A 28-year-old nurse says she is often mistaken to be her husband’s daughter – due to their 33-year age gap.
Hannah Van Noort, 28, from Amsterdam, Holland, virtually met Shaun Murray, 61, through YouTube.
Their romance blossomed as the two bonded over their love of music, before meeting in person in 2016. Upon meeting, the oncology nurse admitted that she felt instantly attracted to the dad-of-two.
Now, six years on, the pair are happily married and proud homeowners living in Maidstone, Kent.
However, they say strangers assume their relationship is ‘transactional’, with Hannah saying: “People often mistake us for father and daughter but we don’t mind.
“Sometimes we play along with it or just simply correct them.
“We aren’t a sensitive couple as we know it’s a genuine mistake.”
Despite this, the ‘thick skinned’ couple have been subject to harsh assumptions by other people over the years.
She adds: “It is very easy to see an age gap relationship as a transactional, in my case, some assume immigration or intimacy in return for financial gain.
“It can be hard for people to understand we don’t need each other to gain something but we genuinely want each other.
“We are two consenting adults who care for each other deeply and that is all that matters.
“His age doesn’t come into the equation, if people didn’t point it out, I wouldn’t even notice.
“We have learnt to shrug it off.”
The nurse added: “We can’t let our lives be dictated by people who don’t agree with us.
“I don’t let the harsh assumptions bother me anymore as we don’t need validation from strangers.
“We know that our love is real and that is all that matters.”
After a six year relationship, and getting married in 2022, Shaun – who is a musician – admitted that when the two met he didn’t consider taking their platonic friendship further.
The grandad-of-two admitted this was due to the significant age gap – but Hannah immediately took a liking to him.
She opened up, saying: “Music was the driving force behind our relationship as I am a singer.
“When we met in person, I was instantly attracted, he wasn’t because of the age gap. But I could tell Shaun was an all-round nice guy.
“I told him I like him, and it snowballed from there. We kept it a secret for a good few month as we wanted to see where it was going without too much pressure.
“I have never dated an older man before and Shaun has never been with a younger woman, so it was very new to both of us.
“There were a few obstacles such as the age gap and the distance so the future was unknown, but our feelings grew stronger and stronger.”
Speaking about how there are misconceptions in age gap relationships, Hannah clarified: “There’s a perception about age gap relationships, that the older man will provide financial support for intimacy, but this isn’t the case.
“Once our families saw us together, they couldn’t conclude anything other than we are genuinely in love.
“Our families approve and that is all that matters, we don’t care about strangers’ opinions.”
And comparing this relationship to previous, Hannah describes it as ‘drama-free’. She said: “I always say in previous relationships, partners have taught me to love them, but Shaun has taught me to love myself.
“It’s a beautiful thing.
“Personally, I find guys my age full of testosterone and can be insecure about their masculinity. They want to show that they are a man which often comes across as arrogant.
“Being with Shaun, is a drama free life.
“We have a calm and centred, stable but passionate relationship.”