I've been having a bit of a dialogue with If the Cougar Fits. She's the 44-year-old who's divorcing her "immature" husband. Her oldest child is 17. She's been hanging out with 20-something guys who'd like to be more than friends, and she's enjoying the attention.
"I'm discovering the girl I used to be. It almost feels like I'm picking up where I left off, at age 25, to get married," she says.
She told them there will not be any sex. "I didn't sleep around when I was 20 and I have no intentions of starting now," she says. But she was interested in dating them and wanted my opinion.
I told her I was curious where she found a group of hot young guys who don't want sex, and that she is deluding herself if she thinks they want to date her because they like to cuddle.
And then she said: "I don't know where anyone gets the idea that sex is the be all and end all of a relationship. Hot young guys who respect a woman's decision not to sleep with them exist in my town. They're called police officers and enlisted war veterans who've had to man up and shoulder much more responsibility than their civilian counterparts. They have priorities other than having sex. I have a lot of respect for them."
Then I said, "To me, adults date because they're romantically/sexually attracted to one another. Otherwise, they're just hanging out as friends.
"So, what are they going to do about that attraction? Kiss but not neck, neck but not pet, pet but not ... you get the idea.
"You say you don't want a relationship with these guys and you don't want to have sex with them. I'm confused. What do you want?"
Well, ITCF is back.
She says: "I grew up in the military and married into it. These guys and their gypsy lifestyle and acronym-fueled language are my comfort zone. They don't stay in one place, so a relationship that ends when they move on works for me. My kids don't need to go to yet another school. I would never follow any of these guys, and they wouldn't want me to.
"I left a totally affectionless marriage. I hadn't been kissed in 10 years. So, I suppose that could be the attraction of younger guys — they're into the kissing, holding hands, etc. I know they want sex, and I'm not ruling it out. I'm just not into hooking up and only going out with them to get sex.
"And I rather resent the moniker cougar. I understand the term to mean an older woman who pursues younger men for sex. I never pursued any of these guys. They approached me. And sex isn't what I'm after.
"Maybe I'm looking for friends. My soon to be ex-husband was very controlling and I wasn't permitted to have friends over, not even female ones, because we would disturb his endless beer drinking and television watching.
"If I left the house to meet up with friends, he wouldn't feed the children or supervise them or otherwise interact with them. It's been a very lonely two decades. Since I was happiest when the Army took him away, I saw no point to staying married."
Do you think If the Cougar Fits will get what she's looking for? Or do you think someone's going to get hurt? 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."