I’d have to say most divorced women I know have experienced one or more cougar relationships, or if they haven’t, they want to. I myself had a relationship with a man who was 13 years younger than me when I was a newly divorced woman several years ago, and I have to confess, it was great. It only lasted a few months, but it was exciting and sexy and fun and it made me feel young and desirable and beautiful. I left the relationship with warm feelings, and I am still friends with the guy.
I can only speak on cougar relationships from my own experience, but what I found was, the relationship had a shelf life. I don’t mean it got stale or that it became spoiled like bad milk because it really was nice up until close to the end. What I mean is, after the newness wore off, the roots just weren’t strong enough to grow, and I think both of us realized we were better off dating people closer to our ages because of the differences that came with our different age cultures.
I feel like in cougar relationships, problems usually begin to arise in months 4-6. I’m not saying this is the case for every cougar relationship. Look at Demi and Ashton. Theirs lasted several years. I also imagine that some relationships with huge age gaps work out for forever.
But I find that what typically happens that breaks cougar couples up is, the infatuation wears off and the two people have very little to talk about, given the vast lifestyle differences they have, which can include hobbies, interests, history, and perspectives of the world. They also might have problems that arise from being in different life stages and wanting different things in the near and/or distant future. These same feelings go for an older guy and a younger woman.
But what really got me thinking about cougar relationships is this email I received:
I am 64 years old, and many people think I am 50. I wonder what your opinion is about older women dating younger men? I am always attracted to men down to 15 years younger. They are more active and alive! But, I always think they will project ahead and think about when she is 80, he will be 65 etc. Have you ever written a column on this topic?
What’s funny about this email for me is, I’ve never really thought about cougar relationships as they apply to old age! It’s a lot to think about. I feel very conflicted about this email, so I am going to try to offer her advice with a list the positives and negatives:
1. Positive: It really depends on the person. If she is a young 80 or he is an older 65, they might be fine. Let’s say two married people are the same age—both 65. The guy is really young and active and in great health but his wife is having health problems, doesn’t have energy, doesn’t want to do things. Let’s say he is working out all the time and she never wants to exercise. Problem. Every couple (every person) is different so why does age even matter?
2. Negative: 65 is still pretty young in many cases. 80 isn’t really young in any case. The guy could leave the wife for a younger woman who has more energy. Then again, a 65 year old guy could leave his 65 year-old wife for a younger woman, OR, he could even leave his 55 year-old wife for a younger woman (or an older woman!) There are no guarantees with any age.
3. Negative: Just like a 30 year old likes to do different things than a 45 year old, a 65 year-old likes to do different things than an 80 year old. Problem.
4. Positive: Life is short. There are no guarantees for tomorrow. We should all enjoy each day and not think about the future, only today.
5. Negative: The 65 year old might become resentful of having to care for the 80 year old. He also might leave her and now she is single again at 80, and has to grow old by herself, not to mention with a broken heart. That makes me sick to think about.
6. Positive: The couple might truly be in love and age is just a number.
Despite the positives and negatives, there is one thing that really isn’t leaving my mind when I think about a couple with a big age gap: You can’t help who you are attracted to, you can’t help who you fall in love with, you can’t help who you want to spent time with, and you can’t help the fact that this person came into your life. So, maybe it’s wise not to worry about a relationship until you realize it’s making you unhappy. And, that day may never come!
But I will say, for this woman to seek out men who are 15 years younger, I think she needs to open up her mind and heart to men closer to her age. Give them a try. Go out with a couple and see. There are some very attractive, smart, energetic older guys out there! And what’s cool is, you can enjoy an older man just as much as a younger guy, but you get the benefit of same age, same page! It’s a very sexy and fun combination!