Kelsey Rohwer: A presidential lesson in relationships

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Kelsey Rohwer

Until I arrived at GW, I hardly paid attention to politics at all. I was always far more concerned with boys.

Four years ago, I tried. But at was 17, I couldn’t vote and thought John McCain looked strikingly similar to Franklin the Turtle’s grandfather. With three years in D.C. to my name and several bizarre dates with political freaks, I’ve realized there is actually much to be learned from politics when it comes to relationships.

In politics, check-writing – unlike volunteering or canvassing – is probably the easiest way to demonstrate your support for a candidate, aside from voting. Opensecrets.org reported that more than $5.8 billion have been thrown into candidates’ pockets for the 2012 election.

And while this passive strategy might help a campaign, it doesn’t work in real relationships. And for those who passively pursue a relationship as though it were a check they could send in the mail, they’ll come to find that any chances of love or happiness fizzle easily.

This election season has also been extremely negative, and it’s difficult to recall what candidates stand for in the first place.

But by focusing on the petty negatives, you miss what’s important. This thought translates just as easily into relationships.

Try not to dwell on the fact that the person you are seeing mispronounces the word “bagel” or that his second toe is longer than his big one. Small quirks should not get in the way of something that has potential.

As voters and as people, we’ve grown accustomed to sound bites, assumptions and generalizations. Whether you’re trying to familiarize yourself with a candidate’s budget plan or getting used to the fact that your new boyfriend is a morning person, any relationship is about learning to better understand another individual.

It takes time and patience, but if you’re willing to put in the effort, you will learn things about the other person – and yourself – that you would not otherwise.

Moreover, the best lesson that can be extracted from politics is the importance of acknowledging the other side.

Just because someone wears the same label as you – or is from the same political party – does not mean they’re going to make you happy. Try breaking away from your dating type.

Relationships and elections alike will be more fulfilling if you consider what’s actually important before casting your ballot.

Kelsey Rohwer, a senior majoring in journalism, is a Hatchet columnist.

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