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Do Political Differences Cause a Couple to Divorce?

There is a saying about not talking about politics and religion in polite company. In recent years, politics have become arguably the most divisive topic of conversation. Differences of opinion turn into shouting matches, damaging relationships between neighbors and friends. In some cases, political disagreement can be a factor in divorce.

With the 2022 midterms around the corner, many dinner table discussions are becoming heated.

Romantic relationships are not immune to the polarizing energy of politics. In a 2017 Wakefield Research study, 10% of Americans ended a relationship because of political differences. Politically mixed marriages also reported lower satisfaction with family life than politically homogenous couples. That same report said that 20% of couples fought more over politics than they did money issues. Nearly 30% felt the political climate was causing tension in their relationship.

There have been high-profile cases where politics played a role in the divorce:

  • Former Miami Dolphins cheerleader Lynn Aronberg and her husband, Dave Aronberg divorced in 2017. She is a staunch supporter of then-President Trump. Her husband, a member of the Democratic party and a state attorney, was contemplating a run for U.S. Senate.
  • Daniel Morales, a Costa Rican immigrant living in New York, filed to divorce his wife after she began siding with then-Presidential candidate Trump.
  • Washington State resident Gayle McCormick ended her 22-year marriage because her husband voted for Donald Trump in 2016.

These extreme examples underscore the deeply held convictions of some individuals.

There Are Fewer Politically Mixed Marriages Today

Apparently, the 30-year marriage of Democrat James Carville and Republican Mary Matalin is becoming an anomaly.

In just four short years, the percentage of politically mixed marriages in the U.S. dropped from 30% in 2016 to 21% in 2020. About 9 percent of marriages were composed of a Democrat and a Republican in 2016. By 2020, only 4% of marriages were similarly mixed. Most mixed marriages are between an independent and a Republican or Democrat.

This decline in mixed marriages follows a widening political ideological gap, noted in a study by the Pew Research Center.

Political Views Can Change Over Time

Everyone’s opinions are shaped in part by their life experiences. The 25-year-old version of someone has far fewer experiences than their 50-year-old self. As years pass and events occur, opinions can change. Preferences can shift. During the early years of a marriage, a couple may be in sync politically. But they will have unique perceptions as time passes, leaving the possibility for differences to surface.

The Case of Differing Values

A 2021 Pew Research Center study offers some insight. The relationship breakdown may be deeper than political party labels. The center posed the following question, “What about your life do you currently find meaningful, fulfilling, or satisfying? What keeps you going and why?” Republicans and Democrats listed “family and children” as their No. 1 answer, but that’s where the similarities ended.

How each response ranked with Republicans:

  1. Family and children
  2. Spirituality, faith, and religion
  3. Friends, community, and other relationships
  4. Material well-being, stability, and quality of life
  5. Occupation and career
  6. Society, places, and institutions

How each response ranked with Democrats:

  1. Family and children
  2. Friends, community, and other relationships
  3. Material well-being, stability, and quality of life
  4. Occupation and career
  5. Physical and mental health
  6. Hobbies and recreation

Divergent political opinions may highlight differences in what is important to each person.

Divorce Is More Complicated than Political Differences

Our compassionate attorneys at the Law Office of Dennis R. Vetrano, Jr., LLC respect the reasons that drive our clients to dissolve their union. We know that the decision to divorce is never made lightly. If you believe that divorce might be on the horizon, talk with us about your situation. Ask us questions. Learn about all your options. Know that we are here for you should you decide to move forward with a divorce.

Schedule a consultation by completing our online form or calling (845) 605-4330.