A teacher has spoken about strangers mistaking her for her partner's carer because of their 48-year age gap.
Kelsey Hopeful, 28, met actor and commercial photographer Guy BonGiovanni, 76, after his wife of 42 years sadly passed away.
The pair met when Guy started attending three yoga classes a day in a bid to find peace and afterwards they struck up conversation and ended up chatting for hours, leaving as friends.
Despite it not being love at first sight, over the following two years, the pair developed romantic feelings for one another and have since moved in together.
Kelsey, from La Jolla, San Diego, and Guy, from Anchorage, Alaska, now go to watch plays, explore new cities and go hiking together but there is a tinge of sadness as Kelsey knows she is unlikely to grow old with the love of her life.
Although they're happy, the couple have received snarky remarks from people who have believed Kelsey is Guy's caregiver and it took them a while to tell her friends and family about her new partner but in the spring of 2020 she finally came clean.
Kelsey 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.
"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."
She went on to add: "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."
For Kelsey, one of the best things about being in an age gap relationship is learning to value the time the couple spend together and any previous fears she had of growing old have all but dissipated since meeting Guy.
She said: "In the earliest steps of our relationship, I would cry alone about our 48-year age gap.
"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."
Chosen for YouChosen for You
Most Read StoriesMost Read