|Excellent article, as usual, Joe. It illustrates a number of valuable lessons for budding young Objectivists such as:|
In short, one needs to apply reason, purpose and self-esteem to romance as judiciously as one applies it to the pursuit of a career, the purchase of a car or home, etc.
- The critical importance of self-esteem -- specifically, the pillar of self-assertiveness. All the skill and reason and productive capacity in the world amount to nothing if one lacks both clarity about one's own unique values and the willingness to pursue them. The catch? One must often date a number of different people in order to acquire the needed self-knowledge for such clarity. For the shy and unattractive, this can prove an overwhelming challenge. The solution? Work on actualizing one's own potential first before becoming entangled in a relationship.
- The need to develop, up front, an effective exit strategy when journeying into unknown territory. The investment book If It Doesn't Go Up, Don't Buy It! notes that many books talk about "buy and hold" but few ever discuss when and how and why to dump non-performing stocks. Likewise, many books exist on building and maintaining romantic relationships, but far fewer speak of the hard work needed to end mediocre ones and learn to be happy being alone while searching for a romance that adds value to one's life.
- The mandate to adopt the following attitude in all human relationships: Every individual bears ultimate responsibility for handling his or her own emotional responses. This attitude would immediately have dissolved Bob's apprehensions about hurting this girl's feelings by dumping her early in the relationship. If she feels hurt by it, that feeling is ultimately her problem, not his.