Life as a Cougar – All You Need to Know

Dating 101
11 Jul 2023
10 min read
A Cougar and Her Cub - How Dating a Younger Man Works

Martha Stewart will be 82 in August. In an interview at the age of 80, she told Andy Cohen that she prefers to date men who are at least 10 years younger than her. In that respect, she joins plenty of other female celebrities who are OK with dating a younger man – like Demi Moore, for example.

But life as a female celebrity is not the reality for most mature women who prefer younger men. For one thing, they’ve had a lot of “work” to look younger done – work that the average woman of their age cannot afford. And the physical contrast between them and their younger squeezes is not publicly observed.

So, let’s dispense with the celebrities and get down to the reality of an older gal getting into a relationship with a younger man.

Are Dating a Younger Man and Age Gap Dating the Same Things?

Dating a younger man is often called age gap dating because it usually refers to a significant age difference of at least 10 years. But if your age difference is less than 3 years and a woman is still younger, technically, that’s not age gap dating anymore. It all depends on your age difference and whether it is comfortable for you and feels like a “gap.”

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If you are a woman who is or is considering dating a younger man, you should know that there are both benefits and challenges in doing so. In this article, we’ll help you know what you are getting into – so that you have realistic expectations and figure out how you can make this relationship work for both you and your younger mate.

What the Research Says

A recent (2022) Ipsos poll revealed the following:

  • Among Americans, about 39% have previously dated someone with an age gap of 10+years
  • Of those polled, 25% of men have dated younger females; 14% of women have dated younger men
  • 57% of those polled say they would be open to dating someone with a 10+ year age difference
  • Of those polled, more believe the 10+-year age gap dating a younger person is okay for men while fewer believe it is okay for females to do the same (71% vs 60%).

The conclusion is quite straightforward – dating a younger man is completely normal. Let’s investigate what are the most common reasons behind this.

Older women are free to choose dating a younger man

4 Reasons Why Older Women Date Younger Men

Here are the most common reasons why older women use their freedom to date a younger man.

1. Younger Men Have Less Physical and Emotional Baggage

Usually, an older man has plenty of past relationships. He also probably has children – or even grandkids – which often causes lots of drama. Compared to them, younger guys have fewer former relationship issues.

It is likely that younger men don’t have kids and/or an extended family, which puts far less of their emotional baggage on your plates. If you do have kids and an extended family, at least there is only one of these aspects to deal with.

Related reading: Male Maturity – When Does It Kick In?

2. A Younger Man May Bring a Fresh Perspective and New Experiences

Women who are older can get a bit set in their ways and routines and not be “up” on the newest social trends. But dating a younger man can change a lot of this.

You may end up going to concerts, clubs, and other events that you wouldn’t normally attend when dating an older man. A younger man will introduce you to a new world of fun and excitement. Of course, this is not to say you have to be into mountain climbing (in any long-term relationship, both partners must have their independent interests and activities), but with mutual respect, you can choose those activities which they enjoy and that will broaden your horizons too.

Just keep in mind: you won’t always be on the same page about everything, but that’s okay.

3. You Probably Have Financial Stability and Don’t Need Theirs

There’s an old saying, “If you don’t need their money or their sperm, then you don’t need to get married.” You are past the point of these needs. And you can enter into a relationship with a great sense of freedom.

And your younger man can too. He doesn’t have to worry that you might need a marriage and children. You may be at different life stages, but he will appreciate that you don’t want the white picket fence and 2.4 kids.

Related reading: The Making of a Sexual Goddess

4. Better and More Exciting Sex

A younger man will have a stronger libido than those in your age group. While you may have been in a bit of a wasteland regarding sex, your younger man can introduce you to sexual experiences and frequency that you have not been used to but that have now been awakened in you. Enjoy it!

9 Things to Think About as You Are Dating a Younger Man

All these reasons sound amazing, but it’s time to take a realistic look at what you are getting into when dating a younger man. There are definite pros but some issues as well. Take these tips to make dating a younger man a great experience, but make sure things work as you wish and expect. Here are the key considerations to take into account.

1. Don’t Make Assumptions

Every relationship is a new one, and every person is an individual. Don’t accept that the stereotypes about a younger guy apply to your new squeeze.

Like any romantic relationship, you have to get to know your younger beau as a person, not as part of a demographic group. So take your time, ask lots of questions, and find out all about him by yourself.

Related reading: 42 Questions to Ask Your Boyfriend: Grow Your Relationship Gradually

2. Don’t Try to Act Younger When It’s Not Natural

Sometimes, when an older woman has a younger partner, she tends to believe that the partner wants her to look and act younger too.

He chose to be in a relationship with you rather than a woman his own age for any number of reasons, but one of those reasons was NOT to make you into a younger ‘you’!

So please, don’t change hair, makeup, and clothing styles to be a 30-year-old again. Just act and look as young as you feel, but do not fake something you’re not.

You can’t keep that up. If you’re not into a 25-mile bike ride, then say so. Also, this doesn’t mean that you slop around. Find a hairstyle that is age-appropriate; find stylish clothing that capitalizes on your physical strengths and minimizes your flaws. Just be the best version of yourself!

Related reading: How To Maintain Your Individuality While In a Relationship

3. Spend Time Together and Apart

You don’t have to be joined at the hip. Healthy relationships don’t work that way. Discuss what you enjoy together and do those things. Spending time on your own interests, hobbies, and with your own friends is a good thing.

4. Talk About and Agree Upon Your Relationship Goals

Expectations should be laid out on the table early on in your relationship:

  • What do each of you want in and from this relationship?
  • Do you want to keep it casual?
  • Do you want to keep it a bit hidden from friends and family or do you want to be fully public?
  • Or are you both looking for a long-term permanent relationship?

You have all the dating options before you, so go for what feels right for you both.

Even if he's young, remember you're young enough to deserve their love too

5. Mind Your Confidence

Sometimes, an older woman dating a significantly younger boyfriend can become somewhat insecure. After all, there are younger gals with better bodies and who may be physically far more physically able and active. If you feel your self-assurance slipping, get on it right away:

  1. Get online and find other women who are dating younger men. They can become a type of support group and help renew your self-esteem and confidence.
  2. If you feel things really slipping, talk to a relationship expert, and maybe bring your partner along. He needs to understand your feelings and what he can do to keep your confidence and security intact.

6. Don’t Ignore Finances

Unless he’s a trust fund baby, a younger guy is still in the early stages of his career and does not generally have lots of assets, savings, etc. On the other hand, a woman dating a younger man is far more established and secure financially.

You must enter your relationship with a younger guy with eyes wide open. Your young man will not be able to contribute as much as you in the financial relationship. If this is no big deal to you, no problem.

7. Be Prepared for the Negativity of Others

Significantly older women dating younger men need to be ready for those who will disapprove of their relationship.

Family members and even friends will express their disapproval in all sorts of ways – unfunny jokes, remarks driven by sarcasm, and quite a bit of talking behind your back that ultimately gets back to you.

Expect this to happen; expect to lose some friends over this; and make sure your partner is ready to withstand others’ disapproval too. There will easily be those in his family and friends circle who will disapprove of this age difference.

The criticism will be different for each of you. Older men will disapprove, believing that you are simply refusing to age gracefully and date men your own age. Your partner will face “charges” of being a “gold digger” just looking for a sugar mama. These may hurt your feelings, of course, but if the two of you remain strong in your partnership and learn to ignore and even cut off some from future contact.

And oh by the way? You might want to develop a few phrases, like “This works for us” or “We don’t really think about age much” when someone makes an off-handed comment about your age gap. The less you react negatively, the more comfortable you will become.

8. Make Sure You Are Committed to Equality in the Relationship

You have far more life experience than the younger partner you date or live with. Thus, you may have far more stories about life and love than he does. In this case, it’s easy to get into the mode of feeling a bit more superior and like you have to “teach” this less experienced person about life.

This can become a big red flag for him.

If you are truly interested in making the relationship work, do all that you can to promote equality in the relationship. Every decision should involve talking things through and reaching a common agreement. Relationships that are unequal don’t survive.

Related reading: 14 Red Flags in Women – Here’s Your Checklist

9. Move at Your Own Pace and Have Fun

If you are just entering the dating pool for a younger guy, take your time. You are obviously interested in dating a younger man but you want it to be the right one.

Start out on online dating sites and engage in conversations and chats with possible matches. Date those possible matches on a casual basis so that you can experience all of the new things that are involved with dating a younger man.

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Go Forth and Pursue Your Relationship Goals

You are now a cougar – good for you! You know you want a relationship with a younger guy, and you are ready to enjoy all of the benefits and even the challenges that such a relationship may bring.

If you review this article, you will be far better prepared to pursue your best interests as you start dating a younger man, and you’ll be able to offer this younger guy a partnership that will bring happiness to you both. Onward!

Love&Sex Expert
Cherie Hamilton
I’ve always been inspired by women who are outgoing, very sure of themselves, and not afraid to be who they were, including their sex lives. Under their tutelage, I gradually shed my old self, hung out and socialized with them, and, over time, became the empowered, self-confident, and sexual woman I am today. Happy to share my insights with other women today!
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