COMING CLEAN ABOUT MRS. ROBINSON

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ASK LADY ESQ.

Relationship advice from a divorce attorney.

Dear Lady Esq.,

My girlfriend’s widowed mother has made several sexual overtures to me over the years. At holiday get-togethers and family outings. I certainly would not act on them, but my girlfriend has started to notice her mother’s behavior and asked me directly if her mom was hitting on me. I lied and told her no. She doesn’t believe me. Should I tell her the truth?

– Tony M.


Dear Tony,

It is the age of the cougar! A loose definition of the term “cougar” is an older woman with a taste for younger men. And I like it. Older men have been dating younger women for years. Thanks to Demi, to Cameron, to Samantha from Sex and the City – thank you ladies for making it sexy to be an older woman, and for empowering us to date whomever we want, irrespective of age.

Now, hitting on your daughter’s boyfriend is an entirely different story.

Whatever her reasons, whatever her true intentions, no matter how innocent she may believe her flirting to be in her mind, it is inappropriate to hit on your daughter’s boyfriend. It would be inappropriate even if you and she were the same age.

Your girlfriend has picked up on what her mother is after. She asked you outright if her mother was hitting on you, and you lied. I don’t know your reasons. Maybe you were embarrassed. Maybe you were trying to protect your girlfriend or her mother or both. But honesty and open communication are at the heart of any healthy functional relationship, and your girlfriend deserves your honesty.

Tell your girlfriend that you think her mother may have been hitting on you. Tell her in whatever delicate way you have to to be respectful of your girlfriend and her feelings, and of her mother and their relationship. And the truth is, unless her mother has laid her hands on you or directly offered to be intimate with you, you only think her mother was hitting on you, you can’t say for sure. So phrase it in those terms – tell her you think her mother may have been hitting on you, or tell her that you were confused by her mother’s behavior and were uncomfortable with it.

If your girlfriend’s mother is hitting on you, and you’re lying about it, then you’re making the situation look far more conspicuous for you in the long run. Your girlfriend is bound to wonder what reasons you may have had for denying it if it was true. I am sure your reasons for denying it were honorable, but your girlfriend deserves your honesty. So tell her the truth, as delicately as is appropriate, and stick close to her at future family functions!

– Lady Esq.

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2 Responses to COMING CLEAN ABOUT MRS. ROBINSON

  1. Rainer Maria says:

    I don’t think that it’s progressive or “as it ought to be” to reinforce negative stereotypes about women: An older woman’s sexuality=cougar? To further insinuate that this supposedly hungry beast has a “taste” for younger flesh is inappropriate. Here’s something to consider: when women get older, their sexuality doesn’t die. Many people feel young inside and only look older on the outside.
    I would like to see the so-called progressive movement extend itself to women, and to not continue the depersonalization and dehumanization that has its roots feeding in Christian culture. (It’s not surprising to me to find that I went to this website, and found that it was only one click away from some Christian propaganda site.)
    Reinforcing stereotypes isn’t appropriate when speaking of Black people, Mexicans, poor people, gays, handicapped, etc. Why not step up the progressive game to include women (of all ages) too?
    Oh, and about poor Tony, please tell him to grow a pair and deal with the situation, in a respectful way, himself.

    • askladyesq says:

      Dear Ranier Marie:

      A thoughtful comment, and from a Rilke fan at that! Please accept my apology if I reinforced any stereotypes with this post. It was not my intention. My intention, truthfully, was to have a little fun with the idea. I love the powerful image of an older woman as a cougar, going after what she wants. But I can absolutely see where you are coming from and see your point. I am all for the sexual empowerment of women of all ages.

      I do find that there exists today a crossroads where feminism is up against modern views of woman’s liberation and empowerment. I fear you and I may be standing at that crossroads.

      As a young sexually liberated and empowered woman, I look up to older empowered women who even out the traditional playing field by taking younger men, or men of any age, as their lovers, partners, etc. I find the concept fun and am really proud of how far women in this country have come to be standing in these shoes.

      At the same time I see clearly your position. I see how saying that a woman’s sexuality makes her a cougar can reinforce a negative stereotype about women. And for having come across in a negative way to you or the movement I am sorry.

      – Lady Esq.

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