Put simply, for the past month I have been seeing Ruth Skinner after an acquaintanceship of several months, following our first meeting at a Karaoke evening that Alex Hilton hosted. Apart from noting to myself that I found her attractive, I wasn't really interested and if anything I found her a bit intimidating. Ruth worked for MessageSpace at the time and certainly knew her stuff about blogs and online politics. We got in touch via Facebook and, apart from a rare chat, that was that.
Then in the New Year we found ourselves chatting and the sparks flew for both of us and as I was humming and haring about whether to ask her out, Ruth invites me on a date. Shortly afterwards our first date took place at the Texas Embassy and it was immediately clear something was going on, and before long we were boyfriend and girlfriend.
We have only been together for a month, so it's early days if nothing else, but we get along well, find we have much in common, and seem to work as a team.
There is however one political hiccup, if it is a hiccup, and it is this. Ruth is a Liberal Democrat activist.
This did involve some concern at first, advice was discreetly asked for to our respective peers and, by and large, given the circumstances it's been okay and others approve.
I know we are not alone, but how do others do it! How do you comfort each other when your Party defeats your girlfriend/boyfriend/partner's in an election, when part of you is happy at the result? How do you know where the line is drawn? As it is Ruth and I have formed some ground rules. "No campaigning against each other in the same Ward/Constituency where one of us is standing", being careful to be vague when mentioning that you went canvassing (depending on situation), being able to separate politics and emotions (so for example if Labour do brilliantly in Islington on May 7th. Political me will text my congratulations, whilst personal me will sit and listen to Ruth if any of her friends do badly and she is a bit down about it as a result, though for some silly reason she thinks it is going to be the other way round ;-) ). In any case, as Ruth has stated, we can be united in our hurt if the Tories win anywhere significant.
A number of us in party politics are not so tribal as to not have friends across the political divide, and indeed we are able to separate the personal from the political. I am sure Ruth and I will be able to do the same. Just because I admire Ruth enough to go out with her, does not mean I am any less Labour in my blood, nor that I think the Liberal Democrats will make a poor fist of things as a Party (vice versa for Ruth), plus we do like the idea of being involved in political things outside party politics, but these kind of relationships are not mentioned much and there seem to be few examples, so the immediate future may well turn out to be interesting and definetly fun :-)