How Trump controversy continues to tear couples apart
Marriage counsellors have been hearing the same things for years. He never listens to me. She never wants to have sex anymore. He keeps secrets from me. Couples have been coming to blows on the relationship battlefield, explosives clenched tightly in hand, for years now. But over the past 26 months, the combat zone has dramatically changed. The already rocky terrain is now encrusted with frost, the bitterly icy climate far more cutting than ever before. The reason for this dramatic fall in temperature? Donald Trump controversy, of course.
Nowadays, instead of hearing about partners not doing the dishes or getting a little too friendly with their secretaries, relationship counsellors are instead listening to a whole other accusation thrown across the room: “They support Trump.”
In fact, New Wakefield Research statistics from 2017 tell us that one in 10 couples have ended their relationship due to a fight over political differences, while for young millennial partnerships separation rates are even higher at 22 per cent.
Ever since it began, outsiders have questioned this nosedive into - what they deem - insanity. Should a tangerine tinted, platinum blonde billionaire businessman really be enough to divide couples who have waded through years of thick and thin, always coming out of the other side hand-in-hand?
But America has slowly but surely been waking up to the fact that Trump controversy is not some passing fancy that can be compared to her never saying what she really means and him not doing the dishes. It seems every other week American pairs part due to one continuing to support the Apprentice star and the other feeling utterly betrayed by their actions.
However, burning passions over the presidency are not limited to one particular type of couple, with reports that no one is immune to the so-called Trump effect; both old and young couples, wealthy couples and foreign couples (who had their own country’s politics to deal with) have all parted as a ramification of his succession to office.
Not even American rock band Journey is immune to the Trump effect; speculation that it was the end for them was rife after lead guitarist Neal Schon took to Twitter to blast his bandmates for their trip to the White House in August.
A prime example of this spectacle is Gayle and Bill McCormick, a Californian couple who were united in holy matrimony for 22 years, until Bill casually revealed over a lunch with friends that he planned to vote for the third generation businessman over Hilary Clinton.
“I was incensed”, Gayle, a retired California prison guard admitted. “I said, ‘I can’t believe that somebody I could be married to could vote for someone whose track record is so obviously poor in terms of civil liberties, his feelings about women, how he treats people in general.’”
The self-described “Democrat leaning toward socialist” has claimed she felt “betrayed” by her husband’s support for the Republican president and admitted it was a “deal breaker” for her.
“I felt like I had been fooling myself,” she said. “It opened up areas between us I had not faced before. I realized how far I had gone in my life to accept things I would have never accepted when I was younger.”
McCormick’s comments more or less sum up the Trump breakup epidemic; anyone who was struck down with the revelation that their partner was politically leaning the other way was forced to ask themselves some gruelling questions.
As more and more Trump controversy emerged, it came to light that it wasn’t just couples with different political opinions who had been divided; even when both had voted Clinton, there was still a chance of him getting between them.
Lindsay Tucker admitted in a Glamour magazine feature that despite her husband voting Democrat, she found it difficult to get over the fact that he couldn’t grasp the pain she was going through as a woman that “a smirking misogynist with no legitimate experience” was nominated over a “female candidate who’s been called the most qualified nominee in history”.
In fact, 24 per cent of Americans in a relationship or married and 42 per cent of millennials told the survey that "since President Trump was elected, they and their partner have disagreed or argued about politics more than ever.”
Jean Fitzpatrick, a relationship therapist who was interviewed by the Independent, has revealed the advice she gives to Trump casualties saying: “When they voted differently, the most important thing to bring to the table if they want to discuss political issues is mutual respect, an inner reminder that this is your life partner whom you love, and curiosity about what motivates them.”
The Manhattan-based counsellor recommended not assuming the partner voted the way they did “for the worst possible reasons” and said to move past differences of political opinion, it was best to stop attempting to persuade the other that they are wrong and instead simply “state your truth in as neutral a way as possible”.
According to Fitzpatrick, mindfulness, yoga or meditation are also useful methods of overcoming passionate moments where you may otherwise say something you’d regret. Although, the question is, would any of these fixes actually plaster up the cracks of a relationship?
Ultimately, it seems we have to consider which is worse; living for the rest of our lives knowing that the person we’re with has fundamentally different views than us or breaking up with them altogether? It’s up to you to decide.