Repairing Relationships

Building intimacy and joy into your relationships

"Party Girl" Anna David and the Wounded Cougar

Deadening your feelings is no party.

"Party Girl" author Anna David has released an excerpt from her new book "Falling For Me: How I Hung Curtains, Learned To Cook and Fell in Love" describing her mirage relationship with a young man almost half her age. It is hilarious to hear her struggle with the realization of what she has become: "Cougar is such an ugly word: You say it and instantly your mind swells with the image of sun-burned, age weary cleavage popping out of an animal print dress. But I'm somehow  able to eradicate all distasteful connotations of an older woman with a younger man and instead channel some version of Demi Moore or Madonna." Yet Anna fails to note that both Demi and Madonna ended up with broken hearts.

http://untitledmagazine.net/portfolio/anna-david-the-younger-man/

Anna describes her lingering reservations as she makes out with her boy toy at a Details Magazine party: "At a certain point, the party ends and I have to figure out if I'm bringing him home with me or not. Because I try not to do things I'm going to regret, because it isn't a good idea to bring strange men, no matter how beautiful, inside your apartment, because [mass murderer] Ted Bundy was supposedly attractive and charming." So she invites him over a few nights later, still knowing virtually nothing about him.

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Jennifer Grossman wrote of women like Anna: "Today's single men can count on a pool of attractive peer women who are willing to sleep with them, compete over them, take care of them, spend money on them, and make no big demands on them." Anna experiences disappointment when her young lover soon loses enthusiasm and stops texting her. She writes, "My reaction to seeming indifference has always been to feel offended, react with bravado, retract whatever feelings I may have started to develop for the person and then resent the guy until I forget about him altogether." She says she accepts that the relationship has no future, but deadening her feelings is no party.

Women are now conditioned to settling for hooking up or being joined at the hip, and neither is leading them to their goal of an intelligent, long-term, committed relationship that may lead to marriage. But they are custom made for men like Anna's boy-toy, who want immediate gratification before they head off for the next experience. As Barbara Dafoe Whitehead observed, although single women still desire marriage, the deck is stacked against them, yet it is "nicely adapted to men's sexual and romantic self interests." 

No wonder women like Anna see marriage as an impossible dream. As Amy Wax observed, "Women want what women have always wanted: men who are steady, faithful, considerate, and industrious. What has changed is men's willingness to live up to these age old standards." So is the plight of women really this bleak? Are women destined to settle for less or seek meaningless flings? Yes... unless they abandon the ways of this sick society and seek healthy romance and marriage based on honesty and candor. We urge Anna to drop the failed teachings of Helen Gurley Brown and consider actually getting to know a man (whatever his age) and whether they share common values, interests, ideals and goals and have compatible personalities before jumping in the sack with him. There is a better future for women than ending up a prowling Cougar.

J.R. Bruns, M.D., is co-author of The Tiger Woods Syndrome, a book about repairing relationships.

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