The Levins and the Shcherbatskys are two Moscow families that have always been friendly. While he was growing up, Levin spent a great deal of time at the Shcherbatsky house and fell in love with the whole family. He began to fall in love with Dolly, the eldest sister, but she married Oblonsky. Then, he began to fall in love with Natalie, the middle sister, but she married a diplomat. After spending a year in the country, Levin returns to Moscow and realizes that he has been destined to fall in love with Kitty.
Levin loves Kitty, but what he really loves is the whole Shcherbatsky family and the elegance and glamour that their lifestyle represents. He believes that he was “destined” to fall in love with Kitty, but he likely would have fallen for any eligible Shcherbatsky sister, since his passion spreads for their entire world and way of life.
Levin is convinced that he cannot possibly be worthy of Kitty, since he does not have a high-ranking position in society. However, after spending two months alone in the country, he still pines for Kitty, and so he has returned to Moscow to ask for her hand in marriage.
Even though Levin and Kitty are well suited for each other, because Levin places Kitty and her entire family on such a high pedestal in his mind, he cannot see their relationship in an unbiased light.