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Oct 3

Can cougars and boy toys be happy forever?

Posted on Monday, October 3, 2011 in Aging, Happiness, Kat, love, Marriage, Men, Relationships, Women

“I feel so bad for Demi,” Sara said as we made our way up Old Railroad Grade.

“Sara, you really need to stop obsessing about Demi and Kim and Leann. When did you become such a celeb follower?”

“It’s not that! I couldn’t care less about them. I care about the broader issues.”

“Like?”

“Like can we older gals live just as happily-ever-after with boy toys as old guys with hot babes do?”

“So, you don’t think we can just because Ashton likes to have sex with other babes?” 

“Other younger babes.”

“Of course — did you expect he’d cheat with someone older than Demi? She’s 48!”

“It’s not that.”

“You’re right. It’s that he’s a cheater, and that probably doesn’t have anything to do with Demi’s age.”

Or does it?

Guys go for youth. This is not rocket science. But older women get their share of interest from younger men because we bring quite a few things to the table — experience, comfort in our own skin, and a savvy sexual appetite.

Say what you will about cougars, but it makes sense that older women should hook up with younger men. Maybe not guys 15 years younger, like Demi and Ashton, but maybe a few years — 5 or so. Why? Because men die younger than women do, and that means there are so many more widows than widowers. It means women often spend a decade or more alone when they’re old and more likely to need companionship more than ever; that’s sad!

Marrying someone younger would lessen the chance of that.

Plus, 15 years is an awfully big gap; your interests and experiences are bound to be pretty different. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean a marriage wouldn’t work — lots of people the same age with similar interests and experiences get divorced! But being just 5 years or so apart in age puts you in the same generation, anyway. And, you’d also have similar aging issues.

Maybe that’s the biggest turn off of all. The body starts to wrinkle, sag and shift, the mind starts to wander and then what? I know that stuff shouldn’t matter —after all, we don’t know what illnessnes and accidents await us at any age. But maybe starting off with a “disadvantage,” it will — eventually.

So, maybe cougars and boy toys should plan on five blissfully happy years together, and then move on. There are always more young men out there, ladies …

Does a big gap in a relationship matter in the long run?

 

 

Sep 27

Is it OK to date someone who’s separated?

Posted on Tuesday, September 27, 2011 in Advice, dating, Honesty, Kat, Men, Relationships, Singles, Women

I couldn’t wait to get together with Mia; she’d met a guy who sounded pretty darn as close to perfect as you can get and I wanted to know more. So we met at the arts fest, not even feeling the raindrops because our conversation was so animated.

“OK, what are the stats?”

“He’s 52, tall, fit, nice salt-and-pepper hair …”

“Uh-huh. And?”

“Loves to hike, super-smart and super-sweet. Coached his kids’ soccer teams …”

“Sounds good. And?”

“And he’s a real gentleman. He paid for our dates, even though I insisted I’ll pay. He didn’t come on real strong; I practically had to throw myself at him to get him to kiss me.”

“Ah, he likes a bit of the chase? Nice!”

“And I’m starting to get crazy about him.”

“Mia, it’s way too soon for that! But I know — it’s hard not to feel excited about someone who’s so great. How long has he been divorced?”

“Hmm, well …

“Well, what?”

“He’s just separated.”

“As in ‘just’ how long ago?”

“Two months.”

I think my mouth must have dropped far enough to smudge my cute new black cotton wedgies — that’s how shocked I was.

“Mia, what are you doing with a newly separated guy?”

“Enjoying our time together, why?” she sniffed.

“Because, because … because, it’s all wrong!”

“Says who?”

Says probably about every dating expert out there, although you don’t want to necessarily follow everything they say. But, who needs a dating expert to tell us that getting involved with someone fresh out of a marriage — and I wouldn’t call separated “out” of anything — is a bad idea?

Separated means a lot of things to different people. When Rob and I separated, it was to spend time alone to figure out whether we were going to salvage the marriage or not — that hardly made me dating material. For all Mia knows, this guy and his not-quite-ex could be still working on their relationship, giving each other “space,” dipping their toes into the dating scene to see if they can attract someone new or all of the above. Or maybe they’re actually somewhat happily married and he’s just scouting around for a mistress. Who knows?

As Singlemommyhood notes: “Separated always means in limbo. There is unfinished business — whether it’s emotional, legal, or financial.”

Which is what I told Mia (thanks Dr. Leah).

And Mia would hear nothing of it. Now you know why dating experts and shrinks stay in business — even if we know we’re in a situation that has way too many complications, we still delve right in, hoping this time it will be different.

Maybe it will be.

Probably not.

To me, even a newly divorced guy is a big dating no-no; no one’s ready to be available in a new relationship when he just got out of one. And, if he says he is, it’s because he’s lonely and/or he wants sex.

Getting involved with someone like that is taking a big gamble, one you’re likely going to lose.

  • Would you date a separated man or woman?
  • How about a newly divorced person?

Photo © Angelika Bentin – Fotolia.com

Sep 20

When marriage meets Alzheimer’s

Posted on Tuesday, September 20, 2011 in Aging, Divorce, Happiness, Honesty, Kat, Marriage, Relationships

So last week, I was feeling kind of cynical about marriage, well, at least Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries’. OK, maybe marriage in general. But, maybe we’re going about marriage all wrong; maybe we can tweak marriage so that we’re happier in them so there won’t be as much divorce. Seems easy enough.

Like a lot of people, I was floored when uber-Christian Pat Robertson (he of the Christian Broadcasting network) announced that it’s OK to divorce a spouse with Alzheimer’s because the disease is “a kind of death.”

Robertson advised a man whose wife has Alzheimer’s:

“I know it sounds cruel, but if he’s going to do something, he should divorce her and start all over again, but make sure she has custodial care and somebody looking after her.”

Really? Well so much for agreeing to stay together “for better or worse.” “in sickness and in health” and “till death do us part.” Why even vow to do that if we can ignore it when it’s convenient? But, of course, we do ignore our vows in ways just as surprising as what Robertson is proposing:

We cheat because our spouse has a life-threatening illness and we can’t deal.

We cheat because we’re in a sexless marriage.

We cheat because we can.

And, we cheat because we don’t even agree on what cheating is!

But, maybe we’re not allowing for what Robertson addresses; when the marital rules are changed by forces beyond what we can control. Yes, the “for better or worse” part; better or worse for whom? And does that have to be cheating?

Remember a few years ago when retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor announced that her now-deceased husband, John, who was living with Alzheimer’s, had found a new love at the nursing home where he lived? She was happy about it because he was happy; the essence of a good marriage. As we baby boomers age, a lot more of us will be facing something like that.

She was accepting of her husband’s choice — he had Alzeimer’s and therefore “didn’t know better,” and  many thought how sweet and kind that was of her. So, should we be so hard on someone who does “know better” even if his partner doesn’t know?

Isn’t loving someone “for better or worse” supporting each other’s happiness? What if your spouse didn’t have the mental capacity to decide what was “for better or worse”?

We promise to care for each other “for better or worse” and “in sickness and in health” and “till death do us part,” but not many of us mean it. That doesn’t mean the vows are flawed — we are.

Maybe we need to change those vows to something that we’ll actually follow — that we’ll love and care for each other as long our partner is an equal participant in the marriage.

Does having a spouse with Alzheimer’s or dementia — versus something like cancer or multiple sclerosis any other illness in which the mind is still willing but the body is not — change the marital vows?

  • Is Robertson wrong or right?
  • What about O’Connor?