Is Dating A “Cougar” A Good Idea?

Updated April 10, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

If you have recently met an older woman who captivates you, then you might be wondering whether dating her is really an option. Dating an older woman can be a bit different from dating a woman your own age, but it can certainly be a satisfying and beautiful relationship. You may just need to enter with realistic expectations and a willingness to learn. have to understand what to expect. Whether it’s a good idea to date an older woman may depend heavily on your own wants, needs, and level of maturity, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to form a healthy bond. It can help to ask yourself some questions to learn more about what draws you to older women, how you might feel about the potential reality of dating one, and what next steps you might want to take. 

What do you want out of the relationship?

Learning to navigate age gap relationships isn’t always easy

Determining what you want out of the relationship can be quite important. Before moving forward with dating a "cougar," it may be good to take some time to mull it over. Do you have an interest in entering a long-term relationship this woman, or are you just attracted to her physically? If you only want to have a fling, you may want to take a moment to consider whether or not this is the right thing to do for both you and her. If you and the woman in question are both on the same page about the nature of your relationship, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with pursuing a casual one.

In that same vein, you may want to enter a serious relationship with this woman, but you'll likely also want her to see you in the same way. If she doesn't see you as a potential long-term partner, then you may be at odds. This is why communication can matter so much. It may be important to set boundaries and expectations right from the get-go rather than waiting for things to develop on their own. This can help you to avoid heartache and hurt feelings.

After determining that you're on the same page, you'll likely be able to move forward with the relationship. Many people like dating older women due to how much experience they may have. They likely have lived longer and have become mature through their life experiences. Having someone like this in your life can help you focus on yourself while you strive toward your own success. However, there may be some potential caveats to consider as you make your decision.

Understand that you may have differences

There are likely certain differences that might pop up when you're dating an older woman. The age gap may make it so that you don't always see eye-to-eye on certain things. If you're in your early twenties and your partner is in her early forties, for instance, you might have very different worldviews, opinions, and personal experiences

It may be vital to be willing to understand and prepare for these potential differences. Liking different things can be completely okay, as can seeing the world from a different perspective. This doesn't mean that you can't come to understand one another, though. Keep an open mind and try to see things from each other's perspectives when possible. As long as you don't reject your differences, they may actually help you move forward and grow as a couple.

You may, for instance, find that your older partner likes completely different music than you. You might like heavy metal, and she might be into 90's pop music. Perhaps she’s less into using newer technology and or prefers to communicate on the phone instead of through texts. These kinds of differences don't necessarily have to drive you apart.

There may be more significant differences to look out for, too. For instance, you might have different energy levels, or you might be at very different points in your lives financially. An older woman might not have the energy to keep up with an eventful lifestyle and could be more interested in spending time at home after a long day at work. Of course, the opposite of this can also be true – may she’s ready to live an adventure-filled life and you’d prefer to think about settling down. You can find ways to mesh together, but not everyone can get these relationships to work. You might have to determine whether your differences are too much to overcome or whether they don't matter in the face of your love.

Potential complications

Some complications may arise when you're dating an older woman. One of the most common issues can be people judging you for being together. There are plenty of people who date older women, which isn't completely uncommon in modern times. Even so, there may be those who won't accept your pairing. You might notice some people mockingly referring to your significant other as a "cougar," and others might think that you're trying to take advantage of an older woman.

None of these things have to be true for people to think of them. If you want to have a successful and happy relationship with an older woman, it might be important to consider whether you have thick enough skin to manage situations like this. 

Another thing that may be worth thinking about is whether the older woman in your life has children. If your significant other has kids, then this can change the overall dynamic. When someone has children, those children may very well be the most important thing in their life. The kids may even come before your relationship, which can sometimes be tough for a person to accept. You also might need to learn to be a part of the kid's lives, and you'll likely have to decide whether you're ready for that or not. Depending on how large the age gap is, you might even find that your partner has children close to the same age as you. 

Career and life considerations

You may also need to consider factors such as your career and life goals. When you're dating an older woman, it may be true that she is at a different phase in her life. Maybe she has already entered into a stable career or otherwise found her calling in life. As a younger individual, you might still be figuring certain things out. You may need to move to get the job of your dreams, find a place you love to call home, or simply explore the world, and your partner might not be able to uproot their life to follow you. Someone who is established, has children, and is a homeowner, for example, may have different priorities than you.

Also, depending on how old the woman you're dating is, you might not be able to have biological kids with her. It's possible that your older partner might not be able to get pregnant even if she wanted to. Of course, it can still be possible to adopt a child. Nonetheless, understanding details and expectations like these can be important before you commit to a long-term relationship with anyone.

Work on your relationship with online couples counselors

Learning to navigate age gap relationships isn’t always easy

You can take the time to work on and ask questions about your relationship with online couples counselors. This may give you the chance to discuss your concerns and feelings about dating an older woman and how to best navigate one. 

Online couples counseling can be a great way to get help. It's often more affordable, convenient, and secure for those who choose to pursue it. You can even attend sessions right from your own home. 

Research suggests that the majority of couples and individuals who pursue online couples counseling can benefit from it, no matter their concerns. One study even showed that 95% of couples who participated in online counseling found it helpful. 


Dating an older woman or a “cougar” may or may not be a good idea for you; it all comes down to your preferences, needs, and what you hope to gain from the relationship. Speaking with a therapist can help you discover what decision might be best for you, as can communicating openly and honestly with the woman in question.

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