How important do you think it is for partners to see eye-to-eye on big controversial issues such as politics and religion? My boyfriend is religious and I’m a non-believer and, while I prefer not to discuss it in general, he is often pushing his beliefs on me and worrying about the fact that I won’t make it to Heaven. Additionally, he criticizes me for voting for Obama and tells me I’m ignorant and naive and all this stuff. My last boyfriend and I agreed almost completely on all these types of things. Is this sort of conflict a dealbreaker? Is it possible to maintain a healthy relationship with someones whose opinions and beliefs differ so dramatically from mine?
For many people politics and religion are entwined in their identity, and consume much of their day to day lives. I, for instance, consider myself to be non-religious and liberal. Not a big surprise, but most of the decisions I make in my life and much of the philosophy I live by is influenced by those things. It is very unlikely that I would date someone who strayed too far from my own point of view here because so many aspects of my life would cause friction with someone who was, for instance, a conservative christian.
Some people are religious or political in ways that are very private and personal, others use their religion or politics throughout the day as the foundation of their lives. It sounds like your boyfriend is the latter. It sounds like you at least started your relationship with the understanding of his viewpoints and respected them by not discussing it, but it doesn’t sound like he is going about this in a similar fashion.
I personally believe that politics and religion are almost always a big enough deal that you should find someone who is at least on the same side of the spectrum as you are. We’re always going to have small disagreements here and there, but you’ve found someone who seems like the polar opposite of you. Not to mention – he’s being a jerk about it. Separate from the differences you share, you should never call your partner names for thinking differently than you do.
I would consider it a deal breaker. It is unlikely that he’s going to suddenly decide that God has spared you from hell and that Obama isn’t quite as bad as he thinks he is. I do think it’s possible to maintain healthy relationships where points of view differ, but honestly… not when they differ so dramatically. Good luck.