In case you haven't heard of this new phrase, a "Cougar" is named used to refer to an older woman who dates men much younger than her. Cougars come in all types and the reasons for their particular fetish with the boys are varied. Some are content with having fun and others seek more in the relationship than what the young stud plans.

An older woman may get involved with a much younger man right after a bad breakup or divorce. She may do this because she wants to heal the wounds after her husband left her for another woman or desires to simply feel good about herself again. Many of these affairs are intended to be temporary as she transitions from one committed relationship to another. There are other Cougars who make it a game, a conquest of getting the younger man and have a little fun. These flings are also deliberately short-lived and not necessarily a source of despair.

The heartbreak comes when the Cougar expects the young lover to turn into a long-term partner. Many times the young guy is in only involved for the fun and other perks an older, wealthier woman can provide him. Unfortunately, when the older woman fails to see the shallowness of the bond and fools herself that the courtship is more than just a fling, she can find herself dejected. If both parties are not on the same track, there is a huge possibility of upset feelings and misunderstandings. A broken-hearted Cougar can sink deep into depression and insecurity, possibly shutting out men that are her own age who are truly ready for love.

Long before the term became popular, I often dated men who were much younger than me. I like a youthful look and was fun-loving just like my juvenile beaus. I was ready for a commitment when most of my love interests were far from that stage. I continued the pattern of attracting men who were not available for a relationship and couldn't break my habit of dating immature men.

It wasn't until I used hypnosis to shift my subconscious beliefs about feeling worthy of a healthy relationship that I began to change my focus. Feeling confident about myself, I started being open to dating men my age and older which turned out to be the best choice I could have made in my love life. I met my partner who is eight years older and so perfect for me in many ways. I would have never dated a man even one year older in the past. Now, I can't even imagine going back to younger men who have less life experience to share.

Not every older woman who dates a younger man is insecure, but if you have a pattern for dating men much younger you should check the reasons for your desires. Are you trying to prove something to your ex, your friends, society or yourself? Do you really have a connection with the young man or is his age the most appealing aspect of him? You may have a deep connection and he could be the one, but make sure you aren't just playing out a role that isn't authentic for you. You are in control of the choices you make in dating, so be clear on your motives. Are you looking for Mr. Right or Mr. Right Now?

For me, I felt powerful ego boost when I attracted younger men, but that was before I discovered my own sense of worth inside. I do not regret my Cougar years and look back at them as a fun part of my life. At the same time, I feel so happy that I have changed my ways to give older guys a chance. I believe the Cougars are totally missing out.

Author's Bio: 

Debra Berndt is a Certified Hypnotic Love Coach offering sessions, workshops, teleclasses and weekly radio show, The Love Coach Show on BlogTalkRadio. Her book, "Let Love In: How to Open Your Heart and Mind to Attract Your Ideal Partner" (Wiley) is to be released in March, 2010. Get a free mp3 download, dating confidence, when you sign up for her weekly dating e-tips on her website is