You be the judge: should I have to tell my husband who I’m voting for in the general election?

<span>Illustration: Igor Bastidas/The Guardian</span>
Illustration: Igor Bastidas/The Guardian

The prosecution: Mandy

Barry is very leftwing and wants to change my views. But I have a right to keep my thoughts to myself

My husband, Barry, has strong political opinions and is very leftwing. He’s always trying to persuade me to change my views, and I don’t like it. I was brought up in a very conservative family – it’s all I knew. I don’t like being told what to think, so I try to vote in secret, which he hates.

Recently, when it came to the mayoral elections in London, he got very wound up because I wouldn’t tell him who I was voting for. The postal-vote slip was in the kitchen and he kept saying: “Have you filled that out yet?” I planned to vote at the last minute, but I wouldn’t tell him who for. He’d say: “Do you want me to fill in your postal vote for you?”, which is actually fraud. I think he was joking, but he was desperate to control my vote.

We met back in 2010 and didn’t speak about politics as much then, but now it’s an issue

If I say anything positive about the Conservative party in our house, it triggers Barry. He completely loses it. One time he said: “If you vote Conservative in the next election, I’ll divorce you.” And I think he meant it. Our middle daughter has picked up on the tension and tells me not to tell him who I’m voting for, so as to prevent an argument. Every time something happens in the news or with the NHS, Barry says: “Well, you voted for this party.” We met in 2010, and I don’t remember him being like this at the time. We didn’t speak about politics as much then, but now it’s an issue, as Barry is so passionate.

Whenever I try to say something, he knocks me down because he knows more about politics than me. It was like that with my dad, who was obsessed with politics and a Tory all his life. But I feel apathetic about voting and that it’s a waste of time. I’ve got enough to worry about, and I think that I can’t control politics in this country. I do always vote though. I don’t think the Conservatives have done a good job, and Barry and I actually agree on some things: we both voted to stay in the EU and think doctors are overworked. I kind of want Labour to get in to shut him up. But I don’t think we should discuss politics, as he gets so worked up about it.

Related: You be the judge - send us your domestic disputes

The defence: Barry

I have become so angry with this government, and I want to be able discuss it with Mandy

Mandy wouldn’t tell me who she was voting for in the local elections last month, so I thought, “Right, I’ll have to find out.” I know I go on and on about politics, but I grew up in a politically aware household where we talked politics all the time. I think families should have these discussions.

Mandy’s dad, for example, was quite far right and voted for Brexit, but always had an informed response and was very knowledgable and we often discussed our views. But Mandy doesn’t want to tell me anything.

We met in 2010, just before the coalition election, and I remember that she voted for David Cameron. We were in a new relationship then, and I didn’t debate politics with her. But, like many people, I’ve grown angrier in the past few years. Watching things go wrong with the Tories during the pandemic wound me up more than ever. It’s been such a long time since we had a Labour government, so I’m frustrated. Perhaps our views feel more polarising this time around.

We do agree on some things: the NHS, education, private schools. But these days I’m more anti-Tory than pro-Labour, although I voted for Sadiq Khan for London mayor. I always vote Labour. Mandy and I can talk through disagreements, but I could probably be better at listening and not shouting her down.

I stand by my view that people in close relationships should discuss their political leanings with each other

When Mandy defends the Tories, I always say: “Fourteen years, and look what they’ve done to this country!” I feel we’re all exhausted with how the Conservatives have run the UK. At the local elections Mandy wouldn’t give me an indication of which way she was voting, and it drove me mad. I wasn’t really going to fill in her postal vote for her – that was a joke. And so was the time I said I would divorce her if she voted Tory.

Mandy says she won’t be sharing her voting preferences with me in the upcoming general election, and I guess I will have to deal with that. But I stand by my view that people in close relationships should discuss their political leanings. It’s healthy.

The jury of Guardian readers

Should Barry cut out the politics talk?

Barry may have become overwrought with politics and seems to act in a domineering manner, but surely there’s no harm in sharing with him your decision on who you’re going to vote for? You are married after all!
Peter, 71

Barry needs to get off his political high horse. Yes, it’s healthy to share things, but his idea of sharing is shouting Mandy down. He should try a bit of gentle reverse psychology if he wants her to switch from blue to red.
Veronica, 39

Barry is guilty. It is entirely up to Mandy whether she wants to tell her husband who she’ll be voting for. However, Barry’s frustration at not being able to discuss politics with his wife is understandable. Maybe he should back off, then Mandy might feel happier about opening up.
Katie, 21

Your political views aren’t a private quirk, like your favourite ice-cream flavour, so it’s healthy to be asked to defend them. Your vote has consequences, so should be discussed publicly. However, it sounds like Barry’s tactics are a bit aggressive. Perhaps if he spoke to Mandy more gently, he’d be more likely to start a dialogue.
Simone, 44

I’m of the same political stripe as Barry and also can’t wait to get this useless lot out. Nevertheless, he needs to listen to Mandy, and not – as he admits to doing – “shout her down”. He’s bang to rights right there.
Ernesto, 59

Now you be the judge

In our online poll, tell us: should Barry cut out the politics talk?

The poll closes on Thursday 20 June at 10am BST

Last week’s result

We asked whether Johnny should do a U-turn and get an automatic car, not a manual, as Julia would like.

74% of you said Johnny is guilty – he has all the gears but no idea
26% of you said Johnny is not guilty – it’s Julia who’s got the wrong end of the stick