One fact has gotten lost in all the give and take between If the Cougar Fits, me and you. And that fact is that if she dates these guys who are 20-plus years younger than her, how is she going to keep it a secret from her kids, the oldest of whom is 17?
What do you think about starting a relationship, even a casual one, with a secret and all that entails in terms of lying, covering up, making up excuses, etc., etc., etc.?
MICK: I think it's great that ITCF is finding herself again after being married to such a restrictive and controlling man. However, her expectations and plans for future relationships sound a bit restrictive and controlling to me. She would be wise to go with the flow and approach each encounter with the men she meets with an open mind and no set rules.
EMMET: I'm a veteran, and I can tell you for a fact that when I was in my 20s and dated hot 40-year-olds, I didn't want to just hold hands and kiss. I wanted a full-fledged sexual relationship. I think ITCF is way off base if she doesn't realize that is the way it is.
SHELLEY: I'm a veteran. The guys ITCF are meeting are saying what she wants to hear but hanging in there for if/when she changes her mind. She's not the only one these guys are "dating." She's setting herself up to be someone's booty call.
MARLA: What she needs are some women friends she can talk to about her feelings. This divorce process is a golden opportunity for her to find out who she is — as a person, not just in respect to men. A woman is not defined by her personal appearance, sexual history or male companionship.
HARLAN: There's nothing wrong at all with ITCF's dating outside of her age bracket for now. Men do it all the time, and we don't call them names. When she's ready for a serious relationship, she'll look for someone older. After enduring a very unfulfilling marriage, she deserves some time for fun.
And I don't think she's really a cougar. I know words evolve, but the whole point of the "cougar" moniker is to evoke a predator stalking prey — hot young guys for hookups.
LILY: She has the right to have sex, or not, with whomever she wants. But I believe she's positively delusional if she thinks any guy in his 20s, especially one living the transient lifestyle required of military men, is interested in escorting her around town, hanging out and then just getting some kisses and hand-holding.
I would suggest that an older, more settled man is more likely to be into kissing and hand-holding than a hot 20-year-old with raging hormones. And I'm not saying this as some sort of "guys are so shallow and only want one thing" rant.
I think the real problem here is either 1) she's got "good girls don't" syndrome and/or 2) she knows that if she winds up in bed with someone just a few years older than her son, it could cause her some problems.
If it's No. 1, then she needs to think about whether stringing guys along is really so much better than sleeping around. If it's No. 2, then she needs to meet more age-appropriate men.
Are you a cougar? Are you a man who's attracted to cougars? Send your tale, along with your questions, problems and rants to [email protected] And check out my e-books, "Dear Cheryl: Advice from Tales from the Front" and "I'll Call You. Not."