September 9, 2016 at 12:41 pm EDT | by Michael Radkowsky
GOP job threatens gay relationship

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Hi Michael,
 
 
My boyfriend is threatening to break up with me unless I stop working for Republicans.
 
 
I live here in D.C. and work for a Republican organization by choice.  Not just because I need a job, not just because I enjoy the work and the position is a good fit to my skills, but also because I believe in many of the tenets of the party.
 
 
Joe doesn’t work in politics and wasn’t really politically minded until you-know-who (the antithesis of everything I admire about Republicanism) got the nomination.  Now Joe is always ranting about how I work for the Devil, how I’m a self-hating gay (totally untrue) and similar sentiments.
 
 
In part I blame his friends, who are always making fun of my work, so much so that I stopped hanging out with them. But even when we’re alone Joe won’t let up, so I’m not enjoying spending time with him lately.
 
 
I used to really like being with him, making dinner, watching Netflix, going out dancing. Although when I think about it I can’t say that we’ve ever been aligned in our views about the world or about life.  Honestly we never had any heavy conversations, We’ve kept things light and focused on having a nice time together.
 
 
Maybe that’s enough for a good relationship. Maybe we don’t need to share the same ideology.  But I think respect is important and it’s not working for me to have Joe say that I must change jobs or he will end our relationship.
 
 
How can we break this deadlock?

Michael replies:

You could run the other way. Who wants a partner that threatens to leave unless you do what he wants?

But maybe I’m being impetuous with that suggestion.

If there is enough that you like about Joe and your relationship, you need to do what you said in your letter that you avoid doing: have a serious talk with him, even though this is a difficult subject.

Does he mean to be threatening you? Does he want a relationship where the two of you threaten each other to get your way?

If his answer is yes, follow my first suggestion. It’s awful to be in a relationship with that sort of dynamic.

But I hope Joe and anyone who think it’s OK to dangle the possibility of nasty consequences as a way of effecting change will consider the following:

• An essential part of being in a serious relationship is figuring out how to be close to someone who at times sees life through a totally different lens.

• Any potential partner is bound to be different from you. Some differences will be interesting and others will be downright troublesome in important ways that you don’t like. Yes, this includes political beliefs.

• You don’t have to stay with any particular person, but once you do choose to be with someone, you don’t get to tell him how he must change to suit you.

• You must learn to tolerate aspects of your partner that have the potential to make you unhappy.

• Your opinion is just that; you don’t get to control your partner’s views, actions and life choices.

If Joe is clear that a Republican boyfriend is not for him, then it’s time to say goodbye. It’s not your job to let go of things that are important to you, in order to accommodate your boyfriend’s discomfort. Nor is it healthy for either of you.

Being in a relationship, just like being alive, is a continual learning process. If Joe is up for learning to accept you, including your politics, great. And if you’re ready to be someone who tackles difficult subjects, I would say the two of you have a good chance for a vibrant relationship, going forward.

You raise a great question: How much of a connection to your partner is important?

Yes, relationships are in part about having good times together, but more is required for a relationship to have strength and depth. You want to have similar core values so that you respect the person you’re going through life with. I think kindness is also essential, along with honesty, a willingness to challenge each other when it’s important to speak up, and a willingness to grow.

You may or may not agree with my list of priorities, and you likely have some of your own. In any case, you’ve made it clear that respect is vital to you and threats are a no-go, so I suggest that you talk with Joe and see if it’s possible for the two of you to create a relationship that can weather your differences. Any other relationship is not going to be viable in the long run.

Michael Radkowsky, Psy.D. is a licensed psychologist who works with LGBT couples and individuals in D.C. He can be found online at personalgrowthzone.com. All identifying information has been changed for reasons of confidentiality. Have a question? Send it to Michael@personalgrowthzone.com.

14 Comments
  • Sorry, but I would tell boyfriend that not all queers are democrats. Some of us believe in the real world. And then explain that is the last time you want to hear anything negative regarding his job or his choice of parties. Life is too damn short to have to bend to someone else’s will. Trust me, at 51 and after bending to someone else’s will for 18 1/2 years, I am soooooo much happier now that it is over and I rediscovered who I real am.

    • You mean the real world where gay marriage is illegal and conversion therapy is a recommended practice? Where anti-gay hate groups have a voice in the government? The LW is a self-hater who needs to be alone.

      • I have been out of the closet for over 30 years. In all that time I have had many many Republican friends, acquaintances, co-workers, etc. Not once did any of them treat me any better or worse than they treated anyone else around me. You say Republicans hate gays like they all hate us. I know quite a few democrats that can’t stand Gays either. We even have people within our own community that discriminate against our own. Lesbiens hate gay men, gay men hate tranvestites, drag queens hate cross-dressers, straight acting gays hate effeminate gays, and the list goes on. So stop sticking people into tiny little stereotypes that you apparently know very little about and open up your world to new and exciting things. Befriend a Republican, who knows, you might show them just how “normal” us queers can be???

        • Sorry, but the “they are not all bad” argument does not hold water. The Republican Party Platform, a document that lays out the party’s agenda and, to a great extent, requires its candidates to support is THE MOST Homophobic agenda in decades. They may be nice to your face… but they support candidates who will take away your rights with the flick of a lever or the writing of a check.

          Here’s how you know if they are really what you think they are…Dare them to call Paul Ryan’s or Mitch McConnel’s office and leave a message that says “I am a republican and believe that all anti-gay language MUST be removed from the party’s platform.” When they say “sure” then hand them your phone and have the number ready to go. Then you’ll know if they’re worthy of sharing your 2-4-1 at Number 9.

      • But the last two anti-homosexual legislation were enacted by Bill Clinton (D)… Lets face it, our country is run by the rich, both republican and democrat. There are just as many democrat one percenters as there are republican ones. It is us poor souls that are pieces on a chessboard, So it does not matter who we vote for, we the American public gets screwed. But the more we argue amongst each other, the less we see our government pulling behind our backs.

        • You mean “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”? It was a choice between that or having a constitutional amendment put forth by your party to define marriage as 1 man 1 woman. Really want to take the chance of an amendment passing & being ratified? Perhaps a little research before you blame someone for something.
          And yes it does mater – the next POTUS will nominate at least 2 if not 3 SCOTUS justices — you know the ones with the power to overturn marriage equality. A little research and a little perspective — although being a republicon you probably are unfamiliar with either concept.

          • Typical name caller. I did my research. There were other options, that was just a cop-out because Billy caved and didn’t want to bother with a fight. Neither party has done jack for the Gay community unless it directly benefits themselves. They couldn’t care less about us.

            But, believing the Republicans are all gay-bashing homophobes is like saying all Gay men are sex-crazed, feminine freaks, or all Denverites are pot-smoking zombies. It’s the loudmouths in every group that make their group look bad, and I would much rather have the Republican party/Trump choosing the next SCOTUS’ in order to keep the US from becoming a socialist country. (It’s already on it’s way there now.)

            (Just picture the 9th District Federal Court rulings and that is what the Supreme Court would be like if Hillary wins.) But, that is probably what you want.

          • Oh, I forgot to mention, I voted for Billy-boy twice. That was the last Democrat I have and will ever vote for!!!

        • You’re making one intelligent reasonable post after another, and look at all the hate it’s getting you. And these same mental midgets will denigrate their political opposition for being hateful. Welcome to the world of trying to actually talk to democrats. It doesn’t matter if it’s gays, feminists, environmentalists, pro abortion supporters, or gun control advocates, they’re all clones with a different cause. They will always hate you for “supporting hate”. They will never tolerate you because of your “intolerance”. Then they will find ways of calling YOU the hypocrite. How much do you want to bet that the boyfriend who’s threatening to leave would put republican intolerance at the top of the list of why he feels this way. truly pathetic.

          • Thank you Toitchynuts… I used to be a Democrat from Maine, but while in the Army, I got to see what the other side was like. Turns out that I wasn’t a staunch Democrat, but nor was I a staunch Republican either. I was somewhere in the middle. As time went on, I noticed both sides were getting further and further away from my ideals, but the Democrats began taking it way too far to the left. I certainly don’t agree with everything the Republicans stand for, but when comparing the parties side-by-side, I agree with more of what the Republican party stands for.

  • Gay Republican has been an oxymoron since 1980 and nothing has changed in that party to change that. I say get out of the relationship so Joe can find someone who isn’t helping to open the door door to further discrimination.

  • Any partner that tried that bullshit with me would be an ex partner. Lol

  • You are who you are, screw what other people think. I have democrat friends. I don’t initiate political conversations with them, but if they do, they get my uncensored, unapologetic, to certain people offensive, honest opinions. Their liberal views don’t dampen my friendship with them, if they don’t feel the same…….I’ll point them to the door.

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