Monday, May 10, 2010

Why I'm a Cougar

Okay, I don't really see myself as a COUGAR, exactly, but I thought it would make a dramatic title. This post is about why I prefer to date younger men.

In order to explain all this, I have to explain that I am an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I live in Utah. This is a big part of the issue because here in Utah about 50% of people are latter-day saints, meaning that LDS beliefs have an overall pretty big impact on the culture and how people live around here.

And in case you're not familiar with LDS beliefs we believe strongly in the importance of the family. We believe that marriage and family is where we can find our greatest happiness in life, and that families who are joined in a temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will continue to enjoy each other's love and company beyond death. These are fundamental beliefs in the Church, and these beliefs cause latter-day saints to seek marriage earnestly and take it seriously. Which means that, in the area where I live, people get married younger, often when the guy is in his mid-twenties and when the girl is in her early twenties. According to U.S. Census Bureau figures, the median age of first marriage in the United States is 28.1 for men and 25.9 for women, where the median age of marriage in Utah is 24.6 for men and 22.1 for women, according to these figures published by Utah Department of Workforce Services. (Although the former group of figures comes from 2009 and the latter group of figures apparently comes from 2005, even comparing 2005 numbers to each other the median ages are lower in Utah than the rest of the United States.) The same report from Workforce Services also mentions that a greater percentage of people in Utah are married than people in any other state (60% people 15 years or older).

In other words, marriage is a big deal where I live and in the communities I am a part of. That coupled with the fact that the population of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is about 2/3 women and 1/3 men means that the men have their pick, as it were. On the Utah LDS singles scene it seems that there are more women than men out there. If you're a latter-day saint male from Utah and you're not married by age 30, there is quite likely a good reason. For example, the last guy I went out with that was near to my own age (and he didn't even grow up in Utah) apparently had some kind of psychological problem that made him think it wasn't okay to shower before he went on the date and he smelled. I could hardly stand to sit next to him in the movie we saw. Another famous stereotype of the Utah bachelor is the guy that is so picky that, while he has met lots of wonderful women, he will not date or marry any of them.

So what's a 32-year-old LDS Utah gal supposed to do? The obvious choice is to date younger men.

There is another group of men that I see as generally potentially dateable. That is men who are around my age (30sish) who are divorced. Divorce is common everywhere these days, so if I didn't want to date divorced men it would cut out quite a large sector of the dating pool, as it were. Plus, I figure that these were men who were willing to get married at least once. All of the divorced guys that I have dated so far treated me very well and seemed to be good men.

Why not date older men, say guys who are in their 40s or 50s? Personal preference. I tend to get along better with younger people; for example, most of my friends are younger than I am. Also, when I envision my future marriage partner, I envision a partner, not someone who is going to die 20 years before I do.

Of course the opinions expressed in this post are a generalization; individuals do not always reflect the characteristics of the age groups they belong to.

1 comment:

deanna said...

I was sitting in the garden ready the book If Life were Easy, It Wouldn't Be Hard by Sheri Dew. Go...read it now! But in one chapter she pretty much says that if we aren't married soon, we aren't following the commandments (something she struggles with herself eh). It was very interesting and made me think I need to get outta this country I am in at the present time. I'm a cougar...but it's only because I went to BYU. wink wink
xoxoxo