Generally speaking, why make a long-term investment when the benefits are available without it? The image it brings to mind is of a cow, which requires care, feeding, and shelter, and in return produces milk. Why would anyone go to the trouble and expense of owning the cow, if they could get milk without it?

The metaphor is usually applied to sex, from a male perspective: Why enter a monogamous or committed relationship with a woman, as long as she'll keep having sex with you without it?

Of course, no endorsement is implied.

fruan writes: "One word: BEEF." An excellent point regarding the greater substance that becomes possible with true emotional and intellectual intimacy -- things only possible when a relationship is given the proper (and expensive) attention and nourishment. He concludes: "Not that this should be taken to mean that I intend to eat my wife."

Mrs. Fruan has expressed her objections and negotiations are proceeding.