Are “Cougar” Relationships Doomed

older-woman-younger-man-2The concept of a “cougar” relationship, where an older woman dates a younger man, has become more popular in the news these days.  And many people are asking, is it healthy, is there long-term potential?

It’s always hard to generalize, so let me share with you my thoughts about it. As a couples counselor for the past twenty years, I have seen close to one thousand couples and have worked with many couples with large age differences, both older man/younger woman as well as older woman/younger man.  This “cougar” phenomenon is not new and has actually been around for thousands of years.

The issue I always come to, is whether the older partner, in this case the woman, is actively seeking out a younger partner or did they just happen to have fallen in love with and entered a relationship (hopefully in that order) with someone who is significantly younger?

If the relationship occurs organically, then I trust that the unconscious impulses of the partners are bringing them together for the best of reasons. To me, couples come together in love and commitment in order to help each other heal from their childhood issues.  And given the proper tools, they can work through the issues and have a deep, intimate, long-term relationship.

Now, if a woman is actively and consciously seeking out a younger man, this is a case of the conscious mind overriding the wisdom of the unconscious mind and the psyche.  We don’t always consciously know what is best for us.  The long-term outcome in this case isn’t always positive.

Often our selection process is then more ego based or defense based.  Perhaps we are choosing someone who we will feel safer with or at least less in danger with.  Perhaps then we want a younger partner because they will be less likely to hurt us.  Perhaps we will feel more in control and then less at risk of having our hearts broken.  Or perhaps we just want a “trophy” that will impress others with their youth or will make us feel better about the passage of time in our own lives.  Or perhaps it will give us the illusion of a fresh start, free from the mistakes of the past.

And, there is truly nothing wrong with any of these motivations.  Not every relationship has to be a long-term one.  Not every relationship even has to be committed and monogamous.  There is much to learn in every form.

However, the prospect of a long-term relationship being successful is a little more at risk with these motivations.  I truly believe that the psyche and the heart has great intelligence and great wisdom in partner selection.  This unconscious process is the basis of Imago Relationship Therapy, the form of couples counseling that I practice.

Yes, we all have unresolved mommy issues and daddy issues and we need to work them through in order to have a successful long-term relationship.  Yet if the relationship becomes too extreme in the parent/child dynamic, it will be quite bumpy and can become quite painful.

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Top 5 Dating Tips For Women Over 40

older-woman-younger-manWhether you’re looking for love or a cougar on the prowl, my 5 tips will help you get what you want.

Dating at any age may feel complicated or overwhelming. However, it does not have to be. In most cases, women over 40 have had enough dating experience to know what they do and do not want in a relationship. Women over 40 are more likely to be established, have homes, established friends, and secure jobs. You are more likely to know what you are looking for.

Generally speaking, there are two types of dating women over 40. There are women looking for someone similar in age and interests that they can develop a long-term relationship with. Then there are the cougars that are looking to date younger men. Cougars are also more likely to be looking to date a lot and have fun; opposed to sifting through the options looking for the perfect mate.

Regardless of which category you fit into, this dating advice can be applied to your situation.

1. You have to put yourself out there. No matter how much you want to meet someone or several someones, you aren’t going to meet them sitting home thinking about it. There are plenty of readers who are probably reading this and thinking, well that’s common sense. You would be surprised how many women simply sit home wishing they had a man in their life.

2. Be interesting. Don’t talk to perspective dates about how long it has been since you’ve been with a man. Don’t talk about your cat or your kids that don’t talk to you any more. Men won’t want to talk to you for long if you are negative or clearly have nothing to talk about. If you don’t think you have anything personally interesting to say, talk about something going on where you are. If you’re at a game, talk about the game. If you’re at a bar, talk about the crazy drunk chick trying to sing karaoke.

3. Be attractive. Let me first say, you don’t need to be attractive in the mainstream media sense of the word. Don’t assume you know what guys are looking for. Just show them that you care about the way you look. Don’t go out to dinner in your pajamas. Comb your hair. It doesn’t take much to show men you care about the way you look.

4. Be honest about what you are looking for. It doesn’t matter whether you are looking for a life partner or a hook-up, be honest with the men you meet. There are men out there looking for life partners or just hook-ups. If you are honest about what you are looking for, you will be more likely to find a man with the same goals.

5. Have fun. I have heard it said, you don’t stop having fun when you’re old, you’re old when you stop having fun. Many women may get self-conscious about their age when thinking about dating. However, the old adage ‘you’re as young as you feel’ is true. Get out and have fun, and you will be surprised how many men will be attracted to your energy.

Regardless of age, there are a number of mistakes women commonly make that prevent them from being able to date the kind of men they are looking for.  Want Dating Older Women Or Younger Men , Visit

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