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Can Love Withstand Donald Trump? A Dating Expert’s Story

Can Love Withstand Trump

I have a confession.

I’ve been hiding a secret and can no longer remain silent.

As a dating coach in the business of love, I saw first-hand the strain on people’s relationships — including mine — when Donald Trump ran for and eventually became president.

During the campaign, my long-term boyfriend and I were on opposite ends of the political spectrum. He was on the right, and I was on the left. Initially, this didn’t alarm me, but over time, the division began to tear us apart, putting our relationship to the test.

I now fear, in this current political climate, that President Trump has destroyed romance as it once existed.

Once upon a time — two decades ago — we lived the fairy tale.

We fell in love at first sight, and after several joyful years together, we went separate ways. I wanted marriage, and he wasn’t ready.

Eventually, we wed others and lost touch.

Then in 2015, both divorced, we found our way back through Facebook Chat, proving a love so strong could never die.

We began sending each other digital versions of photographs neither of us had tossed away. His albums had been stored in an attic, while mine collected dust in a garage.

“We should meet up for a long drink and catch up,” his message said one morning.

I thought about it and both hesitantly and nervously, I agreed.

The moment our familiar eyes locked, we instantly realized the spark was still there.

I was the woman he wasn’t allowed to speak of during his marriage, he explained. He was the one I often regretted letting go.

When his curated mix of love songs arrived in the mail, two hearts resealed, and we resumed our romantic journey toward a second chance at love.

“We have the greatest story,” he proudly announced to my girlfriends when we reunited. I felt the same.

Blissfully, we started merging our lives with music as our backdrop.

He accompanied me to the Walt Disney Concert Hall to watch Gustavo Dudamel conduct the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Looking handsome, he wore an Italian sports jacket, and his sparkling hazel eyes matched mine identically.

I went to the Stagecoach Country Music Festival with him, wearing my Stetson cowboy hat as we walked through miles of dust and hay.

We posted photos online of us looking deliriously happy.

After a decade and a half apart, we were, admittedly, different people with dissimilar lifestyles.

I was more of an urban girl who lived in Los Angeles and frequented the liberal desert city of Palm Springs. He lived in a post-divorce rental home one hour north of me in Ventura County and thrived in the ultra-conservative mountains of Northern Idaho.

“It’s just geography,” I thought, and as a couple, we seemed to co-exist in each other’s favorite places with ease.

“I’m sorry I never proposed to you back then,” he said one evening.

My heart instantly started to race. Was my boyfriend about to get down on one knee with a ring?

After a moment of silence, I secretly hoped we still had time.

Although he had a history of commitment issues, our renewed love was growing stronger every day. That was until the heated election season rolled in when our perfect relationship started to fray.

“I can’t take another four years of the Clintons,” he murmured while pouring himself a martini.

“Don’t tell me you’d vote for Trump,” I yelled, then lost my appetite.

Once a registered Democrat, during our time apart, my boyfriend shifted his support to the Republican Party. He also hated the fact that Hillary Clinton was running for president.

Throughout the campaign, people were taking sides, and the effects began to permeate the bedroom. Couples were splitting up in “you’re fired” style — basically, instantly and without warning.

The great political divide was crushing relationships, including ours.

In a time of angry accusations of “fake news,” I started feeling like I was living in an all-too-real, fake relationship.

I was in deep conflict, believing we were the poster couple for eternal love. I didn’t want our story to end, so I buttoned my lips when he brought up his anti-liberal rants, and rolled my eyes when he praised “The Donald.”

RELATED: Love Vs. Trump – Is Politics Polarizing Relationships?

“Turn off the TV,” he insisted, as I watched the Democratic debates during our trip to the Florida Keys.

Real Time with Bill Maher was off-limits.

“Really? I asked. “I can’t watch one of my favorite talk shows?”

Instead, we settled on watching romantic comedies on demand, curled up together, as a form of truce.

When political coverage became a 24-hour reality show, I noticed his attitude and values contrasted sharply from mine. I believe in gun control and Obamacare, and he’s proud of his gun closet and supports the “big, beautiful wall.”

I thought we could just agree to disagree as my parents did, but it was clear our bipartisan relationship was in jeopardy.

For a woman with a big and public voice, I remained unusually quiet, with the hope that he’d calm down after the voting frenzy was over. Slowly, I started to pull away from him, and I felt him doing the same.

One month before Election Day, we officially became a long-distance couple. He moved to Las Vegas, and I stayed in Los Angeles. With 300 miles between us, and Trump looking over my shoulder, it was challenging to stay connected.

I visited him to see the Rolling Stones in concert. He came my way for Stevie Nicks.

Then Donald Trump surprised us both by winning the election.

Shortly after, with tensions still high, he escorted me to a Hollywood party where both of us arrived dressed in purple to represent unity during a combative time.

On Inauguration Day, my boyfriend couldn’t take his eyes off the television, and I couldn’t bear to watch. He was as excited with Trump’s swearing-in as he’d be if he scored an eagle on his favorite golf course.

Then I asked myself, “Could we survive Trump?”

Here I was, with a man who believed our country’s new leader was making America great again. Meanwhile, I checked Trump’s daily tweets, now the primary source of hard news, as my blood pressure rose.

It was clear my guy didn’t want a left-leaning girlfriend, and I couldn’t express my feelings freely.

Still, on Valentine’s Day, a few weeks later, my beloved curated the perfect 48-hour love fest, and the cloud of politics never made it to the bedroom.

He drove over four hours bringing me one dozen long-stemmed roses in a ruby-red vase, embellished with a crystal heart bracelet. We later dined at an ocean-view table at Shutters on the Beach hotel in Santa Monica, where two years earlier we had reunited.

Together, we posted photos of us on social media and still felt in love as we toasted, “to us.”

It was our last night together as a couple.

Three days later, we called it quits.

Since he’d moved out of state, I tried to convince myself distance caused the split, but it was differing politics and the associated party values that slowly killed us.

RELATED: Post-Inauguration Breakups: Differing Politics Are Destroying Love

Our president became his new hero, and he mirrored the commander-in-chief’s beliefs and behavior. He wanted a polyamorous relationship, and I wanted a devoted partner. It crushed us, but much to my surprise, I wasn’t devastated.

During the time that our country became so polarized, we had changed. My emotions went from sad to mad, but eventually, I started to feel empowered, and my voice re-emerged.

After our romance ended, I decided it was time to look for someone on my side. Luckily, I quickly met a political junkie who lives in town online on Match. He listed himself as liberal in his dating profile, which was enough for me to click the reply button.

Our first date was at a harbor-view restaurant in the Marina. A good sport, he drove over an hour in heavy traffic from downtown LA, looking distinguished in a business suit and tie. I felt immediately at ease.

“Did you vote for Trump?” he asked.

“No,” I quickly replied, as we both sighed with relief.

It was a deal breaker for us both, and as we talked about our nation’s challenges, we clicked.

I admired my brilliant date for helping Dreamers, along with his belief in stronger gun control laws. We talked about Obamacare, tax reform, net neutrality, and immigration issues plaguing sanctuary cities.

Call me a sapiosexual, but his intellect was an aphrodisiac, and our conversations lasted for hours. The floodgates opened, and in time, so did my heart. Who knew that shared leanings and Saturday Night Live monologues could top a mutual desire for dark chocolate?

Because we were in sync, we advanced to a second date, then to a third, and by now, we’ve lost count.

Talking about politics in Trump’s America is important to me.

I worry about our country, but I don’t regret reuniting with my former beau. While I realize our deep history and unconditional love had brought us back together, it’s a huge relief not to have that burning question of “what if” circling inside my head.

However, love is conditional, with politics now residing atop the dating totem pole. As disappointed as I am with our president, I have him to thank for this realization.

And I learned a valuable lesson when my love life got “trumped.”

I’m now watching Bill Maher’s monologues in the arms of a man who appreciates my strong voice, and I am forever grateful to be heard.

RELATED: Dating in a Trump World – One Year Later

Julie Spira is America’s Top Online Dating Expert and Digital Matchmaker. She’s a bestselling author and the the CEO of Cyber-Dating Expert. As an early adopter of Internet dating, Julie’s been coaching singles on finding love online for almost 25 years.

FOLLOW @JulieSpira on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

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A Mantra for When Love and Friendships End

This week I posted a personal story on Huffington Post,?which featured a saying that has helped myself and other loved ones through the pain of the ending of a relationship. Whether through divorce, death, or a relationship that that ran its course, I have used these words over and over again, ?Every Relationship Serves a Purpose, But is Limited.

15 years ago when I had my heart broken, these were the very words used to console me.?Although I was crushed and devastated at the time, these words have carried me through many relationships and I like to pay it forward.

Still teary-eyed, I was told to look at the incredible memories that had been shared, and there were many. I was reminded how I had grown as a person during the time of my romantic relationship. I had learned what deal-breakers I could live with, and which ones I could not. I was told to embrace the happy memories and let the door shut gracefully, so I would be able to allow a better, more compatible relationship into my life. Years later, I share this statement with others on a regular basis. It’s powerful and it’s healing.

I had a romantic fantasy that the one who broke my heart was my sole true love. I thought it would last forever. It lasted for many years and I learned what unconditional love was about, even it if didn’t last forever. Unfortunately in order to experience this type of love, you have to become vulnerable and open your heart.

I had to ask myself, why can’t we look at our romantic relationships as a full-length movie, or something that we could have forever, ’til death do us part? Why are some relationships and friendships just chapters in our lives, and not an entire book?

Within a year after my heartbreak, I got engaged and later married the man who was the next chapter of my life. I thought about my long-lost love for a moment, but I had moved on. I received an email from the guy who broke my heart wishing me the best in my new marriage. I chose to ignore it and close that chapter.

As I’m always one to lend and ear and an opinion in matters of the heart, I have consoled many friends during their heartbreaks. After all, we take our life lessons and pay them forward. I used these exact words, “Every relationship serves a purpose, but it limited” to console many girlfriends who were jolted by the demise of their relationships that prematurely ended either as a death or a divorce, which more often than not felt like death as well. It gave them comfort to hear those words.

What I didn’t realize at the time, as I do now, is how this statement transfers into friendships that abruptly end. When your best friend dumps and discards you, or you have outgrown a relationship and decide to move on, it can be as hurtful as a death or divorce.

One day, a very close girlfriend of 25 years decided to discard me in an email. I was stunned. I was shattered. She had been the maid of honor at my wedding. I held her hand during her divorce. I diligently sent birthday cards to her children every year. Although we lived on separate coasts, we were best friends. It was as close to a sister as I had ever had.

Suddenly, one day in my inbox, I received an angry email, telling me she was done with me. She broke up with me from the stroke of her keyboard. It was a unilateral decision. There was no discussion. It really hurt. I tried to use my own words, “Every relationship serves a purpose, but is limited” to get over it. I realized that she had a history of dismissing people in her life, and then returning back again, as if nothing had happened. It was just my turn.

As a natural instinct and reaction, I thought about defending myself. I remembered all of the ways that I was a devoted friend through the years. I created the list, but never pushed the send button. I didn’t see it coming. I cried for days, and grabbed hold of my very own saying, ‘Every Relationship Serves a Purpose but is limited” once again. I realized that no one has to sign up for a lifetime contract in friendship. You do your best. You live your life through honesty and integrity. Sometimes you just grow apart. You cannot be responsible for someone else’s feeling or behavior. The only person you can be responsible for is yourself.

Yes, there were 20 years of memories, vacations, hand holding, job-hunting, soul searching that we experienced together. I thought it would last forever. It didn’t, but we had a good run.

I look back on the guy who broke my heart and the former best friend who discarded me in an email, and I know I contributed to their lives as they did to mine. Of course I wouldn’t dump a friend in an email, but people do. I frequently tell people to sleep on it when they are about to send an angry email or break up via text message or email. When in doubt send it to yourself before pressing the send button that could hurt another. Sometimes you just have a bad day and outside circumstances may affect your feelings. Quite often you will feel differently in the morning. You can’t take it back.

My mother always says, “Treat people the way you want to be treated.” My mother is a wise woman.

Take the time to think about your past relationships and friendships that faded over time. Let the pain and hurt subside and ask yourself, did the relationship serve a purpose, even if it was limited?

Originally posted on Huffington Post