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So be it if the relationship goes further.” 'A Badge of Honor' While women aren’t exactly shouting their cougar status from the rooftops (“Women never want to be called a “cougar,” because it implies they’re older,” Mercer explained nonchalantly), men aren’t shy about their relationships with older women.On the contrary, they’ll even boast about them, wearing them, in the words of Mercer, “as a badge of honor.” According to Gibson, young men are driving the trend, sometimes even calling themselves “cougar hunters” when they’re out on the town looking for sexy older women.“It’s a total transactional situation.” And that works out just fine for these young men, who often prefer relationships—whether fleeting or long-term—with cougars.
Smith figured it comes down to science: “It probably has something to do with the concentration of the species on procreation,” she quipped.
The same poll, which surveyed 3,500 single people (both women and men) aged 40 to 69 years old, found that 56 percent are currently separated or divorced from a spouse, 31 percent have never been married, and seven in 10 (74 percent) of formerly married singles in their 50s have been single for five years or more.
The study stated that the divorce rate now, compared to when cougars were married some 25 years ago, has contributed to the amount of single, 50 women, said to be “on the prowl” in today’s dating pool.
It’s just their energy, their enthusiasm” and—the biggie—“less baggage.” In fact, the stuff of the past may be what keeps her from dating men closer to her age altogether. “They’re always going on and on about their exes and the kids,” she said of her male peers. And being stuck in the music they listened to in college. 1 complaint from both single men and single women—42 percent and 35 percent, respectively—dating in their 50s was the history a partner of the same age carried into a relationship.
Men, of course, have their reasons for dating older women, too.