78 Notes to Self: A Tarot Journal

We are all wanderers on this earth. Our hearts are full of wonder, and our souls are deep with dreams.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

The Cougar in The Lovers Card


 Although we don't really know what is happening in the scene in the Marseilles "The Lover" card, some have suggested it may be an allegorical choice between two women, one older (Virtue), one younger (Sensuality).  The card can indicate the need for guidance in decisions, taking into account what you believe in, your moral standing, before moving forward with a choice.  As far as literal romance goes, we expect he'll choose the younger.  Did you ever wonder what if he chose the older woman?  How might that go?

I am happily partnered with a man who is 16 years younger than me.  Does this make me a "cougar?" Maybe.  I mean, it kind of started off in a cougar-like fashion. Mike was the first younger man I'd ever considered being romantically involved with, but I wasn't looking for long term at the time. I met him nine years ago.  He was handsome, sexy, charming and 25. I was 41 and just wanted a fun fling with that sweet young thang.  So I kissed him. Right on the mouth. But falling in love? Not on the agenda for either of us.  During the course of that "fling" we unexpectedly connected on a really deep, loving level.  We've been in a committed relationship for six years now.

Cougar Dating Site Advertisement
For anyone considering this kind of relationship, I gotta warn you, it's not all the stuff of steamy fantasy, although that is one of the perks.  Some think being with a much younger partner would make you feel younger.  It decidedly does not. If anything it makes me feel older.  I mean, there he is in all his youngness and, by comparison, I'm not. He'll talk about coming of age in the 90's when I had already had two marriages, four children, and a mortgage.  I graduated high school when he was still using fat crayons. When I get in an oldies music mood and turn on some obscure classic rock song, he'll surprise me and sing along.  He smiles and says, "My dad used to listen to that."  Nice.  When I am moody, he doesn't blame it on PMS, he blames it on perimenopause.  Needless to say, a host of insecurities can rise to the surface and cause problems if not dealt with.

Insecurity: He will probably leave me for a younger woman.

Truth: He might, but so could any guy.  How is age a guarantee he won't? Plenty of men do this whether they are older, the same age, or younger.  Trust is an issue in relationships, period.

Insecurity: He must have mommy issues and I'm the cure.

Truth: I see women in their twenties "mothering" grown ass men all the time. I'm careful not to nurture too much but not because he's younger than me.  Because its my nature to do so and then resent the hell out of it.  I have learned a thing or two from my past relationships, so I check that impulse.  It has nothing to do with his age and everything to do with my own unhealthy patterns. But even if he did have "mommy issues," so what? Who doesn't bring their issues into relationships?  We all have them and the trick is to find someone who fits into your particular emotional curves. In this scene from the movie Rocky Paulie asks Rocky why he wants to be with his sister, why Adrian?
Paulie: [talking about Adrian] You like her?
Rocky: Sure, I like her.
Paulie: What's the attraction?
Rocky: I dunno... she fills gaps.
Paulie: What's 'gaps'?
Rocky: I dunno, she's got gaps, I got gaps, together we fill gaps.

Insecurity: He's embarrassed by my age when we go out together.

Truth: He brags about my age to his friends and anyone who will listen.  Stop it, I shush him, but that's because I'm usually the one thinking I look foolish with this younger man, not the other way around.  He tells his guy friends they should find an older woman to settle down with and proudly states our age difference. This is new to him, too.  He's never been in a relationship with an older woman and while he struggled with the idea at first, he says its the best decision he's ever made.  I do present as younger than I am, and I won't deny that's part of what attracted Mike to me. I'm comfortable with my age but I'm also fine with letting people think I'm only slightly older than him. No such luck as he usually lets that cat out of the bag. I don't really focus on "looking younger."  If I did I'd exercise a lot more than I do.  If you're going to be with someone a lot younger than you, confidence in yourself and satisfaction with who you are is key.  Then again, that's key in any relationship, isn't it?

Insecurity: He's so immature.

Truth: Yeah, in some ways.  And so am I in some ways.  Nobody grows up in a linear fashion. One of the things that attracted me to him was his mental and emotional maturity, the way he thinks through issues and leaves room for change.  When he's being stupid and immature, I roll my eyes and let it roll off my shoulders.  Thankfully, he does the same for me.  Sometimes we'll call each other out on it.  Nobody gets defensive. How we deal with each others immaturity is actually quite mature.

Insecurity: I'll tire of him eventually.

Truth: How is this an age thing?  I might get tired or bored with any partner.

Other things, not age difference, are more likely to doom our relationship, things that most couples struggle with such as stress, finances, and the fact that he avoids doing the dishes. We both have so much baggage, issues, and past stuff that could potentially create impasse, but we navigate through all that with honesty and courage. As far as interpersonal relating goes, it's the most equal and emotionally healthy relationship I've ever had. I'm not saying age isn't an issue here.  It is, but it's just one among others and frankly it's a much lesser issue in the whole scheme of our relationship. 

There were those who thought Mike was my mid-life crisis boy toy and I was his cougar/MILF experience. Mostly the negative comments and cautionary concern came from people my age and older.  Younger men and women in their 20's and 30's have been very supportive and affirming.  The older folks have experience and wisdom, but love doesn't listen to that.  There's just no rhyme or reason to love, there really isn't.  I'm as surprised as anyone that this man grabbed my heart and I his.  The heart apparently does not count the years lived.  It is more concerned with the immediate and present and sees beyond, under, around and through.  

Ginny & Mike