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When the Older Woman... Dates the Younger Man

Not too long ago, I was asked to be part of a panel of experts to discuss live, on the radio, “Women as Cougars.”  The group consisted of college professors, authors, ministers, counselors, and me—the dating and relationship coach.
I did my best to not embarrass my friends, family, and readers, and to keep the edge out of my voice, but obviously, with that “Cougar” title, I was struggling with some of the implied assumptions.  For starters, why exactly is it that people automatically assume a younger man is DATING DOWN when he dates an older woman?  One panelist offered, “Because, a man has to propagate his genetics, and he has less of a chance of doing that with an older woman.”
I kept myself from saying anything to him on the air, but I can say it now: any guy, young or old, who talks about women in terms of “propagating” his genes is not a guy I want to spend any time with.  He’s just too creepy.
I’m so glad I threw a bucket of ice water on my head, cooled off, and listened to the live audience call-ins.  Some of them went down the path of religious righteousness, condemning older women who would “take advantage” of younger men (seriously)…but one caller broke through the smoke of the cannon balls being fired off.  He was a young man in his 20s who was mature in voice and attitude.  Kind, and measured in his words, he said:
“I’m confused about what the uproar is around a woman’s age and how she is somehow unsuitable as a date or a mate because she might not have children in the future.  If people have only those criterion for their choices in who they want to be with, that’s fine for them—but it doesn’t work for me.  If I feel a deep connection with someone, emotionally, physically, and spiritually, it is between me and that person as to what kind of family we want to create.  And our age difference and any challenges we face because of it is no one’s business but ours.”
Well…Bravo!  Maybe I wasn’t as alone on the planet as I thought I was.  Certainly somewhere, some lucky girl has a lovely evolved man waiting to meet her.  
During the hour-long call, I was taken aback at times by the harsh comments about older women dating younger men, with the implications that they are unworthy, out of their league, or even—lucky.  This was an adventure in growth for me in how to state my thoughts without the need to exchange insults…or, gasp…land a quick verbal jab here and there.  I managed to offer the following:
* The “older” woman (at least 10 years older than the man) has more choices than ever before in history.  With greater equality in the workplace and in society, she can pursue her career, buy a home, and even start a family without the requirement of having a husband.  Having these choices has made her more aware, less needy, highly selective…and more attractive than ever.
* Age may be a consideration in the selection of a mate, but research studies have shown that if the older woman is attractive, a man will choose her over a younger, plainer woman every time.  Attractiveness is not just physical beauty.  It encompasses a person’s attitude, values, talents, and personality.  Combine those qualities with sizzling chemistry and that’s what creates the match.  Further, the older woman is more confident, causes less DRAMA, and is nurturing, which increases her appeal to all men—not just younger men.
* The older-woman, younger-man combination is NOT your ordinary run of the mill couple.  Usually, we’re talking about two people who could have their choice of ANYONE—but happened to meet each other and fall in love because they are both spectacular.  Age has nothing to do with it.  Each considers themselves lucky to have met the other one.  He’s good looking; she’s beautiful and takes care of herself.  He’s got a great and promising career; she’s successful and provides the calm wise counsel of an accomplished person.  They click.  Who cares about a 10-year age difference?
As the hour came to an end, there was one more older-woman, younger-man myth that needed to be exploded.  Some callers and panelists assumed that as she aged, the guy left her for a younger woman.  That may happen in some instances—but more often, she’s the one who leaves him.  Why?  Because she’s wise enough and strong enough to leave a guy—of any age—who shows signs of immaturity, insecurity, jealousy, or temper.
Somehow, I managed to stay out of trouble that night on the radio.  I even got invited back.  Maybe it’s because I had something to say that people wanted to hear.  It’s possible.  After all…I am an older woman.
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