Whether we are riveted by the forthcoming election and the dramas - or bored to tears - there is no escaping the fact that we are poised on the brink of election - and like it or not, politics are not far away from anyone's thoughts or discussions.

How much does it matter if one of you harks from a liberal left position, and the other from the far right?

Some people will find political discussions stimulating and fun - but for others the issue of politics will be the proverbial red rag to a bull. Is this why our grandparents taught us that it is not good manners to discuss politics at the dinner table?

Whilst for one couple, a romantic dinner can be ruined by a candle dousing shower of argument about political allegiances, for another pair, a stimulating conversation from opposite political positions will create a spirited wrangling which makes the relationship feel vibrant and alive.


Lewandowski, a social psychologist in Monmouth University, New Jersey, explains that the people we are attracted to in the first place tend to be very similar to ourselves. But in his blog, the Science of Relationships, he goes on to say that "whilst similarity helps us get together, it is less important than other issues - like loyalty and healthy disagreement - for keeping us together - and in fact difference doesn't seem to matter for long-term relationship or stability".

When in a relationship should you first talk about politics? It seems that as daters, we are slightly less inclined in New Zealand to tolerate political talk on a first date, compared to other countries. In a recent poll taken by ELITESINGLES, (a dating agency which operates across New Zealand, Australia, United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada and South Africa), 67 per cent of daters believe that the best time to talk politics is not straight away, but after a few dates this compares with the beliefs of 57 per cent of daters in the other countries surveyed.

That being said, whether on the first date or not, we are going to discover quickly just where our partner sits on the political spectrum - and if they are very different from us how much should it matter to you?

Why not take a chance on love with your politically different partner - and if you do then perhaps keeping the following tips in mind:

• Don't define your friend by their political preference - have a good look at what other characteristics they have which are compatible with yours. You may well be surprised just how many important fundamental issues you see eye to eye on

• It's ok to disagree - it does not mean that this relationship is doomed. See this as a very valuable opportunity to watch just how you argue. Volumes of research on the ingredients of successful relationships tells us that how we sort differences - not if we have them - is the real predictor of compatibility.

• Be open. Accepting another person's viewpoint as their right is a hallmark of an attractive, sexy, flexible and healthy mind. Being a political preacher is a bore

• What matters to you? When all is said and done, there will be some core values that will really matter to you both - and it may be that you both simply have different idea about how to get there. Focus on these and only then decide how much the fact that you will vote differently really matters.

• Don't let fiery arguments come between you. Remember that the upside of heated debates can be the cranking up of the brain's natural amphetamines - and all that dopamine and norepinephrin created by the discussion might just be the best aphrodisiac ever.

So when you are introducing you new love to your friends or family, and the topic turns to politics, are you going to find yourself cringing with embarrassment at their different point of view - or full of pride for their independence of thought in a crowd?

More to the point, can you live with the thought that your loved one sees the world with a different lens? Be guided about the big issues - the ones with values attached which you both feel are fundamental to the way you want to live life. Political issues and positions come and go - but respect and tolerance remain the smartest political values of all. As George Bernard Shaw said "the test of a mans or woman's breeding is how they behave in a quarrel" - this is as true for us in our relationships as it is for the parties we are watching, in the forthcoming election.