Babies

It’s Hard Out There for a Cougar




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At 42 I was chatted up at an alumni mixer by a man seven-and-a-half years my junior, and we started dating. The early days of the relationship were heady, and my middle-aged friends were impressed.

“He’s got that new-boyfriend smell,” I bubbled. An older male friend speculated, “Red Bull and Axe Body Spray?”

He smelled better than that, but – and there’s always a but, no matter how nice the butt – there’s a gulf between the fantasy and the reality here. For one thing, he may not be the Olympian stud of your dreams. And for another – deep breath, now – no matter how sexy and youthful you are, you may discover that you’re not actually 23 anymore.

And so may he.

We’re sold this delicious fantasy of a younger lover with a sixpack and a pistol in his pocket who’ll rock you all night long and not doze on the couch at 10. Your married friends, who’ve made you feel like the last expired yogurt, are now bickering parents – and you, you hot feline, will purr in the sinewy embrace of a rock-climbing, waterskiing, dirty-dancing young Iron Man.

But as months and years pass, believe you me, challenges arise.

1. Sex
Your stallion may be buff now, but if you stay together you’ll find he’s as susceptible to the effects of time, gravity and pizza as you are. Even if the sex is mind-blowing (and that’s a pretty big if), by the time you’re in your 40s, you’ve been to this rodeo enough times that the bucking is getting a tad monotonous. You’re not lined with asbestos, and you have a lot to do these days. After a time (or a few times anyway), you may prefer a good, catchy rock tune to a meandering sexual symphony.
 

2. Night Life
In your 20s, you went out till the wee hours, grabbed some quick z’s and popped out of bed at seven for work. Your guy may enjoy that schedule, but the further you get past 30, the less appealing it becomes. You sparkled through dinner and a concert, but just as you’re starting to yawn he wants to go out dancing and then to a midnight improv show. You don’t need to be in your jammies with cocoa at 8:30, but you are giving a breakfast presentation to clients.

3. His Young Friends
God forbid you embarrass him by being all old in front of his friends, who are likely closer to his age than yours. You will go to parties and clubs with them, to their pub crawls and cornhole tournaments. Maybe for years.

4. Wrinkle Obsessions
Congratulations on looking great and young for your age, but dating a younger man doesn’t replace your collagen. Prepare to obsess about every wrinkle, gray hair, bulge or sag. He can see them, and so can his friends, some of whom are single women younger than you. Maybe he’s with you because you’re wonderful – but maybe he’s with you because you look hot. Eventually, you’ll find out which.

5. Kids
Does he want kids? Do you? If he wants a family in five years, will you still be fertile? If your eggs are expiring, is he ready now? Are you willing to adopt? Is he? Do you want to be the oldest mom at the daycare, asked if you’re Grandma, pushing a stroller at your 25th college reunion when your friends’ kids are taking the SAT, chasing a preschooler through a Chuck E. Cheese at 50, and trying to pay tuition and retire at the same time? None of this matters if it’s just all bubble baths and rolls in the hay, of course, but if he’s your soulmate, well…

Cougars are beautiful and powerful, and that’s what attracts young men. They may be looking for an uncaged divorcee who wants lots of wild sex – with no strings attached. They may be bored by the way girls their own age prattle endlessly about coworkers and shoes and OMG I’m so mad at my mom. You’re more interesting and tell better stories.

Just remember: on dating sites, men of all ages consistently seek women younger than themselves. I’m not saying it can’t work, but the odds are against it. So savor the moment, and remember: At least you probably won’t have to watch that gorgeous hair of his fall out.

More from DAME: Dating a Younger Man: The Rules

You will go to parties and clubs with them, to their pub crawls and cornhole tournaments. Maybe for years.Samantha Bennett

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