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Real Life

Real life: My partner is old enough to be my dad!

When Tom proposed, it didn’t matter to me that he was old enough to be my dad. But not everybody was happy about our age-gap romance.

Kerri Hunt, 35, tells us her real life story.
The pub doors opened and I smiled. By far, my favourite customer had just wandered in.
'Beer?' I asked Tom.
'Yes, please,' he replied.
Tom was tall, dark and very handsome. I could see he was a little bit older than me, but his maturity only made him more attractive. He was a regular at the pub I worked in and I looked forward to our chats over the bar.
We'd flirt a bit, too, and I was sure Tom fancied me.
That night was pretty busy, so we didn't get much of a chance to catch up. But a few weeks later, I went to the pub on my evening off to take part in the trivia quiz. Tom invited me over to join him and his friends.
When Tom got one of the answers right, one of his mates said, 'Not bad for a 60-year-old!'
I nearly spat out my drink.
'I wouldn't have put you past 40,' I said and Tom laughed.
But while Tom was the same age as my dad, I still fancied him. I couldn't help it.
Then, one day, when Tom came in for a drink, he said, 'Do you want to go out for dinner sometime?'
'I'd love to,' I replied, my heart skipping a beat.
I'd only recently split with the dad of my three kids and hadn't planned on dating again so soon. But there was something about Tom I couldn't resist.
The next week, I felt nervous as I slipped into a slinky black dress for our date.
I could see he was a little bit older than me, but his maturity only made him more attractive.
'You look beautiful,' Tom said, when we met at the restaurant.
We spent the whole night laughing and joking and as we kissed goodnight later, I knew I'd fallen for him.
After that, we started seeing more of each other. I knew it was time to tell my kids and my parents.
I was worried what they'd think about the 31-year age gap, but they were just glad to see me smiling again.
And when they finally met Tom themselves, they could see how in love we were.
Tom had two adult daughters, too – Beth and Gabby. I was just a year younger than Beth. Neither of them lived nearby, so he didn't say anything about our relationship at first.
But after a few months, I noticed Tom seemed down.
'What's wrong?' I asked.
'It's my daughters,' he said. 'They think you're too young for me.'
I understood that they were just worried about their father. They didn't know me and I was so much younger than Tom.
'They'll come round eventually,' I reassured him.
Time passed and Tom moved in with me and my kids. Although I never actually met Beth and Gabby, I spoke to them on the phone if they called to talk to him. After a while, my place felt too cramped, so Tom and I decided to look for somewhere bigger to rent.
When we went to view a house together, the agent turned to me and said, 'Did you bring your dad along for his opinion?' Tom and I looked at each other and burst out laughing.
'He's not my dad, he's my boyfriend,' I told him.
The poor bloke turned crimson and looked mortified.
'I'm so sorry,' he said.
But it didn't bother us at all. We saw the funny side. One day, four years after we'd started dating, we were snuggled up on the couch when Tom turned to me with a grin on his face.
'Let's get married,' he said.
'Are you serious?' I asked.
'Yes, you're the love of my life,' he replied.
I leapt up and threw my arms around him.
'Of course I'll marry you!' I cried.
It didn't bother us at all. We saw the funny side.
We started making wedding plans. But a few weeks on, I came home from work to find Tom looking upset.
I asked what was wrong and, without meeting my gaze, he said, 'I don't think I can do this.'
'What do you mean?' I asked, totally confused.
'We can't get married,' he said. 'I'm just so worried about what Gabby and Beth will say. I need to move out.'
I simply couldn't believe what I was hearing.
'Please don't do this,' I pleaded. 'We can work something out.'
But Tom packed and left. I was heartbroken.
'I don't know why he's done this, we're perfect for each other,' I told my mum, Lesley, tearfully.
'I don't know, love, but I'm sure he'll come to his senses,' she said, trying to reassure me.
Sure enough, two weeks later, Tom rang me. 'I can't live without you,' he said. 'I don't care what anyone else thinks.'
I burst into tears of joy and relief.
'I love you,' I said.
Soon after, Tom moved back in and it was as if he had never left. I was careful not to mention getting married. I assumed he'd got cold feet, so I didn't want to force the issue.
Then, one day, we were out shopping and as we paused outside a clothing store, I turned around to look for Tom and found him down on one knee with a ring box in his hand.
'Will you marry me?' he asked.
'Of course!' I cried, and as he slid the glistening ring on my finger, everyone in the shopping centre cheered.
Kerri and Tom now.
I was thrilled. But before we started planning the wedding, we booked a holiday to Greece for us and my kids.
Then a couple of months before we were due to leave, Tom said, 'Why don't we get married while we're over there?'
'It's a bit short notice, isn't it?' I replied.
'Not at all. It'll be perfect,' he said. 'We can invite your whole family and do it as a big surprise.'
It did sound perfect. We'd spent holidays on the island of Corfu before, so I knew it would be really special. My family loved the idea of a big group break in Europe and had no clue about the real reason behind the trip.
'What about Beth and Gabby?' I asked tentatively.
Tom said he'd decided he'd just tell them afterwards.
'They're happy that I'm happy,' he said. 'But I don't want to force it on them.'
'Whatever you think is best,' I said, hugging him tightly.
Tom flew over to Corfu ahead of us to finalise all the plans and paperwork, and when we joined him in the sun I thought I'd burst with happiness. After a couple of days topping up our tans and relaxing by the resort pool, it was nearly time for the big day.
'What are you doing tomorrow?' I asked my nan, Sue.
'Probably just going to the beach again,' she replied.
'Do you want to come to a wedding?' I said. 'Me and Tom are getting married!'
Her reaction was priceless. Everyone was so excited when we told them they needed to get their glad rags on for the following day.
Exchanging vows with Tom in front of all my family felt amazing, and as I kissed my new husband, I'd never felt happier.
We had a champagne reception in our favourite restaurant, then danced the night away. We sent a wedding snap to our friends back home and when we flew back a few days later, we sent out invites to a party to celebrate.
Exchanging vows with Tom in front of all my family felt amazing, and as I kissed my new husband, I'd never felt happier.
There was only one thing worrying me – Tom's daughters. I knew how much they meant to him and I felt sad for him that he hadn't been able to share our amazing day with them.
'What will they say when you tell them?' I asked Tom.
'They know how happy I am, so they'll be fine,' he said.
To my relief, he was right. They are obviously still worried about their dear dad, but that's because they love him. But I'm glad they can see how happy he is with me.
Our love continues to grow and we are celebrating our second wedding anniversary this year.
I'm so glad he decided to go with his heart and grab happiness, without worrying about what other people thought.
My gorgeous hubby may be 31 years older than me, but he's the love of my life and I'm looking forward to all the adventures we will have together.
Beth and Gabby's names have been changed.

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