Share story

Can’t see eye to eye with a loved one or friend this campaign season? Seattle-based sociologist and relationship expert Pepper Schwartz weighs in on how to navigate the Donald Trump-Hillary Clinton divide:

The election cycle will eventually end. “The question is if you want your relationship to end with it or not.” Realize that you may not agree on every important issue.

Know your boundaries: To avoid destructive conversations, people in intimate relationships who disagree should instead focus on shared beliefs, such as major values and goals, rather than on candidates. “Look for solidarity on those values,” Schwartz said. “It’s fine sometimes to not talk about differences, but to concentrate on similarities.”

Be prepared: People who are just forming relationships, and don’t have a “track record to lean on,” may find it harder to reconcile. People with existing relationship problems may experience more trouble, too.

Keep it close: “In some ways, it’s more dangerous to talk to somebody you don’t know well about things you disagree with, than it is to talk about with someone you’re close with.” You have other reasons to respect and like people who are close to you.

Pepper Schwartz is a University of Washington professor and love/relationship expert for AARP.