For the love of God, please stop saying Trump ruined your relationship. He fixed it.
On the whole, irreconcilable political differences aren't the worst reason to break up. In fact, millions of Americans end things for this very reason. According to a new Wakefield Research study, more than 1 in 10 Americans (11 percent) have broken up because they just couldn't see eye to eye about some socio-political-abortion-gun-nuclear-war thing. Millennials are the winners at breaking up over a political mismatch — 22 percent of us have dumped each other because it's just easier to date someone who's a carbon copy of yourself.
Makes sense, right? Political differences signal some pretty base and deep-seated ideological divergences, and, chances are if you think your partner's beliefs are bullshit, you'll constantly be undermining each other and fighting over things that have no actionable solution. Sounds like a shit show.
What is not a dandy reason to dump, however, is Donald Trump.
According to the same study, more than 1 in 5 Americans (22 percent), including 35 percent of millennials, "know a couple whose marriage or relationship has been negatively impacted specifically due to President Trump’s election."
Yeah ... about that.
While it seems people are citing Trump as the sole reason they broke up — and as why they don't want to fuck their partners anymore — it's not really Trump's fault, is it?
See, pointing fingers at Trump instead of taking responsibility for the fuck-ups that lead to a failed marriage is called "projection."
According to an article that Elliot D. Cohen, P.h.D wrote for Psychology Today, projection occurs when we exercise our human tendency to blame others for our own problems because doing so diminishes our own responsibility in creating a shitty situation. To take responsibility, he says, would mean that you admit it's your fault and that you are therefore "deserving of disapprobation and negative treatment."
Trump does this all the time. Firing James Comey and blaming him for people's increasing mistrust of how he interacted with Russia during the election is him projecting his own insecurity that he'll be found out onto someone else and blaming that someone else for a problem he himself created. He's a pro at this. But, when follow his lead by saying Trump — not our underlying incompatibilities or lack of trust — broke us up, it makes us no better than him. Regardless of the individual context, when we don't take responsibility, we're playing the same sport Trump is, and, given his pussy grabbing habits and infamous lack of athletic coordination, that sounds pretty awful.
In reality, you already have to have a pretty shitty relationship to get a divorce, which is no one's fault but yours and your partner's. Sure, marital disagreements over Trump may be the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back, but, to beat the metaphor of the dead horse even deader, you have to have a weak back already for it to get broken by a straw in the first place.
Sure enough, according to data from the 2012 U.S. Census Bureau, the overall divorce rate for millennials is 38.8 percent. We're not that good at math, but 2012 was five years ago, quite a while before Trump even hinted he'd be running for president. What does that mean? People were already getting divorced at around the same rates they are now. People's relationships don't suck more or less than they did then, or they did ever, people are just more likely to blame Trump because he's a proximate and omnipresent scapegoat for all things that are shitty.
In other words, it's not like everything was fine in your relationship until the sudden appearance of Trump made you never want to see each other again. Things had to have been pretty bad for his presidency to destroy everything you've built together. And, if they were ... isn't Trumpy boy doing you a favor by making you realize you shouldn't have been together in the first place?
Let me ask you this.
Is a relationship that ended because of who's in office truly a relationship you want to be in? Is it really worth it to spend time and energy trying to build a life on a foundation so shaky it could be toppled by politics? And do you want to give that distant third party so much power in your marriage that you'd let him dictate whether or not you call it quits?
Or, on the other hand, would you rather be with someone who you could weather the storm of political unease and institutional mistrust with? Someone who would listen to you and hear where you're coming from, even if they disagreed? Someone who wouldn't take the depression and insecurity that Trump's policies and beliefs make you feel personally?
A strong, healthy relationship should be able to weather things like that. It should take difficult situations such as the Trump presidency and turn them into opportunities to grow together both as a couple and as individuals. Being able to get through something as punishing as political upheaval and a wholesale questioning of America's core values together is a pretty good sign you're with the right human.
I'm not saying you're not allowed to be affected by the current political landscape. After all, feeling insecure, undervalued, afraid and like your basic rights are under attack is a normal response to someone whose policies push racism, sexism, fear, violence and corrpution. It's not surprising, then, that so many people are saying that their libidos and relationships have gone downhill since the election. As we reported in a separate article about Trump's romance-dampening effects, "feelings of anxiety and depression like these — the kind most of us are dealing with right now in the long shadow of Trump — can fuck up a libido right and good, even more so than the feeling of winning or losing. When you feel this way, the stress hormone cortisol skyrockets and interferes with the production of sex hormones that make you horny like estrogen, progesterone and of course, testosterone. Making matters worse, depression decreases your brain’s levels of serotonin and dopamine, which continues the cycle and can lead to feelings of hopelessness and low-self worth."
It's just that during such hard times, it would be good to have a partner who will let you feel those things, work through them with you, then try to move on together.
Randy, a 28-year-old graphic designer we interviewed in January about Trump's effect on America's libido, kinda has it right. Him and his boyfriend were feeling down after the election, and didn't have sex for two weeks after, a significant drop in their usual four times per week romp down orgasm lane.
"I don't know how to describe it other than despair," he told us. "At that point, you just want to be there for each other, not inside each other."
However, at a certain point after you've allowed yourself to process the negative emotions you might be feeling, you and your partner should act as support systems for each other. Your relationship might be influenced by these feelings and the current climate that we're in, but it doesn't have to be directed by them.
If it is, fuck it! You've rid yourself of someone who's not up to the challenge of both you and our time. It's weird to say it, but if you can blame Trump for bringing that to your attention, you can also thank him for the same reason.
So, if your relationship just ended because some whack job is president, then, good. It probably should have ended anyway, and probably would have regardless who's Cheeto ass currently inhabits the rolly office chair in the White House.