Blog by Yessica Maher, los Angeles Native.

She explores life after marriage, starting a career in her late 30's, relationships, breaking cycles of abuse, online dating, self care, fertility and depression. 

It's all over the place, but so is living. 

Online Dating and Younger Men: Cougar Madness

I'm comfortable with dating older men.  I love the softer look of salt and pepper hair, with gentle laugh lines around their eyes.  I don't mind hairlines that step back or heads that are bald.  It's a look I love.  I love natural hair.  Younger men are all about manscaping and I just don't get it. Unfortunately, most of the men my age that I meet online think I'm much younger, because in reality, for a lot of men my age, I'm just too old for them.

I'm often approached by younger men.  Men that are about 20 or 22 accept that I don't date younger men.  They accept my answer and move on.  There are plenty of other women that would love the attention.

Christmas night I was hit with the realization that I wasn't fully embracing the celebration.  I was sober all of Thanksgiving.  I'm not much of a drinker.  I was sober with my sister while making tamales in Torrance on Friday.  I was sober Saturday with family while I was driving my kids around.  Sunday I was primarily sober.  I went to a friend's house and had a Smirnoff Ice with dinner, because I was driving home and I love my car.  Sunday night, I decided to have that Hot Buttered Rum I kept putting off.  I was sipping, crocheting a blanket and swiping on dating apps.  It sounds pathetic, but I was in a really happy place.  I had forgotten how much I loved making blankets and scarves until I watched my sister knitting beautiful blankets on Friday.  (I'm telling her she should sell them.  Wait for that shameless plug if she ever decides to.)

Sunday night there was a man 10 years my junior that wouldn't accept my no.  After 25, they get a little ballsy.  They know what they want and understand persistence.  We talked a bit.

The next morning I was waiting for my ex to call to tell me to come get the boys.  I told him I'd come when the kids were up.  This 28 year old said good morning and asked me to join him for coffee.  I agreed.  Just like that. We met in Pasadena and ended up talking up until I got a call saying it was time to get my kids.  His cappuccino was gone and my blonde roast coffee was cold.

On Friday when I met someone else for coffee, we talked about life, work, careers, and divorce.  It's something we both knew too much about.  We talked about Landmark and MITT.  We laughed and I really enjoyed his company.  We parted with a hug and I knew I would probably never see him again. There wasn't a spark or even a longing for more than a hug.

Monday morning I arrived first and was surprised to see us driving the same car when he pulled in.  He paid for my coffee and our conversation kept drifting in all sorts of ways through life, careers, and world travel.  He comes from the middle east and he's making the American Dream his, while caring for his parents.  For just long enough, I was able to ignore the math when thinking about how old he was when I gave birth to my firstborn 15 years ago.  I was able to ignore how creepy that felt.  We parted ways and I felt like I might be open to another date.

As the day became night and into today, the conversation is still flowing and I keep getting this instinctual gut punch that says no.  I'm still swiping and there is another man that is coming out to LA from the east coast at the end of the month.  I can already tell I'll never meet him, but I can enjoy this for what it is.  He's 27.  He has the emotional depth that I outgrew many years ago.

Both of them stand out from older men already.  It's not the looks.  They're handsome, but so are older men.  They're sexual, and interested, but so are older men.  What sets them apart is how much I can't connect with them.  I'm a straight shooter.  They reciprocate that.  They are looking to race into something and define it quickly.  They are trying to nail down my commitment to their superficial needs.  They want it physical and don't know how to slow down from the need that drives them.  They want to see if we'll be friends, and do I expect more of a relationship.  No matter how much I try to explain it, I can't quite get them to understand that no woman wants to be treated like a discount hooker.

You get older and it's more than physical needs. Both men and women need someone that understands and connects intellectually and emotionally.  One night of fun is one thing, but the person they want to share their mornings with needs to understand and support them and the younger men don't seem to know how to be comfortable in exploring their passions outside of bed with me. The road map I follow means we linger for a long while in an intellectual bliss before I'm ready to move on from there.  I know what I'm capable of and it's not a theory I need to test out at every opportunity.

Unfortunately, this same need in older men means they want to hold me down and claim me as a wife before we've ever met in person. That feels just as crazy and bad.  The older men are looking for a partner.  They understand when I need to step away to be a mother.  That might also just be the men.  I spent Christmas night with three grown men that were very hands on with their children and other's children in a way that I needed to see.  It was so healing and hopeful to see these men feed and put those babies to sleep.  They parented their children and were willing to be chased and tickle, and horseplay.  It was far from the childhood my boys had and I went home so moved.  Maybe slightly tearful.  I get to find that one day.

The younger men don't understand and their impatience stands out.  They ask if I like games like truth or dare, or if I would play video games with them. They don't understand when I explain I don't watch a lot of television or movies because I grew up with far less screen time than they did.  I don't get bored without a television or movie on.  I can be content with a pen and paper or yarn and a crochet hook.  Or a book.  Those things build, rock and destroy worlds inside of them.

I'm reminding myself to not think of the age difference because it creeps me out, and I'm trying to be patient through the parts that aren't right to enjoy how it feels to be so irresistible to these younger men.  They don't mind the softer look of a mother's body and I keep hearing that my mothering is what makes me hot. I'm trying to let that land. Trying.  I don't think it's about age, but I often come across men that feel all they have to offer is sexual or financial in nature when all I want is a deep and meaningful conversation.  That's a gift of humanity so many feel they can't take ownership of. And yet, we're all just humans.

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