Valmont also writes, "...any woman who permits herself to speak of love will end by acknowledging it, or at least behaving as though she did" ("...femme qui consent à parler d'amour, finit bientôt par en prendre, ou au moins par se conduir comme si elle en avait"). A question central to Dangerous Liaisons is how much talk about action counts for action, or how one can be betrayed by what one says even before one does anything compromising. The novel seems to claim that words do contain something dangerous, even more so than action.

The Marquise de Merteuil is herself a good example of how words can be made more real than any event in itself. In Letter Eighty-one, she writes that she is her own creator. As a young girl Merteuil refused to let fate or society describe or proscribe her, and began to compose herself. She wrote the book of her life as carefully as her letters.

Not only did the Marquise invent a story for herself, she invented a character to play. She tells Valmont of how she taught herself to control her facial expressions: looking happy when she was miserable, content when irritated, and so on. Thus she was able to convince the rest of society to play along in her drama with her, using even her own body as a prop in its staging. The next question we have to ask after learning all this is, at what point does the staging stop, where there is room left for love in this kind of a controlled existence. This is precisely what the Marquise means when she writes that she does not follow any rules or principles that may have existed in society before her entrance into it. Love and joy, except when they are acted, are excluded from her repertoire because she did not invent them.