The census data tells us that only 1% of all marriages in 2008 were cougar marriages, that is, between a woman who was 10-14 years older than her husband—while only 2.6% of the brides were 6 to 9 years older. But even though these weddings are rare, the concept of the “the cougar,” an older woman who dates or marries a younger guy, is creating new possibilities in dating. In this Demi-Ashton era, many 40+ women have happily broadened their matches to include younger men.
But according to a survey of 100 self-proclaimed cougars the rules have changed. The old stereotype of the man-eater woman, a la Stifler’s mom from ‘American Pie,’ no longer applies. These days it is not about a sugar mama having a no-strings-attached fling. It’s about finding a new form of true love.
More than 90% of these modern cougars say they want a long-term relationship with a younger man. They expect the guy to pay his way—to cover dinner or split the check. These women want the full experience of dating someone who is romantic, chivalrous and, best of all, relatively free of the emotional baggage of past relationships. 52% of the cougars in the study were in their 40s and their ideal guy is aged 24-27. 45% were ‘lifestyle cougars’ who have dated more than five younger men.
Over-40 women don’t mind being called “cougars” but they are redefining the definition of cougar dating. They know what they want in relationships and are opening doors to new possibilities for themselves. For more on the cougar survey, go to http://www.cougared.com/report
Diana Kirschner, Ph.D. is a frequent guest psychologist on The Today Show & author of the highly acclaimed new book, “Sealing the Deal: The Love Mentor’s Guide to Lasting Love” as well as the best-selling author of “Love in 90 Days.” Dr. Diana’s revolutionary work is the basis of her PBS Special on love. Connect with Dr. Diana through her FREE Relationship and Dating Advice Newsletter