It’s not just global politics that Donald Trump is wreaking havoc with — now he is ruining marriages too. The President’s Counselor, Kellyanne Conway, and her husband George, a lawyer, gave an interview to The Washington Post this week where it emerged that there is a third person in their marriage — Trump.
You know how it goes, girl meets boy, boy introduces girl to influential mate to impress her, girl helps mate win an election and boy wishes he’d kept his friends to himself. The Conways have weathered 17 years of marriage and have four children but now their house is divided —will they survive the Trump presidency?
George initially supported Trump, weeping for joy when he was elected, but now that he’s really seeing what Trump stands for, he says, “I cry for other reasons”. He has become an agitator against the presidency, tweeting criticism (which has seen his follower count soar to 108,000) and writing a 3,473-word essay refuting Trump’s assertion that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation was “unconstitutional.” It’s awks when your partner doesn’t like your boss but this is an extreme case of divided loyalties.
“I feel there’s a part of him that thinks I chose Donald Trump over him,” Kellyanne told The Washington Post. “Which is ridiculous. One is my work and one is my marriage.” He calls Trump “your boss”; she corrects him: “Our President”.
It’s not just those in high office this is a problem for. When you love someone but they love Brexit, it’s toxic. Nigel Shepherd, the head of family law organisation Resolution, has said the stress of leaving the EU is adding to pressure on couples. It need not be a disaster: here’s how your relationship can survive 2018.
Channel Kellyanne and George and do not interact on Twitter. You can be as close as you like IRL but if there’s any possibility of a political clash, keep it offline. There’s no room for nuance in a tweet. Absolutely don’t reference their political views in your “content” — it’s a turn-off. If you do, use a pseudonym. And don’t tell anyone at work what their Twitter handle is.
Don’t look at who they follow — many a relationship has been rocked by the revelation that one partner gets their news from the BBC while the other is addicted to The Canary. You don’t want your relationship to go the way of the divided Labour party.
Master small talk
Having a partner with divergent political views is a liability at parties. One Remainer, whose husband voted Leave, says: “I love him but I have to keep a hawk-like eye on him at parties because if left unattended he will hold forth on trade deals and be deliberately incendiary. No one normal wants to debate EU tariffs on a Friday night.” She sticks to his side with a ready supply of small talk. When that gets exhausting, she just leaves him at home.
If you want to have an argument, get petty. It’s healthy to argue about whose turn it is to put the bins out, and easier to resolve than how Labour can deal with anti-Semitism.
Get a (separate) room
Kellyanne values independence and goes on a lot of walks to clear her head (that’s dangerous, because it leaves George with time to tweet). Time apart is of course easier in a multimillion-pound residence, with space to wedge a few works of fine art and corgis in between you and your partner’s political views.
Once they’ve alienated all your friends and your boss, you may just want to call time. Get a good divorce lawyer and restart your social life. If you haven’t been put off dating, remember this, asking someone’s political views may not be a conventional chat up line but it’s invaluable to know before falling in love.