RationalEgoistSG

How Do You Know When You Are In Love?

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I recently began a relationship with a wonderful woman, a good friend of mine of 3 years. We know each other very well, and we are both Objectivists. The way I feel about her and our burgeoning relationship is like nothing I've ever felt before.

I've always been really cautious about becoming too emotionally invested in a relationship before its due. In this case however, this woman fits my standards so exactly that I can't help but feel that our relationship has very serious potential. She's unlike anyone that I've ever known and we are incredibly compatible. In other words, strong emotional feelings are definitely due.

It seems to me that it is prudent to date her for a given period of time before I think to myself that I love her. It makes sense to assume that you see a different side of a person in a relationship, and thus it is wise to get that additional context in mind before forming a judgment. But at the same time, I've been a close friend for 3 years, and I have a very good indication of her character and values as a result. A lot of the knowledge that I would need to gain in the context of a new relationship I already have from our prior friendship.

So I'm wondering, at what point does it make sense for a person to definitively know that they are in love? If I were to define romantic love as extreme admiration + physical intimacy, there's no question that I have that now. If this feeling of romantic love requires time in order to flower, then of course I do not have it, since the relationship is new. There's also the fact that there is always a certain giddiness about the beginning of a new relationship. However, I've experienced that feeling before, and what I'm feeling now is substantially different.

This is obviously very personal information, but I am genuninely interested in the question as such, and do not mind sharing it given how important the potential answer is to me.

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This is obviously very personal information, but I am genuninely interested in the question as such, and do not mind sharing it given how important the potential answer is to me.

I wouldn't ordinarily speak this way publicly, but since you make it crystal clear that you welcome a personal response, I will do so.

When you say "I've always been really cautious about becoming too emotionally invested in a relationship before its due," that statement alone is not sufficient to know if you are just being reasonably cautious, or overly cautious. However, when you add "It seems to me that it is prudent to date her for a given period of time before I think to myself that I love her," it sounds to me that you are heavily censoring your feelings. So when you ask "at what point does it make sense for a person to definitively know that they are in love?", I suspect the real question is something more like "when can I allow myself to fully feel what I have been suppressing."

You say that the woman you are now becoming involved with romantically has been "a close friend for 3 years," and you recognize that you know a great deal about her character as a result of that long-term and, presumably, intimate relationship (intimate personally, not romantically). I think that transitioning from friend to lover is not a common sequence, but I would suggest not complicating the process more than necessary. Perhaps an effort to loosen up and stop intellectualizing about how you might or should feel, or when you should feel love, and instead free yourself emotionally to enjoy your growing relationship more. You have had three years of close friendship to learn about the character of your "wonderful" woman, so less analysis and more emotional experience should now be your just reward.

When you wake up one day and realize that you do not want to live another moment without possessing this woman for a lifetime, I think your emotional status in regard to love will be clear. :blink:

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So I'm wondering, at what point does it make sense for a person to definitively know that they are in love? If I were to define romantic love as extreme admiration + physical intimacy, there's no question that I have that now.

I am unclear about the question. First, are you making a distinction between being "in love" versus experiencing romantic love? If you feel love (an emotion) then you are in love. (Unless, that is, by "in love" you really mean infatuation, which is what prospective lovers sometimes feel.)

[...] to define romantic love as extreme admiration + physical intimacy [...]

I question this definition. To exist in a particular person, romantic love does not require physical intimacy with another person. It does require considering the loved one as a sexual being (male or female).

Eddie Willers can feel romantic love for Dagny Taggart without them sharing physical intimacy. Eddie Willers would also continue to feel that love even though Dagny Taggart did not feel likewise. Romantic love is an emotion, and it is not dependent on follow-up actions -- just as fear is independent of whether one flees or fights the fearful object.

A romantic relationship, however, is one in which the two persons involved have high evaluation (and therefore the emotion love) of each other and relate to each other sexually.

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I recently began a relationship with a wonderful woman, a good friend of mine of 3 years. We know each other very well, and we are both Objectivists. The way I feel about her and our burgeoning relationship is like nothing I've ever felt before.

I've always been really cautious about becoming too emotionally invested in a relationship before its due. In this case however, this woman fits my standards so exactly that I can't help but feel that our relationship has very serious potential. She's unlike anyone that I've ever known and we are incredibly compatible. In other words, strong emotional feelings are definitely due.

It seems to me that it is prudent to date her for a given period of time before I think to myself that I love her. It makes sense to assume that you see a different side of a person in a relationship, and thus it is wise to get that additional context in mind before forming a judgment. But at the same time, I've been a close friend for 3 years, and I have a very good indication of her character and values as a result. A lot of the knowledge that I would need to gain in the context of a new relationship I already have from our prior friendship.

So I'm wondering, at what point does it make sense for a person to definitively know that they are in love? If I were to define romantic love as extreme admiration + physical intimacy, there's no question that I have that now. If this feeling of romantic love requires time in order to flower, then of course I do not have it, since the relationship is new. There's also the fact that there is always a certain giddiness about the beginning of a new relationship. However, I've experienced that feeling before, and what I'm feeling now is substantially different.

This is obviously very personal information, but I am genuninely interested in the question as such, and do not mind sharing it given how important the potential answer is to me.

Hi, interesting case... I am not necessarily asking for more information than what you want to divulge, but some questions come to mind, like - was there always some romantic tendency towards each other all this while or something triggered it, - did the sexual attraction grow with knowing more about each other or was it always there but you waited to find out more about each other ?

I think romantic love can take different paths and arrive there. I also hold that attraction to personal style, mannerism, looks, voice etc. are as much important elements as "response to values" in a romantic relationship. So I always imagine that love begins by "identifying a potential" in someone you find attractive and then deepens or continues if the person you are attracted you also embodies your values. If not, then the attraction fades away. This is my personal experience about romantic love.

But I know of people who say they were not attracted to their love until love flowered between them, that knowing someone intimately i.e. knowing their true nature/values lead to sexual attraction. It is difficult for me to imagine this perhaps because of lack of first-hand experience of this sought, so I will be glad to get more insights from other posters.

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I recently began a relationship with a wonderful woman, a good friend of mine of 3 years.

Hi Egoist! Welcome to the wonderful journeys of love. I do so love to join in on talks of romance! There are many questions which would be important for me to know to really answer your question. Since I have learned I cannot get that feedback via this board, and furthermore that I require it for confidence in offering actual help, I won’t try to help!

Instead, I will try to be as unhelpful as I can by taking both sides of your “good problem.” Lol. If it does, by some accident help, I will appreciate your feedback.

In other words, strong emotional feelings are definitely due [to her].

No, at no time is there ever a duty to feel. Emotions are not commanded, nor are thoughts. However, a rule of thumb is that if you have had a romance for three months and you haven’t said “I love you” [and felt it of course], you may never do so.

It seems to me that it is prudent to date her for a given period of time before I think to myself that I love her.

Love, qua emotion, is not felt on the basis of prudence. Some wish that it were!

Yet some people are young, in age or in spirit, and they wish a langorous courtship. Others delay their declarations for other wise reasons. Too much delay is often mere inattention however. The chase and the catch, ie the decisiveness of the win, is most definitely part of the joys of romance.

If I were to define romantic love as extreme admiration + physical intimacy, there's no question that I have that now.

Miss Lee urges you to disvow this definition. Notice that neither part of your definition involve the proper genus of love, which is an emotion.

Physical intimacy is something Miss Lee definitely does not wish to include in the definition. Thanks to Mr. Laughlin for also pointing this out.

Extreme admiration is also not properly fundamental to romantic love.

To elaborate on the mistaken definition, if you had said “love is powerful sexual attraction plus powerful admiration” I can readily think of a gentleman who meets those criteria for me. I do not love him romantically. There is a sense in which I love him, but I am not “in love” with him romantically. On the other hand, I have experienced such thoughts and feelings as precursors to romantic love. I’m thinking of a particularly lovely one. [littleRedHappySmile]

Feeling love of a platonic-friendship-caring sort is not adequate for a brilliant romance. Notice Mr. Speicher’s words, which denote a hunger, an intense desire to act, not merely to speak, in order to gain and keep his value:

When you wake up one day and realize that you do not want to live another moment without possessing this woman for a lifetime...

Of course, this is the desire to marry, which normally comes after the feeling of love. Possibly for him it came simultaneously? If so, that would be quite a wake up!

If this feeling of romantic love requires time in order to flower

Some do, and some do not.

Miss Rand said, [Lexicon p.267]

it is a matter of ...profound conscious .and subconscious harmony. [Miss Rand’s emphasis]

You appear to be experiencing a deep, but not profound sense of life harmony with your new love. There is something niggling you, a warning light that tells you “no.” I am very glad you are taking action to investigate and think about the warning.

Have you ever fallen in love before?

It is truly an unforgettable experience. You will most definitely know if you are in love.

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Thank you all for your responses so far. They have been insightful and very helpful. I will respond to each poster in the order in which they posted.

So when you ask "at what point does it make sense for a person to definitively know that they are in love?", I suspect the real question is something more like "when can I allow myself to fully feel what I have been suppressing."

Perhaps an effort to loosen up and stop intellectualizing about how you might or should feel, or when you should feel love, and instead free yourself emotionally to enjoy your growing relationship more. You have had three years of close friendship to learn about the character of your "wonderful" woman, so less analysis and more emotional experience should now be your just reward.

I think you nailed my motivation right on the head. In my first relationship, back when I was in high school, I let my enthusiasm cloud my judgment. I was so excited about just having a girlfriend as such, that I thought I was in love. In truth, it seemed that what I was feeling was an attachment to having a girlfriend, not a sincere admiration of that woman's character and values. In other words, I was experiencing a pleasant emotional reaction, but for the entirely wrong reasons. Ever since that point, I have been cautious in order to make sure that I did not repeat that mistake. That caution was something that I automatized over time, and thus would usually be my initial reaction to any developing romantic situation.

In this case however, I am completely certain that my strong response to this woman is based on everything about her, and has absolutely nothing to do with second-handed feelings of comfort in another.

I am unclear about the question. First, are you making a distinction between being "in love" versus experiencing romantic love? If you feel love (an emotion) then you are in love. (Unless, that is, by "in love" you really mean infatuation, which is what prospective lovers sometimes feel.)

I question this definition. To exist in a particular person, romantic love does not require physical intimacy with another person. It does require considering the loved one as a sexual being (male or female).

Thank you for raising these issues with my question and definition. First, I would say that I'm not entirely sure what the emotion of love is. What exactly makes it different than infatuation? Second, you are right to point out the flaw in my definition of romantic love. By "physical intimacy" I meant physical attraction, but my word choice was poor. Finally, my question relates specifically to one experiencing romantic love. Could you elaborate on the distinction between being "in love" versus experiencing romantic love?

Hi, interesting case... I am not necessarily asking for more information than what you want to divulge, but some questions come to mind, like - was there always some romantic tendency towards each other all this while or something triggered it, - did the sexual attraction grow with knowing more about each other or was it always there but you waited to find out more about each other ?

As a matter of fact, there was an attraction from the very beginning. But at that time, we had not both grown to the extent that we have now. In other words, we saw a potential in each other that only grew stronger over time. Through my influence, this woman read The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and is now basically an Objectivist. We still disagree on some minor subjects, but her sense of life, her passion for her values, her ethics, and her character, are so fundamentally similar to mine that the attraction is intense.

Hi Egoist! Welcome to the wonderful journeys of love. I do so love to join in on talks of romance!

No, at no time is there ever a duty to feel. Emotions are not commanded, nor are thoughts. However, a rule of thumb is that if you have had a romance for three months and you haven’t said “I love you” [and felt it of course], you may never do so.

Love, qua emotion, is not felt on the basis of prudence. Some wish that it were!

Yet some people are young, in age or in spirit, and they wish a langorous courtship. Others delay their declarations for other wise reasons. Too much delay is often mere inattention however. The chase and the catch, ie the decisiveness of the win, is most definitely part of the joys of romance.

Miss Lee urges you to disvow this definition. Notice that neither part of your definition involve the proper genus of love, which is an emotion.

You appear to be experiencing a deep, but not profound sense of life harmony with your new love. There is something niggling you, a warning light that tells you “no.” I am very glad you are taking action to investigate and think about the warning.

Have you ever fallen in love before?

It is truly an unforgettable experience. You will most definitely know if you are in love.

Thanks for the welcome! I'm glad to be here! :blink:

Thank you as well for pointing out the flaws in that definition. I stand happily corrected.

As for the little "warning light," I mentioned that earlier in this post, in regards to a former relationship. I am very confident that this current love is nothing like that earlier situation (which happened about 5 and a half years ago).

To answer your last question. I have never fallen in love before, but I'm pretty sure that I have now! Thank you all. :)

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To clarify, my initial question has pretty much been answered. I am still interested in some subsidiary questions that arise as a result however, like what makes love qualitatively different than other positive emotions, as well as the other questions that I asked in my response to the posters. Thanks!

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Could you elaborate on the distinction between being "in love" versus experiencing romantic love?

I use infatuation -- which to me means the same thing as "being in love" -- to refer to a somewhat enduring but not long-lasting state of mind: A positive assessment of a sexually appropriate whole person based on one or two characteristics considered out of context. Example characteristics might be looks, "charm," or knowing exactly which wine to order at an expensive restaurant. Some people are "impressed" by such things and go no further. In honest people, infatuation melts away when other elements of the other person's character become obvious: He is in debt and borrows money from his girl friends; he uses drugs; and he thinks there is no purpose to life except pleasures of the moment. Good looks don't make up for those vices.

Infatuation is quite enjoyable while it lasts. I would never reject it. What I would try to do is recognize it for what it is, and then wait to see whether love grows from that or whether the infatuation simply fades away when jarred by the reality of the person as a whole as his bad characteristics emerge.

For the meaning of the word/concept "love," within the context of Objectivism, see:

- Ayn Rand, Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, 2nd ed., pp. 34-35, 214, and 228-229.

- "Love" (including romantic love), The Ayn Rand Lexicon, pp. 266-270.

I am assuming you have a copy of ARL. If you don't, I highly recommend buying it. It is indispensable for an efficient study of Objectivism as an integrated philosophy.

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Thank you for raising these issues with my question and definition. First, I would say that I'm not entirely sure what the emotion of love is. What exactly makes it different than infatuation?
I'm not sure how I would precisely define either term, but I can describe love in a few ways.

Love requires knowing the other person, not just at the level of memorizing a resume or biography, but intimately understanding how that person thinks and what they value on the deepest, most personal level. You know what she loves and hates, her personal preferences and favorite foods, songs, etc. as well as her ambitions and hopes.

It also involves caring about that person to the point where her well-being and happiness is a profound value to you. In an infatuation, you really aren't so much concerned with her as you are with something else -- perhaps the fact of being in a relationship with someone at all, regardless of who your partner is, or perhaps with some projection of what your future could be like (as opposed to the enjoyment of her company), or perhaps there is strong physical attraction, and the reality of who she is is a secondary concern (e.g., talking with her is some hoop to jump through in order to sleep with her).

I've heard stories about people finding their soulmate. Soon after meeting, they recognized that they fit together amazingly well. A very smart electrtical engineer I work with described meeting his wife along these lines. He had dated many women, but found each time that there was a real effort to make the relationship work, like trying to force a square peg into a round hole. With his wife, however, that kind of "static" just disappeared, like noise in an antenna suddenly falling away to leave a crisp, clear signal (like listening to the radio as you drive out of a long tunnel). Such stories say to me that when the moment comes, you just know it.

Also, I think the distinction between romantic love and infatuation is that the latter may (if not must) involve a projection of fantasy onto another person, rather than knowing them in detail. If it is loving someone "from a distance" I'd say it is infatuation; love is inherently intimate.

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To answer your last question. I have never fallen in love before, but I'm pretty sure that I have now! Thank you all. :)

....

As a matter of fact, there was an attraction from the very beginning. .... we saw a potential in each other that only grew stronger over time. Through my influence...

What a wonderful story! :blink:

in high school, ... I was so excited about just having a girlfriend as such, that I thought I was in love. .... I was experiencing a pleasant emotional reaction, but for the entirely wrong reasons. Ever since that point, I have been cautious

Could you elaborate on the distinction between being "in love" versus experiencing romantic love?

If I understand correctly, I think Burgess and I have the exact opposite definitions. I would say that the hierarchy is this.

1. Attraction: seeing Dagny on the railroad car and thinking, “wow, who is she?”

2 .Infatuation: being at Dagny’s Sweet Sixteen, and having her say “hello” in the most melodious, delicious voice you’ve ever heard, and of course she looks and smells divine. You’d like to taste but you don’t have the right. You tease each other and are smitten.

3. Platonic Love: knowing enough about Dagny to feel a strong bond that may even be unbreakable. You are friends and admire each other.

This type of love, when combined with infatuation or attraction, is romantic. When sex is included, moderns sometimes call it, “friends with benefits.” I really hate that characterization, because it doesn’t emphasize the love but the sex and shallowness. It is true that this level has a shallowness, but it is not trivial. It can be an important relationship, possibly one that will change into a permanent purely platonic friend or, alternatively, a true long term romance.

When people denigrate their past love affairs, I believe it’s likely to have been one of these platonic loves. Was that so in your case? I don’t like to hear of first love experiences being trivialized or demeaned. First loves are important and wonderful. The fact they don’t all last is merely a fact. Unless you did something seriously untoward, I hope you will re-evaluate your past caution, which sounded extreme, like an attitude that you must prevent yourself from ever feeling love again. Love is a risk, for sure! That never goes away, because its very beauty is its depth.

I am very confident that this current love is nothing like that earlier situation (which happened about 5 and a half years ago).

That feeling of “this is different” is part of what one feels when a relationship really clicks on a sense of life level. Sometimes the difference is so dramatic at the start that we call it:

4. Love At First Sight: after time passes and he has dated Dagny, Reardon realizes that what he saw in her on the railroad car does indeed epitomize everything in her that he loves. It was that moment of seeing her that actually, in retrospect, began his deep love for her. His experience of love [as opposed to everyday life] with her is that of experiencing an integrated work of art. It’s a consistent, whole feeling overall. Everything fits together.

This relationship is qualitatively different from his other love affairs. He feels its rightness in a way he had never felt before. Yet it need not be mutual at this level. Indeed, it was not.

There may be glitches. There may be things to “work” on. I strongly disagree with the idea that a good relationship is signaled by the lack of need to work on it. Every relationship needs work. The difference is the pleasure in the work.

If I were a man, I could never marry my Mother. Her favorite way to work out relationship problems is to have both parties go into separate corners and figure it out independently. This worked with my Dad! I’m now better at it too; we have both compromised a bit. But I was fully compatible on that point with SuperEx. He loved how we handled disagreements about setting up house, for example. From prior experience, he was girding for conflict and trouble, but it was trivial to negotiate these things between us.

It should be relatively easy to fight. Or rather, it’s easy to recover from a fight.

Again, the sense of life match happens on the process level, the series of instantaneous printouts you get from your emotions. Even in conflict, there’s still some type of a meta-agreement, on the rules of engagement for example. You can be intensely angry and have some feelings that you are on opposite poles and can’t possibly reconcile. Yet you respond, you want to be in the game. In a real sense, you want to fight, you want to negotiate ever increasing quality. People argue in tremendously different styles. You can negotiate that, too, but the sense of life match leads you to want to negotiate. It’s more interesting and important to argue with this person than it is to have very pleasant conversations about movies with someone else.

How you argue is only one aspect of true love, of course. I brought it up first as EdOC mentioned it and as you see it’s a hot button for me. How you persuade is another huge part. When you’ve been through enough that you feel you know the other person, you’ll reach a new, higher level if you like what you found.

5. Full Romantic Love: Francisco adores Dagny. He knows her like himself, and he loves what he sees. Yet he cannot make the ultimate commitment to marriage. He has fought himself on the issue. He is either indecisive on the matter or decided against it. Either way, their relationship is stuck. It will be lost if the woman is good enough, and she is. [i still love to ponder his missing lines; I think Prof. Milgram is right that Dagny couldn’t have left if some of Francisco’s lines hadn’t been cut by Miss Rand.]

Happily, there are many times when the case proceeds further.

6. True Love: Galt has done a lot of homework on Dagny. He knows what she does when she’s at her wit’s end. He knows what she does to launch her creations. He knows what she is like to kiss and how she cooks his food with love. He knows her. He loves her and wants her for his own, forever.

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I use infatuation -- which to me means the same thing as "being in love" -- to refer to a somewhat enduring but not long-lasting state of mind: A positive assessment of a sexually appropriate whole person based on one or two characteristics considered out of context. Example characteristics might be looks, "charm," or knowing exactly which wine to order at an expensive restaurant. Some people are "impressed" by such things and go no further. In honest people, infatuation melts away when other elements of the other person's character become obvious: He is in debt and borrows money from his girl friends; he uses drugs; and he thinks there is no purpose to life except pleasures of the moment. Good looks don't make up for those vices.

This distinction is extremely helpful, thank you.

Love requires knowing the other person, not just at the level of memorizing a resume or biography, but intimately understanding how that person thinks and what they value on the deepest, most personal level. You know what she loves and hates, her personal preferences and favorite foods, songs, etc. as well as her ambitions and hopes...

I've heard stories about people finding their soulmate. Soon after meeting, they recognized that they fit together amazingly well. A very smart electrtical engineer I work with described meeting his wife along these lines. He had dated many women, but found each time that there was a real effort to make the relationship work, like trying to force a square peg into a round hole. With his wife, however, that kind of "static" just disappeared, like noise in an antenna suddenly falling away to leave a crisp, clear signal (like listening to the radio as you drive out of a long tunnel). Such stories say to me that when the moment comes, you just know it.

I found these two parts of your post to be particularly interesting, but a little difficult to reconcile. If love requires a deep knowledge and understanding of another person, would that not take time and protracted experience in order to fully develop? I met this girl originally 3 years ago, and in that time not only have we changed significantly but our understanding of each other has become quite intense. Is that sense of deep understanding of a person possible after just a summary glance or a few dates?

The story that you described with someone finding their soulmate sounds very similar to what I am experiencing now. But I cannot imagine that it would have happened with this particular girl had I not known her for several years and developed a very close friendship with her beforehand. So, I'm still wondering if a person can know they are in love in a short period of time or whether that requires time in order to blossom.

What a wonderful story! :)

If I understand correctly, I think Burgess and I have the exact opposite definitions. I would say that the hierarchy is this.

1. Attraction: seeing Dagny on the railroad car and thinking, “wow, who is she?”

2 .Infatuation: being at Dagny’s Sweet Sixteen, and having her say “hello” in the most melodious, delicious voice you’ve ever heard, and of course she looks and smells divine. You’d like to taste but you don’t have the right. You tease each other and are smitten.

3. Platonic Love: knowing enough about Dagny to feel a strong bond that may even be unbreakable. You are friends and admire each other...

4. Love At First Sight: after time passes and he has dated Dagny, Reardon realizes that what he saw in her on the railroad car does indeed epitomize everything in her that he loves. It was that moment of seeing her that actually, in retrospect, began his deep love for her. His experience of love [as opposed to everyday life] with her is that of experiencing an integrated work of art. It’s a consistent, whole feeling overall. Everything fits together.

This relationship is qualitatively different from his other love affairs. He feels its rightness in a way he had never felt before. Yet it need not be mutual at this level. Indeed, it was not.

There may be glitches. There may be things to “work” on. I strongly disagree with the idea that a good relationship is signaled by the lack of need to work on it. Every relationship needs work. The difference is the pleasure in the work...

It should be relatively easy to fight. Or rather, it’s easy to recover from a fight.

Again, the sense of life match happens on the process level, the series of instantaneous printouts you get from your emotions. Even in conflict, there’s still some type of a meta-agreement, on the rules of engagement for example. You can be intensely angry and have some feelings that you are on opposite poles and can’t possibly reconcile. Yet you respond, you want to be in the game. In a real sense, you want to fight, you want to negotiate ever increasing quality. People argue in tremendously different styles. You can negotiate that, too, but the sense of life match leads you to want to negotiate. It’s more interesting and important to argue with this person than it is to have very pleasant conversations about movies with someone else...

5. Full Romantic Love: Francisco adores Dagny. He knows her like himself, and he loves what he sees. Yet he cannot make the ultimate commitment to marriage. He has fought himself on the issue. He is either indecisive on the matter or decided against it. Either way, their relationship is stuck. It will be lost if the woman is good enough, and she is...

6. True Love: Galt has done a lot of homework on Dagny. He knows what she does when she’s at her wit’s end. He knows what she does to launch her creations. He knows what she is like to kiss and how she cooks his food with love. He knows her. He loves her and wants her for his own, forever.

Thank you very much for this. I'm somewhere between 4 and 5. :blink:

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I found these two parts of your post to be particularly interesting, but a little difficult to reconcile. If love requires a deep knowledge and understanding of another person, would that not take time and protracted experience in order to fully develop? I met this girl originally 3 years ago, and in that time not only have we changed significantly but our understanding of each other has become quite intense. Is that sense of deep understanding of a person possible after just a summary glance or a few dates?
After a few dates it may be possible to clue in to matching sense of life, values, implicit premises and ways of thinking -- when two people realize they are soulmates. But I think time is required for love to be in full bloom. I see those as two different phenomena. The former could be described as love as first sight, but it isn't the end of the development of love.
So, I'm still wondering if a person can know they are in love in a short period of time or whether that requires time in order to blossom.
The way that you emphasize the word "know" makes me wonder: what standard are you using for the certainty of being in love? Is it some level above which there's not a possibility of error? Because like any judgement of a conceptual consciousness, the certainty is contextual.

My point in describing the soulmates finding each other is that the people telling me the story told me that there was a moment at which it just became obvious, like a "but of course" message. It just seems so obvious that it was more than just a matter of degree different than prior relationships in which they had their doubts.

Thinking about it now, another thought for some introspection on your part: do you have general or specific doubts? What factors about her or your relationship with her raise doubts? (Obviously I'm not asking you to post such personal details here; they just may help you think through things.)

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5. Full Romantic Love: Francisco adores Dagny. He knows her like himself, and he loves what he sees. Yet he cannot make the ultimate commitment to marriage. He has fought himself on the issue. He is either indecisive on the matter or decided against it. Either way, their relationship is stuck. It will be lost if the woman is good enough, and she is. [I still love to ponder his missing lines; I think Prof. Milgram is right that Dagny couldn’t have left if some of Francisco’s lines hadn’t been cut by Miss Rand.]

Do you happen to know any material that discusses any of these issues in more detail, and in particular the part I bolded (What missing lines? Is there a recording of this discussion by Prof. Milgram?).

I do not recall reading cut lines from Atlas Shrugged related to this topic, although I definitely remember reading some cuts from The Fountainhead. This is a particular issue I know I haven't understood fully, and I would really enjoy reading or hearing more about it. Your hinting that there's more information on the subject has already made me excited. :blink:

If it's from The Early Ayn Rand I might have just missed its significance because I read that so soon after I started becoming interested in Objectivism--for the stories--and I stopped reading any comments when I realized they gave parts of the stories away.

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Do you happen to know any material that discusses any of these issues in more detail, and in particular the part I bolded (What missing lines? Is there a recording of this discussion by Prof. Milgram?).

hi Chad!

I believe this is it.

http://www.aynrandbookstore.com/prodinfo.asp?number=AR55D

Ayn Rand's Drafts: The Labors of a Literary Genius

Item Number : AR55D

Unit Price: $26.21

Compare At: $34.95

by Shoshana Milgram

Sale price available through October 1, 2006

The hand-edited drafts of Ayn Rand's novels, preserved in the Library of Congress, show a literary genius laboring on her masterpieces—through selection, clarification and integration.

These two lectures take a fascinating look at the development that certain scenes in The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged went through—in particular, scenes involving philosophical speeches and romantic encounters.

(Audio; 2-tape set; 3 hrs.)

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The story that you described with someone finding their soulmate sounds very similar to what I am experiencing now. But I cannot imagine that it would have happened with this particular girl had I not known her for several years and developed a very close friendship with her beforehand. So, I'm still wondering if a person can know they are in love in a short period of time or whether that requires time in order to blossom.

Try a little thought experiment. Consider for a moment that the course of your relationship has been different; that you have met this woman now, when the two of you are at the level of development as people that you are right now. Of course, you can't know, because things are what they are, but I think you would see, and recognize the same the things you love about her now, with the particulars to be filled in.

I would side with Stephen on this. I think you need to relax and enjoy the relationship. That will tell you as much, at this point, as more conscious evaluations would. Your experience has brought you to this point, and nothing takes the place of just living. If something happens that rings an alarm, the only caveat I would place on getting on with enjoying each other would be to listen to the alarm and find out what set it off. But until and unless that happens, for goodness sake, take the joy and run with it. It is the greatest thing two people can have together. It gives life a zing and happiness that nothing else can. Wallow in it. Water it and see if it grows.

And any other mixed metaphors you can think of. :)

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I don't want particularly want to go into detail, but I just wanted to update this. The girl that I had mentioned in this thread and I broke up a few weeks ago. We dated for 2 months. We are very similar people, but I hadn't considered that a good relationship requires more than just two people that have feelings for each other. The two people need to be looking for the same things in a relationship too, and that just wasn't the case here.

When I initially posted about "controlling" the degree of my feelings at the start, I was thinking about a situation like this. I think it's really easy to idealize a person at the start and be overly optimistic about the chances of a relationship becoming serious. So I think it makes sense to be cautious at the beginning to insure that one is being entirely objective about future potential. What do you all think?

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I don't want particularly want to go into detail, but I just wanted to update this. The girl that I had mentioned in this thread and I broke up a few weeks ago.

Sorry that things did not work out. But, you are young enough to look forward to many opportunities to come.

ISo I think it makes sense to be cautious at the beginning to insure that one is being entirely objective about future potential. What do you all think?

I think caution is good, especially in terms of action. But, based on several of your earlier comments -- your own reflections on your motivation -- be aware of that automatized sense of caution that responds to the general situation rather than a response to the particular person. Holding back emotionally can itself put the brakes on a budding romantic relationship.

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