Proud to Be a Cougar!

"I am very proud to be a cougar. I am engaged to a man 16 years younger than me," says Angela. "I have always dated younger men. They tend to be more fun, don't have the baggage and they're better in bed."

Her 24-year-old fiancé, Ryan, expresses surprise that he was able to date an older woman. "At 39 years old, I figured she would look at me and see a college fraternity guy," he says.

 

Ryan and Angela met at work. He was a stock boy, and she was his general manager. "She was very flirty. She would always wear low-cut shirts, and reach down and pick up wine bottles off the bottom shelf," he recalls.

 

Ryan's best friend, Donovan, believes Angela is isolating Ryan. "Angela does a very good job at creating a chilly atmosphere. It is as though you have walked into the lair of an animal that does not want you there," he observes.

Angela believes that Ryan's friends try to exclude her. "Ryan was the president of a fraternity, so a lot of his friends are still in that fraternity frame of mind. Ryan is growing up, and his friends still want him to play in play land," she says.

Ryan feels torn between his fiancée and his college pals. "I've had some second thoughts: ‘Is this what I want? Am I willing to put all of my friends on the back burner?'" he says.

Addressing Angela, Dr. Phil says, "He's obviously having concerns about this. Are you?"

"No. Never," she replies.

Donovan chimes in from the audience. "She gets a free babysitter and help on the rent," he says. 

Turning to Ryan, Dr. Phil says, "You have concerns about this. What are they?"

"My main concern is balancing my friends and my relationship," Ryan says. 

Dr. Phil wonders why Ryan got involved in the first place. "Why someone this much older than you?" he inquires. 

"It was not like I went out looking, you know?" Ryan says. 

"You put a note on her windshield!" Dr. Phil points out. 

He addresses Donovan. "What do you see the downside being?" he asks. 

Donovan replies, "He's not having the chance to discover himself, to travel, to see the world, to learn things about himself to become a healthy individual in a relationship."

"You said that Ryan just doesn't seem to understand priorities. That family is first," Dr. Phil reminds Angela. "He doesn't realize the importance of good financial decisions. You got upset when he bought an Omega watch instead of paying bills. You say, 'He's just learning to be a parent to my three kids.'"

"Women say these things to men all the time: Get your priorities in order. Stop playing golf. It's not a new thing," Angela says.

"I think that it's very difficult to predict the future accurately when you're 24," Dr. Phil observes.

 

Angela reiterates that her fiancé is very mature for his age. "The way Donovan sounds, it's like Ryan's been living in a bubble since he was child," she protests. 

"It's not like he's living in a bubble, but wherever he's been living, it hasn't been very long. He's only 24," Dr. Phil says. He tells Angela that he is concerned for the future of her three kids. "You're going to have introduced a third man into your children's lives. That's a real serious, serious decision for your kids. You write on the slate of who they are."

Dr. Phil wants Ryan and Angela to understand the challenges ahead. "Frankly, if you said, ‘Dr. Phil, do you think this is a good bet for us?' My answer is, 'No, no, no, I do not think it is a good idea for you to do this,'" he tells the couple. "Do I think that based on that, you're not going to do it? No, I don't think that. I think you're going to go forward and you're going to do it. I think that, at an absolute minimum, you should at least get lots of premarital counseling. Do not lean on your own understanding here. Try to work out things like expectations as to finances, expectations as to division of labor, expectations as to religion, expectation as to geography, in-laws."

Dr. Phil reiterates that he does not recommend that they get married. "But, if you're going to do it, at least do your homework and give yourselves the best possible chance of going forward that you can," he advises.