Why Jennifer Garner's "Mindful" Marriage Wasn't "Fine"


The world is shocked: Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner are getting a divorce. People on social media are wildly hypothesizing as to what happened. I don’t know them personally so far be it for me to speculate, but I will discuss a statement of Jennifer's regarding her marriage I found to be intriguing in People Magazine. This is what it said: “In a 2014 interview with InStyle, Garner spoke of the couple's ‘mindful’ marriage, noting that their relationship was no longer in the ‘courtship’ phase – but that she was fine with it.”

Jennifer – please don’t ever be “fine” not having a strong feeling of intimacy, fun and excitement around your partner. Why wouldn't you  always want to feel love and passion for each other rather than complacency? You may not have a heart thumping swoony feeling when he walks in the room like the initial stage of a relationship, but you want something more than “mindful.” Mindful sounds boring and tedious like a chore!

A relationship has to be prioritized. I remember having young kids and putting all my energy into them at the expense of my husband. Later when my husband passed away, I regretted that loss of time with him more than anything. Every marriage needs attention. It must be stirred and tended to like a fine stew. If it becomes “mindful” does that mean it becomes a task being together?

What does a “mindful marriage” mean? I think of mindful when it comes to eating. You don’t want to watch TV and eat your lunch. You want to be present and enjoy each bite of your sandwich. I also think of mindful when it means focusing on your breathing during Yoga class. What does it mean when a marriage is mindful as opposed to fun or entertaining? Where's the passion and joy spending time together? It sounds like mindful is the best thing she could come up with to describe a lack luster marriage. Next time around, I hope if Jennifer's relationship moves past the courtship phase, she’ll only be "fine" if it stays permanently in the honeymoon phase.

Check out my racy blogs and vlogs on dating, sex, love and everything in-between on The KarenLee Poter Show.


A Cougar's Committed Relationship


A Cougar’s Committed Relationship - Seven Years Later, Still Going Strong “Love is like a virus, it can happen to anybody at anytime.” Maya Angelou

I'm a cougar. I'm also a widow. May 16, 2006, my husband of 24 years was tragically killed, and I became single at the ripe old age of 47. I was happily married to my husband, who was only a year older than me, and wasn't aware that I had the "cougar gene" in me until his death. After an intense period of mourning, I decided I needed male companionship, but wasn't ready to jump into a "serious" relationship. The term “cougar” implies an older woman on the prowl for her prey - a “cub” or much younger man. I wasn’t “on the prowl”; in fact the young men pursued me. Although it was fun, I was completely unprepared for the flirting and aggressive questions that I encountered from men in their twenties and thirties, such as, “How long has it been since you’ve had sex?” or “Have you ever done it with another girl?” I had been in the "married" world most of my adult life, and never went through the dating scene. I have to admit, it was very flattering to be "hit on" by younger men.  My daughter aged 22 informed me that an older man pursuing a girl in her twenties is considered “creepy.” Conversely, there seems to be an unwritten code in the 21st century that promotes younger men being with older women. These young cubs had confidence, a full head of hair, muscular bodies, and dressed well.  At clubs, they bought us drinks and offered us seats at their VIP tables with bottle service. In one instance, a wealthy younger man who was interested in me actually paid a bouncer to keep annoying guys away from one of my friends. I was initially very naïve, and didn't realize that you don’t give your cell phone number to every guy who asked, because you’ll get texted or called at 4 am.  On more than one occasion, a guy would call asking intrusive questions about my sexual fantasies or describe in a text how great sex would be with him. Guys would beg me to send naked photos (I never did), or occasionally texted unsolicited pictures of their proudly displayed penises.

Why would a guy in his late 20's or early 30's want someone who's older with three kids and stretch marks? Why not choose the younger nubile bodies of girls their age? I asked a few of my younger men what their reasons were, and they'd say, “Older women are hot.” My guess is that they were attracted to my confidence, and the lack of pressure that I placed on them to be involved in a relationship. I didn't want to get married, I didn't want their money, and I certainly didn't want to have their babies. All I wanted was to have fun. Knowing that these were not going to be long-term relationships made it simple, and enjoyable at a time when my life was frequently unstable.

Going out with men my age was a different ballgame. Often this required me to listen to stories of wicked exes and the massive amounts of money they lost paying alimony and child support.  Many of the guys had negative feeling towards women after being in failed marriages. Additionally, keeping in shape and well groomed didn’t seem to be a high priority for many older gents. There weren’t a lot of widowers in their 40’s, so most available men are either divorced or have never been married. To summarize, I found younger guys to be more desirable. They hadn’t been married, and had more positive untainted views of women than their older divorced male counterparts.

This was my life as an “untamed” cougar from Chicago, IL until I met Steve. This tall, handsome, 33-year-old man wasn’t looking to be involved in a relationship and neither was I.  Our worlds collided on February 29, 2008 - a leap year, when my friend Susie and I crashed Steve’s company’s private party at “The Pink Elephant” in New York City. We were only in New York for one night, and what began as idol flirting turned into an intense attraction. Neither of us could have predicted that our long distance relationship would survive the many obstacles ahead. Steve’s devotion to me and his strong character are what attracted me to him. He’s told me on more than one occasion that what he loves most about me is my upbeat personality. We thoroughly enjoy each other’s company and respect one another. Age is only a number in our eyes.

Are there challenges due to big age differences? Yes! I think a main issue can be is if a couple’s life goals are different. Thankfully, we seem to want the same things. In our case, I didn’t want any more children, and I made that clear from day one. Steve has stated that having children wasn’t a deal breaker for him. He’s always put my three children’s needs before his own, and that generosity of spirit is another of his endearing qualities. We have gone through different life passages, and we’re aware that we’ll need to continually address this together as a team. We enjoy many similar interests such as music, comedy, and travel.

Introducing a much younger man, as your boyfriend was no easy task. For instance, when a man of my age found out that I was dating Steve, some sort of macho/defensive armor arose and remarks such as; “Are you going to babysit him?” or “Do you change his diapers?” were not uncommon. Women sometimes were equally rude, and called him my “Boy Toy.” My parents were concerned that he would leave me when I started, “looking old.” His parents initially had no desire to meet me stating, “You’re wasting your time with her, since she won’t give us grandchildren.” Over the years, our family and friends have witnessed our love and devotion and now accept and appreciate us as a committed couple.

There’s a 50% divorce rate in the United States, and no guarantees that any relationship will last. For the past seven years, we’ve overcome two huge obstacles; long distance and a large age gap, and this in itself would indicate the strength of our relationship. Is he going to leave me when I “look old”? He’s probably no more likely to leave me than any same aged man would leave a partner if she “looked old.”  Do we argue and have normal relationship problems just like any other couple? Of COURSE!  Will I miss out on “the golden years” when my age group retires, and Steve is at the height of his career? My answer: He’ll keep me young! Steve explained it best once when a friend taunted him about being with me. The friend asked, “Steve, why would you want to be with an old lady?” He replied, “Karen has a young spirit and I’m attracted to that.” Will he resent me for not having his child? Again Steve said it best, “If I’m having as much fun with Karen in ten years as I do now, then all the sacrifices will be worth it.”

Read more about my life as a "COUGAR"  Watch videos on my YouTube channel: The KarenLeePoterShow



WHEN WILL I FIND THE RIGHT ONE??  My Responses To Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  What advice do you have for women who are skeptical about finding love because of their age?

A: There is no timeline for love!  It happens when it’s supposed to happen.  The most important thing for you is to find your passion and enjoy life to the fullest.  Find out what is going to make YOU happy for the rest of your life regardless of whether or not a man (of any age) is going to be involved.  Before entering into a relationship with anyone, you need to make yourself into the best person you can be, physically, mentally and spiritually.  Why would you want a man who cares more about someone’s age rather than the person inside?  Men are attracted to independent, confident women, not needy, desperate girls!

Q: How do you handle all your past negative experiences about dating and relationships?

A: A good dose of self-exploration and some therapy by a professional therapist or qualified clergy member, not a girlfriend who will just tell you what she thinks you want to hear, will serve you well as you explore your single hood. This will allow you to release a lot of past emotional baggage.  Many women (and men) have fears of being alone and get sucked into a negative, “I’ll never find anyone” state.  I think you need to stay positive and good things will happen when you least expect them!  So on the practical side, you need to work out your body AND your mind.  Increase your confidence and most of all, follow your gut instincts – they won’t let you down!

Q: How do you handle honesty about yourself and your past in a new relationship?

A: Many interactions, first dates and relationships can be disappointing.  It’s up to you to share your feelings with someone with whom you might want a relationship.  How?  By adopting the new COUGAR mentality.  Remember that you’ll need to be totally open, honest and confident if you want to move that relationship forward.  He is LUCKY to have you, but if you withhold your feelings and don’t communicate your needs, you will not get the respect that you deserve.

Q: What advice would you give a woman who thinks that sharing her feelings and emotions makes her seem clingy and needy?

A:  It’s a balance – you don’t want to suffocate a guy but you do need to let him know if you feel you aren’t being respected or appreciated.  As Tucker Max, author of “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell” says, “Ladies, let me give you some advice.  You can throw all your stupid fucking chick-lit, self-help, why-doesn’t-he-love-me books out, because this is all you need to know:  Men will treat you the way you let them.  There is no such thing as ‘deserving respect’; you get what you demand from people.” If you demand respect, he will either respect you or he won’t associate with you.  It really is that simple!

Q: Can you share your thoughts on chemistry in a relationship.  Can it grow over time?

A: I’d be lying if I said chemistry doesn’t matter.  You feel that spark right at the beginning, and it could be based on looks, sense of humor or just a feeling.  Sometimes a smell can be the most attractive thing about a man – you know what they say about pheromones.

Q:  What can you say to women who have the tendency to idealize men and overestimate his feelings for her?

A: Red flags are not to be ignored!  Guys who own their problems and seek help for them can be keepers.  But those who are full of excuses or unresolved issues are going to be a bigger let down later on when those red flags rear their ugly heads.  Better to get these issues out on the table right away so you don’t imagine something that’s just not there.

Q:  What is your advice about when is the right time to bring sex into a relationship?

A: Have sex when it feels right.  The right guy is going to want to continue seeing you regardless of spending time in the bedroom before the moment is right for you both.

Q:  Can you share your feelings on how honesty might negatively affect your chances for a long term relationship?

A:  I can’t stress how important it is to be honest right from the beginning.  That doesn’t mean you need to bombard a guy on the first date about your unresolved issues, cheating, and other mistakes.  But as soon as it makes sense, let him know who you are and who you have been.  If he runs, better sooner than later.  That being said, all human beings have behaviors that have the possibility of turning off a potential mate.  That doesn’t mean, however, that those behaviors or habits can’t be altered, especially if you are able to communicate how they make you feel.  Some of them might be deal breakers, and only you’ll know if change is realistic.  Don’t ever think your man will just decide to change without guidance.  Sometimes they just can’t, and it’s probably better to know that upfront.  Accepting bad behavior from the beginning and then just expecting it to change later is not going to work.  That goes along with faking an orgasm – don’t EVER do it!  Let your guy know what your expectations and needs are and then lead by example.  If the guy really cares about you, he is going to want to please you and compromise about the things that aren’t working for you. The cougar would rather be alone that stuck with a smelly fish!!

Q:  What advice do you have for women who are dealing with a man who suddenly pulls away or has inconsistent behavior?

A: Sometimes relationships stall for reasons you never saw coming, but perhaps you were hiding your head in the sand or ignoring warning signs.  Believe me, you will be better off without a guy with a commitment phobia.  But there are cases where these issues can be resolved.  That doesn’t mean guys get a “get out of jail” free pass just because they suffer from occasional cold feet.  One time can be tolerated; after that, adios! Once again, instinct will serve you well.

Q:  What are your 3 top relationship tips to offer single women looking for a long term, committed relationship?

A: Be honest, confident and allow your inner light to shine through. Be positive and don’t “look” for a relationship, be “open” to one.  Having a sign that says “Stage 5 Clinger on your forehead is a sure fire way to send a date running for the hills. Give your boyfriend respect and expect to be treated the same way.  Most important tip (okay, this is #4) – HAVE FUN!

One day baby we'll be old. Will I have regrets?


Today during spin class, I had a moment of clarity. I was sweating, my heart was pounding, the wheels on my bike were revolving, the endorphins were pumping, and I heard the words to Asaf Avidan's - One Day/Reckoning Song."No more tears, my heart is dry I don't laugh and I don't cry I don't think about you all the time But when I do – I wonder why" It's clear that this is about a breakup. What's interesting is that the remainder of the song are these simple lyrics: "One day baby, we'll be old Oh baby, we'll be old And think of all the stories that we could have told"

Those lines are repeated at least a dozen times over and over again. The way he sings the final chorus is so intense that you can almost feel the pain from his loss. Asaf is stuck wondering why they broke up, and fantasizing about what experiences they could have had together.

I understand loss. My husband passed away, and I've mourned his loss everyday for the past 7 years. I no longer feel the pain that is expressed in this song. I had stories with my husband that I'll never forget. I also have new stories that happen everyday. I make them happen! I don't have regrets, because I don't miss opportunities. When I became single, I experimented with dating, sex, companionship and being alone. I had some relationships that worked and some that didn't. I chose not to continue in the ones that didn't make me happy, even if they could have produced great stories. If you don't laugh, you're missing out. Everyone should be with someone who makes them happy. If you're in a relationship that works, you'll make those great memories. I have a new man who makes me laugh and we create new stories daily. What regrets will I have when I'm old? Probably not too many.

Infidelity and The Bald Eagle


Why did the US choose the bald eagle as our national emblem on June 20, 1782? Is it because the bald eagle symbolizes long life, superior strength, beauty and only lives in North America? Or is it because he mates for life? Does the symbol of the bald eagle put unrealistic expectations of fidelity on married public officials? Was our country founded on the idea that we should be monogamous? Is that what makes our leaders admirable role models? David Petraeus was the director of the CIA and a four-star general serving over 37 years in the US Army. Did his rendezvous with Paula Broadwell affect his job performance? Is there any reason to believe that he was having a tryst during the Benghazi attack? The American public doesn’t trust cheaters. Do public officials cheat more than the average Joe? The percentage of cheating is probably the same, but it’s not tolerated in the public eye. This is hypocritical since no one would expect your physician or mailman to resign from his post for having an affair.

Why would a man be disloyal to the person he married? The answer: because he made the choice to cheat. No one forced the married man to have sex with another woman. It’s a choice with consequences. The public official must have some inkling he might get caught if he cheats. He also has to realize as he’s stripping off his clothes with a prostitute i.e. Eliot Spitzer, the working girl may want to make some cash and become an overnight celebrity. The thought must cross a politician’s mind that he could end up losing his job. Hiding a pregnancy can ruin political ambitions such as the case with John Edwards. Do public figures believe they’re omnipotent and won’t get caught?

Maybe it’s okay to cheat if one holds a public office. Newt Gingrich justified his cheating by stating that he worked too hard and acted inappropriately due to his passion for his country. Martin Luther King Jr. cheated on his wife and received a Nobel Peace Prize. Does mating for life really matter when it comes to public officials maintaining their jobs? America should lower its expectations and change the national emblem to the North American Jackrabbit. No one would fault a rabbit for cheating.

Good Relationships Take Three Trimesters


Everyone knows it takes three trimesters to hear the first cries of a newborn baby. But did you know it takes three trimesters to give birth to a real solid relationship? Unfortunately, the time frame is different. Good relationships don’t necessarily take nine months; they may take nine years for your delivery. First Trimester: Like the feelings you have when you find out you’re pregnant, the initial surge of excitement when you connect with someone is intense and euphoric. The first few dates are heart pounding and your hormone switch flips into high gear. You can’t wait to kiss that person at the end of a date. Your days are consumed by thoughts of the new guy/girl. You think this person is too good to be true and red flags are quickly overlooked or minimized. For example: Did he/she cheat on an ex before getting divorced? You easily come up with a rationale, such as: his ex was a “psycho,” or her ex was a “control freak.” You explain the cheating with, “Their marriage was on the rocks, and they were just staying together for the kids.” You overlook annoying behaviors like his obnoxiously loud laugh, or the way she sends her food back every time you go out to dinner.  The first trimester is a whirlwind of wild sex and passion that you can’t imagine ever changing. Everything he/she does is so cute! You start to believe that this person could be “The One.”

Second Trimester: The bun is cooking in the oven, and the reality of how life will change with your new baby is starting to hit home. You try not to go there, but you notice some flaws that seem to seep through that impenetrably perfect person.  For example: His snoring didn’t seem so loud at first, but now you’re wondering if you’ll need to take Ambien every time you have a sleepover. You never realized that if she didn’t make the plans for the evening, she would shut down all your ideas. You start to notice that what you thought was an isolated incident of his losing his temper when a car cut him off was really a horrible problem with road rage. The little things that were no big deal in the first trimester have started to really bother you. This person has begun to lose some footing on the pedestal that was once a solid granite nonslip pillar. You mentally start weighing the pros and cons of seeing him/her in the future.

Third Trimester: The little bundle of joy is about to arrive, and you’ve accepted the fact that life is going to be different. You begin to communicate and figure out how to deal with the small issues that annoy you about the other person. You focus on the positive aspects of the man/woman you’re dating. For example: You sleep in separate bedrooms on the nights you know he drank a few too many Johnny Walkers and will snore louder than a lawn mower. Conversely, there are character flaws that are intolerable and can’t be overlooked. She yells at you and humiliates you in public. You try talking to him about your feelings, and he storms out of the room and doesn’t call you for days. You find out that she cheated on you when she went skiing in Aspen. This is the make-it-or-break-it part of the pregnancy and determines the future of the relationship.

Giving birth to a real relationship is not easy and unlike the inevitability of a baby, you may decide to break up. It can be a stressful, uncomfortable, bumpy road, just like going through the aches and pains of carrying a baby. Is it worth it? Absolutely–everyone wants to find “The One.” You just need to go through all three trimesters until you feel that first slap on the tush.