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To those happily married to and/or in love with a non O'ist

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Guest ArenaMan

I'm just curious, for those who are (or have been) seriously romantically involved with someone whose explicit, and perhaps implicit philosophical beliefs are (slightly/heavily/any) different than your own:

-Are you happy with the other person despite your differences?

-Do you feel like you have a deep relationship that involves significantly more than physical attraction? How deep?

-What specifically do you value in your relationship and what is irrelevant or okay to overlook (and why)?

-How does the current state of your relationship compare to your expectations or hopes when you first went into it?

And for each of these, some context would be very helpful, particularly what differences you have. I think it's pretty clear that it's more or less impossible to find someone who agrees with you about everything, and that may not even be ideal, so I'd just like to see what types of experiences people have had.

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I'm just curious, for those who are (or have been) seriously romantically involved with someone whose explicit, and perhaps implicit philosophical beliefs are (slightly/heavily/any) different than your own:

-Are you happy with the other person despite your differences?

After almost 23 years I hope so! :P seriously though I just discovered Objectivism in the last year (my one year anniversary in this site was yesterday) but O'ism was not a radical departure from my political/social beliefs before I discovered the philosophy and, (oh the horror) my wife and I are and have been compatible since the start.

You would be amazed the number of people who change themselves to get "the perfect girl/guy" during courtship, or try to change their mate to be compatible with them only to end up angry/miserable and bitter when they/their spouse end up being themselves once the honeymoon is over.

-Do you feel like you have a deep relationship that involves significantly more than physical attraction? How deep?

Yes. I'm not sure how you could put a measure on that "more", suffice to say that I didn't marry a body divorced of a brain (or the other way around for that matter). My wife is wicked smart, academically she is one of the smartest people I have ever met. I balance her book smarts with a heap more world smarts which is not to say that she is overly naive, just that I see some things she doesn't.

-What specifically do you value in your relationship and what is irrelevant or okay to overlook (and why)?

I value her, her opinion (even when it is wrong B)) and I overlook the more statist outlook she sometimes professes. For example she has a tendency to believe that the government "should do" "X", "Y" or "Z", she has no problem with government owned roads, schools and all the other "normal" trappings of the welfare state.

We always make our point known, and give our views but we both know that the other is not going to fundamentally change and neither of us is so wrapped up in minutiae that we will fight about a hypothetical situation or an ideal political solution.

-How does the current state of your relationship compare to your expectations or hopes when you first went into it?

Very well. I expected to love my wife as much today as I did when we got married and I do.

And for each of these, some context would be very helpful, particularly what differences you have. I think it's pretty clear that it's more or less impossible to find someone who agrees with you about everything, and that may not even be ideal, so I'd just like to see what types of experiences people have had.

Marriage isn't about being with someone who is a carbon copy of yourself. People who think that they will never fight, disagree or argue are smoking rope.

I think that being married is a lot of work, there has to be give and take. Fundamentally my wife and I are compatible, we have our differences but the initial choice we each made has stood the test of time and neither of us appears to have painted a picture at the outset that would constitute a fraud upon closer inspection, so, basically I'm good to go!

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-Are you happy with the other person despite your differences?

-Do you feel like you have a deep relationship that involves significantly more than physical attraction? How deep?

-What specifically do you value in your relationship and what is irrelevant or okay to overlook (and why)?

-How does the current state of your relationship compare to your expectations or hopes when you first went into it?

I just recently celebrated my first anniversary with someone who is not an O'ist and I will offer that up as additional proof that objectivists can find love outside of objectivism. He has never read any Ayn Rand, or any philosophy for that matter and in most cases I would be troubled by that but his actions, his values and convictions more than make up for that lack. There are definitely certain types of non-objectivists that I would never be happy with: an evangelical Christian, for example. I think I would really struggle with anyone who was devoted to a religion... but my boyfriend is not: he just as much a skeptic as I am in that regard. He may not be an Objectivist, but he definitely puts existence before consciousness, and I respect that. He also pursues what he wants with extreme passion... and I really love that! I think the fact that we both pursue what we want passioantely is what attracted us to each other in the first place (we met online, so our attraction began by reading each others profiles: profiles which summed up what we saught to achieve in life). Whether or not we can sit down and have a discussion about the Fountainhead really doesn't matter to me. We have mutual interests, they are just in areas other than explicit philosophy. But his actions show me what his philosophy is at is core, and his actions therefore compel me to love him. For example, he is passionate about modern design. When I watch him plan out a clients entire home my toes curl in my shoes it is such an exquisite feeling. He tells me he feels the same when he is watching me paint or interact with children. He acts in an objectivist way... even though he's never been exposed to it aside from me bringing it up from time to time.

We do have one area of contention, politics, but we both have learned to laugh at our differences more than anything. He calls me stubborn and pessimistic, and I call him naive and ignorant. Not really :P , but we do tease each other. I amsympathetic to his cause: I too use to have liberal leanings before I knew any better. He may come away from those leanings, he may not. As long as he does not degrade me for my opinions and does not try to force his upon me, I am not bothered by his political thinking. He is not openly statist or anything like that; he just has a hard time seeing how "good things" may have a bad impact. He can't see as many implications as I can, in other words, but thats okay. Listening to him try and justify his position forces me to think through my own once more in a fun Socratic type of way. Other than politics, however, we have many of the same interests and have introduced many of our interests to each other: he taught me to snowboard, I taught him to dance. He introduced me to modern design (and the LC4 recliner chair which I would live in if I could) and I introduced him to INdian food. We both value and pursue education ardently, and we enjoy teaching each other what we know. He teaches me about geology and minimalist design, and I teach him about the Founding Fathers and law (and insurance and roth IRAs, which bores him to death!). I also teach him how to teach. He teaches snowboarding to kids one day a week, and I teach him all I know from my Montessori experience.

What is important then, to bind an O'ist with a non-O'ist in a happy relationship, is that your highest values must still correlate and you must share some interests. That's what is necessary for any happy relationship, in fact, whether Objectivists are involved are not. This allows you to know that the person you are with sees in you what you value most about yourself, and likewise you see in them and love them for those things that they most value about themselves. Reciprocity in values leads to reciprocity in attraction and mutual happiness. I love being loved for what I love about myself. I tease him and tell him I would love him more if he joined me in my political stubbornness, but he knows I am just teasing. The fact that he knows I am teasing proves to me that he understands what my values are and what order they take in my life... and that thought alone gives me goosebumps.

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  • 2 months later...
-Are you happy with the other person despite your differences?

Yes. She's a lot of fun to talk to and be together with.

-Do you feel like you have a deep relationship that involves significantly more than physical attraction? How deep?

Yes I do. Although we have met only 6 months ago, I feel something more than just a physical attraction to her.

-What specifically do you value in your relationship and what is irrelevant or okay to overlook (and why)?

We have some differences. She believes in fate and can't understand what selfishness actually is, but that's ok by me.

-How does the current state of your relationship compare to your expectations or hopes when you first went into it?

It is well over my expectations. She is an independent, clever and beautiful girl I spent hours a day talking with. We always find something new to talk and do together.

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  • 6 months later...
What is important then, to bind an O'ist with a non-O'ist in a happy relationship, is that your highest values must still correlate and you must share some interests. That's what is necessary for any happy relationship, in fact, whether Objectivists are involved are not. This allows you to know that the person you are with sees in you what you value most about yourself, and likewise you see in them and love them for those things that they most value about themselves. Reciprocity in values leads to reciprocity in attraction and mutual happiness. I love being loved for what I love about myself. I tease him and tell him I would love him more if he joined me in my political stubbornness, but he knows I am just teasing. The fact that he knows I am teasing proves to me that he understands what my values are and what order they take in my life... and that thought alone gives me goosebumps.

I could easily have written this about my relationship. It's actually rather frightening how true this is for me. I'm in a relationship with a woman who is not explicitly Objectivist, but her philosophy is obvious when you see how she works, how she thinks. We've found that we both love each other for the values that we each love about ourselves.

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I'm just curious, for those who are (or have been) seriously romantically involved with someone whose explicit, and perhaps implicit philosophical beliefs are (slightly/heavily/any) different than your own...

This is much harder to answer when one does not define terms correctly.

If you stick with "Objectivist" meaning one who agrees with and lives by the essential/fundamental principles of Objectivism, then I hold that an Objectivist can not be happily married to a non-Obj.

I known people who tried, but only through evasion did they last together beyond the time it took them to know each others principles and values.

Edited by TLD
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This is much harder to answer when one does not define terms correctly.

If you stick with "Objectivist" meaning one who agrees with and lives by the essential/fundamental principles of Objectivism, then I hold that an Objectivist can not be happily married to a non-Obj.

I don't think an Objectivist could be happily married to a person who wasn't fundamentally rational and value-oriented. Irrationality, mysticism and altruism are too psychologically pervasive -- they touch everything, and couldn't be compartmentalized. But not everybody who is rational and value-oriented is an Objectivist.

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I don't think an Objectivist could be happily married to a person who wasn't fundamentally rational and value-oriented. Irrationality, mysticism and altruism are too psychologically pervasive -- they touch everything, and couldn't be compartmentalized. But not everybody who is rational and value-oriented is an Objectivist.

Yes, but it's your sense of life, the values you uphold implicitly and, hopefully, explicitly that matter. I don't care if my wife doesn't openly declares herself an Objectivist. What matters is that she's rational, about her life and work and the philosophy that guides her.

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