What Happens When You Get What You Ask For?

Regular readers will know that I almost never write about my dating life as it is actually happening – unless they are amusing, or scary or painful stories from the here and now that beg to be told but don’t require much marinating or analysis.

Things get a little tricky when my dating life is actually so good that I want it to stop.

By that I mean, I only want the one guy, I remove myself from all dating apps, and we hide away from the world making love, talking about anything and everything, and whispering little cooing noises to each other in between kissing each others’ lips off. (Note I said ‘making love’ – yes that’s intentional. More on the sex later).

The only way I can write this story is to pretend that the object of my adoration and lust will never read it. So let’s proceed on that basis, as he doesn’t know about the blog yet.

The above scenario is where I’m at and I am so happy to say that.

After three-and-a-half years of obsessively dating, of meeting and talking and fucking; after countless complete breaks and a six-month bout of celibacy; after ending things with my polyamorous tribe of lovers; after so many hours of self analysis and confessional recounting with my dear friends and other bloggers…well, let’s just say that something has changed.

The universe has shifted.

I’ve heard it said before and this fleeting anxiety applies here too – it’s early days and I don’t want to jinx it. But you know that feeling when you just know that things are different? When both the person and the circumstances are so altered from your norm that you’re forced to take notice?

But this tale has a long backstory – that some might say started when I was born, and was certainly solidified when I fell blindly and tragically in love for the first time at 16 years old.

Others might say that we all – particularly women – imbibe both the subtle and overt social and cultural messages that we are not good enough, we’ll never be perfect. Look at what fuels the beauty and wellness industries!

It’s really just a hop, skip and a jump from there to unconsciously believing that you’re essentially unlovable. That you’ll never find anyone to ease your burden or take care of you.

You spend your whole life taking care of others – lovers, family, kids, husbands, friends, colleagues – giving so much of yourself, your energy, your goodwill and your time that sometimes there is precious little left over to fuel the fire within. Or to shore up the gaps against the leaking of your humanity or hope.

It’s not hard to see that over decades I’d set, like the crusted surface of ice on a winter’s pond, a pattern that reinforced behaviours and my unhealthy (but oh so common) belief system.

My belief system, buried beneath layers of experiences, narratives and words, centred around the familiar notion of unworthiness, and the unattainability of a genuine reciprocal, equal and deeply loving romantic relationship.

I couldn’t have expressed this so clearly even a few months ago, for these unhelpful beliefs lurked deep, with a chameleon’s cunning. I’ve always understood that authentic and committed friendships are what matters most, but it was a bittersweet sting that I had not experienced the satisfying feelings of my needs being met, being truly heard, being respected and adored in a romantic relationship.

By that I mean never.

Never is a long time when you’re a midlife woman who’s been intimately involved in a sexual or romantic sense with others for three decades. Never casts a tall shadow over a future where it’s painfully difficult to continue nurturing a sense of hope and positivity for the possibility of that dream’s fruition.

I wrote in this article about some of the self work that started in earnest earlier this year. Of course it really began when I found myself alone, with my two dependent sons, after being one half of couple for my entire adult life.

The journey into sexuality and self began when my marriage ended – not an unusual story these days. When we cast off the shackles of marital ‘ownership’, limiting self-beliefs and stultifying patterns of sexual expression, we often emerge from the chrysalis as a sparkling, raw new being.

It’s been a long period of transformation for me.

Writing the book on which this blog is based was followed with the word-by-word building of this blog that manages to express the tip of my iceberg on midlife female sexuality and this troubling, modern dance of dating and mating.

These have been the tools of my personal growth. Through varied, lived experiences I have in many cases challenged my beliefs, but also attracted the kinds of relationships that helped me to learn. My inner world has transformed in a way that I could never have achieved had I stayed with one man for life. And what a ridiculous notion that is.

Last week I updated my homepage (go check it out if you haven’t seen it for a while) and did some deep thinking (and talking) about the concept of the cougar. You’d know by now that I’ve always used this label with tongue in cheek as a bit of a nose-thumbing to society’s conventions about the proper place for a mature woman (unseen and unimportant).

Thank you to some of my trusted blogger friends for helping me see and express that being a cougar is not just about fancying the pants off younger men. It’s not even about sex. It’s not even about men! At its powerful, goddess heart, it’s about allowing your vibrant female yin energy to flow, in fact to roar! It’s about being unafraid to ask for what you want, to accept that we all have needs and that we are worthy of having them met.

Cougars can be women of any age, but I am still most focused, here in this blog, on women over the magical age of 40, when you realise that you’re probably half way through your precious time on this earth, and you start to feel, sometimes viscerally, that every moment matters. See how I have updated my info page on what I mean by the term ‘cougar’ and see the adorable pic someone snapped of me!

And so how did I attract my heart’s desire?

Like all mysteries, it is complex, deep and shrouded in mist. No one’s journey is as simple as developing a formula and following it. My current state of bliss and steps towards self-acceptance were influenced by many factors.

One friend says I did the self work, another that my time was ripe, and another that I got lucky and it’s all a numbers game.

These are the two factors that I know beyond a shadow of doubt shaped the outcome, and some might say that I manifested my current reality. (Fingers firmly crossed as I write this)

Firstly, I found myself immersed in pondering all things spiritual for the first time in decades. Not since the 90s had I thought, on a daily basis, about concepts such as universal laws, karma, life lessons and the possibility that we humans are at least co-creators of our own fates. This ruminating was the direct result of being interviewed for a podcast about my experiences in and beliefs around new relationship models. Listen here if that topic interests you.

Combined with daily podcasts that I listened to on my commute to and from work an hour away, I had four long sessions with an incredible woman who practises holistic counseling using a toolbox of methods including NLP and guided meditation. Meeting her solidified my belief in myself, the purpose of my journey, and my profound sense of hope for my future.

These two experiences (spiritual and psychological) melded together when I developed my own very clear mantra. I also made a simple text-based vision board (as I mentioned here), but what worked for me was repeating in my head, many times a day, a phrase that distinctly spelled out what I want – my needs:

Committed Intimate Romantic Relationships.

Occasionally I threw in some extras for flavour, and to make it abundantly clear that I also needed these things – sexually satisfying, reciprocal, intense, abundant.

The first thing I noticed was the difference in the types of men I was attracting on Plenty of Fish, where I unveiled my profile for a week at a time. I rewrote my profile text a couple of times, trying to pin down the essence of my mantra in a way that was palatable to the online dating game.

This difference in fishing haul is for twofold reasons. Firstly, I’d been emotionally committed to an older man for the past nine months and so my eyes were opened to the possibility of being physically and psychologically attracted to this demographic.

Secondly, I changed my POF age filters so that I was visible to and seeing men up to my ex-lover’s age. Previously I’d have cut the dating age limit at around 40, because I’ve always had trouble finding men I’m attracted to in this age bracket.

If you’re a midlife guy, hear me out. I’ve written several times about the pitfalls of dating men over 35. If you want to re-live some of my experiences have a scroll down the sidebar, but this story really does illustrate well why midlife women often have a hard time finding worthy peers. And this one illustrates what women can be up against as our sexuality flourishes after aged 40.

But more importantly, my own personal circumstances that saw me married to my second love at 21 after meeting him at 17, were fundamental in my midlife dating journey. It took me a few years of single life to fully understand that younger men were something I’d needed to get out of my system. Like a travel bug, or a teen boy playing the field.

I’d spent my twenties and early thirties with both a dog and a husband, as well as the responsibilities of a mortgage for our first home together. It was pretty obvious, in hindsight, that my brain defaulted to its comfort zone – youthful-looking men.

I was thankful that in our current era, the glorification of the cougar and the attention paid to midlife female sexuality meant that young men were eager and available. Just think for a moment how impossible this match would have been even two or three decades ago, especially before dating apps and the maze of the online world!

After several dozen experiences and a whole lot of personal growth via heartache, irritation and disappointment, I turned my gaze to men of my own generation. Meeting and falling for E was a bold first step, and experiences of lesser impact that resulted from this broadening of my filters all helped me to move towards age-appropriate opportunities.

The other factor I noticed after doing the intense mantra work was that the quality of men on POF had really changed. I was seeing several men’s profiles who might appeal, and I was giving them a chance rather than superficially writing them off based on a photo or two. Call me superficial but this is how the dating world works, unlike Real Life.

After just a few short weeks, my mantra manifested right before my eyes.

I had two prime candidates who were seemingly offering me every element – romance, commitment and intimacy. After texting for a while, I met each of them for a first coffee shop date in the same week. Before that then, I’d already met several other promising candidates who I felt had significant potential as friendships, but not as lovers or romantic partners. That was just fine with me, because I was already beginning to feel the strain of ‘abundance’!

Since then each of these two prime relationships has unfolded at its own pace. I have learned and practised restraint and patience (probably for the first time in my life!) and I have let each man determine the nature of our relationship and how it proceeded.

Rather than charge like a bull at a gate into sexuality and intimacy, I have held back using self-control and wisdom. This is purely because it felt right, and because of my unwavering confidence in my ability to achieve change in my life, manifested as A Good Man.

For various reasons, one of the two men has fallen behind. While I am sad about that and I still want him in my life, I accept that it may not be possible.

This is also partly because, for the first time in the five years since my marriage ended, I want to be monogamous again. Who’d have thought?! This committed poly-solo woman needs to go old-school, for a while at least! And taking that into account, with respect and honesty, I ended the nine-month journey I’ve shared with E.

And finally, to the sex.

Yes, I know you all want to know how fabulous the sex is with my new man! Sex is a manifestation of so much yearning for intimacy between humans. As mammals there is nothing more satisfying, if we are truly open and connected to our desires and sensuality, of being skin to skin and heart to heart with a beloved.

Over the years, I’ve found that connection with lovers and with my young children, but now I feel it at a whole new level. The Good Man who has entered my life, who has swept me off my feet and made me feel seen, heard, respected and adored wraps me with his warm and enfolding physical embrace while also accepting me as I am. Even better, he desires me for the long term.

He is the most sensual man I have ever encountered. He gives me the deepest and most profound orgasms of my life. He kisses me as if our lives depend on the sharing of our tongues and lips’ caresses. I feel his precious energy and I want it – and only it – to enrich my present and my future.

To be continued….

What Is It With Guys Over 39?

Is that the magic age when women of their own era become invisible or inherently undesirable because we might show a few lines, or signs of childbirth, or maybe because we might be wise to the mid-life male and their foibles and flaws?

Dating statistics in the western world consistently bear out the trend for older men to prefer women a decade or two younger, whereas women (apparently – not me) prefer men in their own age group when dating.

What is not clear from the data is what women were seeking when they ticked that box. Perhaps it was long-term compatibility or companionship rather than excitement, passion and to revive their forgotten sexual capacity.

After all, if a woman is dating again in her forties it’s highly likely that she endured a long period of monogamy during which (again, if the data can be believed) she probably didn’t often get her needs met. Combined with the questionable state of sexual reciprocity in marriage, if the relationship was suffering the agonising slow decline, the chances are that sex was off the agenda anyway.

However, the point I am making here is that – for whatever reason and on average – older men do not seek out their female counterparts in the online dating world.

This is pretty depressing for a woman in midlife, who holds out hope for a mutual and satisfying partnership at some stage during this second half of life. The fact that I can and do attract the young things without even trying is beside the point, because the basic maths shows that a 10 or 20 year age difference is just not sustainable. That was a major factor for me when I chose to end a two-year intimate relationship with my then 27-year-old lover.

Let me illustrate this point by sharing my experiences and perceptions across three dates from this weekend.

After a five-month absence from dating, chatting, texting, swiping and putting my profile out there, I dipped my toe back into the (cess)pool that is online dating. Oh so many bites; I narrowed them down to a dozen and arranged dates with three, based on random selection and even more random timing. There was precious little analysis and it was very quick, because I rarely know how my free time might pan out and when I might be able to claw a couple of hours away from my 24/7 teens.

I chose two guys of roughly my vintage plus a latecomer who burst onto the scene and wowed me with his erotic storytelling and our instant connection via kik messaging.

The 50-year-olds were unremarkable and if I squinted and blurred my vision I could imagine them perhaps being attractive to my tastes.

I withheld judgement, prayed for the best and arranged to see one for a couple of hours on a Friday evening, and the other for the Sunday early afternoon.

I’d been chatting to Mr Sunday afternoon all week and thus far found conversation yawn-worthy and unremarkable. Mr Friday night, on the other hand, surprised me with his eager texting and I propositioned him for the date, knowing all too well that meeting as soon as possible was best. He was very keen and reliable and we met the next night at a local upmarket hotel.

I was standing at the bar when he sidled over to me and said a mild hello. He may have kissed my cheek. We made polite conversation while ordering drinks (we paid separately) and then found a booth in the quiet lounge room of the hotel. Conversation was easy and smooth and I didn’t have to work too hard – one benefit with dating older men is that they usually know better than the young ones how to maintain the conversational flow.

Topics were pretty tame and he sat miles away across the table, with no attempt to move closer to me or initiate any sort of physical contact. We talked casually for almost two hours, covering topics centred around him and his life, although he paid lip service to me a few times. It was pleasant but as I surreptitiously studied him I couldn’t imagine having sex with him, or that he’d ever be in the grip of passion or emotion. He had thin lips and that’s an instant turn off for me.

I suggested that it was time to leave and we meandered out to our cars. As we said goodbye I felt a surge of unexpected warmth and the next thing I knew, we were kissing. I don’t think I initiated it, but I didn’t recoil because he was actually a pretty decent kisser. In my mind I thought I’d give him a go and see whether he might have potential in bed, seeing as how that was the point of our meeting – to find a lover/FWB/FB (whatever term you prefer).

It was quite a long kiss and it did involve tongues. It wasn’t unpleasant but nor did it trigger any desire to go further, and certainly not to touch him elsewhere. Fortunately he was retrained and didn’t grope my breasts or arse, but he did steer me towards my car and kissed me again in relative privacy. We said goodbye a few minutes later and as I drove home I thought I’d just wait and see what happened next.

We texted a little later that night. “It’s funny what happened when I kissed you,” he messaged. “Didn’t you notice my erection?” Actually I hadn’t and it seemed sort of crass to mention it. Oops, I’m showing my prejudices because I just can’t seem to get excited by lukewarm old farts who consider lawn bowls a suitable topic of conversation on a date.

We had a bit of back and forth banter, and for some reason I agreed to send him a boobiepic (full nipples and all) since he asked. In hindsight, he didn’t so much as ask as demand, which should have been a warning. I pondered and sent him my best, guaranteed-to-produce-oohs-and-ahs full frontal shot.

Now the ex-young lover had a breast fetish so I have quite a few of these in my collection, but even if I do say so myself, this shot is pretty amazing. I am honored to have such boobs, and I really have a surgeon to thank for it since I had a breast reduction operation seven years ago. However, I don’t usually reveal that! So you’ll understand my disappointment when Mr Friday night barely hesitated before texting, “good – very good.”

Fuck you, I felt like saying. Where’s the moans and exclamations and all the hoohar – or is it only the young ones who know how to appreciate a lady’s assets?! It’s not like I didn’t say all the right things when he showed me his saggy man-boobs and graying chest hair.

I had to work late (the joys of freelancing – no, I mean it!) and so at about midnight I stopped in at the site we met to see how my message box was coping with the onslaught. I was still fresh meat and I’d already figured out that real women were in the minority – hence the bulging inbox and multiple propositions. I spent a short time moving some guys over to kik and deleting others, then I went to bed thinking nothing of it.

The next morning, while lounging in bed making up for my late night’s work, I checked into the site again and found a message from Mr Friday evening date. “I saw you were on here tonight,” he said. I casually replied that I had been, and was that a problem?

To be honest, I haven’t logged on to the site since then (the reasons why will soon become clear) but on our kik account my message remained unread for two whole days.* I haven’t heard from Mr Friday night since so I guess he did object to me logging onto the site! We hadn’t even arranged a second date, discussed anything personal and already he wants to control me?! Phew, lucky escape!

Onto second date for the weekend, Mr Sunday afternoon. Also about 50, he was a different type of guy – workaholic, self-obsessed, a nervous babbler and someone so out of touch with his emotions I couldn’t even imagine being in a bedroom with him, let alone having actual sex. We had gelati and coffee (he paid, though somewhat reluctantly, but I let him go through with the offer) and over almost two hours, in his mildly high-pitched voice, he talked incessantly about himself, his hobbies, his children, his ex-wife, his property developments, his study – including his forthcoming assignments – and his love of classic cars and motorbikes.

I was friendly enough because I had a get-away plan and I soon calculated that date #3 held the most potential (young hottie).

Boy was I correct and I extricated myself from Mr Sunday afternoon as soon as possible. So utterly unsexual was he that he couldn’t even manage a peck on the cheek and we hugged instead.

I drove the five minutes to my third date for the weekend, Mr Mid-30s Hottie, who’d been texting me while he waited three hours for me to arrive at our destination. He’d been on a cycling event and rather than drive all the way home, he decided to wait for when I’d be free at 3pm. Sweet – and keen!

“Why don’t you meet me at my car so I can give you a proper welcome kiss?” he messaged on kik just as I was at the traffic lights. I couldn’t figure out where he was parked, so we met at my car instead – true to his word, he grinned and complimented my appearance and then embraced me in a passionate kiss. Now that’s how to make a good impression – especially with a sex-starved cougar who’s had to endure two boring old farts for more than four hours of blathering!

And he was drop-dead gorgeous, did I mention that?!

At least 6ft5, fit and lean, black plastic glasses (just like the pic!) and a nerdy shyboy appeal that hits the right spot for me every time! (I have an internal warning – but he doesn’t sound the alarms because, when it comes to sex, he is voracious and completely self-assured.) We giggled, held hands (while I felt up his arse and he laughed) and walked to the café.

As requested, I was wearing a revealing top and as he sat opposite me I could feel his eyes drinking me in. We made pleasant conversation (yes, it was harder work that the older guys because Mr Mid-30s Hottie is socially awkward,) covering a lot of topics. About an hour later he suggested we should go out to the car. I agreed and we walked hand in hand, with some more arse fondling, to my front seat.

It was broad daylight, sadly, and as neither of us are into dogging (having sex in public – it’s a thing!), we kept it fairly tame though he was very keen to escalate, but gentleman enough not to push it. However, two things were immediately clear – firstly, I really liked him and found him deliciously attractive, and secondly, he found me sexy, hot, desirable and worthy of a second date!

He has this irresistible combination of self-doubt, awkwardness and shyness – but combined with a sexual confidence and the body of a god! And he’s a fabulous kisser – I definitely wanted more of that but was finding the whole kissing in the front seat of a car thing uncomfortable, and there were too many people milling about outside.

So here are my thoughts on the whole age thing – the difference between guys and girls as we age.

I think Lauren is spot on when she says that men tend to get old quickly and set in their ways. They are also less likely to look after themselves and stay attractive. (Blunt I know, but that’s just a comment about their packaging – here’s what’s really important).

On the inside, however, is where the real difference lies – women in their second phase are often highly sexual, passionate and excited to be alive. Men, on the other hand, are often withered, bitter and cynical.

Take Mr Friday and my tits – he may not have seen better in his life (unless they were on a porn star) and yet he could barely raise a compliment and then ghosted me because he was hurt/angry/jealous, [delete whatever is not applicable] because I checked into the site where we both met, after I met him! And let’s not forget that HE checked into the site too!

I have found men my own age to be highly critical of a woman’s body – even sporting their own pot bellies, double chins and craggy lines, they expect youthful perfection in their potential partner. Men of my generation also seem unable to flirt or playfully engage on a level that is mischievous or ambiguous.

I hear this often from other women, and I’m not sure why or whether it’s universal. I guess I should qualify that statement by clarifying that I’m talking here about men on dating sites, or single men looking for something (sex, a partner, whatever).

Most young guys assume that, when you say you like younger men, that it’s all about the sex – that they’re obviously better, more lustful and with greater stamina because they’re young.

I haven’t found that to be the case, although Christine Feminist probably disagrees. She’s had some amazing sexual experiences with young guys, but sadly most of mine have been duds. Being a porn-fucked Millennial is really common! The symptoms are obvious when you’ve been in a long-term relationship and you know how normal men function. I’ll write about it another time. So for whatever reason (region-based, age-based, my bad luck or bad timing), most of the 30-plus sexual experiences I’ve shared with guys under 35 have been abysmal. I’ll be sharing those stories in future so stay tuned!

The important point here, however, is that it’s not the sex that makes younger guys so appealing – it’s the attitude! It’s the fun and the flirting! It’s the passion, the feels! It may not last – but it lights my fire that’s for sure.

As for Mr Mid-30s Hottie, he and I have barely stopped texting erotic tales, flirtatious and rambunctious desires and madly arranging our first all-day date coming up in two days! I can barely wait and the best part is that neither can he.

Time will tell whether he is as amazing in bed as he seems, but thank the goddess I don’t have to wait much longer to find out. Watch this space!

 

* I checked onto the site a week later and all evidence of Mr Friday night was removed! My guess is that, in a sulk, he packed up and left!