In retrospect, I can’t believe I ever approached her in the first place. At the age of 60, I had retired from my job, moved from Canada to the Dominican Republic, discharged most of my obligations to my grown children, and been separated from my ex-wife for over three years. I was perusing an animal rescue page on Social media that I made a significant contribution to when I noticed her blog.
I had already embraced eight stray dogs from the streets of Puerto Plata. Despite the fact that Alex was only 20 and lived in the United States, I sent her a text. She responded, despite the fact that I was 40 years older.
Our online conversations later evolved into late-night phone calls, and I ultimately decided to invite her to come to visit me. Alex’s mother, who is almost ten years my junior, checked me out on Google before approving the tour and consented to a safe word (“pumpernickel”) for her daughter to use if she was pressurize into a life of laundry enslavement. So, Alex decided to step off an aircraft and then into my life a few months after we first exchanged words on Social media. She wedded me a little more than a year afterwards, despite the fact that she had never left the Dominican Republic.
We had been experiencing the socioeconomic uneasiness that our alliance emerged to induce someone else for some time by the time we got married. My mates, as well as hers, doubted our decision to commit to each other. My knowledgeable, liberal academic kids couldn’t comprehend the fact that their father’s future wife was at least six years older. My Jewish mother reacted with fear to the headlines that I had married a woman 40 years my junior, just as she would have if I had told her that I was considering becoming a Scientologist. Alex’s mom, whom I have since grown to admire, was just as worried as my family.
But it was the widespread perception that we had decided to enter into a “exchange relationship” that bothered us the most. A transactional relationship is one in which both parties are only interested in themselves and where each companion does stuff for the other in exchange for something in return. The traditional transactional marriage between a husband and wife is one in which one person, usually the man (or the older party), provides financial support in exchange for the other person, usually the woman (or the younger party), providing relations. This impression is amplified in situations where the man is considerably older and the woman is disproportionately appealing to the rest of the world.
A transactional relationship’s entire premise indicates a lack of adoration, regard, or loyalty, as each party wants to receive rather than give. The ironic part in our particular instance is that my woman not only comes from a wealthy family, but she also has her own money, having competed in international horse-jumping competitions since she was in her late teens. After years of being in an unhealthy relationship, I required affection and comfort more than physical closeness.
My emotional needs were offended by the idea of buying and selling my future happiness for a roll in the hay. Although everyone assumed it, I didn’t have to get married for physical closeness, and she didn’t have to get married for financial support.
Only a few people who know us well, such as our family and fellow relatives, are aware of the full story. My woman is a talented painter who received a full scholarship to study at the renowned Savannah College of Art and Design. At the age of 50, I left a career in real estate to dedicate more time to writing, an enthusiasm I had nourished for much of my life but had neglected as I struggled to raise families, cover expenses, and accrue the financial stability that was anticipated in the socioeconomic groups in which I lived.
Alex and I are linked by the art forms, and our mutual affection for each other’s work inspires us to dig deeper into the creative thinking that characterises our job and nurtures our partnership. We have a love for each other that isn’t based on physical closeness or money. Despite this, we are still shunned as a pair. The outside world sees the depressing complexities of a transactional relationship, not the devotion of two creative souls joined at the core on a journey of discovery and expansion. I’m seen as a rapacious man with monetary support haggling for the physical allure of a much younger woman who is too inexperienced in the ways of the world to recognise the Machiavellian nature of the situation.
Many people will conclude that I am a garden-variety malignant narcissist intent on getting married to a sweet and innocent woman with the IQ of a pot plant if they spend that much time analysing our marriage. In reality, marrying Alex has made me far more responsive and aware of other people’s needs. To recommend that a woman who completed the first two years of college while still in high school and received fellowships to study both organic chemistry and fine arts is mentally deficient is an act of disrespect to the MENSA brilliance I married.
We’ve both stopped fretting over the minor inconveniences we face on a daily basis. There hasn’t been an eatery where we haven’t been asked what my daughter wants to buy at least once. My wife should avoid buying me dinner with her own money because the host will not take her seriously when she asks for the bill. I prefer to book the emergency exit row on flights because I’m tall, and I’m weary of ticket agents inquiring if my daughter is old enough to sit there.
Alex has taught me to be more compassionate, understanding, and supportive in the life force. After an entire life of living the life of an egotistical predator, she has helped me become more civilised. My previous significant others taught me to love them, but Alex has taught me to love myself. As a result, I adore her much more. I suspect anyone will ask why we married after 20 years of marriage. In a time when nearly half of all marriages end in divorce, a long-term relationship that both survives and continues to thrive is rarely brought into question. I hope I live long enough to experience it.