Will you have more success in love if you date a younger dude?
I, for one, do not hate the word ‘cougar’. Perhaps that’s because, at 30, the term technically does not apply to me…yet. I am safe in my puma-dom.But let’s face it, I’m no spring chicken, either. So would it be acceptable for me — and for women like me — to date younger men? Beyond that, would we have any hope of making a legitimate love match or are we trying to relive our youth by dating down in age?
For the majority of my adult life, I’ve dated younger men. When I say ’younger’, I don’t mean anything too crazy, just a mere two-year age gap. If I was 26, my boyfriend would be 24. If I was 29, he’d be 27. And so on. I’m not sure why this is. Perhaps it was because I felt like I had an edge on them, that they wouldn’t cheat or treat me badly because my physical and emotional maturity was just so much greater than theirs. Perhaps I just have a type. Who really knows? The point is, two was my lucky number.
That is, until, I met *Connor. I had been running into him unexpectedly for months and he fit the bill of my perfect man: tall, dark-haired, green-eyed and unspeakably beautiful. By the time Connor finally asked me out, I was a goner. I couldn’t have turned him down had I wanted to, which I didn’t.
Although certain mannerisms and conversation topics indicated his youth, I pushed my agist doubts away and enjoyed being with him. What I didn’t know couldn’t hurt me. But after less than a week of dating, I had to know: how young, exactly, was he? Let’s just say I was not pleased with the answer (to set your curiosity at ease, yes, he was legally able to drink). But in the spirit of going with it, and trying to be open to the idea that love could blossom for anyone at anytime, I went on a series of dates with him, trying my best to make it work.
What I came to realize was one very simple fact: age is not just a number. It matters if you’re looking for that person who’s going to be your equal, who’s going to ‘complete you’ all Jerry Maguire-style.
Connor may have been gorgeous, sweet, attentive and into me, but he wasn’t on my level. I’ve had serious jobs, I owned a car, traveled the world, been in love and had my heart broken. He was just starting to come into his own and had that wide-eyed innocence of a recent college grad who was experiencing everything for the very first time. It was endearing, but boring. I had already been there and done all that — why relive it all over again instead of looking for new challenges?
Maybe you’ll find that your experience is different, but I like having some common ground with my boyfriends. This doesn’t job apply to similar values, goals, hobbies and temperaments, but now, I realize, to age as well. I don’t want to be a teacher. I don’t want to be able to offer him tips on getting his first post-collegiate job when he can barely understand what, exactly, it is I actually do all day at work.
Don’t you want someone who gets you, who gets what you do? Granted, we all have different life experiences, but shouldn’t loving someone who’s even semi-compatible better than being with a guy who doesn’t get you at all?
Being a legitimate puma was an experience I’ll never forget and wouldn’t take back. No regrets, remember? But although I don’t regret it, I will never again date a man that much younger — because it made me feel old. But if he makes you feel young again, go for it. We’re all looking for that eternal fountain of youth, after all…
*name changed for privacy