A couple with 29 years between them say their relationship works just fine – because men never grow up and they have so much in common.
Graeme Eksteen, 52, and Carly Schapper, 23, from Durban, South Africa, met when he taught her how to dance the foxtrot – and soon they couldn’t hide their feelings for each other.
Despite constantly being asked if they are father and daughter, the couple – who married in July – say their relationship is a perfect mix of age and experience.
Happy together: Despite being mistaken for father and daughter, Graeme Eksteen, 52, and Carly Schapper, 23, from Durban, South Africa, say they can’t wait to start a family after getting married earlier this year
The couple, who met when Carly asked him for dance lessons, say their 29-year age gap is barely noticeable to them, with 23-year-old Carly saying she’s constantly learning from her older husband
Passion: While they wanted to step into the bedroom shortly after they fell in love, Carly and Graeme waited two years before having sex, driven by a mutual respect for God
Carly, who owns an online vegan shop, says she’s constantly learning from Graeme and that he treats her ‘like a queen’.
A traumatic rape had previously left her terrified of getting into a relationship with a man, but Graeme has eased her fears.
Graeme, an engineer who started dancing in his 40s after a divorce, says he wooed his wife with an accomplished foxtrot and their shared love of dancing, nature and God.
Both religious, the pair say they fought their urges and initially didn’t have sex for two years after meeting.
Carly explains: ‘Graeme never tried to make moves on me and always had the utmost respect for me as we both believed it was the right thing to do.
‘He also knew I had previously been raped and taken advantage of and wanted to prove to me that not all men are the same. We waited almost two years until we recently got married.’
In July, this year the loved-up pair cha cha cha’d down the aisle and are now planning on starting a family together.
Criticism: While their family and friends have accepted their relationship, Carly’s father took a long time to come round to the idea of having a son-in-law around the same age as him
We know we have less time together than most couples: Carly says she finds it heartbreaking that Graeme might not live as long as she will
For the mostpart, everyone has been very supportive of their relationship despite Carly’s Dad, who is five years younger than Graeme, taking some time to warm to the idea.
Carly explains her lover’s plus points: ‘Graeme is an absolute gentleman as I find older men sometimes tend to have more chivalry and manners.
‘He treats me like a queen and knows so much, so I feel like I’m forever learning something new.’
‘He is very patient and supportive. Never tries to force me to act or be something I’m not because I still have a lot of growing to do myself.’
He is very patient and supportive. He never tries to force me to act or be something I’m not because I still have a lot of growing to do myself…
She adds: ‘And men truly never grow up!’
There is one poignant downside Carly highlights about being in an age gap relationship – and that’s ‘knowing we have less time together than the average couple, which is heartbreaking.’
The couple want to share the following advice with people who are entering into a relationship with an age gap.
They say: ‘If they treat you right and it’s for the right reasons. Do it!
‘Take it slow and maybe keep it to yourself until you know it’s right (to avoid putting your family through anything unnecessary) but remember, people are still people no matter what age they are.’