I don’t want to call the rise in cougardom over the past few years a phenomenon, but I will say that it certainly isn’t as taboo as it once was. We see it on TV, we see it in Hollywood, and we see it in our everyday lives in public. I realize there are women who refuse to date younger men and men who refuse to date older women. As a result, I decided to use my personal experiences to hopefully open some minds to the thought of entertaining such a relationship. First, let’s define this “cougar” term. Some women cringe at the thought of being labeled one, and others embrace it. In my opinion, it’s not an insult or anything to be ashamed of. Some see a cougar as a woman who is at least 40 years of age and exclusively dates, pursues, and/or sleeps with younger men. These are people who focus on age. There are other people who see a cougar as a woman who dates a man or men who are significantly younger than she is. “Significantly” is a relative term, but a 10-year age gap seems to be the magic number. These are people who focus on the age gap.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: “Why do people date people who are so much older/younger than they are?” Or: “Why can’t they date someone their own age?” To put it briefly, I see it is an even exchange. Every (meaningful) relationship is based on exchange for mutual benefit. In this case, however, the woman gets the peace of mind in knowing that she is still sexy, still sought after, and still desirable. A younger man can also make her feel younger and more vibrant. For the man, his ego gets stroked. He gets the peace of mind in knowing that he can handle an older woman and that he can “hang” intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, and/or physically with an older woman. He can also grow and mature even more. Many men are intimidated by older women because of the fear that he can’t measure up. For me, and many other men who are attracted to older women, it’s a challenge I embrace. I like knowing that I have to come correct and have my stuff together to be taken seriously by an older woman.
With benefits, there are certainly drawbacks. You may find that immature younger man who wants to use the older woman, who is often more financially stable than he is, for the material things that she can provide. See: Sugar mama. Sex can also be a problem (as it often is with everything in this world). This is gender neutral. One party may only want casual sex in which feelings are not involved. The other party may attach more meaning to it. The actual age gap itself may also pose a problem. Depending on how big the age gap is, the two parties may be in completely different stages in life. For example, a 23-year-old man dating a 32-year-old woman may run into this issue. Why? Many 32-year-old single women are looking to find a husband and start a family. However, a 41-year-old divorcee may not want to get involved in a serious relationship with the 30-year-old man she’s been kickin’ it with. It all depends on where you are in life and what it is you want.
At the end of the day, communication is the key to insuring that this type of relationship (no matter how serious) can exist. When it comes to age gaps, confusion is often a by-product because of the fact that the two parties are often at different points in their respective lives. From my experiences, I have learned that it is good and necessary to communicate…early. Answer these questions. For the ladies: What is it you’re looking for? Are you looking for a future husband or a young buck that can satisfy your sexual needs? For the men: Are you looking for an experienced sexual being or a woman you can see yourself settling down with? This obviously is important for any relationship, but it is absolutely necessary when a cougar is involved. It is absolutely imperative to convey those answers to those questions to the other party as well.
Ladies, there is nothing wrong with dating a younger man. As long as you’re comfortable and he’s comfortable, don’t worry about what others think. Like I said before, it is no longer as taboo as it once was, so go for it. After all, your happiness is what matters. Just make sure you know what you want, know what he wants, and that you communicate. You will be surprised by what a younger man could offer you that a man your age or older cannot. It’s all about personal preference, but don’t be so quick to right off a good man just because his age starts with a 2 and yours starts with a 3. Just make sure that he’s a good man that he can satisfy whatever you need you’re looking to have satisfied.