When Lawrence Estrada reached the "Facebook friend" milestone with a girl he had been dating online and offline for weeks, hopes for a more serious connection fizzled out -- he can't stand her politics.
Estrada is a Kakampink or a supporter of Leni Robredo for president while his date, based on her posts, is leaning towards former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. It's a non-negotiable, he said, especially in an election that will decide the fate of 109 million Filipinos after two years of the COVID pandemic.
"Tama yung opposites attract pero sa ibang bagay...Mas prefer ko na yung pagkakaiba namin ay sa music, food choices pero not on the political side kasi politics affect each and everyone of us," he said of their non-relationship.
"Whatever the decision na ginagawa ng leader natin, one way or another naapektuhan tayo."
The choice between red (Marcos) and pink (Robredo) has drawn a wedge between friends, families, couples, and potential couples, with tensions simmering since the Christmas months, when candidacies were filed, to Valentine's Day, when the official campaign is in full swing.
Estrada, a nurse by profession who works as a program manager for a family planning firm, said he initially saw potential in dating the girl but admitted that he could not bear the comments she makes about frontliners.
What do you want in a partner?
When it comes to dating and deciding on a potential lifelong partner, how important are political beliefs?
Before going through the nitty-gritty of your date's political beliefs, it's important to get to know and understand yourself first according to life coach Shaun de Joya of Life Coach Philippines.
"The first and foremost question is what do you want in a partner? Understanding and answering this question allows you to see the perspective of political beliefs because people have different perspectives when it comes to politics," he told reportr.
Dating is a discovery session according to De Joya, which means that it's a chance for people to know more not only about their dates but also about themselves. This extends to how important is it for you to share political beliefs as well as your tolerance for differences in other aspects of a potential relationship.
"The dating scene is an opportunity for you to get to know yourself and your values first...It's also an opportunity to get to know a person, not just the good but also the bad things so when you look for a partner, you have to be clear with your intention," he said.
When it comes to dating, here are some questions to reflect on for a more meaningful experience according to De Joya:
1. What do I want in a partner?
2. Is this person allowing me to broaden my perspective or is this person hindering me from growing?
3. How do I see the kind of relationship I have with this person?
4. What does this politician or ideology represent for my date? How is the politician they're supporting connected to their values?
5. Is this person just tolerating me or is this person really listening with the intent to understand me?
6. Am I listening to this person to defend my beliefs or to understand and communicate?
7. How do we handle and talk about our political differences? How will this affect other facets of our life?
When are political differences a deal-breaker?
When you meet and like someone who doesn't share your political beliefs, De Joya said the deal-breaker could be the lack of respect and willingness to listen to each other with the intent of understanding rather than debating.
"Maybe the deal breaker is if that person does not listen to you, does not respect you as a person today, and instead of understanding each other, you tend to defend yourself from each other," he said.
Political differences will always exist but when you go into the dating scene, De Joya said it's important to know your priorities: do you want to date someone exactly like you or are you open to seeing people outside of your bubble?
"If you're looking for a partner, it's not always gonna be rosy, there will be thorns and headaches, heartaches in there...if you're not willing to listen to each other's ideas and insights in politics, imagine how this will progress and affect the other facets of your life if you decide to be together," he said.
Whether you decide to call it quits or pursue a romantic relationship with a person who has different political beliefs from yours, De Joya offers this nugget of wisdom when it comes to looking for love:
"If you really want to find a partner that you'll have fun with, find a partner that celebrates you but doesn't tolerate you."