Would you walk down the aisle with someone who doesn’t share your politics?

Emily Rodriguez uses Mutual, a dating app aimed at members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and recently noticed that users can reveal a new identifying feature: They can let potential matches know if they are conservative or liberal. It has been very good for Rodríguez; he said “up” for liberals and “down” for conservative men.

In the age of COVID-19, Donald Trump, and social media virtue signaling, politics has come to mean a lot more than the party you sloppily registered for at the DMV. How you classify yourself politically affects how people see you, as if your politics are married to your identity.

For Gen Z, who came of age during an era of political polarization and changing social norms around privacy due to social media, politics can seem especially complicated when it comes to dating and marriage This rising generation is already different in significant ways from previous generations, they say Pew Research Centerwith greater ethnic and racial diversity, more education, and predominantly liberal views on social issues.

This is especially true for young women. The growing political progressivism among Gen Z is primarily driven by the changing opinions of young women. called “single women awake,” were seen as one of the demographics that helped Democrats stem the “red tide” that was supposed to sweep the nation in the 2022 midterm elections. Among single women, the 68% voted for Democrats in the last election, while 52% of single men voted for Republicans, according to CNN. exit polls.

Will this widening political gap between men and women make it even more difficult for people to find a romantic partner?

Americans are already more likely to marry someone of a different race or religion than someone who doesn’t share their politics, according to the latest Survey of American Families, an annual nationally representative survey of 3,000 adults conducted by YouGov in July. for the Deseret News and Brigham Young University’s Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy.

Among survey respondents, 10% said they were in a mixed-race marriage or committed relationship, 10% were in a relationship with someone of a different faith, and 7% said they were in a relationship with someone from a different political party. Couples with higher incomes were more likely to be in a mixed-policy relationship.

Having children is associates with becoming more conservative, so it makes sense that as women and men delay marriage and parenthood, they would be less likely to transition, if at all, from youthful progressivism to conservatism. But if a potential partner’s politics matter when forming relationships, the growing divide between young women and young men could mean fewer dates and marriages for younger Americans.

So should we be concerned that young people won’t be able to find romantic partners if they aren’t willing to come across the political aisle?

“It worries me when people aren’t able to form the relationships they want to form,” said Arielle Kuperberg, president of the Council on Contemporary Families and professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. Young people are less likely to be religious, but more likely to have strong political views, he said, which could be affecting their dating decisions.

When she was online dating in the 2000s, before social media became popular, Kuperberg said the dating website she used asked questions about her politics and classified her into relationships based on her answers. Putting your politics at the front and focusing on apps like Mutual shows how important politics has become to the younger generation, he said.

There are already a number of things preventing young adults from getting married, including financial hurdles like having to pay off large student loans or saving for a house or wedding, he said. Navigating political differences adds another hurdle to finding someone to date or marry, and in an age where that has become increasingly difficult, it can potentially lead to other problems.

When young people don’t marry, societies see an increase in political unrest, he said, in part because young people can’t have the kind of life they envision.

For Jared Ludwig, a BYU senior who is from Texas, it’s not someone’s politics that turns him off, but how extreme they seem about their political beliefs. Ludwig, who characterizes himself politically as centrist, said he doesn’t have a hard time finding women to date, but said if they wear their politics on their sleeves, he’s not as likely to ask them out a second time.

“A lot of it has to do with some virtue signaling,” he said. “That doesn’t feel so authentic to me, and that bothers me.”

For Emily, who is also a senior at BYU and a person of color, politics signals something about a person’s values. He said he worries that conservatives don’t believe the same things he does about respecting racial differences or social causes. He also cares about issues such as immigration and Black Lives Matter, positions he associates with the political left.

But he acknowledges that political polarization comes at a cost. “It’s pretty awful. We’re losing the other half of the population,” he said. “We cling to our political parties and we do it almost like our sports teams.”

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