Who would want a relationship where one partner is guaranteed to die and the other isn’t?
Well, a lot of couples want it, it seems.
Judging by the number of human + long-life-species romances being published, there’s apparently something fundamentally appealing in the idea.
But is it fair? Is a long-lifer + ephemeral relationship fair to either party?
The ephemeral must face the idea of certain death and that her lover with live forever without her (and potentially, will find another mate).
The long lifer faces the prospect that in a few short years, they’re going to lose their lover, and there’s nothing they can do about it (especially for those long lifers who cannot convert their lover into a long-lifer, too).
There is a third possibility…and it has even more drawbacks. The long-lifer may masquerade as an ephemeral, and never tell his mate. The positive side to this is that the ephemeral will never be troubled about dying and leaving their lover behind. But for how long can the masquerade last? Once the ephemeral begins to age and the long-lifer does not, things fall apart. Besides, how can any two people have a genuine, intimate relationship if one of them is lying on a massive scale?
There is no easy solution to this question. Authors have tackled it over the years in a variety of ways and all of them have problems, many of them moral and ethical in nature.
Robert Heinlein answered the question in Time Enough for Love in a particularly poignant way, that was nevertheless based on science.
I answered the question in another way altogether in Wait.
What do you think?
This is Part II of a two-part Series.