For some married couples, politics has come up more than ever this election season, with split-vote homes making the news over their inability to compromise.
According to Ashley Madison, a dating site designed for people to have affairs, more people are joining the site than in years past because of pandemic-related stress. The presidential election is just another strain.
Insider spoke to two Ashley Madison members about how politics and the 2020 election have played into their affairs. Both members asked to use pseudonyms to protect their privacy.
Nikki, a 39-year-old who has worked on large political campaigns for the Democratic Party, started with a rotation of over seven men when she joined Ashley Madison in September 2019.
While she didn't begin seeing affair partners because of political differences with her husband, their disagreements over the state of the world haven't helped.
Nikki said the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests and discussions on reproductive justice in the Supreme Court have prompted difficult conversations in their home.
"He typically votes Democrat. However, on issues that that matter to me, like systemic racism, social injustice, things like that, he is far more relaxed about it than I am," Nikki told Insider.
"I don't want to fight with him over it, but I also don't feel like I can have these thought-provoking, intellectually high-level conversations with him about it, because I know he's not at that level."
Rather than breaking up her marriage of 10 years, Nikki has started seeing men on the side who have more similar politics.
Typically the men she sees are Democrats, and some have even been political consultants themselves.
"I want to be able to kind of have an admiration and respect feeling for these men because I want to learn from them," Nikki said. "I want to enjoy the conversation. That literally turns me on."
Janine's marriage of 21 years couldn't be more amicable. She and her husband, both in their 50s, have been best friends for decades and share the same liberal politics.
There's just one issue. Janine and her husband haven't had sex or slept in the same bed in years.
"My libido increased and his completely decreased," Janine told Insider. "So we were not a match sexually anymore, but the marriage was good in other ways. We went to therapy and I said I can't go the rest of my life without sex."
Rather than break up their marriage, Janine finds "surrogates" for her sex life who are "hot, nice, and Republican."
Janine started using Ashley Madison in June, quickly realizing the best way to avoid romantic feelings was to look for people with different politics.
"My concern about sleeping with someone else was that I would get emotionally involved, and I told myself what I really need is someone who's hot, nice, and Republican because I would very easily be able to put up that wall and not get emotionally connected," Janine said.
She told Insider she has vetted out Trump supporters, but has otherwise enjoyed the casual nature of her dates with conservative men.
"I've worked on [political] campaigns, so leading up to the election was very stressful," Janine said. "I guess you could say this was a great outlet to relieving stress."
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