Ah, the bliss of two unflinching lefties like state Rep. Brittany Pettersen and ProgressNow Colorado‘s Ian Silverii, united not only in matrimony last month but also in their contempt for the president. How Colorado’s odd couples must look on with envy. You know, the mismatches in which one cheered Donald Trump’s stunning victory last fall while the other was just stunned. And still is.
Blogger Adam Bulger of marriage-minded website Fatherly talks to couples counselors and other experts — including one in Colorado — who contend the polarizing Trump presidency not only has divided society but also has upended politically mixed matchups:
Therapists, researchers, and divorce attorneys report that the Trump White House has made American marriage grate again. Couples have fought about politics since the invention of the ballot box. But marriage professionals say today’s political animosity is unprecedented.
Sure, as Bulger reports, there are still plenty of R ‘n’ D households where the spouses keep the peace the old-fashioned way: They change the subject. (For you millennials: Grandma was for Humphrey while Grandpa was a Nixon man. So they talked about sex instead. Kidding!)
Yet, combine the current political climate, in which people seem less constrained about voicing their political views, with modern social mores — couples feel less constrained about splitting up — and you have a potentially toxic mix. It can lead to some eye-openers:
Aaron Anderson, owner and counselor at the Marriage and Family Clinic in Westminster, Colorado, noted that Trump’s election brought formerly fringe political views into the mainstream. Some people feel comfortable expressing views they may have held for a long time but kept hidden.
“Now their spouse is saying something like, ‘Yeah, we should get rid of all the Mexicans. They are all murderers and rapists. Yeah, let’s nuke the hell out of North Korea,’” Anderson said. “All of a sudden, it makes their partner say, “Wait, do I really know who this is? I didn’t think I married somebody who thought like this.” Then, most of the time, it brings them to question other aspects of the relationship.”
Bulger also mentions the much-reported breakups among some political celebs, attributed at least partly to differences over the Donald.
Colorado has had its share of splits among high-profile political power couples — the Owenses, the Hickenloopers and, just this June, Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and 6th Congressional District U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman — but in those cases, the spouses were pretty much on the same political page. Or, were they?
Sure, both Coffmans are staunch Republicans. But as to their sentiments about Trump: Remember the congressman’s election night victory rally, at which he offered no praise for the president-elect after having run a campaign distancing himself from him? (That was the campaign in which one of Coffman’s ads famously had him dissing the real estate mogul cum presidential candidate: “People ask me, ‘What do you think about Trump?’ Honestly, I don’t care for him much.”)
You’ll recall it was the attorney general who salvaged the moment, rushing to the mic as her husband walked off and shouting, “Go Trump!” The seeds of trouble in paradise?
OK, maybe that’s reading a bit much into what more likely was just a little ol’ political good-cop-bad-cop in an effort to patch things up with the new prez.
After all, if the Coffmans’ marriage was like everyone else’s, there were plenty of things to argue about besides the president. Even this president.