Beginning my freshman year at the University of Florida, I was definitely nervous about moving to the South after living in New York all of my life. My hometown friends refused to comprehend how great of a school UF is, as it’s filled with “gun-loving, Bible thumping, yee-haw” white people who use the word “y’all” at least twice in every sentence. Thankfully, I can say that most southerners are not this way, but that doesn’t mean I steered clear of the conservatives I easily avoided when I lived back in a state that always went Blue after an election.
During my first week in Gainesville, I found a group of girl friends, I had a simple fall schedule and I already met a boy.
Picture this: It’s the Friday night after classes started. I’m at my first college frat party with the great friends I met just four days ago, and I see him. After talking for a bit, I make the bold move to kiss him. Wow, my first kiss with a Florida boy. Fast forward a few weeks, and one day he and his friend come over to my dorm room to hang out. The friend asks my opinion on the Nike–Colin Kaepernick scandal. I take this opportunity to stick up for what I believe in. “I applaud Nike. I think it’s amazing that the company is encouraging their audience to fight for their beliefs.” “Ooooh, I don’t know about that one,” the boy responds, then ends the conversation like that. I was taken aback, and I began wondering if my previous worries about all southern men being die-hard Republicans were accurate.
As time progresses and I get closer with these guys, I look through their social media accounts to notice they follow “@FoxNews” and “@RealDonaldTrump”, supplemented with photographs of themselves at a Trump Rally and videos of shooting guns. While I didn’t agree at all with what these people believe in, I can respect their opinions. I have always been focused on my personal values and beliefs and I would hate when people tried to argue with me or attempt to prove me wrong. While I came into many disagreements with my boyfriend’s (yes, I still wanted to date him after knowing his views) best friend, my boyfriend himself managed to remain silent on political matters as to not upset me.
Skip ahead 4 months to the start of spring semester.
The time we spent together was the happiest I’ve ever been. He was so loyal and would have done anything for me. Prior to this relationship, I was always terrified of commitment. Once I met him, all of my worries disappeared. It was so easy. What are the chances I could fall deeply in love with the first boy I met in college? Crazy, right? Apparently that was too crazy for him to believe, as he turned around and dumped me out of nowhere, with no disagreements leading up to it. He told me it was because we were too different. Different? Yes, we are. But opposites attract though, right? We never even fought, how can our relationship be over based on differences that I practically forgot existed? That’s the only explanation I was given. This boy, who I truly believed was the love of my life, broke up with me because I am a Democratic vegetarian who doesn’t go to church every Sunday. That’s really why. I fell in love so easily—I didn’t worry about the stereotypes, but this situation played out just as anyone could have predicted. My northern friends warned me about talking to a conservative, and I ignored them.
I had no problem with dating outside of my party, but he did.
I really tried my best not to let politics interfere with my relationship. I am headstrong when it comes to my beliefs, and I would never change my values for any boy; that shouldn’t have to factor into dating. Now I sit here broken-hearted because I’m not “marriage-material” for a 19 year old Christian Southern boy. I have fallen off my high of the first semester-living on my own excitement, and I’m obligated to worry about who I can trust in the future. Will I ever be able to date a Florida man again? Unlikely. Are there any men who don’t care enough about politics to let it factor into our relationship? That depends. Am I going to get through this break up? Only time can tell.