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A complicated romance issue

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Hello all. I’ve read through some things on this forum before, but as you can see, this is my first time actually posting. I have what I consider to be a very serious problem on my hands which I will get to explaining momentarily and why I found a strong reason to come post about it here. Before I explain though, let me preface with a little bit of context here. First of all, though I’ve been exposed to the philosophy of Objectivism for several years now, I still consider myself very much to be learning and that I’ve got a lot to go before I’ve really got a good grip on it even though I know most of the general basics by now. Because I’m still learning so much, I may make what seem to many of you to be an obvious error here or there yet not have a clue about it. If such a thing seems to happen, I would greatly appreciate patience and your understanding that I do not mean to be unreasonable or just refuse to think or understand something, but just that especially if I haven’t heard much before about a particular topic in detail, while it is so unfamiliar to me still I may be slow to catch on and sort out exactly what you mean sometimes, especially sometimes just a particular phrasing of something may be what is confusing me more than the idea itself. So, with that in mind, I appreciate any attempts to help me with my problem. I expect this may seem like an easy thing to answer to many people, but before I come to understand fully, it may take at least a few tries from me asking more questions, for more clarifications or rephrasing.

Here is my issue. A little over two and a half years ago when I was still very new to Objectivism, having just gotten to read The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged around half a year ago, I met somebody at college. Or more precisely, they met me technically. This person had noticed me around the campus before and that I seemed to be the sort of person they liked. He approached me one day and we immediately got to speaking about all kinds of things about ourselves in an almost interview-like fashion. We got along right away and were friends quickly. It was very shortly thereafter he asked to date me. Now, from what I knew of him, he was unfamiliar with Objectivism, but had already many ideas in common with the philosophy and was at least generally reasonable and I thought it was likely that if he was made familiar with the philosophy and had a chance to discuss it some and ask some questions he most likely would find he would agree with it. I know there seems to be at least a number of people around who do not think they need for the people they are romantically involved with to be fellow supporters of Objectivism in order to love them, but for me at least, I do not think it is just optional for me in being able to romantically love somebody. Normally, I would have told this person that we should just stay friends for a while longer until we got the reading and discussing done for me to get to for sure seeing if I was right about them and the philosophy. The problem here was that from what I’d already learned of this person, they had a long history of many others he had been interested in in the past telling him they should be friends for a while longer while they would make up their minds only for it to just turn into them stringing him along with no end in sight and no evident advances in them deciding that they were indeed interested in actually going forward and becoming romantically involved with him. He just ended up going through long spans of painful wastes of time and effort. Although I really was serious in my interest in him here and knew what would need to take place for me to be able to know if I could love him and stay with him thus making myself and my case different from those other people, though we had spoken of many things in the brief time we’d known each other, it still hadn’t been enough to really convincingly show how I would not turn out to be a case like them. Additionally, this was this person’s senior year, they wouldn’t be at the college much longer and it was expected he would be moving away right after graduation. Because of these things, I expected that if I tried to say that I wanted to just stay friends for a while longer, it would be taken as me just being like so many others who had also seemed like good people at first and so he would give it up as a lost cause and figure it was better to move on to see if he could find better, more promising possibilities and not much longer after he would be totally gone and I’d never even hear from him again in spite of the fact that I knew we were both very interested in each other and were both serious and didn’t want it to end up that way. So, especially being rather new to things at the time and not always having the easiest time figuring things out (example: it was back at around that same time I was still taken in by the arguments for enforcing “net neutrality” as if they were actually pro-capitalist, something I have long since realized isn’t so, but just some reference of how prone to being mislead and such I was at the time), I was confused and worried and a bit panicked about what I should do. My normal answer of what should be done - just be friends until you’ve settled the issue - was a non-option and I expected for reasons I really couldn’t see as being wrong on his part (assuming with how much seemed the same and how little would seem different that I was just yet another case of somebody who would just lead him on and nothing more) that it was so, and me not having done anything wrong to cause this situation either. Neither of us seemed to be doing anything wrong, yet here we would be losing what could be the best of people for each other anyway. I wouldn’t even expect him to want to speak to me in the future even if we did come across each other if he left me after I gave him the line about being friends (even if I did explain why I wanted to be friends and how long it was expected to take - after all, not only is pretty much every other philosophy out there corrupt and full of arbitrary nonsense thus making it hard to convince anybody not already familiar with the philosophy that This Time It’s Different and Worth It, but also I thought coming along with the friends thing it may just seem like an excuse.)

So, in what seemed like a very difficult and foggy situation for me on what I should do, I finally in what short time I had to consider it concluded that I would go ahead and agree to date him then and introduce him to myself and how I was serious and different from past cases and introduce him to the philosophy when we got a good chance to get to it. I made it clear right away pretty much that this was the case. I let him know I cared for him very, very much, but that there was something we’d need to settle ideologically before I could really be able to love him and know if I could seriously stay with him permanently. So over two and a half years this was the reasoning I’d been going on. We got to know and interact with each other a lot more and grew very close, but things have typically been very busy and we never got around yet to seriously getting into the philosophy as a whole, though we have discussed our positions on specific instances and topics plenty and there was an effort made for a while to read some other books I recommended reading first before getting into Rand (the list was done this way as it was the order I read them in and part of the deal was wanting to get to know and understand me and my development ideologically too.) Also complicating the issue has been that there is one particular issue which he believes there are strong reasons he can’t just outright tell me about, though not for lack of trust in me, trying to misrepresent who he is by keeping negative information about himself from me or anything bad like that. Because I lack access to this aspect of who he is and I also haven’t gotten to really go over the philosophy with him, I’m not able to be so sure about exactly how reasonable or not he is as far as the content of that secret stuff goes, though it is technically possible both that I could eventually find out what that secret information is and/or finish discussing the philosophy with him and thus finally be able to fully finish making an overall judgment of him as a complete person. So, two and a half years this hasn’t been accomplished yet though we have gotten to know each other better and grown close while operating on a decision I made in a bit of what seemed like murky conditions to me morally when I was confused and panicked and didn’t yet have the best of understanding of the philosophy to be sure.

I’ve been running on that reasoning ever since and having not yet figured out a better answer been ok with the old conclusion until recently I was discussing my relationship with the only other person I have really known so far who is familiar with Objectivism and admittedly, I think they still may be more familiar with the philosophy than I am. Right now I’ve still only read Rand’s fiction and numerous free online resources like excerpts from the Ayn Rand Lexicon online and things from the ARI website and I’m presently halfway through OPAR, but haven’t read any of the other non-fiction books by Rand like this other person I have been speaking with who has along with having read all of OPAR before and having been familiar with and working on learning the philosophy for at least a few years more than me it seems. So, seeing as they may know more about this than I do and that they generally have had good judgment in my experience with them, when this person raised objections to how I’ve carried on my relationship, I decided it was worth at least giving the issue more consideration again. My first effort was to try to tell my mate that after two and a half years and all his experience with me that I hoped by now he could see I was indeed different from those others and that I was serious about my interest in him and so now I was proposing to (with the full intention of this being temporary, probably not too long even) separate from being romantic partners for the time being while he would take care of getting to the readings and at any point during this he was free and even encouraged to go ahead and ask me questions about it and I would answer to the best of my ability and/or point him to places answers could be found. This suggestion though I quickly found out after I made it had problems.

To begin with, past experiences he has had make it so that trying for any significant amount of time to be “just friends” now or something similar would not only be excruciatingly painful, it could even be very dangerous in his present condition to his psychological well being and in turn consequently his physical well being and that of other people perhaps too if it was tried. (Though it hasn’t been directly stated, I strongly suspect if other people were to start getting hurt from this I would be a very likely person to be hurt.) He is *not dangerous* in any way right now at all, it is something that would *become* a dangerous situation if we tried to do this how I had originally proposed. He’s told me that the kinds of changes to his way of thinking that would be required for this are where the trouble would come from. (More specific details of how and why this is have been given to me, but it involves private information which I consider to be up to him to decides who is and who is not told.) He would definitely be willing to do the reading with me, he already had agreed to before, just we hadn’t gotten to it yet. The problem comes in doing the reading apart. He tells me he knows how to handle complete breakups already though and that those don’t pose any especially high problem in spite of how much that is painful too though. Furthermore, if we did completely break up now, he would be open to maybe if some time in the future I wanted to try to date him again possibly doing so, but when he breaks up with somebody, he has to completely cut them from his life essentially, meaning he couldn’t do the reading even later without me because that could lead to some of the same complications as trying to do it under the expected “temporary separation” situation. And if the readings still weren’t done, then the things over which I had separated from him still haven’t changed and I can’t try to even in the future be with him again. The kinds of psychological issues involved here that prevent safe reading while not dating each other are indeed an area of not being totally rational in how he has ended up coping with these past experiences, however they are one of the things which I think could easily be corrected if he did do the reading. But if he tried to do the reading apart from me he doesn’t think he’d be able to even get far enough into them to solve the problems before the problems set in and he would never end up finishing the reading anyway in addition to now have large problems on his hands and possibly who knows who else’s hands either.

Speaking with the other person I know who is familiar with Objectivism they suggested trying to get him to go to therapy while doing this as a sort of preventative measure, to try to handle it and prevent it while the reading is being done apart from me, make it work that way. It was good thinking I thought, but I must say in case anybody else was considering suggesting something like that, already knew it wouldn’t work due to the fact that this guy has a very, very busy work schedule and no funds available to afford such either. Additionally, by the time he maybe could get time and money to do so, I think by then it will be too late. There is not very long the current state I am in with him can go on as it is, a sort of murky point where just exactly what we are to each other right now is hard to say exactly.

The specific objection that came from the person I’d been speaking with about how I’d been going about my relationship were the claim that in spite of the fact that I made very clear what my actual feelings were and why, it was still dishonest to be in a relationship at all with him if I didn’t yet love him, regardless of other circumstances and even if that really was the ONLY way I might ever get to love him and have a truly unquestionably legitimate relationship with him. I believe the argument has been something along the lines of in spite of what I’ve said about caring a great amount but not quite yet loving the person I’ve been dating, I’m lying in my actions still anyway. It seems this person says even under these or any other circumstances for an adult it is not legitimate to be in a romantic relationship for any amount of time, even temporarily and even if the only way in order to get to love, for anything less than love. As for the complications that arose with me trying to temporarily separate now, I was told to hurry up and get to the section on independence in chapter 8 of OPAR and I did, but reading that section it seemed that what was spoken of was about not taking what other people claim just on faith, having your mind just leech off whatever somebody else concludes by whatever manner they conclude it and instead working to grasp information with your own mind. So, that didn’t seem to settle the issue now for me either. I have discussed this quite a lot as best as I could with both of the other people I’ve mentioned here and not been able yet to really be sure about this whole issue and come to a solid conclusion on what is the rational course here and why that is and how exactly this is to be determined and why. So, because the discussion with them didn’t seem to be getting me much further in my understanding I’m asking here now in hopes maybe somebody else who knows the philosophy will have something to say about this which will help me see things more clearly.

I apologize for the lengthiness of this message, I’ve never been very good at being concise. This is actually the condensed version too. Anything else I’ll try to answer as and if need for the information arises. I appreciate if you took the time to read this all.

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Hi - welcome to the Forum.

I'm finding it difficult to make myself read through your entire post. Your writing style is convoluted at best and the length doesn't help, so I skimmed for essential facts.

Here's what I've gleamed:

Your situation is that you've spent more than two years deciding whether to be in a relationship with a man, because he hasn't set aside time to study Objectivism? You can't commit because of philosophical differences?

If that's the basic problem let us know (in a composition of less than 10,000 words).

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The main reason you seem to be having trouble is that you're making this a lot more complicated than it needs to be.

Firstly, agreeing to date because you're worried that he'll think you're stringing him along? It's not *your* job to adjust yourself to fit his feelings and personal situation. If he finds he can't trust you because of his personal past even though you give evidence of being honest instead of another manipulator, that is *his* business. You can't take care of or fix his emotional problems. He has to do that himself. All you can do is be honest, even if it looks dicey.

Secondly, are you sexually involved with this fellow?

Thirdly, trying to be "just friends" after a romantic relationship kills the romantic relationship dead. Either you'll find it impossible to be friends and fall back into the relationship almost immediately, or you'll split up entirely.

Fourthly, romance is based more upon implicitly-held values (sense of life) than on explicitly-held values. So your obsession with him reading the right books and following your ideological development is silly. Your focus should be on being honest and letting the chips fall where they may. Maybe he'll become genuinely interested in Objectivism and you can study it together. Maybe he won't and you'll share other things. Maybe he'll find he's absolutely opposed to something that's very important to you and you can break it off without rancor. What he does should be up to him.

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Part of the point of having a relationship, rather than getting married right away and promising to spend your entire life with someone, is to learn more about that person. Some couples learn enough about each other to make that major commitment in only a few months, others take many years. One can remain in the learning stage while still maintaining a healthy relationship, and if you are honest with your partner I don't see any harm in that. (Although others may disagree with me here.) I have never been able to love someone without trying the 'friends' stage first, and then dating for a while. I have been in love with three people overall, and the first two relationships were broken off amicably and for good reasons. I was friends with my current boyfriend for several months before we dated, and we dated for several months before I realized I loved him. Besides that, one can never learn everything about one's partner; you will constantly learn more about him.

Also, I'd like to echo JMeganSnow here: his implicitly-held philosophy matters far more than his explicitly-held one. He could, for example, read all the right books with you, agree with everything, and say he's Objectivist, but without holding that philosophy implicitly as well, it means nothing. You said he agrees with you on important issues, and that for two and a half years you apparently haven't found much disagreement between his implicitly held views and your own. Perhaps he already is an Objectivist without having read the literature. Take my fiance, for example: he doesn't like to read, and so I do not expect him to *ever* read Atlas, much less any of Ayn Rand's nonfiction. However, he is capitalist, intelligent (and rational!), hard working, ambitious, honest, and a myriad of other virtues I value. I don't need to make him read Atlas to know that I love him, and trying to push him to do so would probably drive him away, since by not respecting his personal choices I would show that I don't respect him. It's his choice to read it or not, and it's my choice to stay with him or not. We're both happy where we are now.

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Thank you for the replies so far. :wub:

First, I'm aware my writing is difficult for many people and I'm sorry if it gives anybody any problems. I don't mean to be confusing and a pain to read, but I have a hard time frequently figuring out how not to be so in my writing as I think much like I write and often even find I have a harder time following other people's writing styles. I have no idea where or how I'd even begin to try to fix this. But, that is another issue entirely. I'll try to clarify things where need be.

The short version you gave of my issue from skimming, Myself, is not entirely wrong I suppose in a way, but not exactly right either. My post was so long because I am not sure how to explain it shortly, not without missing things I consider to be crucial pieces of information. A general, vague summary is something along the lines of relationship questions where I'm not sure, due to many unusual factors of this specific case and my own perhaps insufficiently advanced knowledge and comprehension thus far of Objectivism, if I could morally be in a relationship with this person I care about anymore, if I ever could have, if I ever will be able to morally be with them again (and I'm only willing to be with them under the conditions of being pretty sure at least that what I am doing in being with them is moral, I have no intention of just deciding "Ah, screw it!" and going after them regardless of if it were irrational to do so.) One of the things that bugs me about this is it seems almost paradoxical that I could perhaps have gotten into this relationship under murky circumstances and maybe made a wrong conclusion, but as long as I was under that conclusion and went on with it things could eventually become fully legitimate, however if I learn sooner that I made an incorrect assessment, then the result is that I could never have a legitimate relationship with somebody I am quite convinced is a very good person who I do value very much and it was not wrong doing on their part that lead to the kinds of complications here which would be keeping us apart. This isn't even a case where it would be as if we had done bad things and now we've just got to swallow our unpleasant medicine.

By the way, I used word count, that first post is actually about 3,000 words. Haha . . . No wonder it took so long to write.

Next, actually until this kind of issue came up, he had actually come to trust me very, very much. When this started though, we were still pretty new to each other. There had been enough time to tell many important things, but not enough yet to do much serious trust building.

Sexual involvement? If it has significance, I don't have a problem with answering, but I'm not sure what the significance of that is here. Could you perhaps inform me in what way this impacts the concern I raised in the first post?

That third thing you mentioned I've heard plenty before, I had only brought up that possibility as more meaning that I didn't plan to totally abandon this person while he was doing the reading. I would be around as much or as little as he wanted during that time was my plan, whatever helped most in getting that to be successful. I had hoped these special circumstances - that it was known to be intended to only be temporary and we could get an idea too about how long it would last based on the progress in the reading and discussion of the philosophy. This though by now has proven to be more troublesome of a suggestion than I had expected.

I do realize the importance of the implicit here, but part of the difficulty is that this particular area of secret he has that I mentioned seems suspicious though I don't quite know the exact content and how long it would be, if ever, before I could find out precisely what it is, I don't know. (Though he himself does want to find good conditions for telling me too, it isn't that he strongly wants me to just never find out.) Largely due to this, I can't really just judge every specific thing about him to assess his whole person, so I wanted to see if I could be certain of the basic framework of how he approaches things being overall rational (as opposed to being perhaps seemingly rational in most things, but ultimately caving to emotional type ways of going about things by having some areas where reason may be cast aside) because if I could then I wouldn't find that secret stuff much of a concern anymore if he still had it because I would be overall convinced that he would be being rational even in this area, on principle, even if I didn't know exactly what that secret stuff was about. And also, he is still free to do as he will, I am not forcing him to do the readings, he agreed to long ago even if nothing else to help understand things about me better.

Third, well, this does bring up another small complication I didn't know if it would be relevant or not. I hope this won't get the topic drawn far off course discussing this, but I do not have plans or even a desire to ever enter an actual legal marriage contract for various reasons (and no, "fear of commitment" is not one of them just in case anybody was thinking of that. ;) ) The person I've spoke of knows this and has no problems with this at all. Due to this though, there isn't really exactly some divide of dating versus marriage for me, I take from the time I start sort of "officially" being in a romantic relationship with somebody to be quite serious already. This is part of why for me I normally have higher standards than just a fair amount of mutual attraction before I even begin to be romantically involved with somebody. I think usually I wouldn't want to even move past friends before I loved somebody and was in fact convinced I most likely would want to stay with them for life (and them convinced of the same for me. If it is significant, this other person did already love me though since we've started being in a relationship. I have not had any such complicating issues as secrets that may or may not ever be fully exposed, though the information of the exact philosophy I support has been slow going on getting conveyed due to busy schedules and such.)

I do realize we don't need to know EVERY detail about each other, haha. We are looking to get to be certain though that on all the important areas we can be sure we really are basically in agreement. And part of why we started a relationship so soon after meeting did have to do I think with both the fact that he didn't have much longer he expected to be around and that he was quite used to being let down by many people who seemed much like me who he'd expend lots of time and energy on as friends all just to be wasted and it would go nowhere, so he was trying to make sure he wouldn't be just wasting time and effort again which could be spent in what time he had left there on finding somebody else who really would work out for him. We do share a great many important values with each other we knew from first meeting and introducing ourselves and this has been very much proven to be true and even strengthened in conclusion over the time we've known each other, but as I've said, there is one significant thing I have reason to be unsure of and so this really would help me be certain on that last area and its significance to his overall person. And my mate does like to read. :) I don't think I could well have a relationship with somebody who didn't both due to how big I am on reading and that I want to share my own writing with who I am in a relationship with. So reading a lot isn't a problem itself at all.

Dinner time. I'll check back later.

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Personally, I would never put philosophy as a thing in itself ahead of the life I'm trying to live. It sounds to me like you're living your life in order to be in line with Objectivism, rather than following Objectivism with the goal of making your life better. The question, in your relationship, should not be 'is he Objectivist?' but rather something closer to 'will he make my life better in the long term?' There are many things besides philosophy that affect the answer to that question, and personally, I consider a person's explicit philosophy (if they have one) to be pretty low priority on that list. It almost seems like you're putting the idea of morality ahead of it's purpose. Remember that the goal of your life is *not* to be moral - it's to live your life. Yes, morality is extremely important in achieving that goal, but don't let the question 'is it moral' become a substitute for 'is it in my best interest,' because it's the other way around.

Nobody here knows enough about you, your partner, or your situation to tell you what decision is the 'correct' one. That has to be your decision, and you should make it by determining what course of action will make you happier. I'm wondering though, why can't you love someone unless they are explicitly Objectivist? Would you love this man if he was?

Edited by miseleigh
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Personally, I would never put philosophy as a thing in itself ahead of the life I'm trying to live. It sounds to me like you're living your life in order to be in line with Objectivism, rather than following Objectivism with the goal of making your life better. The question, in your relationship, should not be 'is he Objectivist?' but rather something closer to 'will he make my life better in the long term?' There are many things besides philosophy that affect the answer to that question, and personally, I consider a person's explicit philosophy (if they have one) to be pretty low priority on that list. It almost seems like you're putting the idea of morality ahead of it's purpose. Remember that the goal of your life is *not* to be moral - it's to live your life. Yes, morality is extremely important in achieving that goal, but don't let the question 'is it moral' become a substitute for 'is it in my best interest,' because it's the other way around.

Nobody here knows enough about you, your partner, or your situation to tell you what decision is the 'correct' one. That has to be your decision, and you should make it by determining what course of action will make you happier. I'm wondering though, why can't you love someone unless they are explicitly Objectivist? Would you love this man if he was?

There shouldn't be a conflict between those things though, should there? The goal of the philosophy is to support and enhance one's life as a human being. I do definitely admit I'm terrified and horrified about the prospect of losing him like this for many reasons and worry about long term impacts to my happiness, but hedonism isn't the path to really being well of long term and in a wide view, so just these worries I have and how much I think the loss would truly hurt do not necessarily mean in and of themselves that the rational choice is one thing or the other. I want to try to be sure with this that I've made a choice that is rational and therefore in my long term overall best interest and not just immediately gratifying. I've tried to provide the relevant information about us and the situation to hear assessments about it and then consider what those assessments say and I figured any additional necessary information I would provide as need be. I do know the decision is up to me in the end, but I hope from this I may be able to get some more assessments and explanations that I can better understand and will make things clearer for me and I can make a decision confident of what the right choice for me is. As for why I'm concerned about the explicit philosophy, I've found that though because I'm still learning I still have some troubles figuring out what to do in different situations, when you've got implicit good convictions, but not explicit good unified systematic philosophy, there tends to be lots more unnecessary heartache and grief one causes themself. For example, the person I have been speaking of here I do still see unwittingly causing themself pains on a much more regular basis than I'd prefer for these things to happen. Being that his thoughts aren't so well organized and connected, he often doesn't realize how he himself is ultimately involved is bringing about some of his own troubles. I really don't want to see somebody I care about so much hurting themselves unnecessarily, especially when they aren't aware of it and so aren't learning how to fix it and prevent it from happening again in the future. When I'm that invested in a person, to know that there will be time and time again woes they'll be bringing upon themselves and that I know how it can be stopped and yet that it won't *ever* really be stopped, that's just awful to me.
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I wasn't trying to say there is a conflict between what is good and what is moral. All I'm saying is that you determine the morality of an action by determining whether it's good, not the other way around; yet you're asking us if we think it is moral for you to continue a relationship, rather than asking for help in determining whether it will be good for you in the long run.

As for the advice you're looking for, all I can do is tell you what I would do, and why. I would continue the relationship, because I prefer to have someone I care about around and see him get hurt sometimes and hopefully help, rather than not have him around, know that he's still hurting himself sometimes, and be unable to do anything about it. I would rather spend my life with people I love, even when I see them hurting themselves, because the value they bring to my life is far greater than the pain. But like I said, that is me, personally; it sounds like you might be more sensitive to that kind of pain than I am.

Why do you think your relationship with him would be a disvalue? I still don't understand that part. I recognize that he doesn't explicitly hold an objective philosophy, but it would be helpful if you could clarify why that bothers you. If he sometimes causes himself pain because of that, then those times are starting points to work towards a more clearly-held philosophy. As for the thing he is hiding from you - it is his choice if there are some secrets he prefers to keep to himself, but it may help to gently remind him that there is never a 'good' time to discuss painful subjects, and that choices he's made in the past are choices that can be different in the future. Also, you've mentioned several times that he's comfortable with reading some of Ayn Rand's work - what's been preventing this?

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I think your convoluted writing style about this topic might reflect your feelings. You seem to have a very hard time describing anything negative about this person. In fact, it's hard for me to understand what it is you think is even negative about him. Not that you're evading the truth about him, but that you're searching for any possible flaw he might have. Even flaws that might be overall insignificant.

Try to think about what it is you value in a person. For me, using one word adjectives like "rational", "honest", "creative" are good ways to do this. Does he have many of those values? What are the things about him you don't value? If you can think about these things in a concise, clear and to-the-point manner, whatever issue you're having can be resolved. Or at least it will be a little easier.

Edited by Eiuol
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From what i've been able to make out from this(it's not easy to follow your thoughts here) it's not a "complicated romantic issue", I think it's you who are making a fairly simple issue very complicated.

Do you like him? Why? What is it that you value about him? Does he have any negative traits, and are those severe enough so that you don't want to get inolved with him?

If you conclude that he's a great person and that you are attracted to him, then go for it and let him know. A person not being an Objectivist is not a flaw. Judge his character by the virtues he lacks or posesses, not by his explicit philosophy(a virtous man can still make errors of knowledge).

Not sure I got this right, but did you suggest you should be just friends until he came around and became an Objectivist? If so, I find that rather disrespectful. It's on the same level as a guy telling you that he want's to be "just friends" until you lost 20lbs and got a boob-job. I mean, either you take a person for who he/she is, or you don't. When you start off by wanting to change someone it shows that you don't value them enough.

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miseleigh: "I wasn't trying to say there is a conflict between what is good and what is moral. All I'm saying is that you determine the morality of an action by determining whether it's good, not the other way around; yet you're asking us if we think it is moral for you to continue a relationship, rather than asking for help in determining whether it will be good for you in the long run."

"Why do you think your relationship with him would be a disvalue? I still don't understand that part. I recognize that he doesn't explicitly hold an objective philosophy, but it would be helpful if you could clarify why that bothers you. If he sometimes causes himself pain because of that, then those times are starting points to work towards a more clearly-held philosophy. As for the thing he is hiding from you - it is his choice if there are some secrets he prefers to keep to himself, but it may help to gently remind him that there is never a 'good' time to discuss painful subjects, and that choices he's made in the past are choices that can be different in the future. Also, you've mentioned several times that he's comfortable with reading some of Ayn Rand's work - what's been preventing this?"

I consider those things to be synonymous, what is best for my life and what is moral, hence I spoke of what is moral as the shorter way to word it.

My questioning of the value of the relationship comes from, as I mentioned in my first post, the one other person I know who knows this philosophy well and who I've found generally has good judgment upon hearing how I've been going about things telling me what I was doing was dishonest. I don't just believe because that person said so that it must be so, but it is enough to make me give this another consideration. So I've tried discussing this with that other person and getting them to explain why they say it is dishonest what I'm doing, but I have not been able to understand it so far. They have said to me it is dishonest in my actions to have a relationship ever at all as an adult when I do not yet love them for what they already are. They say for anything at all less than already fully loving him for what he already is, it only justifies friendship, not a romantic relationship. I'm also told that it still is no exception even though doing it this way, being in a relationship with them now while they are working on things, seems to be the only way I could get to the realization of that potential to have a romantic relationship based on actually loving what he presently is. And I have tried to explain things on a case by case basis when I thought he was doing things that could have some amount of harm to himself ultimately, but the more we try to discuss it, it comes to be that you'd pretty much need to go over the entire philosophy for it to really become evident. And what he is hiding I do know for sure isn't about something he is just ashamed of, that isn't the issue. It isn't really a matter of it being simply something painful he doesn't like to talk about. The stuff hasn't been read yet really just due to busy schedules primarily. I love to read, but I've had such little time for reading lately I'm still reading a much shorter book I started last summer.

Eiuol, actually I really just have a way I think and write that generally seems to give other people a difficult time understanding me often and me a hard time understanding them in return. It isn't really specific to this issue I'm afraid. I do know quite well already actually what I consider the good and bad things about him. There is a whole lot of good already as it is, but though I've been fine with tolerating the bad until hopefully we could get around to fixing what is the significant negative issue for me, I'm now trying to see if doing that itself is legitimately a rational thing to do in a romantic relationship at least under the circumstances I am in, or if there are ever any legitimate cases this can be done in at all.

Alfa: "Not sure I got this right, but did you suggest you should be just friends until he came around and became an Objectivist? If so, I find that rather disrespectful. It's on the same level as a guy telling you that he want's to be "just friends" until you lost 20lbs and got a boob-job. I mean, either you take a person for who he/she is, or you don't. When you start off by wanting to change someone it shows that you don't value them enough."

I thought that this philosophy was something he would actually find he himself would agree with freely if he was just made well familiar with it as he hadn't heard of it before. I haven't seen it as I'm trying to make one person into another, just wanting one person to reach a potential that is already in who they are. If they were to check the stuff out and find they fundamentally disagreed with it even once they'd gotten a good look at it from the beginning, then I'd just conclude I made an error in character judgment of who this person was and their basic compatibility with who I am and we'd go our separate ways knowing we weren't really right for each other. Who I've believed them to be at root though as long as I'm correct is indeed somebody I value very greatly. This is what I'd figured.

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Supposing you believed this were only possible in a romantic context, you as the primary reason for the achievement of their character, Is it EVER appropriate to have a romantic relationship with a POTENTIAL? Although Dr. Leonard Peikoff referred to marriage in the later part of his May 18th 2009 podcast, I believe the same principle holds true regarding LOVE. What else besides your values NOW should you demand for love? Your values, later? Perhaps someday you will be rejected due to the love you settled for in favor of the girl who was unwilling to compromise her values, Brittany. I would hope so.

This is a little confused, but I'd say that sure, it's perfectly rational to have a romantic relationship with someone who is a "potential"--depending on what that potential is.

For example, it's not rational to pursue a relationship with someone you judge as evil on the basis that humans have free will and he could change his mind and become good at some future point. This is wishful thinking. However, if you were to meet someone in college who is studying to be an engineer (and you really enjoy engineering), on that basis it's perfectly rational to have a relationship that is based in part on *potential* future engineerdom, and even if they change their minds and switch majors. There are a *lot* of reasons for this, so I'll leave you folks to figure out what they are for yourselves.

However, I'd just like to point out that "Objectivist" is NOT synonymous with "rational" or "good". There are plenty of good, rational people out there who are NOT Objectivists and not particularly INTERESTED in Objectivism. Take my brothers, for instance. Neither of them have read any Ayn Rand even though I've told them the books are awesome and they should check them out some time. I could be pushier, but what would that accomplish? They have enough relatives trying to convert them to Mormonism, not to mention the fact that they're both in college now and don't have a lot of free time. But they're good guys! If I were their age and not related to them I'd be happy to date either one of them.

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Sorry again my first post was so long. Since I'm really not sure what matters and what was moot and why I figured I had to include practically everything. :thumbsup:

Anyway, as I mentioned before, I had been thinking a lot about this a lot due to the conversation with somebody else I know who knows the philosophy better than I do and who had expressed concern. Pretty much the argument raised was like what Skip has been saying, but I haven't yet gotten to see how and why this should be, that argument I just haven't understood. I've tried asking about it and the underlying reasons haven't been clear to me despite many attempts at us discussing it with each other, so I came here hoping somebody else might understand what was being said and be able to explain the argument in a way I could better understand to then see if I agreed with it or thought it had problems to it.

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Pretty much the argument raised was like what Skip has been saying, but I haven't yet gotten to see how and why this should be, that argument I just haven't understood.

I'm not sure which points/arguments you are referring to. I think the idea is that how much of an Objectivist someone is has nothing to do with how much you love a person. What matters is their sense of life. Philosophy in general is an intellectual pursuit. It isn't required to have a good sense of life.

It's good that you're analyzing your thoughts, but it seems like you're not analyzing your emotions.

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Well, since my thoughts and emotions aren't independent I figured I'd better get my thoughts straightened out first. But as far as emotions themselves, I've thought on that too and while my present emotional response is the same as it had been before all this mess got stirred up, as I've thought on it more and more I have an ever growing sense of loss about the future, what I expect my life could be like as time goes on with him. This still doesn't settle the question for me though on its own, it just looks to mean ever more how much is at stake, either how much I have to gain or how much of a harsh error I've made and how much correcting it will cost me emotionally.

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bluecherry, I am having trouble understanding your OP. I am going to attempt to re-phrase it so that I can understand it better. Please correct any inaccuracies on my part, or if I am correct, please say so, this way myself and others can see about answering your question.

You are in a relationship with another person, of a romantic and possibly sexual nature. You feel that you do not love this person, but you like him a lot, and feel that given time to understand each other better, you could be completely in love with him. Meanwhile he loves you already. This relationship has been going on for two and a half years this way.

You need to know that he is at least compatible with Objectivism before you can bring yourself to love him fully, his life has kept him from learning more about it, but he shows many personal traits that are in line with Objectivism.

You have been with him up to this point because you were in situations where being just friends was simply not a possibility, and now that you are in said relationship, he cannot go back to being just friends. (Something that generally does not work anyway. IMO)

You are asking if your actions of being with someone who loves you, whom you do not yet love, but want to, are a contradiction of your feelings for him at this time.

To answer this question, I feel I need more information from you. Specifically, I would like to know:

Are you involved sexually. (do not answer this if it is too personal, but it does show a level of involvement beyond that of most non-sexual relationships, and the level of involvement you have with him is one thing I am trying to understand.)

Are you living with him, and if so, how long have you done so. (Same reason)

What traits specifically does he have that are in line with O'ism? After all, the more he is compatible, the easier it would be to be with him, both as a "trial" and as a mutually loving relationship later on.

Knowing these things, I feel that I can look at your situation in detail, and figure out if you are in fact living a contradiction by being romantically involved with a person whom you do not love, but loves you; a situation where the feelings and actions are unequal, both within you, and between the two of you, but at the same time, both of you know exactly how the other feels, and therefore your interactions are not inherently dishonest.

Thus:

He and you both KNOW everything that is going on, but the actions and feelings you have are, while not necessarily in conflict with each other, are each sending a different message about your relationship.

You are worried that this is a contradiction, and want to know what we think, both about if it is a contradiction, and if so, is the relationship justified with such a contradiction existing within it, given that there was no other way for the two of you to ever be together otherwise.

Is that about accurate bluecherry?

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I think that's about right, though I think when you say I "like him a lot" that's an understatement. I do not romantically love him, but I do care for him romantically specifically, not just regular "liking" it should be noted and also I probably am about as close as one can get in how much I do care for him romantically without it actually being romantic love.

As for how involved we are, we've very strongly intertwined our lives. Aside from some concerns about that secret he has and some significant areas where we still conflict in our ideas, that's about all we aren't meshed on that I would consider to matter. Yes, we've been living together and gone about our lives together about as much like you could with a mate for most of the time we have been together. It has indeed been a very serious relationship. And as for specific traits I find positive and valuable in him, there are quite a number of them and I do know them explicitly in my mind, but is there something a list of these things would help with? What is there among his attributes valued to me is a number of things that matter both in general and in specific to me as an individual person, just that I find among the generally valuable attributes, often he may have aims that I find admirable, but I think due to the lack of having an explicit well identified grasp of things, the philosophy here, he may at times be at odds with me even on things we both agree are important and valuable. It's like there are many cases where we may have common ideals, but then be at odds over our ideas on when these things come into play, how they should be or even could be enacted, et cetera. Sometimes this impacts our positions on lofty things that we may not have much control over so it is frustrating, but not of very immediate impact, but there are also numerous other times it can still impact our day to day decisions too. Because we do care for each other so much though and believe each other really means well even if we may think each other is wrong on many occasions, we have typically managed to work around these things pretty well so far, but it could also really be better too. We have been making it work and found the benefits outweigh the wearing parts plenty so far, but I do also have my concerns over if it just stayed this way if it would get to the point where after a while there would get to be more of a draining from long time wear and tear than the benefits could make up for anymore. Is this sufficient for what you need to assess this situation?

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Mostly.

My answer to you will be in parts, as I see several things here.

First, as long as everything is completely honest, and you are sure that he understands your feelings, then there is no contradiction. You are doing what you need to do in order to be happy with him. True that the actions are unusual, but your reasoning behind them looks to be valid. Therefore I have to say that you are in the right there.

Second, I am concerned with the draining/wear and tear you talk about. I find that most arguments are wonderful learning experiences. If you are suffering over them, you need to balance that with your desire to have a relationship with him, as otherwise you may be together for a few more years, then find you can no longer take the emotional strain and have to end things anyway.

Third, as an extension of the second part, what would need to be done in order for you to love him fully? In the long run, if you cannot bring yourself to do that, you will fail. The fact that you do not currently love him suggests something is missing, and no amount of wishing or dreaming is going to create it. You need to figure out what you need in order to truly love him, and present that information to him. Perhaps it is something within yourself you can change, like a fear of failure that is holding you back. Perhaps it is something within him, like his secrets. Perhaps it is something between the two of you, such as the unresolved arguments. But you are the only one who can figure out what it is. And without doing so, your relationship will remain where it is indefinitely without you ever growing to love him fully, and that will not be good for either of you.

Fourth, are you happy? You seem to be looking more for a reason to end it than a reason to continue it. You need to look at how you are feeling and try to understand if and why this may be. If the truth is that you are unhappy, you need to change things. If you are happy, then work to make it better, but also be happy with it. You look to have a good thing going here, but you are upset that it is not better. Is ending it because it may never be better worth losing what you have together? Only you can answer that.

Given what others have said before they saw the stress you are having, I am very curious as to what they would say now. Has anyone changed their minds about the posts they made or have more to add about them? I really feel that I should not be the only voice answering bluecherry now that the question has been re-defined, as my knowledge of O'ism is limited at best.

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Alright, I've heard from many in here that being in explicit agreement with Objectivism shouldn't be needed. But do you really think their explicit ideas shouldn't matter *at all*? I doubt that is entirely irrelevant, so then how much should it matter? And whether you think explicitly accepting Objectivism should be needless or not, to what extent is it alright to try to work to convince somebody of your explicit ideas? If somebody else seeks out asking you about something I know that then is fine, but what about otherwise?

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Here is what the Ayn Rand Lexicon has to say about love. I am not sure if you've read any of this, but I think it will answer a lot of the questions you have.

You have to share values with a person to have some sort of relationship with them. I share some values with my friends, I share a lot of very important values with my husband.

I think as long as you find someone who is rational and shares the values that are most important to you, and you're in love with their sense of life, you're doing good. If you limit yourself to just Objectivists, you may have a very lonely life. Don't get me wrong, I'm not telling you to settle, but if you're truly in love with someone, don't let the fact that they won't declare them self an "Objectivist" stand in the way.

Does that make sense?

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I've read the lexicon entry on love before. Right now I'm wondering about how legitimate or illegitimate efforts to what extent to try to persuade such a person of my general philosophic positions could be. Another part of conversation with that person I spoke of before included that there was something wrong also in my efforts to convince this person of Objectivism, specifically it seemed in that I was trying to convince somebody rather than somebody taking it upon themself on their own maybe? Ah, I'm a bit tired right now so I'm not sure how well I'm explaining this. If I can come up with something better for how to put after waking tomorrow, I'll edit this.

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There's nothing wrong with trying to convince someone, period. The problem is that it's not a good idea to base a romantic relationship around the idea that one or both of the partners will *change*.

If you're going to love someone, you have to love them for who they are. If they have exactly the kind of sense of life you want but their explicitly-held principles don't quite match up, that can still work out, albeit it is more difficult.

You have to decide what is important to you and how the various factors relate in comparison to each other. For me, I'd rather have sense-of-life agreement than explicit agreement. A lot of explicit Objectivists have a sense-of-life that I don't like at all. But that may not be the case for you. So you have to make up your own mind.

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Hi bluecherry, Just to butt in here, as your story rang a few bells for me.

Now i'm sure I'll come across like your stern uncle, but that's because i'm old enough to be him, I reckon! You have heard some good advice here, and I'd like to attempt to add to it.

First off, there are some excellent people out there who are not O'ists , and probably will never be. You've heard this already. But let me continue: 1.Objectivism is for you,and you alone. (And as you go on in life you will find that it will add value and understanding that is denied most people.)

This leads to 2. You cannot, should not, force-feed anyone your philosophy. ( In fact, it's not only counter-productive, and might lead to resentment, it is essential that this person discovers it for himself, at his own time and pace - or not at all).

And who are we to anticipate, or rush this process.

This may help you -it did me- to envisage your philosophy. View Objectivism as a structure, an incredibly well-engineered matrix, or lattice, (in stainless-steel? vanadium?) that holds within it all the answers and methodology you'll ever need. You will exist in this matrix, but the spaces in it are for you alone to explore, for you to fill. That's your individual mind and Self, and must never be given up.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about intimacy and love, and admit that I got it wrong much of the time.

I do know that I have known a few great human beings who were not overtly Objectivist, who had good independent minds, and their own value-system, who [ once I got over the fact that they were not going to be O'ist] I did learn to appreciate and respect for precisely WHO THEY WERE.

With others, I could have saved myself a lot of grief and bad mistakes with 'unsuitable' women, if I had not forgotten a. My own rationality, and b. The wise words of Dieter.

Dieter was this German restaurant owner - then, a 60-something romantic of note! - who told me many years ago his theory on love. He told me that for love to ever eventuate it had to go through these steps: Attraction Infatuation Admiration Acceptance Respect and Trust. This then is love, by his definition. Hard to fault, but that's not all.

He insisted that this process must of course be mutual - although I'm sure the timing doesn't have to be exact.

He said that if either partner jumps or misses a step, it will go badly wrong, later.

That if one or both get stuck in one step [usually infatuation - don't we know this!], the relationship should end.

Lastly, and importantly, NONE of the steps, even infatuation, or attraction, should be discarded, or lost, at a later stage. The ultimate is to hold onto them all, at once.

This sounds like work I guess, but it should be pleasure. For me, I know it holds true. Why didn't I listen to Dieter!?

Tony

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