Karenin successfully has his proposal approved at the commission meeting, and the entire office can talk of nothing but his triumph. The next day, however, Anna enters his study to say that she feels they cannot live as husband and wife. Karenin tells her that she doesn’t have to perform her wifely duties, but that he never wants to see Vronsky in the house so that neither society nor the servants can ever accuse her.
Karenin is doing extremely well in his career, but his personal life is falling apart. To Karenin, the most important aspect of the marriage is social reputation: as long as they maintain the façade of their marriage in society, he does not care what happens privately. Anna and Vronsky’s affair seems to have a clear path, so long as Anna is willing to fit it into the confines allowed by Russian high society: that it remain hidden and that she not take it so seriously.