Ask A Woman: Dating a cougar…actually, not really.
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I’m really into a girl I met at a coffee shop. I feel like she’s into me. We text back and forth frequently, but she says she’s on a “dating diet” due to her six previous disaster dates. She sends me flirtatious texts, sent me a song to listen to called “falling in love at a coffee shop” but always and playfully (I think?) calls me “little boy.” I’m turning 26 next month and she’s turning 29 years old. After an exhausting flirtatious back and forth exchange, she’ll without fail always seem to bring up our age difference.
And every time I’ve asked her out or suggested hanging out, she would say, “not yet” or “wait.” Then again, she has expressed being really busy until next month where a lot of her time will free up. Do I have a shot? Better yet, am I as young (too young?) as she playfully makes me out to be?
There’s no denying that age difference can be an obstacle in dating. But it’s not enough to look at just the number of years separating two people. You also have to consider the specific age of each person. You’re looking at a three year difference. This would be very significant for a 14 year old and 17 year old. This would be fairly significant for an 18 year old and a 21 year old. This would not be significant at all for a 35 year old and a 38 year old…and so on. For a 26 year old and 29 year old? I wouldn’t think this would be a barrier to dating unless she likes to stay in every Saturday night knitting and watching Paula Deen, and your favorite activities are playing laser tag and doing donuts in empty parking lots. Maybe it would creep in on things like marriage–she might be ready to tie the knot while you still want a couple years of being a bachelor–or career–she could be at a crucial point in her work where it demands lots of commitment and time while you’re still entry-level with minimal responsibility. But for the most part, age should not be your main issue. So why is she acting that way?
I have no idea. Whoa, you heard it here first, Beth is stumped. I guess there are two possibilities. The first is that she is truly bothered by the age difference. She’s worried it’s a Demi-Ashton situation and if she starts dating you, you’ll eventually desert her for greener, younger, more nubile pastures. If that’s the case…well, that’s kind of obnoxious. It’s three years, not thirty. If you think this is the real reason she’s being coy, sit her down and have a talk. Not via flirty text message, but over a meal or a drink. Tell her that you like her, that the age difference isn’t an issue for you at all, and you’d love to actually move forward with whatever is going on. Be sincere and open and honest.
The other possibility is that she’s not at all interested in you and the age difference is just an excuse. Maybe she really is reeling from her “disaster dates” and doesn’t want to jump in again, but she likes the flirting. It’s a way to get some fulfillment in that area of her life without making herself too vulnerable. Or maybe she isn’t interested in you regardless of her recent experiences with men, but again, your pursuit of her is flattering and the attention a self-esteem boost, so she’s not cutting it off for the present time. In a way it’s sort of clever. Age isn’t something you can change, so if she says she really likes you or she’s attracted to you, but you’re too young…there’s nothing you can do to meet her standard. If this is the case, then again, you have the option to cut and run, or wait it out and see if something changes. I would advise you to be wary if you choose the latter. It’s possible she needs more time, but it’s also possible she’s keeping you around for entertainment. Women who behave this way–especially 29 year old women who should know better–are bad news.
Good luck, son.