We often lump women together into one group; as if they were all cut from the same cloth. While to a certain extent, it is possible that feminine instincts are uniform across demographic boundaries: the desire for resources, the desire for friendship or belonging to a group with focus, the appreciation of masculine attributes such as charm, humor, territoriality and possibly even aggression. There are some fascinating subtleties to the drives and ambitions of women as they develop psychologically through the decades. This review of women's issues in their twenties, thirties, forties and beyond may reveal some insights to you that will help you navigate your relationships with them.
Maybe you know them as Pumas, Cougars and Jaguars.
We tend to focus on different sets of skills per decade:
• Puma Twentysomethings are learning what they are more physically attracted to in a mate, and how to master the nonverbal skills of Sexual Attraction (Desire.)
• Cougar Thirtysomethings are settling into solid, lifelong friendships, and mastering skills at diplomacy in the workplace and their social circles, harvesting the rewards of Emotional Attraction (Friendship.)
• Jaguar Fortysomethings and beyond have often gotten their career ducks in a row. With a great support network of friendships in place, they are ready to collaborate, team up with business partners, and perhaps join with a spouse to build a lasting relationship.
The Puma Twentysomething...
When you look at the prime focus in most Twentysomething females, it is clearly centered on sex and physicality with men. Appearances, beauty and physical skills, such as dancing, determine what one likes sexually in a mate. Guesswork and interpretation of the nuances of flirting are of the essence for men and women of this certain age. How often though do we hear the complaint that a woman "is a flake" when talking of women in this age category: often, more so than women in their 30's, 40's or beyond in fact. And while it is still possible for a woman to be a "flake" and have dubious loyalty or reliability in the latter decades of life, it is not at all unusual for a female in her twenties these days to have no interest whatsoever in a committed relationship, or even following through with a date as promised. This is of course dependent on her level of boundary maturity.
The thing for us to remember about the Twentysomething woman is that she is learning to master Feminine Instincts - sexual preferences, belonging among other women, finding harmony in social networks and discovering the power of her body, sex appeal and influence over men. All of these are normal, natural and age-appropriate relating to a Puma woman of this age range.
Once you are aware of this, her preoccupation with what her friends think won't be as annoying. You can put her age, and your values and interest in relating to her, in perspective.
Keep in mind that whatever a woman's age, and whatever her developmental tasks, she has an inner drive, a self, or an inner identity called "femininity." This set of instincts makes the female of the species always a "flake" of a sort, at least in the form of being good at self-care even if that means choosing to not honor something promised to you.
Ultimately, I wouldn’t want you to be with either an immature Puma wild-woman, or a stale, passionless yet courteous Jaguar. Instead, a sexy, empathic conversationalist and woman of substance too - who does have a sexy "edge" on top of her more nurturing qualities would be a better fit.
The Cougar Thirtysomething...
Women in their thirties are very close to "knowing what they want in a man" and thus determine whether they want to have a family and children. In fact, they MUST decide this, even through passivity.
The higher a woman’s femininity, the more attractive she is, the more attracted she feels (if the man is a source of femininity for her), and the more vital she is with a passion for life. These two variables actually come from drivers of her instincts that have been talked about by everyone from Sigmund Freud to Charles Darwin, to the branch of psychology called Evolutionary Psychology. Our instincts want us to "survive and reproduce."
So the “skills with men variable” speaks to the "reproductive". Where the Life's Purpose variable speaks to a woman’s sense of identity in feeling alive. The latter is based in creativity and giving birth - the maternal - if not to actual children, then to ideas. The emotional experience of how deeply a woman senses her identity and worth is in the health and happiness of her own biological children, or anything that's creative and organically grown, through the investment of her heart and soul.
Sex is a known entity at this point, and enough experience with flirtation has led to a satisfying dating experience. But now is the time to jump to the next level of maturity - a sense of enduring happiness that comes with having a career established, balanced by a sense of whether one will start a family and have children.
The Composed, Jaguar Woman in the Fortysomethings...
The Fortysomething woman has it all - so long as she is resolved to either not having children and feels fine about that, or has children already. She has much to talk about and much to share from a long cultivated experience at love, work and life. The fruits of all past experiences are to be shared.
And so the necessary ingredients of a durable commitment, highlighted in the Jaguar decade of the forties are:
1. The Sexual Attraction or flirtation skills learned in the Puma twenties, with knowledge of one's feminine drives.
2. The Emotional Attraction or friendship skills learned by the Cougar thirties, with knowledge of knowing what needs to be fulfilled to make one happy.
3. The Intellectual Attraction or commitment skills learned by the Jaguar forties, which include:
4. Great Personal Boundaries, which afford communication, collaboration and compromise ability.
5. Resolution of the woman's decision on having children.
6. Curiosity and empathy about others.
Paul Dobransky, M.D. is a board-certified psychiatrist, public speaker and relationship expert who has treated more than 10,000 patients in 15+ years in clinical psychiatric care. Journalists and clients worldwide have sought Dr. Paul's advice on dating, relationships and all aspects of human psychology.
Dr. Paul pioneered MindOS, a new, patent-pending approach to understanding relationships, mood problems and stress. MindOS synthesizes all schools of therapy into a single, effective system-based approach that uses plain language to help people understand psychology and solve problems. Go to http://www.menspsychology.com/ to learn more.