Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mutually Beneficial Arrangement

I realize this is hardly the usual C4tR fare, but I figured this would generate some discussion about marriage (even though the couple is not married), families & relationships. I came across this while browsing the Corner.

College student Melissa Beech details her current relationship in an articled titled "My Sugar Daddy".

After catching a great deal of flak, her boyfriend responded in "The Sugar Daddy Replies"

Would your opinion of the relationship change if the couple were married?

15 comments:

  1. Yes. At present, I see this as a very simple relationship that has been common for millenia. It is concubinery. Royalty and his mistress. No strings means relationship that is easily broken at the first sign of wrinkles or changing ideals.

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  2. It depends. If you look at this from a purely secular view point, then no.

    I believe that God instituted marriage as a man and a women committing themselves to each other for life. My opinion would change.

    The type of a relationship mentioned in the article can be broken by either party without any consequences (supposedly).

    Someone who does not hold to the standards of morality that I believe God has ordained may not change their opinion about this relationship. It just makes sense.

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  3. I guess what I was asking was if there was anything wrong with their relationship aside from the fact they are not married.

    Assume everything else about the story was the same, but that they got married (instead of just living together). Would everything be fine? still flat out wrong? Just "icky"?

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  4. Many biblical marriages were mutually beneficial relationships, so why should this one matter one way or the other? They both approached it from a trial basis at first and then agreed that it would work for them. Both have career as their top priority, so they have found each other knowing that this is where each of them stand. And they have mutually agreed not to expect more out of each other from a relationship standpoint. It does seem somewhat cold and calculated, but if that is what they both want and that is what works for their relationship, who am I to condescend? Secondly, while on the surface, it may seem like a selfish arrangment, they do seem to be unselfish underneath, like when the sugar daddy mentioned margharita monday. He understood her need to be out and about, even though he'd like to have her with him watching the news. They seem to have very open lines of communication which can be very rare in traditional marriages.

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  5. Here's the deal. This kind of thing is monogamous in that it means only one woman/man at a time. It does not mean life long monogamy. This means, if he or she decides to move on to greener pastures, nothing but the sentimentality of a shared history together might stand between them and such a choice.

    That said, the burden of maintaining the relationship rests primarily on her shoulders as long as she hopes to continue raking the benefits that the relationship is presently bringing her. Without a marriage contract and hope of alimony, the only investment that will bring her any returns at the end of this relationship is going to be the experiences it brought her, the wardrobe that will make her look good for the following year till it goes out of style, and the potential job offers she gets through it. (Assuming the break-up is clean enough not to cause him to selfishly ruin her chances at any of those positions). That means she'd best be very careful. She's got to make him continually need her and not just want her. She seems successful at that so far, as illustrated by the Monday night blues she causes by her absence.

    He has little to worry about in regards to her unless there is some sort of financial loss or huge stock market crash that leaves him broke. Even if she leaves him, with a salary like that, he can always get some other girl. He doesn't want the commitment of marriage, which usually means he doesn't care if the relationship remains permanently committed or not. If it ends, he expects to get over it easily enough.

    My advice to her, from a purely secular perspective of course, would be as follows:

    1) Do not become too emotionally attached. There isn't much keeping you more important to him than any other brainy seductress that might catch his eye. And unless you are amazingly strong on the emotional front, you are kidding yourself when you say the relationship can end at any point with a "lifelong friend."

    2) If this "monogamous" relationship continues for a very long time and you realize you want to keep this thing going beyond the flower of your youth, you'd best study up on the successes and failures of such famous mistresses as Anne Boleyn and Madame de Pompadour. Take really good notes.

    3) Don't get pregnant by him unless you know for sure he wants a kid with you. If you try holding child support over his head, you will lose big. It's one thing to manipulate him since the manipulation is mutual anyway. It's quite another to make him *feel* like you are manipulating him.

    4) Always keep an eye out for signs of possessive behavior on his part. Things can get really sticky when the guy in this kind of relationship starts getting too jealous or controlling.

    5) Remember that when you make yourself dependent on someone else, they can hold great power over you and your choices. Don't get stupid. Always watch yourself.

    So, would marriage change things? Yeah. Even from a secular standpoint marriage protects the woman from being taken for granted as much as is possible in this relationship. I don't think it is as "mutually beneficial" as she says it is. It might work out for her, or not. What security does she really have to that end though? Her own sense of "what a good guy he is"? How many women have been duped by that one? She'd best watch out for herself.

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  6. From the article, it appears that she is working on her own future. She's getting the right internships, etc, to make herself successful. So assuming he dumps her at some point, she shouldn't be too much worse for wear, other than any possible emotional hardship. She's getting her career ducks in a row at her sugar daddy's expense. She will be better off financially after the arrangement concludes than she was when she started the relationship. She isn't just sitting around collecting a 'paycheck' and living the lifestyle. She has her own goals in mind and she is continuing to work toward them in the midst of this relationship.

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  7. As dayzeegirrl said, many a marriage has been based on cold, calculated, mutual agreement alone and been successful. But the difference to me is that it is established by contract. The morality of the contract protects the innocent (or perhaps I should say the ignorant).

    Miss Beech might be bright enough to handle this successfully. But to give blanket approval to the relationship (even without the hesitations caused by my own system) of morality opens pandora's box for any other bright young ditz who thinks herself smart, detached, and wiley enough to hold her own in a similar situation but then discovers she wasn't so bright as all that after all.

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  8. If you're smart enough to get through it unscathed then more power to you. If you are dumb, then you deserve what you get.

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  9. Hehe! How true! I still think it is degrading to womanhood in particular and bodes ill for the society in general to look on it favorably. And no matter how favorably we cast it, it will always bear a stigma. History proves that regardless of cultural or moral background.

    But individually speaking, whatever risks you want to take in life is your choice. Just remember that you sleep in whatever bed you make. You can pick your sin, but you can't pick your consequences.

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  10. This girl sounds pretty smart about the situation. But, you're right. She is setting an example for women out there and some just aren't that bright. Case in point, the new fiancee of Drew Peterson. What an idiot! How does she not think she will meet the same fate as the previous 4--either divorce or death? Maybe she is looking for a 'mutually beneficial arrangement' in all the wrong places...

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  11. it will always bear a stigma

    I wouldn't be so sure about that - lots of behaviors that used to bear a stigma have lost it over time.

    She is setting an example for women out there and some just aren't that bright

    Which is why many behaviors lose their stigma over time - wealthy folks can often avoid many of the consequences of loose morals, while the poor who follow that example cannot - CIP single motherhood.

    To this point I haven't really weighed in with my opinion. From a moral standpoint, the couple in the story is no different than any other unmarried couple.

    If they were married, I don't really see that there would be a moral issue - neither individual tricked the other into the situation - although I think most of society would still view the relationship with a sideways glance.

    I believe this is because modern society is not used to arranged marriages which were common for most of history.

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  12. Additionally, the sugar daddy seems pretty enlightened. I don't know how many of them are out there, though. Based on the arrangement of companionship for money, he would be well within his rights to demand her time and services when and where he wants them. The fact that he is considerate and respectful of her is definitely not the norm, I wouldn't think.

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  13. On further thought, I'm second guessing the companion's level of intellect.

    "I’ve even managed to build up a little nest egg over the past year—at his insistence—putting away around $12,000."

    I would think that if she were really smart, she would have started her own nest egg, without his insistance. And definitely not be so wrapped up in wearing the designer shoes to class. If she were really smart, she'd buy the designer shoes and sell them on eBay and make more money for her nest egg and for the day when he eventually tires of her, or begins to demand more of her than she is willing to give.

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  14. "I would think that if she were really smart, she would have started her own nest egg, without his insistance. And definitely not be so wrapped up in wearing the designer shoes to class. If she were really smart, she'd buy the designer shoes and sell them on eBay and make more money for her nest egg and for the day when he eventually tires of her, or begins to demand more of her than she is willing to give."

    Bingo! But then, there's always more to these stories than meets the eye, isn't there? It's not as if she is going to obviously advertise any act of idiocy on her part thus far. She is making this out to be harmless, sensible, and pragmatic. But my guess is, if you just read between the lines a bit more or dig a little further, you'll discover the story is a little more complex and less glamorous after all.

    But isn't that true of any liberal mentality? Their whole system of thought is based on this idea that we have this spark of divinity which shall be our saviour if we only fan the flame and collaborate together without protest as if we were the Borg. They forget that man is hopelessly flawed and absolutely needs the absolutes of morality.

    And I would add too, that morality absolutely needs the authority of a religious system. I would even go so far as to suggest which system is the only religion to promise true success there, but I digress. I guess I've made those points here before.

    Just my $.02 once again.

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  15. John:

    I know what you are saying about the rich avoiding consequences because they are rich, but I still think the stigmas are there. It's just that these rich folks who are used to buying themselves out of jams don't care because they think they are financially endowed and influential enough to get by unscathed. Doesn't mean that prejudice against them and their coniving ways is wiped away. And it doesn't mean that they won't become the image of the type of person they despise the most in the long run. If anything, this sort of thing is what fuels class envy and makes the enemies that come with climbing ladders of success at the expense of the expendable little guy.

    I also think that there would be nothing wrong with it if they were married. In fact, the one and only potentially good thing I see about this whole deal is that they both are entering a relationship with their eyes as open as possible. What's wrong with that? Don't we all "vet" our potential mates to some degree or another? And isn't real loving more about deciding than feeling? Don't we see lots of folks "fall in love" for the dumbest reasons while others refuse to love for equally idiotic reasons? If folks look at this as if it is such a cold, calculated relationship that it inevitably has no potential for real love, then they are greatly misguided. Rose-colored glasses aren't necessarily a boon.

    I have no qualms with the arrangement they made if it were to be included under a marriage contract. I might suggest marital counseling to avoid some of the obvious selfishness-in-relationship issues that might arise, but most folks need that anyway.

    But what do I know. I'm crazy enough to think that arranged marriages aren't so horrible an idea as the romance novels and fairy tales make them out to be. Might not even be a bad idea sometimes.

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