Choice or Fate in Romance


For Aeon, Polina Aronson writes on the different “romantic regimes” of the world, with “regime” defined as the cultural, economic, and sociological systems behind how we engage in relationships. Aronson compares the Western “Regime of Choice” with the regime in Russian culture that, until recently, bore little resemblance to one based on choice but rather on fate:

The most important requirement for choice is not the availability of multiple options. It is the existence of a savvy, sovereign chooser who is well aware of his needs and who acts on the basis of self-interest. Unlike all previous lovers who ran amok and acted like lost children, the new romantic hero approaches his emotions in a methodical, rational way.

Michelle Vider is a writer based in Philadelphia. Her work has appeared/is forthcoming in The Toast, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, Atlas and Alice, Baldhip Magazine, and others. Find her at or @meanchelled. More from this author →