Dear Wayne and Wanda,
Dating during COVID has been weird but I’ve been trying. I have connected with several people, and finally after a lot of talking with this one guy, we met for some patio dates, and it was great. The chemistry was there, I thought he was super cute, we had plenty to talk about. And so I invited him over this past weekend and he ended up staying overnight, and we had awesome physical chemistry.
Here’s the problem: In the morning, we started talking about politics, and it became immediately clear that he and I have completely different views. I shouldn’t be surprised — I am pretty left-leaning for Alaska, I realize this is generally a very conservative state. Still, it was sort of shocking to sit there with this super-cool guy I connected with in so many ways and hear him express opinions so completely different from mine.
Bottom line, as of now and because of that conversation, I don’t see a future with him, at least not a serious one. But I’ve gone to all this trouble to essentially screen him and let him into my COVID bubble and we get along in so many other ways. Would it be wrong to keep seeing him knowing that there’s no future?
I often recall a favorite scene from a long-gone TV series where the mother, in breaking the news of her divorce to her son, says even though it turns out her marriage won’t be a long love story, a short love story is still a love story. Translation: All relationships aren’t meant to last for decades, but they’re still valid in their own right, and full of potential value and fulfillment. So in these strange times when we are all feeling all kinds of pressure and anxiety, take some of the pressure off yourself.
COVID-19 has been a very lonely time for many, even for those who are in relationships or have housemates. We’ve had to distance from many of the routines and people in life that brought the security of stability. Heck, I even find myself missing in-person staff meetings! That said, you’ve been thoughtful and cautious about getting to know someone with whom you have a good time. You don’t need to bail just because you’ll be checking different boxes come Nov. 3. You do need to go into it with your eyes open to your differences, and guess what: You’re already doing that!
Here’s what not to do: Don’t pretend to agree with him on his political views so as not to rock the boat, but also try to keep the conversations impersonal, so that different opinions don’t sprout into unwinnable arguments. And as much as possible, focus your time and energy on the light-hearted topics and good old-fashioned chemistry that connected you in the first place. He might not be the man you marry, or even move in with, but he sounds like a fun adult companion and a good guy to make these weird days more bearable, and maybe even fun.
Also what not to do: lead him on or drag this on too long. If you’re 100% crystal-clear that this won’t work for you — that his political beliefs are absolute deal-breaking elements in an otherwise amazing partner — then be honest about that if/when it’s time to talk about taking the relationship to the next level.
Then again, you’ve already leveled up quite quickly having slept together already and all. So what’s next? Continue hanging out, having casual sex and empty calorie conversations through election season, and not falling for one another? Hey, that’s cool, perfectly ethical and acceptable according to the unwritten rules on modern dating, and yes, much better than being alone.
But good luck with that. I just have a feeling that someone is going to catch feelings here. Sounds like the chemistry and connection are just starting to cook and things are only going to get spicier, steamier and richer. And who knows: After a few months of good times in your bubble and bed, you might even start reconsidering your stance on rejecting his stances. And with partisan politics practically tearing our country apart, wouldn’t it be nice to reach across the aisle and meet somewhere special in the middle, romantically speaking?
Or maybe I’m just a dreamer. And maybe he’s already concerned about the longevity of having a liberal-leaning lover in his life. If so, just be honest with yourself and with him. It would be a shame to have something short and sweet get unnecessarily messy and regrettable when you both move on.
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