A woman has admitted people often mistake her for her partner's carer because of their 48-year age gap.
Teacher Kelsey Hopeful, 28, met actor and commercial photographer Guy BonGiovanni, 76, after his wife of 42 years passed away.
The pair met after the older man started attending three yoga classes a day in a bid to find peace.
Kelsey and Guy quickly struck up a conversation and ended up chatting for hours, leaving the session as friends.
They admitted that it wasn't love at first sight, but developed romantic feelings for each other over the next two years, then began dating.
Kelsey, from La Jolla, San Diego, and Guy, from Anchorage, Alaska, have since moved in together.
They enjoy spending time together as they go to watch plays, explore new cities and go hiking.
However, Kelsey admits it's upsetting as she knows she is unlikely to grow old with the love of her life.
Despite their happiness, the couple say they've received snarky remarks from people who think Kelsey is Guy's caregiver.
Kelsey said it also took a while to tell her friends and family about her new partner, but in the spring of 2020 she finally revealed all on their relationship.
The young teacher explained: "When the friendship blossomed into us becoming lovers, it was important to me that we kept the opinions of others away from my ears, especially in the beginning."
She continued: "When we first met, I was a person who was concerned about the opinions of others and was a people-pleaser. For the first year of our relationship, I didn't tell anyone.
"When it was time for me to share with my family about my relationship with Guy, it was because of the pandemic.
"The Covid-19 virus was mostly infecting the elderly and I was worried, so I chose to discuss our relationship one at a time with my family…
"When we are in public, there is a good chance that people from a distance may think I am Guy's caregiver.
"Even when we explain we are a couple, we have received no snarky comments or facial expressions of horror. We're better together and I think people feel that when they meet us and see how happy we are."
Kelsey said one of the best things about being in an age-gap relationship is learning to value the time they spend together.
She said any previous fears she had of growing old have all but gone since meeting Guy.
Kelsey continued: "In the earliest steps of our relationship, I would cry alone about our 48-year age gap."
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She added: "I can remember we were eating pastries in Santa Monica and I began to cry in front of him and not because I had just tasted the best rum-ball in my life, but because I was experiencing joy on another level and then suddenly I remembered that he is 48 years older than me and he has fewer summers ahead of him than I do.
"I now tell him when I am scared of losing him, because one day there is going to be a time in my life that he won't be with me anymore and I want him to know now that I was always open and real with him and that he feels my appreciation and love.
"Guy, being old and wise, tells me that there is no point in crying about death until it happens and that we need to be here now and love each other as much as we can."
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