I have a boyfriend. I haven’t had a boyfriend in 25 years. My last boyfriend turned into my second husband and we all know how that turned out. I’ve been without the aforementioned husband for four years now. It’s not that I haven’t dated, but I couldn’t really call any of those guys my boyfriend. One came very close. I would have liked to call him my boyfriend, but he wasn’t quite ready to call me his girlfriend, so, well, yeah.
My boyfriend blindsided me. I didn’t see it coming. We were friends first. We had known each other for about a year when he and his lovely wife split up. Incidentally, I didn’t know her very well. I wasn’t friends with them as a couple. I was sad when I heard of their break-up, but it was mutual and both were wishing each other the very best as they moved forward.
When my boyfriend first expressed interest in me as more than a friend I said, “Whoa, buddy.” You see, he is quite a bit younger than me. That gave me pause. What also gave me pause was the very recent turn of events in his life. I thought perhaps it was too soon for him to start dating. Perhaps he should just sit with himself for awhile before embarking on a new romance. I know, that was a bit presumptuous, so when he asked me out on a date, I said yes. It was just an art show. We were friends, right?
There’s a third thing that gave me pause. Actually, the third thing can be counted as two so there were really four pauses. These last two pauses come in the form of two very little boys that call him “daddy.” Don’t get me wrong, I love children, but mine is all grown up and just about ready to make me a grandmother. His youngest is still in diapers. I don’t mind diapers, but this is most certainly not what I imagined for myself when I thought of the right guy coming along. But can we ever predict anything that is put in our path? Obviously not, and kids would never be a deal breaker for me.
Wait. There was a fifth pause. My own head. This is where all my insecurities of being with a younger man came into play and without me listing what these are, you can be sure there is a list. I wondered why this adorable, funny and brilliant guy would want to be with me. Then I said to myself, “Why wouldn’t he want to be with me?” Then I said, “Why would he want to be with me?” And so on. That was my head getting in the way.
For the record, I am not a cougar. I hate that term and in our situation it has been thrown about inaccurately by a few people. Here is the No. 1 definition of a cougar as given authoritatively by the Urban Dictionary:
An older woman who frequents clubs in order to score with a much younger man. The cougar can be anyone from an overly surgically altered wind tunnel victim, to an absolute sad and bloated old horn-meister, to a real hottie or milf. Cougars are gaining in popularity — particularly the true hotties — as young men find not only a sexual high, but many times a chick with her shit together.
That is not me. I do not have my shit together.
I’m starting to relax about the whole thing. He knows how to alleviate my fears without even trying. We still have a few hurdles, but since we are both tall (he’s very tall), they are easy to step over. The hurdle that I gave birth to gave his blessing and then joked, “As long as he doesn’t try to be a ‘dad’ to me.” Here, I will remind you that I was VERY YOUNG when I had that hurdle.
Now I know the question that’s been bouncing around in your head since you read “…quite a bit younger than me,” is how much younger. You want the number in years, don’t you? I get it. How about we’re BOTH just slightly outside of our forties. Go ahead, let that sink in, and then move on. I have.
No more pauses.