I’ve been asked a lot, “What about Cougar women?” The question is often asked as though it’s a really great thing that women are going for younger men, and getting them. And I suppose for some women, that’s great. For a while. If the idea is to flirt and attract, one could do that with any age. It’s when the flirtation has the potential to migrate into something more that I offer a bit of caution.
I had an aunt once say to me, “Better to be an old man’s honey than a young man’s slave.” When I first heard that, in my thirties, I thought it was a creepy idea. But now that I’m beyond my fifties, it makes a lot of sense.
I’ve observed women who are with younger men – often much younger – and there is always the feeling that their connection to younger men is tenuous, and easily broken once they turn the corner and start looking their age. This can be a frightening time, and can add to a woman’s sense of insecurity, causing her to dwell on every wrinkle, every gray hair, every piece of evidence that she is the older woman in his life.
If a woman can live with the evident and inevitable differences between her and her lover, or her younger competition, there is nothing wrong with a younger man in her life. But when it becomes a source of pain and sorrow, and the age gap widens with every passing day, I say it’s not worth it.
Maybe my aunt was right. Besides, at this age, older men don’t look that much older, and the gap has definitely closed. A woman needs to keep her expectations of the future realistic, and part of that is realizing she has a past. Having someone in her life who shares that history may make it that much easier to deal with the present – as is it – and not as she wishes to pretend it to be.