This has been a tough week for many of America's couples.

Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images.

As President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take over the White House, interracial couples are afraid to go out in public for fear of physical or verbal assault. Gay couples are afraid their marriages might soon be disqualified by the Supreme Court.


But there's another kind of couple also battling fear and resentment right now: Couples where the two partners voted differently. Perhaps it was one for Trump, one for Clinton. Perhaps one member of the partnership didn't vote at all.

Whatever the reason, this new hurdle is threatening to rip many relationships apart.

"I've never seen this before," said Susan Falcon, a couples counselor of 25 years based in New Orleans. "Every four years there's an election, and sometimes the spouses might bicker about it, but I've never seen anything like this."

Some couples are turning to therapy (Falcon said she did, in fact, take on a few new clients this week for this very reason). Some are trying to find their own way through. Others are throwing in the towel altogether.

The question is, how can couples like these put their political differences aside for the sake of their relationship? Or can they at all? Here's what Falcon is telling her clients.

1. First, remember the person you fell in love with.

Photo by Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images.

Falcon, who sees an extremely diverse set of clients, said the most common scenario she's faced is a husband who voted for Trump and a wife who voted for Clinton.

"What's happening now is the Hillary spouse is really grieving. And afraid. And angry," she said. "And the Trump spouse feels that that's ridiculous, that that's a huge overreaction."

This fundamental disagreement can lead to the "Hillary spouse" seeing their partner, for the first time, as a racist and a misogynist. They might be this way, but there's also a chance that they aren't. So Falcon says her first and most important job is to get the partners, both of them, to reflect on each other and what made them fall in love in the first place; whether that's taking turns telling the story of their first date or swapping genuine compliments.

"If [she] wants to think Trump is Satan, she can have that," Falcon said. "But I try to get her to remember who she married."

2. Hillary voters: Remind yourself that your spouse is not, in fact, Donald Trump.

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

Falcon doubled down on this point. She says it's the key to not just getting past these election results as a couple, but in maintaining a healthy bond throughout the Trump presidency.

"I try to nail that down so that, going forward, everything Trump does will not feel like their partner's responsibility," she said. In other words, despite this being hard to digest: Just because someone voted for Trump doesn't mean they've endorsed all of his future actions.

Election Day and the inauguration after that are only the beginning of a four-year conversation.

3. Trump voters: Now is not the time to gloat. It is the time to comfort your spouse because they are experiencing real grief.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

To those on the "victorious side," the response to this election may seem melodramatic. But Falcon reminds us that Clinton supporters are actually in a legitimate, and deep, state of mourning.

In fact, Falcon said she actually talks to her clients about the stages of grief. (You know: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance.)

"I try to get the Trump spouse to understand the emotions of the Hillary spouse and to assume that she would have been loving and supportive toward them had Hillary won," she said.

4. But to both people, Falcon says listening is key. Really listening.

Here's an exercise you can try:

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

In order to civilly "agree to disagree," you have to properly understand each other's position. Falcon recommends an exercise in which each partner takes turns "interviewing" the other about their views or support for their candidate.

There's just one catch: No arguing.

"The spouse asking the questions, their job is only to listen, take notes, reflect on what they're saying," Falcon said. "I don't let them argue or try to convince their spouse otherwise. I just want them to listen quietly and just leave it at that."

She admits this is a little easier in the presence of a neutral third party, so enlist one if you can.

5. And in the end, remember that, even if it feels like it, this is probably not the actual end of the world.

Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images.

A Trump presidency may mean really bad things for a lot of people. That much cannot be swept under the rug. But there will also be a lot of good people fighting for what's right. For that reason, at least, the world is not likely to come to an actual end.

"I'm older than a lot of my clients, so I try to give them some perspective," Falcon said. She talked about the first time she voted, when she was a 19-year-old student at Louisiana State University. She had friends who died in the Vietnam War, leading her to protest heavily. So when she watched Richard Nixon win the presidency on a small portable TV, she was devastated.

"I really believed, at 19, that it was the end of the world, but it wasn't," she said. "It wasn't the end of the world."

Getting through a major difference in world views, like the one Trump's election has presented, will take hard work from both partners.

It's not about the Clinton voter "getting over it" or the Trump voter constantly apologizing for the behavior of his candidate. It's about coming together and reuniting over common ground, over the things that made you fall in love in the first place.

And in the end, Falcon just wants couples to make one simple decision:

"Trump may damage our country," she says. "But it's up to you if you let him damage your marriage."

Joy

Man uses TikTok to offer 'dinner with dad' to any kid that needs one, even adult ones

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud.

Come for the food, stay for the wholesomeness.

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud. His TikTok channel is dedicated to giving people intimate conversations they might long to have with their own father, but can’t. The most popular is his “Dinner With Dad” segment.

The concept is simple: Clayton, aka Dad, always sets down two plates of food. He always tells you what’s for dinner. He always blesses the food. He always checks in with how you’re doing.

I stress the stability here, because as someone who grew up with a less-than-stable relationship with their parents, it stood out immediately. I found myself breathing a sigh of relief at Clayton’s consistency. I also noticed the immediate emotional connection created just by being asked, “How was your day?” According to relationship coach and couples counselor Don Olund, these two elements—stability and connection—are fundamental cravings that children have of their parents. Perhaps we never really stop needing it from them.


Keep Reading Show less

Alberto Cartuccia Cingolani wows audiences with his amazing musical talents.

Mozart was known for his musical talent at a young age, playing the harpsichord at age 4 and writing original compositions at age 5. So perhaps it's fitting that a video of 5-year-old piano prodigy Alberto Cartuccia Cingolani playing Mozart has gone viral as people marvel at his musical abilities.

Alberto's legs can't even reach the pedals, but that doesn't stop his little hands from flying expertly over the keys as incredible music pours out of the piano at the 10th International Musical Competition "Città di Penne" in Italy. Even if you've seen young musicians play impressively, it's hard not to have your jaw drop at this one. Sometimes a kid comes along who just clearly has a gift.

Of course, that gift has been helped along by two professional musician parents. But no amount of teaching can create an ability like this.

Keep Reading Show less

TikTok about '80s childhood is a total Gen X flashback.

As a Gen X parent, it's weird to try to describe my childhood to my kids. We're the generation that didn't grow up with the internet or cell phones, yet are raising kids who have never known a world without them. That difference alone is enough to make our 1980s childhoods feel like a completely different planet, but there are other differences too that often get overlooked.

How do you explain the transition from the brown and orange aesthetic of the '70s to the dusty rose and forest green carpeting of the '80s if you didn't experience it? When I tell my kids there were smoking sections in restaurants and airplanes and ashtrays everywhere, they look horrified (and rightfully so—what were we thinking?!). The fact that we went places with our friends with no quick way to get ahold of our parents? Unbelievable.

One day I described the process of listening to the radio, waiting for my favorite song to come on so I could record it on my tape recorder, and how mad I would get when the deejay talked through the intro of the song until the lyrics started. My Spotify-spoiled kids didn't even understand half of the words I said.

And '80s hair? With the feathered bangs and the terrible perms and the crunchy hair spray? What, why and how?

Keep Reading Show less