and share the same values”.

It’s not just about apps that highlight and promote a separation between romance and politics. In Brussels, the NGO Fossil Free Politics organized a Valentine’s Day event entitled “Never Kissed a Lobbyist” based on the British slogan “Never Kissed a Tory”, used by politicians and opponents of the Conservative Party.

Michael Kaye said that in France, over the past three years, 75% of people surveyed on OKCupid said they would prefer to date someone who shared their political views, compared to 56% in the United States | Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images

Can you keep politics out of the bedroom?

That’s what Georgia, a twenty-something professional based in Brussels, tried to do in her previous long-term relationship. Georgia (not its real name) went so far as to call for a moratorium during the 2020 US presidential election which saw Joe Biden take on Donald Trump.

Indeed, there were tensions or arguments every time her boyfriend at the time, who at the time worked for a far-right member of the European Parliament, said something in favor of the right-wing firebrand . “For me it was very personal, even though he only saw it from afar,” said Georgia, who is half-American.

The call to separate the personal and the political did not work and the couple separated soon after.

“I was very unsure about raising children with such different political views in terms of what you pass on to the next generation. For example, what values ​​are important to you? said Georgia, who added that she returned to cycling after splitting from her car enthusiast boyfriend who had made his dislike of cyclists clear.

If some couples seem to be more successful in keeping their political misalignments at bay, it’s often because the gap isn’t that big anyway.

Miguel admitted that they stayed away from potentially more controversial topics, like the war in the Middle East. “It’s very delicate… we have avoided discussions and are just looking at the facts,” he said. | Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Miguel, who aligns with Renew’s liberal stance, said the ideological divide with his Danish girlfriend, who works for the Greens, allows for “really heated debates, but never to the point of breaking down”.

For example, when it comes to climate change, he said, “we both agree that this is a life and death situation.”

“Where we disagree,” he added, “is on the role that governments and the private sector should play – who should pay for it. »

Still, Miguel admitted they stayed away from potentially more controversial topics, like the war in the Middle East. “It’s very delicate… we have avoided discussions and are just looking at the facts,” he said.

As for Daphne, whose ex’s views have become more right-wing, she said: “It’s impossible to leave our politics (behind) because the way our lives are constructed is because of politics.” »

“Politics is in everything whether we like it or not, so we can’t just say take politics out of it. »

-

-

PREV Stop the killings of Pakistani women
NEXT Judith Godrèche believes that “fighting the extreme right also means fighting against violence”