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What if your girlfriend is great and the relationship is working, but she lacks certain characteristics that you value. For example, by all accounts Ayn Rand loved her husband very much, but she cheated on him because he could not provide the level of intellectual characteristics she valued (I may be wrong-correct me if I am).

Can you love two people romantically? Is it moral to have a sexual relationship with someone other than your girlfriend? Would discussing the situation with your girlfriend and change anything?

I think it is difficult to stay committed to one person when there are a lot of other people you can experience love with and share values.

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What if your girlfriend is great and the relationship is working, but she lacks certain characteristics that you value. For example, by all accounts Ayn Rand loved her husband very much, but she cheated on him because he could not provide the level of intellectual characteristics she valued (I may be wrong-correct me if I am).

Can you love two people romantically? Is it moral to have a sexual relationship with someone other than your girlfriend? Would discussing the situation with your girlfriend and change anything?

I think it is difficult to stay committed to one person when there are a lot of other people you can experience love with and share values.

The fact that you identify it as cheating means that you already know that it's wrong.

How would *you* feel if you found that your gf had slept with other guys during your relationship and was lying to you about having a monogamous relationship with you?

You are wrong, by all accounts, about Ayn Rand hiding the affair from her husband. She openly told him, so it did not constitute "cheating". I would also bet, if it were possible to know, that she considered the whole thing, afterwards, to be the biggest mistake of her life.

There *may* conceivably be some rationale to have multiple sexual relationships at once (which I am not advocating), but it is unquestionably wrong to lie to your partner about it. They have a right to know and to decide for themselves whether they wish to continue their relationship with you. To do otherwise is to defraud them, by taking a value that they did would not willingly give if they had the truth.

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I totally agree that dishonesty with your partner is wrong. I wanted to know if anyone thought that there was something wrong with loving 2 different individuals and wanting to have sexual relationships with both. So you're saying that it's moral if both individuals are aware of the situation and give their consent?

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Well said, Unconquered.

I wanted to know if anyone thought that there was something wrong with loving 2 different individuals and wanting to have sexual relationships with both. So you're saying that it's moral if both individuals are aware of the situation and give their consent?

I'd definitely rule out such when one is married. Adultery violates moral aspects of marriage, (virtually) regardless of your personal philosophy. No one's perfect, of course.

If part of the question is whether one can love two people romantically, I'd say yes (depending on your definition.) And there's nothing innately wrong with sexually desiring more than one person IMO.

But even non-marriage, problems come in acting on those desires. And truthfully, I don't feel myself capable of arguing whether it's immoral or not to act if the non-married parties involved do consent, so I'll leave that to someone else :lol:

What if your girlfriend is great and the relationship is working, but she lacks certain characteristics that you value.

I think it is difficult to stay committed to one person when there are a lot of other people you can experience love with and share values.

As far as it goes, I don't believe that any isolated characteristic morally obligates one to sex. It'd be silly to have a slovenly broke genius, a slovenly rich idiot, and a suave broke idiot, and deem them all worthy of high affection simply because combining their characteristics together might create someone ideal.

And of course, you can share values and love without sharing your "love."

As far as it goes, I wouldn't say it's a bad topic... so long as your intentions in asking weren't bad :lol::P

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What if your girlfriend is great and the relationship is working, but she lacks certain characteristics that you value. For example, by all accounts Ayn Rand loved her husband very much, but she cheated on him because he could not provide the level of intellectual characteristics she valued (I may be wrong-correct me if I am).

Can you love two people romantically? Is it moral to have a sexual relationship with someone other than your girlfriend? Would discussing the situation with your girlfriend and change anything?

I think it is difficult to stay committed to one person when there are a lot of other people you can experience love with and share values.

I would lean to the side that "cheating" refers to a dishonest action. If there is dishonesty involved and the other person has earned your honesty then yes it would be immoral.

I believe if you spoke with your girlfriend and it was acknowledged and accepted by both partners to allow outside of the relationship intercourse then it would be morally sound.

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I would lean to the side that "cheating" refers to a dishonest action. If there is dishonesty involved and the other person has earned your honesty then yes it would be immoral.

I believe if you spoke with your girlfriend and it was acknowledged and accepted by both partners to allow outside of the relationship intercourse then it would be morally sound.

Only to the extent that you're not being dishonest. That doesn't address the question whether it's bad for you and thus immoral on other grounds.

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What if your girlfriend is great and the relationship is working, but she lacks certain characteristics that you value.

If you don't recieve the proper values that you want in a relationship, which forces you to seek it elsewhere in others, then perhaps it's not a relationship worth having.

Edited by Captain Nate
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In a monogamous relationship, you enter into a compact that states, "I will be faithful to you." When evaluating the prospect of breaking that compact, you must perform an analysis of integrity. There are two important considerations.

First, you must determine whether or not you believe your relationship to be of substantial value to you to make forgoing the affair worthwile. It's simple economic problem of opportunity cost. If the total revenue of the affair exceeds the total cost of losing your relationship, then it would in many ways be wrong NOT to do it.

The next consideration would be if you would in fact tell your partner. This is a philosophical question based on the type of relationship and partner in question. I personally wouldn't want to know, I'd rather my girlfriend tell me that she couldn't continue the relationship anymore than to have her tell me. Honestly, this is more for her emotional well being, because I would probably make her tell me if it was because he was better than me, or if she was too weak to choose what was better for her in the long run over a short term thrill. Either way, it sucks, but in the former situation, it's my burden, and in the latter, it's hers.

Sex is a complicated issue in terms of morality. Sex is physically pleasurable, and barring some sort of infection, a healthy practice. It burns calories, elevates heart rate, and releases pleasant neurotransmitters into the brain. Therefore, it is literally a good action.

However, sex has certain attachments in our society. This makes it very open to interpretation. This is where Objectivism becomes inconvenient and we usually choose to turn to subjective epistemology and rules approach ontology, both of which state, "it doesn't matter what's right or wrong; true or false, outside of the individual's interpretation of those things." An Objectivist approach to this would be to sit down with a girl who's gotten attached to you by accident and explain to her exactly why you weren't interested in a relationship, and possibly discuss how she might elevate herself to worthiness. I'd love to see that in action. What ACTUALLY happens is we talk about irrational feelings and cloudy non-concepts, eventually leading the "offended" party to not know exactly what went wrong, but only that they aren't very happy with it.

So I guess the conclusion here would be that sex doesn't have to be a bad thing, but because we often don't approach it rationally as either a simple physical act (like a back rub) or an expression of love, it can not be considered infallible.

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  • 3 weeks later...
An Objectivist approach to this would be to sit down with a girl who's gotten attached to you by accident and explain to her exactly why you weren't interested in a relationship, and possibly discuss how she might elevate herself to worthiness. I'd love to see that in action.

I'm curious about this comment. Perhaps it is different for males and females so I won't attempt to generalize that far. However, if an explicit conversation were to take place about lacking values and the person actually changed to the required effect, would this really make you (anyone willing to post) more interested in the other person? Or perhaps would it cause you to think that this is a person who didn't achieve important values on their own and is still not worthy? I guess I'm curious if anyone really would be "re-interested" in a person who managed to change some undesirable aspect of his/herself or if the old feelings of undesirability are too difficult to overcome, at which point love becomes either somewhat forced, or just unlikely.

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... I'm curious if anyone really would be "re-interested" ...
My initial thought is that one might be "re-interested" if one was never really uninterested, if one were really attracted to the person originally, but there was something about them that caused one to consciously tell oneself that the relationship would not work unless that something changed.
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I don't think that any of us here achieved our current values alone. We're all familiar with and inspired by the work of Ayn Rand, who herself was inspired by Aristotle, etc. The point is, no one can or should be expected to go out in the world with the assumption that their values are terrible and must be changed.

Therefore, if you meet someone who you see as someone you might want to be with, except that you don't see eye to eye on a few important things, I think it would be a great idea to at least try to talk to them and see where they're coming from. Who knows, maybe they could change you for the better!

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You are wrong. She didn't cheat; Frank knew and I believe didn't put up an argument about it. I won't go so far as to say he encouraged her, but from what her friends said in Sense of life he wasn't at all in the dark whilst the affair was going on.

...For example, by all accounts Ayn Rand loved her husband very much, but she cheated on him because he could not provide the level of intellectual characteristics she valued (I may be wrong-correct me if I am).
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  • 6 months later...
What if your girlfriend is great and the relationship is working, but she lacks certain characteristics that you value. For example, by all accounts Ayn Rand loved her husband very much, but she cheated on him because he could not provide the level of intellectual characteristics she valued (I may be wrong-correct me if I am).

Can you love two people romantically? Is it moral to have a sexual relationship with someone other than your girlfriend? Would discussing the situation with your girlfriend and change anything?

I think it is difficult to stay committed to one person when there are a lot of other people you can experience love with and share values.

I understand where you are coming from, and it is possible to love two people romantically -- I think just about every healthy adult has faced a choice like this at one point, but it isn't recommended to get yourself into as it is hard to detract yourself emotionally, physically etc. You can't just have one cookie! And if you have to sneak around on your girlfriend to be with another woman than that eats away at your soul, even if you do get short-term pleasure of orgasm. Of course if you discussed this with your girlfriend your whole relationship would change, so tread carefully! If your girlfriend is someone that you place a high value upon, it is probably best to stick to the fantasy of the other woman than to actually indulge. If you have already indulged in sex with both, extract yourself as smoothly as you can from one relationship and keep her as a platonic friend or as mere fantasy if you value her enough. When choosing between romantic partners, great sex shouldn't necessarily be given the most weight in your decision! It is tough being a guy in today's society I feel, but in the end you have to do what you feel is good for you, though I believe that you will never be satisfied until you put your foot down and stick with one partner sexually, and keep all other women as platonic friends only.

Edited by chicoflaco
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You are wrong. She didn't cheat; Frank knew and I believe didn't put up an argument about it. I won't go so far as to say he encouraged her, but from what her friends said in Sense of life he wasn't at all in the dark whilst the affair was going on.

Actually, according to Jame's Valliant's interpretation of Ayn Rand's private diaries (although I haven't yet read his book, The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics, in which excerpts are published), it was Mr. O'Connor and Mrs. Branden's idea even for Ayn Rand and Nathaniel Branden to have the affair in the first place.

(I wonder if they ever watched)...

Edited by Bold Standard
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I guess I'm curious if anyone really would be "re-interested" in a person who managed to change some undesirable aspect of his/herself or if the old feelings of undesirability are too difficult to overcome, at which point love becomes either somewhat forced, or just unlikely.

I hate make it sound like a lost cause, but I'm not sure that this would work. Someone improving an aspect of him/herself to win my love is not a reflection of a sincere interest in changing, and the person may look less attractive in the end. It's a different story when someone recognizes a flaw and consciously works to improve him/herself. That can be very attractive.

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Actually, according to Jame's Valliant's interpretation of Ayn Rand's private diaries (although I haven't yet read his book, The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics, in which excerpts are published), it was Mr. O'Connor and Mrs. Branden's idea even for Ayn Rand and Nathaniel Branden to have the affair in the first place.

I have not read this book but this sounds very strange to me. If I was married to someone whom I would consider my highest value (which if he was not I do not see why I would be married to him in a first place) I do not see how I could stand the thought of him being intimate with another woman not to mention how I could go even a step further and suggest to him to do so.

A situation in which your partner reveals to you a desire to have an affair is a very diffucult one especially if you know he will continue to see this other woman almost everyday (as it was the case with Miss Rand and Mr. Branden) even if you don't agree to their affair. It must be extremely painful to endure such cirumstances and I do not see how any person of self esteem could go through this and not be negatively affected by it.

If your actions deeply hurt other people, people you claim to love and value, how they can be 'good'?

Do you truly think that Miss Rand's affair did not hurt Mr. O'Connor if he considered her his highest value?

In any case what an affair says is that your partner is not enough for you for whatever reason and whatever he/she is lacking is significant enough for you to look elsewhere. If that is the case you need to find someone who will match your needs more closely and you need to give the other person a chance at the same.

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If you don't receive the proper values that you want in a relationship, which forces you to seek it elsewhere in others, then perhaps it's not a relationship worth having.

I think this is a very valid point. If you think about cheating on your girlfriend for any significant length of time, that probably indicates something is amiss, either with you or with the relationship. I experienced this problem personally when I was not a student of Objectivism. In situations where you want to have a sexual relationship with someone other than your significant other, I think it's best to step back, think, and evaluate every aspect of what's going on. I wouldn't recommend trying to love two people romantically at the same time. Ultimately, there's going to be one person whom you value more for a reason. I'd go with that individual and break things off with the other gracefully.

I sincerely hope you aren't going through anything like this in real life.

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