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Princess Betsy bumps into Oblonsky, who flirts with her, and they discuss Anna. They agree that Anna is wasting away and that Karenin is stifling her. Oblonsky is in a merry mood, but when he goes to visit Anna, he finds her in tears. Anna tells Oblonsky that she hates Karenin for his virtues and cannot live with him; she says that she feels lost.
Oblonsky doesn’t take flirting and fidelity too seriously; his chief talent and main goal in life is making people feel at ease, and he wants people to enjoy life, rather than fall too much into the throes of passion or to live too stoically.
Oblonsky tells Anna that she made a mistake in marrying an older man, and that there is one central question: can she live with her husband? Oblonsky is of the opinion that a divorce will solve everything.
Oblonsky doesn’t understand that Anna might have lingering emotions that would plague her decisions in life, since emotional consequences do not weigh heavily on Oblonsky.