A wasted month in the life of a cougar

The term cougar, as it pertains to older women dating younger men, has been making headlines lately. Because I wasn't sure of a true definition of the term, I consulted Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, to learn more about it.

Wikipedia defines a cougar as, "A woman over 40 who sexually pursues younger men, typically more than eight years her junior."

Also mentioned by Wikipedia was the origin of the word: "The term is Canadian, appearing first in print on the Canadian dating website Cougardate.com and has been used in TV series, advertising and film."

I am in favor of women our age (50 to 80) being open-minded about dating all kinds of men--goodness knows it's hard enough to find decent, available single guys. Included in the universe of suitable men are considerably younger ones, as long as the women are treated with respect and are happy with their younger dudes.

But, I hate to see our women putting too much hope for a long-term relationship into a cougar arrangement.

Jane, not her real name, but one of our members, just experienced a potential cougar encounter and agreed to tell us about it.

On November 5, she emailed: "I have been communicating with a single man and will be meeting him for the first time on Saturday.

"He wrote to me on an Asian Singles website, although he is not Asian, but I am. We have been communicating for two weeks and are having LOTS of fun joking and teasing; so much that, even if we do not have 'chemistry,' I am SURE that we can be great buddies because we seem to have a meeting of our minds.

"Although not a major problem according to him, I am concerned that he is much younger than I. There is a possibility that I 'may' look younger than he, and Saturday will be the proof.

"I did NOT choose him, he chose me! (Prior to meeting him, I was involved with someone 9-years-younger, but it didn't bother him either.)"

Jane and the younger man had a date on Saturday, November 7. She reported: "Although we've been communicating for only three weeks, it was so satisfying to talk in person. He then treated me to a Japanese dinner."

At that point, it sounded like the relationship might have a future--taking it slow, them getting to know each other--the usual precautionary steps in dating at our age.

However, six days later, Jane wrote, "He absolutely adored me! However, he was only an 'actor,' looking mainly for sex and had lost four weeks of his life, and mine, by 'pretending' to be an honest Christian, seeking another Christian lady."

So the young man wasted a month of his own time, and Jane's time, and came up short of his goal to have sex with a cougar.

The wasted time reminded me of the song, "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights," by Freddie Fender, the 1960s Tejano country musician. I had forgotten what a great song that was. If you'd like to hear it, follow the link: Link to song "Wasted days and wasted nights."

Jane added, "Everything he told me is questionable!"

Jane's experience highlights one of the problems with a cougar relationship. The age diversity usually means different maturity levels and can mean different expectations. He wanted sex; she wanted a relationship (which, by the Wikipedia definition, means she's not a true cougar).

In a November 16, 2009, article, titled, "In Dating Jungle, Cougar Relationships All About Fun," on the website ThirdAge.com, written by Megan K. Scott, Scott stated, "Dating experts say they have seen a rise in older women seeking younger men, but not necessarily the other way around. And they say those matches don't tend to turn into long-term relationships."

Scott also stated in another cougar-related article, also on ThirdAge.com on November 16, titled, "Relationships All About Fun," that cougars don't seek long term commitments of marriage, they date younger men only to have fun.

I see nothing wrong with women 50-80 wanting to date younger men. But, if these women consider themselves true cougars, then by definition, sex is going to be a major part of the deal, and expectations of anything long-term should be held in check.

The last time I got in trouble with the women of our group on the topic of older women having sex with younger men was years ago when I poo-pooed the book, "The Round Heeled Woman." I still have the scars on my back from the flak I received. I learned from that experience that many women our age do just want to have fun. And that it's okay.

When a considerably younger man wants a date with you, the old light bulb should illuminate telling you, this kid wants to have sex with me.

If you want to be a true cougar, be prepared for the frosting, but not much of the cake.

From the Mailbag

Responses to "Do multiple marriages matter?"

Jennifer: "You sound rather defensive about the subject of multiple marriages."

Rachel wrote, "Said gently to you, seems a bit of a sore topic still for you."

Let me answer those two comments first since they state the same thing. No, you are both dead wrong. I'm not the least bit defensive about being married three times. In fact, my three marriages were a gift.

When wife #3 bailed on Xmas Eve, it turned out to be the greatest favor anybody has ever done for me. Not only did it plant the seed for a second career in journalism, but it opened the door for Greta to enter my life. She and I have been blessed to have 11 and 1/2 years together, which have been the best of my life.

I included personal information--not because I'm defensive about multiple marriages--but to enrich the article, to share with readers that I know a bit about the topic because I've lived it.

Gale, "No, multiple marriages shouldn't matter, unless the person who's been married many times just hops from one marriage to another at the drop of a hat. I know someone who did just that, but he always married the same type woman for the same wrong reasons, expecting different outcomes. It never happened and I believe he was on #5 when last I heard. That's the kind of person to stay clear of. Otherwise, enjoy the moment!

"For my late husband, I was his 3rd marriage and by far, he told me, the most rewarding marriage he ever had. That included over 10 years with his 1st and 35 yrs. with his 2nd wife. For me, he also was my 3rd, and I'll be hard pressed to find anyone who can compare to him. I'd had 17 yrs. the 1st time around, and 11 with my 2nd husband. Though my 3rd to Ian was short lived, it was, without a doubt, the most fulfilling and loving. It was also beyond compare to any others I'd had."

Carol, why would the number of marriages matter; they were at different stages in his life so why? And her marriages were probably at different stages also. And why does that enter the picture? Enjoy the companionship currently and see what may happen. The future is or should be far off anyhow.

Paula, "I have been married 5 times and have no desire to remarry. I would just appreciate having a special gentleman for companionship and activities. Been divorced 13 years and those types of gentlemen are very few and far between. They all seem to have marriage or care for me on the brain.

"Appreciated your, from the heart, response."

The comment I enjoyed the most came from Terry, aka the funny plumber, "Hell, I've been married four (4) times. Now I have a full set, one of each color. Love from Thailand!"

© 2009, Tom Blake

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Tom Blake is an expert on dating after 50. He has appeared twice on the "Today Show" and has written more than 500 columns on dating and relationships. His "Single Again" column appears in The Orange County Register in southern California, is read worldwide and is often featured on msn.com. He is a professional speaker. He spoke at the national AARP convention in San Diego in 2002, and in Chicago. His book, Middle Aged and Dating Again, is a humorous account of his first year of dating after his third divorce. His second book is Finding Love After 50: How to begin, where to go, what to do. His latest book is titled How 50 Couples Found Love after 50. To ask a question or receive Tom's free weekly column on middle-age dating and relationships by e-mail, click on www.findingloveafter50.com or E-Mail.

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