Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Cougar Friend Obsessed With Beau's Age

DEAR HARRIETTE: A friend of mine has been single for years. Recently, she started dating a guy who is 13 years her junior. She seems really happy, but she also seems obsessed with his age. She showed me a picture of the two of them and then went on and on about how she doesn’t mean to be a cougar. She asked me a million times if she looks young for her age. She does, but I couldn’t lie and tell her she looks as young as her boyfriend. I did tell her that they look happy in the photo, and if they like each other, that’s all that counts. She keeps asking for reassurances. What else can I say? -- Cougar, Milwaukee

DEAR COUGAR: Stop saying anything. Let your friend figure out her life. I understand that it can feel awkward and new for an older woman to take up with a younger man. The reality, though, is that it happens all the time with older men, and rarely does anyone blink. That age difference is not so vast that they can’t find compatible interests.

Your friend should pay attention to what she’s got and nurture that relationship. If she keeps talking about how young he is, that may make it uncomfortable for him. Obviously he likes her if he has chosen to be with her. That’s what’s most important. Next time she asks you, remind her to pay attention to him rather than what people are saying -- and live her life!

DEAR HARRIETTE: I recently learned that an old boyfriend of mine is getting married to a woman I know. I haven’t dated him for years, so I have no issues with this. I’m actually really happy for them. I think they are probably well-suited for each other.

Is it appropriate for me to congratulate them on their upcoming nuptials? When he and I broke up more than 10 years ago, it was on good terms. We sort of grew in different ways, and it just naturally ended. We have remained cordial over the years. We share a couple of mutual friends, so I have had occasion to run into him from time to time. I don’t know her as well, but I see her at social events. Is it OK for me to call him or send him a congratulatory note? -- Wish Them Well, Dallas

DEAR WISH THEM WELL: In a word, yes! If you have no ulterior motive and truly want to offer your blessing, go for it. Since you know how to reach him, a call of congratulations would be nice. Tell him you learned of his upcoming wedding and that you want him to know how happy you are for him and his bride. Point out that you know her a bit and think they are well-suited. Keep the conversation short and sweet.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)