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.

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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


  1. Angelo Nasios11:43 PM

    Thank you for sharing this Ginny! Love is beyond age. If two people love each other that is all the matters.

    There is a double standard with the age issue. It is normally accepted by society for an Older man to be with a younger women. I have an aunt and uncle where my aunt is 14 years younger than my uncle.

    However for a older women to be with an younger guy there is a stigma attached with that.

    I wish you two all the happiness

  2. Anonymous3:39 AM

    A really interesting article, Ginny. I have had a brief relationship with a similar age difference. Despite the pretty good mash of my looking younger and having experience, it still left me in a place of insecurity. Reading your article, I can see that it has nothing to do with the age difference, but more to do with us being a bad match, personally. My insecurity had a lot to do with how I was feeling about myself at the time.

    And to add, from the lovely photo, you wouldn't guess the age difference on a physical level. You both look great and very happy.

    I hope you both continue to enjoy your relationship.
    All the best, PLN

  3. This came at a good time in my life because I have been considering dating a younger man. I couldn't get past the "old" part to really answer some of the nagging feelings I had. While I hope we will remain friends, I believe that sorting out the real issues from the imagined ones will help. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  4. Aw, this entry made me cry, lol. I'm glad you are so honest with yourself about your fears and from where you see them coming. I haven't read enough of your blog to wager any guesses as to how it'll turn out for the two of you, but that isn't necessary. You seem capable of accepting that relational love (of all types) is not predictable, and in its unpredictability could change at any time. Having said that, I hope the two of you gain a lot from your experiences together and that those experiences last for a good, long while. <3

  5. I think the age difference is an easy scapegoat to blame when things get rough, as they inevitably do in any long term committed relationship. As long as you can blame the age difference, you don't look at the real underlying issue. The more I examined the feelings I had, the fears and the insecurities, I noticed that they really aren't any different than those we might experience in a relationship where there is no age difference. The biggest strength that Mike and I have as a couple is the ability to look at these things calmly and objectively, with a lot of grace and understanding. It most definitely comes down to who you are, who they are, and not when you were born.

  6. WTG, Ginny. Very good post and you're right. Most of the problems can occur in any relationship and are not age-related. My husband is six years younger. Most of the time we don't notice this age gap but sometimes when we talk about tv series we used to watch as children and stuff like that it does show. :-D

  7. It does seem the differences tend to be cultural and those seem like such small things compared to perspective and personalities. Society has it set up that women are generally valued primarily for their desirability as sexual partners and looking young is a big part of that. And it frustrates the hell out of me that when you see an article on women "aging well" it's all about how hot they look at 40, 50 or 60. Aging well has nothing to do with looking hot. Age has so much to offer that to trivialize it with such a stupid standard is frustrating. Sure, Mike finds me attractive, but he values me as a partner for so many more important things. Gah.

  8. I loved this post. I am married to man who is 14 years younger than I. We have been together for four years, married for three of those years. He really gets me, he is smart and funny, and we are a great match. I did go thru all of those emotions at first. I felt like I was too old, or that he would be embarrassed to be seen with an older woman, but that was just my silly baggage. I finally got over all of that and now we are so happy together. Age really isn't an issue, I hate that I wasted all that time worrying about it. Btw, I am 42 and he is 28. Thank you for sharing this with everyone.

  9. When it comes to The Lovers this particular tarot card is rather seen upright than inverted. I know all about your insecurity, and he may or may not follow his not so magical instincts so I made sure mine secured a massage therapist to take care of the things I consider myself to old for. Thanks for sharing and good luck to you! ~ Picantito.com

  10. LOL DonMchl! I don't think I will be securing anybody else's services, but to each their own! :D

  11. Nice post on lovers card. Thoroughly enjoyed reading :)

  12. Bit late, but really enjoyed this Ginny. Thanks for sharing.


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