Cougar dating, once taboo, seems to have become more acceptable now. However, even with that said there are still things one should consider and be careful of before considering any long-term commitments. You don’t want to risk the chance of breaking their heart and you obviously don’t want to waste their time. Some are more vulnerable than they may initially lead on and this will surely lead to unwanted issues.

Below are a few things to consider before dating someone older and especially before saying “I Do.” These are in no particular order and are certainly not a conclusive list of factors to beware of, but hopefully they will provide some valuable insight.

1. Communication

Obviously this is the most important factor in any relationship, however, when dating an older woman, you will want to know what you have in common and what you don’t have in common. Can either of you accept the other’s shortcomings? Depending on her status in the community or even at work, can you keep up with her social circle without feeling inferior? Maturity does play a part in communication, so you don’t want a woman who is prone to belittling you because of your age or lack of academic or professional experiences, especially in front of her friends.

2. Health issues

Although age doesn’t necessarily determine one’s lifespan, there are still things to consider when dating someone who is older. What is her family health history? Does she visit the doctor on a consistent basis? Does she have any existing health issues? These questions are important to inquire about because if you are in fact considering marriage, are you ready to commit to her not just in health, but in sickness? Are you willing to do the things that she could once do (i.e. comb hair, hygiene care, etc.)?

3. Kids your age

Can you really see yourself being a father figure to someone who is the same age as yourself, possibly someone you went to school with? More than anything you don’t want to become another child in the house. You want to be respected not just by kids, but other family members, including the ex. Many people will question your intent as well as hers and wonder how you could be with someone old enough to be your mom. You also want to make sure that you don’t become tempted by the “I-want-to-be-with-people-my-age” mentality and start hanging out with her kids as opposed to spending time with her.

4. What are her needs?

Please make sure that you are not just a replacement for a “son gone bad” or an act of revenge for a husband who left for a younger woman. One thing to be careful of when dating someone older is to determine the type of needs they are seeking to be fulfilled. She may simply be a lonely woman looking for male companionship. She may be looking for someone to make her feel young again. Is she lonely or depressed?

5. Intimacy

Many people tend to think that the older a woman is the more experienced she will be in the bedroom. This couldn’t be so far from the truth. For one, never go into a relationship assuming anything about the other person’s sexual performance. As mentioned above you will want to consider any health issues. Discuss expectations, wants, and desires on a mature level. Find out if this is something she even wants or has grown tired of. Know how she defines intimacy, as some consider it sexual relations and some consider it holding hands or spending quality time together. So be especially clear on this.

6. Acceptance by family and friends

Not all cultures are accepting of this, so be sure to check with family and friends before taking this journey. If they are okay with it, then that is certainly a great thing, but what happens if they are not? Now you are at a point of choosing between the woman that you love and your family. Who will take precedent in your life? Be careful in your decision-making and consider all possible outcomes. Choosing the woman over family could lead to them disowning you. Choosing family over the woman could leave her distraught, not to mention the affect it will have on other formed relationships (i.e. kids, friends, colleagues, etc.).

Again, these are not all the pitfalls you should consider, but they are definitely important. Don’t fall for an older woman because of the “cougar dating” fame. Make sure you are mentally and physically prepared to handle the responsibilities and expectations.

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