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The following fictional dialog takes place between Malcolm Goodway, author of A Temporary New Wife, and a committed Skeptic:
S: Malcolm, you say that itís perfectly possible for a man even Ö letís say in his fifties, sixties or seventies Ö to establish a relationship with a considerably younger woman which is satisfying and rewarding to both of them. My first question would be, why would any a woman want to undertake such an arrangement? The obvious answer is that sheís trying to get him to set her up for life ó maybe by marrying him and inheriting his assets when heís gone.
G: Thatís certainly conventional wisdom; but any man who enters such a relationship without seeing that coming should have his head examined. Still, itís worth looking at that situation in detail to see exactly whatís wrong with it. The first thing thatís wrong is that itís dishonest on both sides.
S: Why do you say that? Isnít it understood by both parties that thatís real reason for relationship?
G: No, not unless it was said up-front and became an altogether explicit understanding between them. Did she say, Look, Iím willing to establish a sexual and maybe a cohabiting relationship with you as long as you leave me whatever assets you were planning to leave to your grandchildren when you die. I hope that wonít take too long.
Does he say, at my age I need an attractive young woman like you to excite me sexually, so Iím willing to let you believe youíll be heiress to all my assets. But Iím not planning to die any time soon, and Iím still going to leave most of my money to my family members even though you think itíll all go to you. Meanwhile, Iím planning to have as much fun in bed with you as I can until arrangement goes sour. But while itís going on, you better stay away from men your own age or itíll go sour pretty fast!
Said in this way, itís pretty obvious that an explicit arrangement like this must be very rare. People do not say that to each other up front. Instead, they each proceed along path of their own agenda even though these might be incompatible at their base. The source of dishonesty is thus implicit hidden agendas. In other words, there is no clear agreement at all between participants.
S: So, how would you avoid this kind of dishonesty between two such people?
G: First of all, I would remove any question of assets and bequests from equation, and I would also not even consider setting a woman up into a paid parasitic existence. So what we are left with is an older man and a younger woman facing each other. What do you think he can offer her?
S: Certainly not physical attractiveness, unless she has a father complex.
G: Thatís not as rare as you might think. But as a first approximation, letís say youíre right. What has he to offer?
S: What indeed? Are you going anywhere with this, or just pulling my chain?
G: How about knowledge and experience?
S: Yes, I suppose so. But while it might make for good conversation at dinner table, why would a woman have such a critical need for that?
G: Not any woman, such a specific type; or rather a woman with a very specific need.
S: Still canít imagine what that could be. Do you really have some kind of answer, or are you just playing mind games?
G: Think of a woman who, when very young, interrupted her education to get married, then quickly had children, and not too much later was abandoned by her husband because he couldnít take responsibility for his family. There must be millions of relatively young women in that kind of situation.