Examining a new dating trend among women in their 30s who are opting to date men who are in their 20s instead of men older than them or belonging to their age group…
Relationship experts believe that ‘cougars’ – or women 40 years and above who prefer dating much younger men – are facing stiff competition from their younger counterparts, known as ‘cheetahs.’ They are essentially women in their 30s who while having a history of dating older men, are now settling for men who are in their 20s or just a few years younger than them.
“When we say age is just a number, we mean it,” says Lifecoach Malti Bhojwani, commenting on this trend. “What I have noticed is that women in their 30s are breaking away from set society norms and going out with men who are younger to them.”
Cheetah vs cougar
While the cougar has been on the prowl for a while now, her second cousin the cheetah is slowly gaining ground in dating territory. Malti adds, “Often terms like ‘cougar’ or ‘cheetah’ are used in a derogatory manner – they are labels given by people who find it difficult to accept that today’s women have the courage to break away from the traditional norms of dating someone their own age or older. But this is a reality that is slowly gaining ground, primarily because women have realised that the gene pool of eligible men their age has diminished. Most are either married or simply not ready to settle down. This has led them to looking at younger men. Also, when a women looks for a partner she is looking for someone she is compatible with. Men in their 20s seem more mature than those in their 30s these days.”
Clinical psychologist and traumatologist Dr Seema Hingorrany, however, has a different take on it. She says, “While I have come across examples of older women dating younger men, it’s mostly kept under wraps. And it’s usually women who are looking for fun and want to experiment in their sexual relationships. They prefer younger men because they are more open than and not as rigid as older men. Also, in some cases the woman is in a better place financially and that gives her an upper hand in this relationship.”
So are these relationships here to stay?
Serena Dias, who has been dating a guy five years younger than her, says, “While some people may question my relationship because of our age difference, I don’t regret it because both my partner and I are comfortable with that. What matters is how we feel about each other.” As far as being labelled a Cheetah goes, Serena says, “I take it as a compliment. A Cheetah resembles someone who is sexy and confident, and women in their 30s embody that.”