“She was comfortable describing to him her snatches of memories, childhood embarrassments. And he was not only merely interested but fascinated. He would question her for hours about her childhood. His questions were always direct, sometimes probing, but without exception gentle. She began to understand why lovers talk baby talk to one another. There was no other socially acceptable circumstance in which the children inside her were permitted to come out. If the one-year-old, the five-year-old, the twelve-year-old, and the twenty-year-old all find compatible personalities in the beloved, there is a real chance to keep all these sub-personas happy. Love ends their long loneliness.
Perhaps the depth of love can be calibrated by the number of different selves that are actively involved in a given relationship. With her previous partners, it seemed, at most one of these selves was able to find a compatible opposite number; the other personas were grumpy hangers-on.”
– Contact (1986) av Carl Sagan (astronom, 1934-1996).