Here's the Thing: Cougar Town


I just started dating a man that is 20 and I'm 22, turning 23 in October. We both moved to a new city and met each other at an event and have hit it off. We're both in the same field and we both love the same things, have the same music taste,  same personality types and we have the best sex that I've ever had in my life. 

He delayed college for a couple years and is starting to attend this year, going into his freshman year but I'll be starting my professional career at a tech company this September. Is it weird if we're dating? We both look the same age on the street but I can't help but feel weird about our age gap? It doesn't bother him, and it doesn't bother me until it's mentioned by girlfriends. But we have such good chemistry, and I really didn't think anything of it until my friends made comments after.

We also live down the street from each other which makes things even more convenient to see each other. But the downsides are he is from Paris (and his English is good but not native) and I'm Canadian - do you think that cultural differences and age is a huge factor? It doesn't bother either one of us but I really don't want to waste my time, but I do really really really like him.

I assume this is your boyfriend.


You wrote in asking me if you should keep dating your sexy, FRENCH, younger, hot, best sex of your life, FRENCH, boyfriend?!??!!?!? HOW DID YOU THINK THIS WAS GOING TO GO? That I would say “Dear god this two year gap and minor language barrier are insurmountable and even the best sex of your life isn’t worth it”? I WILL NOT SAY THAT; I WOULD NEVER.

Nothing that you wrote in your letter is a bad thing. It’s like you wrote in and said, “I’ve been given a Target gift card, the only thing is, it’s for $20,000. Should I use it?” Except it’s not a Target gift card it is a sexy sex friend who lives down the street who is dicking you up real good. (Who also seems to be really into you!!!)

I will not continue to rant and rave about how of course you should keep seeing this man (unless you need me to. Feel free to drop me another email any time you’re not sure if you should enjoy something that is almost completely delightful and I’ll be happy to yell at you). I think you are right to be wary of the fact that despite the rather minor age gap, there is a large experience gap which is about to widen as he goes to college and you start working. That is real, and certainly an external factor which might rattle your relationship a bit. But I don’t think he’s going to get to college, see one other person who is 20 years old and go, “WHAT THE FUCK AM I DOING BEING HELD BACK BY THIS OLD BAG OF BONES WITH A JOB. QUELLE NIGHTMARE!”

I do think there will be nights and days where he wants to do college activities that you can’t or don’t want to participate in. Treat them like you would any other “hobby” that you two don’t jointly share: let him go scamper off and have fun and see him another night. It might take a little renegotiating around your new world orders, but it’s not a damning fate that he’s in college and you’re not. In fact, I highly suspect with your ages being so close, that you’ll both do just fine in both college and post-graduate spaces. I think it would be a lot harder if you were 45 and trying to date this man. A lot of people have navigated one partner being out in the workforce first before the other; this is incredibly common. It won’t make every moment easy, but it’s very socially accepted and there’s not stigma or anything (although I’m sure people will remind you of the age gap often, especially at first).

Now, for more general advice about being in love (or being in like-like if you haven’t said love yet) with other people on this planet: let it be all that it is. You do not know how or when or why it is going to end, and it will end. Either via death or break up or a fade out that is really a different type of break up. Those are the only options. That’s it. While there are things you can do to end things— like breaking up with him, ending things because you’re freaking out, becoming such a bad partner that the other person is forced to end things, cheating— there is nothing you can do to guarantee that it will last longer. There just isn’t. The best you can do is be a good partner and require that of the other person as well and then agree to tackle external shit together. Relax. You have no idea what the problems in the relationship are yet—and they will come—don’t invent them before their time. Let the relationship fill all the space it should fill in your life. When it’s over, you’ll know. (It might take 8 months to be really sure, but you will know). This isn’t it. Enjoy it. If there’s a real problem, trust that you are both mature and brilliant enough to recognize and solve it. You don’t earn any life points for guessing the ending and then breaking up before that can happen.

Enjoy being in your 20s with a french boyfriend who lives down the street, which is like the most fantastical life any of us can imagine. We’re all green with envy. Live it up for us for as long as it is good.