The Resistance is upon us. November is coming. All ye fair maidens of the land unite…it’s time to divorce that ogre you married who voted for Donald Trump!
At least feminist author, first of her name, warrior of women, Jill Filipovic seems to think so.
Divorce your Republican husbands.
— Jill Filipovic (@JillFilipovic) September 28, 2018
Filipovic sung the praises of Stormy Daniels, calling her a “feminist hero“:
But the country is also watching her dogged refusal to be quiet and her unflagging insistence that she isn’t the one who should be embarrassed. We’re seeing a woman who refuses to wear either a scarlet letter or a superwoman cape, and she stands in sharp contrast to a self-aggrandizing president who may face serious consequences once this all unspools.
Forgive me for bringing out the claws but I don’t exactly think “champion” when I think of someone who demeans themselves by having sex on-camera and moaning loudly for money.
Filipovic, political writer for Cosmo, who said all men who voted for Trump hate their wives:
“Reminder to women: A lot of men who hate Hillary Clinton hate her because they hate you, too. Yes, including your Trump-voting husband.”
And so it continues, the crusaders in their pink pussy hats and vagina costumes would like you to divorce you truck-drivin’, gun-toting’, tobacco-chewin’, Trump-votin’ husband. Why? Because, Brett Kavanaugh.
Don’t marry radical feminists in the first place, gentlemen https://t.co/SLwevMyU3u
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) September 28, 2018
Republican husbands cut your losses and divorce those feminist wives. Your mental stability will then return.
— Lynda Starr❌🇱🇷 (@LEasleyBradley) September 29, 2018
But we shouldn’t be surprised at all, right? This remark isn’t too outrageous and we’ve seen this before, ladies:
You see, women married to Republicans, you were shamed into voting for Trump by the brutish men you are married to. You were cowering in the corner and so afraid that your big, bad husbands were going to “discipline” you for voting for a woman such as Hillary Clinton. You were quaking in your boots so much that you blindly made that check in the box for a the man on the Republican ticket back in 2016. It’s time to fight back! Get yourself a Michael Avenatti and serve that big, bad, sperm-donor of a man some divorce papers! After all, you don’t want the disapproval of Queens Hillary and Michelle, do you? Go on, divorce or off with their heads!
These poor excuses for women need to stop. Really. Especially Filipovic who went from feeling outraged over wolf whistling to wondering why men no longer find her aging appearance attractive. Make up your mind, woman! Personally, the closest I got to divorcing my (very Conservative, Republican) husband was when he hauled my butt up Mt. Fuji in Japan in the middle of the night back in 2010. Yep. It was at about Station 8 up the Yoshida trail when I uttered the “d” word at him peppered with several colorful curses.
Confession: I was not a declared Republican when my husband and I met. In fact, I was still believing some of the dung that was spoon-fed to me during my time in college and in the media field. I was a registered Democrat and changed my party of affiliation to Republican in 2001. What happened? I met perhaps the most selfless man and Marine. One who would give every thing to fight for those he loves and even for strangers to keep our country safe. I met a man who was not afraid to pray, to laugh at himself and to cry. I met a man of character who is a man of his word, a man of integrity. This is the man I married who is a wonderful husband and father, my fiercest advocate and my best friend.
Wow. And now, I take a trip down memory lane. To think how I missed out on sooooo much by being married to my uptight Republican husband! (Sarcasm meter is running high here, folks…)I probably would have been saddled with the stoner who called me a “manipulative c—” after I put my foot down and told him that I wasn’t going to drive his drunk, lazy a$$ to deliver illegal substances to his high school BFF so she and her husband could smoke it up in front of their kids. Registered Democrat. I could have ended up with the narcissistic schmuck who emotionally abused me and told me (after I found him in a compromising position with an underage girl) that he wanted something more “cerebral”. Registered Democrat. I could have ended up with a slew of pretentious jackasses who all thought they were more superior than I. The costume designer. The poet. The musician. The philosopher. All registered Democrats. Yet, according to this screwed up logic, any woman who believes in equality for women does not belong voting Republican and/or being married to someone who does. Jill Filipovic says so.
Ladies from both sides of the aisle, you have every right in this great country to vote for whomever you choose, to claim whatever party you choose. But ladies on the opposite side of the aisle, huddle in for just a moment. Think about this and use your God-given brains. I mean, after all, why on Earth would you take advice from someone who writes for a magazine that provides equally as bad and ridiculous advice on self-esteem and sex? Just saying.
Photo Credit: Big Stock
With every week, life under the Trump administration becomes more unnerving. The administration is trying to “phase out” the 15,000 trans people in the military, Trump is basically threatening nuclear war with North Korea and Mueller is tapping a Grand Jury to look into the Russia connection.
We live in interesting times, and by interesting, I mean on the very verge of the second dark ages. Or, at least, some people believe that. Other people believe everything is fine, somehow.
Don’t ask me how.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, this is starting to create a rift, not just between different parts of the country, but between couples. In Florida, a former Miami Dolphins cheerleader and the top prosecutor in Palm Beach County reportedly split, in part because the wife claimed that as “a staunch Republican and supporter of President Donald Trump… she felt increasingly isolated in the marriage.” Deidre Ball, who recently filed for divorce from Trump’s former communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, also reportedly did so in part because she was “not a fan of Trump.”
Diedre Ball and Anthony Scaramucci. Getty Images
Unsurprisingly, there are a lot of articles with advice on topics like “How To Survive Being Married to A Trump Supporter.”
They offer advice like “We look deeper than the arguments. We look at each other… at the passionate, committed humans that we are and we find gratitude in being married to someone who cares so much. When the fire of the argument subsides and we are left with only the smoldering embers, we kiss.”
What if you find yourself… not wanting to kiss someone who believes that it is cool for the President to think women should be grabbed by the pussy?
The woman who is kissing her husband over the smoldering argument embers also remarks, “How could I explain how vulnerable I felt? I couldn’t. But I tried. And he tried to understand. And we went round and round in circles. Him, unable to see the human element of my arguments.”
God, that sounds exhausting.
I’m going to save you three years of therapy where you and your partner try to “agree to disagree.”
If your partner is a Trump supporter and you are not, just divorce them.
“Supporting Trump at this point does not indicate a difference of opinions. It indicates a difference of values.”
You do not need to try to make it work with someone who thinks of people as “illegals.” Just divorce them. Those divorced couples made the right choice.
This may not always be possible. Some people may not have the financial or practical means available to get a divorce, but if you do have those means? DIVORCE THEM.
Because if one member of a couple believes the President should endorse police brutality and the other member believes that is balls-to-the-wall insane, that is not a disagreement you’re going to find common ground on. You can use all the measured voices and positive words you want. It’s not a question of disagreement about the most effective way to load the dishwasher, or even whether trickle-down economics works. Those are opinions that might be altered by showing compelling factual evidence.
Supporting Trump at this point does not indicate a difference of opinions. It indicates a difference of values.
Values aren’t like hobbies or interests. They don’t change over time, and they more or less define who you are. Trump’s administration may have been, for some of us, a time when what we value has become much clearer to us.
So, while you may be able to convince your partner that there is a more efficient way to load the dishwasher, you will never be able to convince them that they need to care about people they are fundamentally uninterested in caring about.
“If you saddle yourself with someone who fundamentally does not share your values, you’re going to be unbelievably, achingly lonely.”
Couples don’t need to agree on everything. Disagreement on some issues helps broaden our perspectives. But most successful couples do seem to have moral compasses that point in roughly the same direction. That’s because one of the best things about being in a relationship is having someone who helps you go out and live your values in the world.
If you saddle yourself with someone who fundamentally does not share your values—and at this point, it seems fair to say that people on different ends of the political spectrum have wildly different values—you’re going to be unbelievably, achingly lonely.
So, just skip it. Get a divorce. It’s clearly not ideal—no one goes into a marriage planning to get divorced—but people get divorced for a great many reasons. “My partner’s views are morally repulsive to me” is one of the best reasons I can think of.
Skip the tremendous emotional labor that will go into trying to make someone care about the people you care about. It will be exhausting, and it will very likely be fruitless. Trump’s ratings may be very low, but his approval rate among those who voted for him, as of a recent poll, remains around 81 percent. Go find a partner who thinks nuclear war is a bad thing, because life is not a video game, and watch On The Beach together. That’s a thing you can do instead of fighting about whether or not you’re being rational in couples therapy. Because God knows how long we have left.
And if anyone says that this demeans that sanctity of marriage, well, just remind them the President they love is on wife number three.
Jennifer Wright Jennifer Wright is BAZAAR.com’s Political Editor at Large.
- The interesting thing that happens when a Republican marries a Democrat
- How to stop Trump ruining your marriage
- Digital detox
- Master small talk
- Trivial pursuits
- Get a (separate) room
- Vote leave
- Black Woman Reveals How Donald Trump Is Ruining Her Interracial Marriage
- Obsessed with politics? Then your life is going seriously wrong
- The Donald Trump Presidency Almost Destroyed My Marriage
The interesting thing that happens when a Republican marries a Democrat
(iStock illustration) By Ana SwansonAna Swanson Reporter July 1, 2016
The gulf in American politics between the left and the right can seem insurmountable. There are red states and blue states, liberal media sources and conservative media sources, even jobs and names that differ by political party. Research has suggested that liberals and conservatives even wash with different shampoos and soaps and thus have different smells.
But actually, millions of Americans cross that gulf every day — by being married to someone of a different political party.
In a new paper, two researchers examined American couples to see how common “mixed” political marriages really are. Eitan Hersh, a professor of political science at Yale University, and Yair Ghitza, a chief scientist at political data firm Catalist, studied a database of more than 18 million couples drawn from voter registration records.
They found that most married couples — 70 percent of them — were made up of people of the same political affiliation (either Democratic, Republican or independent/other). Married couples overall were somewhat more likely to be Republicans than Democrats.
But, as the graphic below shows, “mixed” political marriages certainly do happen. Three percent of married couples are female Republicans married to male Democrats (upper right rectangle), while 6 percent of married couples are male Republicans with female Democrats (lower left rectangle). So, overall, nearly 1 in 10 married couples contain both a Republican and a Democrat. Nineteen percent of married couples are a Republican or a Democrat with an independent.
In total, nearly 30 percent of all married couples are of mixed party affiliation.
Meanwhile, 30 percent of married couples were exclusively Republican, 25 percent of married couples were all Democrat, and 15 percent were all independent.
Those findings might be surprising for people who are used to reading about America’s divided politics, Hersh said.
“There’s actually a lot of people all mixed up together in terms of their politics,” Hersh said.
Hersh and Ghitza also compared political affiliation to other factors that often guide people’s choice of a marital partner — like age, race and geographical vicinity. Of course, all of these factors also have strong ties to a person’s political affiliation.
First, they found that marrying across political parties is far more common in the United States than marrying across racial categories. (This is partly due to the way political and racial categories are split up — America is majority white but not majority Democratic or Republican). In the United States, 71 percent of couples are in same-party marriages, compared with 93 percent in same-race marriages.
Their research also supported previous findings that Democrats live in more partisan neighborhoods than Republicans do — partly due to concentrated African American communities, where most people are Democrats. In neighborhoods that were more than 90 percent Democratic, they found that 68 percent of households were made up of two Democrats. But in neighborhoods that were more than 90 percent Republican, only 55 percent of households were made up of two Republicans.
Also in line with prior research, they found that men are more likely to be Republican. The study shows that there are twice as many Democratic-Republican households in which the husband is a Republican than in which the wife is a Republican.
They also found that older couples were much more likely to be of the same political party than younger couples are. Among married couples under 30, fewer than half were Democrat-Democrat or Republican-Republican pairs, the researchers say. But among couples over 80, 70 percent were. This is partly because more young people are independents.
You can see those trends in the chart below, which shows how the household party registration of married couples changes by age. The bands in the middle get narrower as you go from the left to the right, showing that, as people get older, fewer are independents or in “mixed” political marriages.
Instead, Democrat-Democrat and Republican-Republican couples become more common as people age. The researchers say this could be due to the effects of cohabitation — after years of living together, one spouse may be persuaded to join the other’s team.
One of the paper’s main findings is about political turnout in elections. It appears that your spouse’s politics have a lot to do with your likelihood of getting out and voting on Election Day.
Hersh says that effect was much larger than he expected. “For two people who live in the same state, of the same age and race, if they’re living with someone of their own party they’re voting at much higher rates than if they’re living with someone of a different party.”
But these trends vary depending on which specific parties you’re talking about.
For both Republicans and Democrats, for example, being married to an independent tends to depress the person’s vote significantly more than being married to a person on the opposite side of the political spectrum. “Being married to an independent, it brings down the turnout of the partisan, and it never brings up the turnout of the independent,” he says.
The graphic below shows the percentage drop in the likelihood of voting if one spouse has a different party registration from the other. In the 2012 primary, for example, a Democrat married to an independent or member of a third party was 13 percent less likely to vote than a Democrat married to another Democrat.
As the graphic shows, being married to someone of a different party appeared to affect the vote of Republicans much more than Democrats, for unknown reasons.
“Depending on whether you’re a Democrat, or a Republican or an independent, the effects vary a lot,” Hersh said. “And they’re particularly strong for Republicans. A Republican married to a Democrat was 10 percentage points less likely to vote than a Republican married to a Republican. But a Democrat married to a Republican was only 3 percentage points less likely to vote than a Democrat married to a Democrat.”
The paper is designed to explain what precisely is happening, not why it’s happening, so the researchers don’t know exactly why a spouse’s political party changes a person’s likelihood of voting.
But they speculate that the reason could be twofold: that people who are less politically active are more likely to marry outside of their own party and that living together might influence a person’s politics and willingness to vote. Some people of different parties, for example, might have the feeling that their votes are “canceling each other out” and decide to stay at home on the sofa instead.
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How to stop Trump ruining your marriage
It’s not just global politics that Donald Trump is wreaking havoc with — now he is ruining marriages too. The President’s Counselor, Kellyanne Conway, and her husband George, a lawyer, gave an interview to The Washington Post this week where it emerged that there is a third person in their marriage — Trump.
You know how it goes, girl meets boy, boy introduces girl to influential mate to impress her, girl helps mate win an election and boy wishes he’d kept his friends to himself. The Conways have weathered 17 years of marriage and have four children but now their house is divided —will they survive the Trump presidency?
George initially supported Trump, weeping for joy when he was elected, but now that he’s really seeing what Trump stands for, he says, “I cry for other reasons”. He has become an agitator against the presidency, tweeting criticism (which has seen his follower count soar to 108,000) and writing a 3,473-word essay refuting Trump’s assertion that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation was “unconstitutional.” It’s awks when your partner doesn’t like your boss but this is an extreme case of divided loyalties.
“I feel there’s a part of him that thinks I chose Donald Trump over him,” Kellyanne told The Washington Post. “Which is ridiculous. One is my work and one is my marriage.” He calls Trump “your boss”; she corrects him: “Our President”.
It’s not just those in high office this is a problem for. When you love someone but they love Brexit, it’s toxic. Nigel Shepherd, the head of family law organisation Resolution, has said the stress of leaving the EU is adding to pressure on couples. It need not be a disaster: here’s how your relationship can survive 2018.
Channel Kellyanne and George and do not interact on Twitter. You can be as close as you like IRL but if there’s any possibility of a political clash, keep it offline. There’s no room for nuance in a tweet. Absolutely don’t reference their political views in your “content” — it’s a turn-off. If you do, use a pseudonym. And don’t tell anyone at work what their Twitter handle is.
Don’t look at who they follow — many a relationship has been rocked by the revelation that one partner gets their news from the BBC while the other is addicted to The Canary. You don’t want your relationship to go the way of the divided Labour party.
Master small talk
Having a partner with divergent political views is a liability at parties. One Remainer, whose husband voted Leave, says: “I love him but I have to keep a hawk-like eye on him at parties because if left unattended he will hold forth on trade deals and be deliberately incendiary. No one normal wants to debate EU tariffs on a Friday night.” She sticks to his side with a ready supply of small talk. When that gets exhausting, she just leaves him at home.
Three’s a crowd for George (Getty Images)
If you want to have an argument, get petty. It’s healthy to argue about whose turn it is to put the bins out, and easier to resolve than how Labour can deal with anti-Semitism.
Get a (separate) room
Kellyanne values independence and goes on a lot of walks to clear her head (that’s dangerous, because it leaves George with time to tweet). Time apart is of course easier in a multimillion-pound residence, with space to wedge a few works of fine art and corgis in between you and your partner’s political views.
Once they’ve alienated all your friends and your boss, you may just want to call time. Get a good divorce lawyer and restart your social life. If you haven’t been put off dating, remember this, asking someone’s political views may not be a conventional chat up line but it’s invaluable to know before falling in love.
“You’re sabotaging your whole life right now, and it’s painful to watch.” From our bedroom my husband hurled those words down the hallway to where I stood alone in the kitchen, clutching my gin-and-soda after a fight. I still shudder at the memory, mainly because I now know he was right.
It’s been 77 days since I cried myself to sleep on election night, but the despair and disbelief won’t quit. I can’t concentrate on my work; I’m addicted to toxic news cycles—each day depicting crisis, scandal, and corruption in the new administration with no recipe for how we might be spared. There’s a blanket of pessimism that covers up my regular routine. I have no interest in grabbing drinks with friends or catching up, because things just feel too bleak. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t wondered if my young marriage would survive the emotional crisis I’ve been going through since the election of one Donald Trump.
I’m certainly not alone. Relationship therapists across the country report that since Trump won, bonds once considered unbreakable are weakening like wax by a flame. No one expects their own marriage to be one of these casualties, but it’s been my experience that even enlightened men—like my husband, who recognizes the President for the con man and criminal he is—can’t seem to grasp the betrayal and outrage so many women feel at the election of a smirking misogynist with no legitimate experience over a female candidate who’s been called the most qualified nominee in history. My husband tries to sympathize, but he can’t understand why each new day is a battle against my outrage and sadness.
On November 9 he told me it was time to move on and get over it. “It won’t be that bad,” he’s said since. “Checks and balances are in place for this kind of leader.” And yet nothing that Trump and his allies in Washington have done since his election—and especially in the days since his inauguration—gives any indication that these statements are true. So my husband and I would argue about it. The truth is I’m way more pessimistic when it comes to what Donald Trump is capable of, and I can’t stand that my husband doesn’t agree.
And this is going on all over America. “It’s like a citizen existential crisis,” says Bill Doherty, founder of the Doherty Relationship Institute. Doherty keeps in touch with a large network of nearly 1,800 therapists, most of whom hear testimony like mine every day. Sex, marriages, friendships—no type of relationship is safe from the Trump effect.
Over the holidays my mother-in-law confided that some of her lifelong friends weren’t invited to her Christmas Eve party for the first time in nearly 20 years because they’d voted for Trump. When I asked how things were going in her marriage since the election, she simply said, “It’s chilly.” She’s outraged and her husband’s apathetic, just like me and mine. In a conversation I had with my father-in-law, recently, I joked that with the way things have been going, we may not have a free election in four years. He told me I sounded like an idiot.
The best way that she and I have been able to curb our resentment is by venting to each other and a few like-minded ladies, and leaving our husbands largely out of this “doomsday” conversation. We’ve been able to lift each other’s spirits just by listening and sharing frustrations free of judgment or dispute. On Saturday we marched together in Washington, D.C., alongside half a million other women ready to take on injustice and antidemocratic forces. Peaceful protests worldwide proved the tremendous power of women to lead with compassion and courage. We love our husbands, but we no longer need them to agree with us.
“It’s OK for you and your husband to have different emotional reactions to what’s happening,” says Doherty. My head understands that, but my heart felt betrayed until I reached out to other women in solidarity. My husband is a wonderful, loving, and supportive partner, but he sometimes lacks the empathy I get from surrounding myself with other women. Once I connected with the ladies in my life who were experiencing similar, Trump-induced anxiety, I no longer felt the burning anger and desperate need to show my husband the light (or, rather, the darkness). As a result of my letting him off the hook, he’s been more sensitive to what I’m going through, and it’s made both of us gentler with the other’s feelings. Which has been nice.
The good news is, he and I are on the same side of the ideological divide. He’s calm and collected—and I’ve got my passport and a duffel bag ready to go should we need to abruptly move to Canada.
Black Woman Reveals How Donald Trump Is Ruining Her Interracial Marriage
“My white Republican husband is starting to hate me because the longer we live through this administration the “BLACKER” I become,” a heartbroken Maryland woman wrote on Twitter over the weekend.
Her confession sparked debate after she revealed how President Trump and right-wing media are straining her marriage.
In a Twitter rant on Saturday, a woman by the name Glass Butterfly shared the challenges of interracial marriage in the age of Trump, Raw Story reports.
“Any interracially and opposing politically affiliated couples going through this? Like…I have NO idea how to balance who we are..or are becoming,” she wrote.
Below are her tweets:
My white Republican husband is starting to hate me because the longer we live through this administration the “BLACKER” I become. Any interracially and opposing politically affiliated couples going through this? Like…I have NO idea how to balance who we are..or are becoming pic.twitter.com/qeze1VbcgU
— Glass Butterfly (@GlassButterfly9) August 18, 2019
I fake dreaded my hair…I wear African garb….I talk about the GOOD FIGHT. I’m the LAST person he wants to be involved with. If this is a test…HE is failing miserably
— Glass Butterfly (@GlassButterfly9) August 18, 2019
I didn’t realize this tweet would get this much attention. I don’t even know how to answer everyone as I am new to twitter. Thank you all for your advice and love. It made me cry. I’m trying to come to terms with who my husband really is and it hurts, it’s hard and I’m confused.
— Glass Butterfly (@GlassButterfly9) August 18, 2019
The woman’s posts quickly went viral as folks offered advice on how to deal with her predicament.
“What’s weird…everything I do for him and our household is starting to be followed by derogatory comments towards me and I’m starting to feel like I’m sucking MASSA’S dick so I won’t get 40 lashings. And I start to think is it the right media or has this always been who he is,” she wrote.
“I wear African garb….I talk about the GOOD FIGHT,” Glass Butterfly explained. “I’m the LAST person he wants to be involved with. If this is a test…HE is failing miserably.”
Adding, “I didn’t realize this tweet would get this much attention,” she wrote. “I don’t even know how to answer everyone as I am new to twitter. Thank you all for your advice and love. It made me cry. I’m trying to come to terms with who my husband really is and it hurts, it’s hard and I’m confused.”
Some of the reactions to her dilemma included:
“You married a white Republican. What did you expect?,” wrote one white male Twitter user.
Another user commented, “Excuse me sis? You’re still with him? I’m confused, where’s you’re self worth?”
A third wrote: “Okay first thought. Why did you marry a white republican? Second thought he was a racist regardless of Trump. Perhaps he just wanted to own a black wife. Crude I’m sure but something to think about.”
Another commented “You are a very beautiful young woman so yes be true to yourself and if he becomes abusive then really try to find a way out. You are very strong to even put up with this so you must make the decision. Good luck and God bless you.”
And yet another Twitter user commented under the post: “No One MADE him feel something that wasn’t already there. Once you became someone that maybe his peers didn’t agree with- he started treating you as less than you are. You KNOW the answer. Your just looking for us to give you a different ending- there isn’t one- I’m sorry.”
Sean Cory Copper summed it up with, “There are many white men who love fetishizing black women, while hating black people. Slave owners did this all the time. You already know how this ends.”
HEAD BACK TO THE BLACKAMERICAWEB.COM HOMEPAGE
My husband and I have always enjoyed following politics and watching news and current events on TV. Lately, though, I am finding it difficult to be constantly exposed to (bombarded with) this type of television, given the current political climate in the U.S. and around the world. It simply hurts too much. My husband insists on having political news and commentary on from essentially the moment we arrive home from work until we go to bed, and then again first thing in the morning with breakfast. When I protest, he argues that he shouldn’t have to turn something off just because I don’t like it, and that I need to either learn to deal with it or leave the room. Am I being unreasonable to expect him to be more sensitive to how this affects me, particularly in my own home, and turn off the TV? I should note that we live in a one-bedroom condo, so “leaving the room” isn’t much of an escape.
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Obviously, your husband is not alone. I know all kinds of people who used to take only a passing or casual interest in politics but have recently become glued to the 24-hour news cycle, obsessed.
I have one friend in mind, an author and sometime travel writer, who used to discourse on a wide variety of topics and subjects. But now, at least if his Facebook feed is any indication, he appears unable to think or speak on any matters other than U.S. politics.
He keeps claiming he is going to take a break, or talk about something else. But he can’t! He always comes back within a matter of hours. He can’t change the topic.
He can’t kick the habit. He’s a Trumpaholic. A pinwheel-eyed Trump junkie. I might seem facetious but I’m not. I know a lot of people in the grips of it, and their symptoms remind me of other oholisms (alc-, work-): isolation, obsession, numbness, to name just a few.
And in your husband’s case: irritability, and pushing away loved ones in order to feed the beast.
The good news is it’ll probably burn itself out. I was hooked on the 24-hour news cycle at first, too. But after a while it gets repetitive, and all the talking heads just start to sound like talking ducks: quack quack quack.
The bad news is: I think there’s an underlying issue here – more marital than political.
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Basically, I don’t like the sound of this “if you can’t deal with it leave the room” business one bit.
If I were to say something like that to my wife, I’d be sleeping on the couch lickety-split.
(I might sleep on the couch just for thinking it! “I know you better than you know yourself, Dave,” she proudly boasts after 24 years. And it’s true: She can read my mind at this point, and we’ll sometimes get into an argument about a thought-balloon appearing over my head – even though I didn’t say it aloud!)
Modern marriage is all about negotiation between equals. I think your husband needs to learn, or relearn, to speak to you as an equal, and to negotiate cohabiting within the confines of your cramped shared space in good faith.
Why not suggest he go on a “news diet” for a while? To continue the fowl (foul?) analogies, it doesn’t have to be cold turkey. But don’t you be a chicken about it, either.
Maybe put a positive spin on it. Gently suggest he turn off the TV for a while so you and he can have a good, old-fashioned chat. The other thing marriage is most certainly about is communication, and I very much doubt he wooed when you were starting out by staring at the TV and snapping at you to deal with it or leave the room.
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Where’s that guy? The more romantic, dynamic, less couch-spudsy one you married?
You don’t have to say that in so many words – but you could insinuate it.
Maybe, for starters, when you’re weaning him off his addiction, the two of you can talk about the news itself.
(It’ll be like CNNAA for him: Cable News Network Addicts Anonymous.)
Be gentle. But stand firm. I don’t think you’re being “unreasonable” at all. In fact, I think if anything it’s incumbent on the person creating the noise pollution to accommodate the one who wants peace and quiet: peace and quiet trumps noise, so to speak, especially in a small space like yours.
Ultimately, you’ll be doing him a favour: helping him rediscover the polite, considerate and perhaps even romantic man all us husbands have somewhere inside that lump on the couch barking at you with the remote in his fist.
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Obsessed with politics? Then your life is going seriously wrong
Timeless in its wisdom, the book Parkinson’s Law is of course famous for Parkinson’s law itself: that ‘work expands to fill the time available for its completion’. But scattered through the now 60-year-old book’s pages of tongue-in-cheek social science and cod-mathematical equations are remarks that lodged themselves deep in my thoughts when first I read the book as a young man. Stray observations keep resurfacing as being funny — yes — and flippant, I suppose, but these thoughts are more than flippantly funny: they contain too the germs of deep truths.
‘It is now known,’ wrote C. Northcote Parkinson, ‘that men enter local politics solely as a result of being unhappily married.’
And more than 40 years of close observation of political life have convinced me that unhappiness, personal frustration or emotional imbalance are among the principal stimuli to a career in politics. Fame is not the only spur: ambition may take root in a troubled interior life, too; and on this page I’ve elaborated before on my theory that politics as a career disproportionately attracts people who are a bit crazy, troubled or lost.
But in recent years I’ve made another discovery. An intense interest in current affairs from the viewpoint of spectator rather than participant is also a common indicator of a life going wrong. People who are in trouble mentally, in their careers or in their relationships, tend to develop strong opinions and feelings about the political scene, and to follow the scene with more intense interest than those whose lives are going well.
To the practitioners of politics first (and be clear that I don’t exclude myself from this analysis). Many years ago I wrote a book, Great Parliamentary Scandals, that took readers on a tour d’horizon of some of the more memorable falls from grace in British politics. Not all were deserved. Not all were historically important. But most involved colourful characters caught out in tremendously risky activities, inviting the comment: ‘Whatever was he thinking?’
When we look across the green benches of the House of Commons we are not looking at a representative cross-section of humanity but at a special subsection: men (mostly men) who seem prone to greater silliness and riskier judgments than the generality, yet who have chosen a career in which folly and risk attract far higher penalties in terms of public shame than if these men had chosen, for instance, to be greengrocers, actuaries or engineers. And for every disgraced politician you hear about there will be a couple more you don’t. The risks of exposure these men take are horrendous, of course, but they rarely exceed about 30 per cent. A probable two out of three get away with it.
But is it, you may wonder, simply that (say) a greengrocer who had become addicted to sending thousands of sexually suggestive texts to women he hardly knew and had no reason to trust, and who were half his age, would be of little interest to the national media? Would a booking clerk pretending to a façade of conventional married life while being secretly and busily homosexual make the front page of the Sun? No. An unsparing media spotlight may indeed exaggerate the impression that Parliament is an aviary for birds of bright plumage.
I’d counter with this: if politics is so unusually dangerous for oddballs, risk-takers and marriage-wreckers, shouldn’t that deter such types from seeking election? Shouldn’t Westminster contain a higher — not lower — than average proportion of prudent and risk-averse individuals? Yet I defy you to survey the 650 people who represent us in Parliament and tell me that they are less rum a bunch than the national average.
Instead the place is stuffed with precisely the type that any career adviser would warn to keep away from the spotlight. But you might as well remark that if you were a moth then in view of your species’ experiences you’d be especially careful to avoid flames. You wouldn’t.
So now to my second and newer theory. Not only are the political actors disproportionately off the rails, but so is their most attentive audience. My evidence here must be anecdotal, but it has struck me too often for coincidence that a friend’s or acquaintance’s swelling interest in the political scene has coincided with problems in his or her personal life.
I’m the kind of chap to whom people who know my contact details tend to direct random messages, often with multiple question or exclamation marks, with their views or questions on the passing political scene. These will be from people not themselves in politics or the media, and in theory disinterested: ‘What a wanker David Cameron is!!!’; ‘Can you imagine the catastrophe a Corbyn government would be???’; ‘What do you think of Boris’s chances?’; or ‘How can you possibly stay a Remainer and defend the fucking EU???’ Experience has taught me, on receiving such messages, to make discreet enquiries as to whether X has just lost his job; Y her boyfriend; or Z his reputation. All too often I will discover that the surfacing of strong opinions about the passing political scene has coincided with a period of turbulence in the individual’s interior life.
This column has not the space, nor this columnist the expertise, to investigate reasons, but they may be simple. A great deal of political engagement (particularly these days) is driven by rage, frustration or disappointment. Those inhabited by emotional responses to problems in their own private lives will find in politics unlimited opportunities to harness their anger and their sorrow.
If you read this magazine online, look beneath columns like mine on politics. There among the ‘online posts’ of readers you will find the extremes of violent or abusive language and thought that so tellingly point to troubled personal lives. If this is my audience then I’m drawn to a melancholy conclusion: columnists like me are just nutters who have found paid employment by writing for nutters. The rest of the world, meanwhile, cultivates its garden.
The Donald Trump Presidency Almost Destroyed My Marriage
Politics have been a part of my husband’s and my relationship nearly as long as we’ve had one. We met in high school and immediately bonded over our conservative Christian values. While other teen couples were connecting over ice cream and mini-golf, we were campaigning together for Republican Bob Dole’s 1996 presidential bid. (Reminder: He lost to Bill Clinton.)
Fast forward 20 years to this year’s election: November 8, 2016, found me out campaigning again but this time for Hillary Clinton. My politics have changed a lot over the years. My husband’s? Not so much.
Then came the fateful election results. Like more than half the country, I was devastated after learning we’d elected a reality show celebrity with no political experience and morally questionable views on women as our country’s most powerful leader. And I was incredibly angry at the party who betrayed me, including my staunch Republican husband. My husband and I had been happily married for 14 years, devoted to each other and our son, but Trump’s election threatened to end all of that.
In the three months following the election, I became obsessed with politics and the news coverage of Trump-and I do mean obsessed. First thing in the morning, I’d check Twitter to see what our President-elect had tweeted. All day long I’d keep checking my feed, reading and re-reading the stories. Finally, before bed, I’d give social media one last check, falling asleep with Trump still on my mind. Understandably, this didn’t make me great company. Politics were all I thought about, all I wanted to talk about. Instead of catching up with my husband or playing with our son, I was glued to my phone. (Related: How to Stay Sane On Social Media Now That Everyone Is Angry and Arguing)
My husband, on the other hand, doesn’t necessarily love Trump but he doesn’t think he’s as bad a guy as most people think he is, and he thinks the media is biased against Trump. So while I was hyper-focusing on everything election related, he coped by doing the opposite. He checked out, refusing to read any news or follow it online. This caused a lot of heated arguments with my husband and other friends, sometimes in front of our son. I couldn’t help taking their arguments very personally and the stress of all the fighting and worry was wearing me out.
It came to a crisis point about two weeks ago when my husband sat me down, telling me my behavior had gotten out of control and he was worried about me-and about us. “You need to calm down, relax, maybe get some therapy,” he started. And then he dropped the bomb, adding, “I don’t want this election to be the reason we get divorced.”
My initial reaction was to get defensive. Trump and his political circus affect me personally, as a woman, as a scientist, and as a mother. Who was he to tell me to calm down or to tell me what I could believe? I went to bed furious. But when I woke up, I realized he might have a point. And the “d word” had definitely got my attention. Was I really going to let Trump take away the best relationship in my life? I thought about it long and hard and I decided that even though my husband and I don’t agree on everything, we do still agree on most things. And moreover, my husband is still the good, moral, caring person I fell in love with. Trump hadn’t changed that.
I also realized how bad my behavior was for me personally. My husband was right-I was stressed out, angry, sleepless, and neglecting the most important people in my life. I needed to stop. Making myself sick by constantly poring over the latest on social media wasn’t helping anyone. It wasn’t that my husband didn’t respect my right to my beliefs, but rather that he hated watching me suffer so much.
Together we decided how I could scale back and protect my health and our relationship without sacrificing my values. I put strict limits on when and how much I can be on Twitter, and I no longer follow Trump & Co.’s every move. That alone has made a big difference in my health and happiness. I’ve also made a conscious effort to not talk about politics as much and to put my family first in both my time and attention. I’m already sleeping and eating better and my stress levels are way down.
Ironically, I feel like reducing my consumption of politics has made me even more effective politically. Instead of constantly riding the outrage roller coaster and feeling like that was enough, now I am focusing my efforts on concrete ways to help make things better. I’ve donated money to the ACLU and Planned Parenthood. I’m participating in local activist groups. I’m even doing things like taking my son to pick up trash-which might sound like a little thing but honestly has a much bigger impact for good than surfing the internet all day!
As for my husband and me, our relationship has improved too. We are focusing on talking about things other than politics and improving our communication in general. And when we do talk about politics, it’s gotten better. We’re both in environmental professions and have found common ground talking about how to help our shared passion-the earth. It makes me a little sad now to realize how bad things had gotten and that it took the possibility of divorce to wake me up. But ultimately I’m glad it happened. (Related: The Surprising Reason Why Women Want Divorce More Than Men)
Politics have always been a part of our relationship and that’s great, but I’ve learned that I can’t let them take over my relationship. My husband, my son, and I are all closer than ever before and they’re my number-one priority-no politician will never be able to take that away from me.
- By By Natalie B. as told to Charlotte Hilton Andersen