She’s made all the mistakes, so you don’t have to… Ask Erin is a weekly advice column, in which Erin answers your burning questions about anything at all.
My boyfriend and I have been together on and off for eight years. He's always been relatively nonpolitical, leaning towards the left, whereas I've always been a very liberal feminist. He's been cool with my political vigor, and he has always been someone that I can converse with and usually agree with, politically. We have two daughters together and are looking to finally get married in the near future.
However, for a few months now, things have changed.
He refused to vote in November, and since then has been supporting Trump — quietly at first, but with more enthusiasm as time goes on. He now agrees with everything Tomi Lahren says and has gone so far as to start listening to alt-right podcasts and joining sites that scream "Nazi" to me.
We've been arguing a lot lately, about very fundamental life things — how to raise our children, whether or not I should work — and he has begun treating me like a second-class citizen, preaching about how "making America great again" starts at home, where the man is the ultimate patriarch.
Other than our very different political views and his rapidly changing family values, things have been business as usual. He's still supportive when I'm upset, a great father to our children, and is affectionate, loving, and sweet to me. A big part of me, however, feels like this is a huge divide in our relationship — beyond just political differences, a lot of our differences have been about fundamental life decisions.
Is this something that people can overcome, or should I pull the plug before we walk down the aisle?
I wish I could tell you that it’s fine that you have differing political beliefs and this will all work itself out. Normally, I would do just that. But what you've told me goes beyond a difference in political views.
This is not an “I voted for Obama, and you voted for Romney” situation.
This is a man who is being sucked in by alt-right (read: neo-Nazi) propaganda.
And you are right in your assessment that this goes into disagreeing about major life stuff. You have two daughters. I implore you not to have them grow up in a house where they hear white supremacist BS and see their father treat their mother as a second-class citizen, as you pointed out.
I know you said that he is still supportive, a good father, etc. But, I ask you to consider if espousing hateful rhetoric can coexist with being a good partner, let alone a good father and role model for your two daughters.
I am a firm believer that when we decide to marry someone — to make that level of commitment — we should be in sync with our partner’s values.
His values may have been aligned with yours at one time, but they certainly are not anymore. This has serious ramifications for your relationship and for how you co-parent.
Your question is, ultimately, can you two overcome this or should you pull the plug on the nuptials?
That’s a tricky question to answer. Yes, technically, this could be worked out. BUT… It would take lots of effort and willingness on his part. And part of that would be a willingness to challenge what he currently believes. For this to work, like a healthy marriage, he would need to change his current belief system. Possible? Yes. Likely? No.
First, avail yourself to some couple’s counseling. It would be beneficial to work through articulating what’s happening with a third party, who is neutral. That will shed some light on what those fundamental differences in values are, which may make the decision super clear, perhaps to both of you.
Despite the fact that he is the father of your children, don’t marry him if you disagree about this big picture stuff. It’s too important, both for your sanity and for your daughters’ well-being.
Where does that leave you? You have to co-parent, even if you don't move forward with tying the knot.
Again, a therapist would be helpful in sorting out rules and boundaries. I cannot stress strongly enough the importance of not filling their impressionable heads with hate-filled rhetoric or any attitude that leads them to believe they are "less than" because they are female.
Lean on trusted friends and family members as you sort out what is best for you and your girls. Don’t let anyone dissuade you from following your gut under the guise of keeping the family together. It is better for the girls to have two homes than to have one filled with arguments and dysfunction.
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