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Older woman doesn't like cougar label

Q: I just started talking to a guy on a cougar dating site who is 15 years younger than I am. He was the initiator and had no problem with my age. I look younger than my age (40). He seems to be very mature for his age, and he's very sweet.

The problem is he thinks it's funny to call me a "cougar." I don't like it, because the relationship is new and it sends mixed messages. Also, when we are chatting online, I will say, "OK, I'm trying to ask you something," and he will come back with "Yes, Mommy. Mommy always knows best." I really got tired of it, but the more I asked him to stop -- well, he laughed, so I signed off.

After I cooled down, I sent him a text telling him that I do not like the word "cougar," and that calling me Mommy is weird. He responded with "Well, just leave me alone then." Am I wrong to want to be considered an equal if we are dating? Any advice would be appreciated.

-- D.D., Tonawanda

A: So, you signed up for a cougar dating site, but you don't like being referred to as a cougar? This is quite the contradiction, and you have to understand that a lot of the young men on those sites aren't looking for real, long-lasting relationships. For them, the cougar aspect is a fetish-fantasy, and you are putting yourself in a position to be sexually objectified. You are not wrong for wanting to be an equal in a relationship, but clearly it is not happening here. Let this guy go. He's obviously not interested in taking you seriously.

It is time for you to think about dating men your own age. Even if you do happen to meet and fall madly in love with a much younger man, the likelihood that he will stick around until the end is very, very small. The truth is that most of these guys are simply looking to have fun with an older woman, only to eventually leave for someone their own age to start a family, etc.

It just leaves women like you heartbroken and alone, wondering what you did wrong. Save yourself the trouble and get off of that site if you're looking for true love.


She cheated; now what?

Q: I recently found out my girlfriend of two years cheated on me two months ago. She was going through some stressful things in her life at the time. Now that I have confronted her, she said that she would do everything in her power to turn things around, get her act together, and try and win me back.

What I want to know is, can you ever get over being cheated on? I know it is very easy to say kick her to the curb, there are more fish in the sea, but I truly want to know if it's possible to make a relationship work after someone has been unfaithful. I can't look at her the same anymore.

-- R.L., Buffalo

A: Of course people can stay together after someone has cheated, but it is usually because they already have a lot between them, like kids, a marriage, a home. The way your girlfriend chose to deal with her stress after only two years together is a big red flag. Life is full of stressful times. It's not an excuse to cheat.

I would advise you to cut your losses and move on. Chances are that you will never look at her the same again and you will be wondering if she is cheating any time she gets stressed out. There are indeed more fish in the sea, and it's best for you to find one that won't stray when the waves get rough.


Patti Novak owns Buffalo Niagara Introductions ( Email questions to and include your initials and hometown.