By Rebecca Drew
THIS LOVED up couple who have a THIRTY-FIVE-YEAR age gap kept their romance a secret for three-years because they feared what their families and society would think of them.
Public relations and customer service professional, Cheyenne Baker (22) from Chicago, Illinois, USA, first met her life partner, U.S. Marine Corps purple heart veteran and retired U.S. government employee, James Hines (58) from Forrest City, Iowa, on an online dating site five-years ago.
Cheyenne was first attracted to James’ “dorkiness” thanks to his fun pictures on his profile whereas James was intrigued by her great wit, ability to hold great conversation and petite frame. The couple, who now live together in Nashville, Tennessee, met in person seven months after their first interaction online and have now been together for five-years.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing though as they have broken up a few times and decided to keep their relationship a secret for the first three-years as after discussing the pros and cons of being together they were unsure if both their families and society would be accepting as not only is their relationship generationally mixed, they are an interracial couple.
After ‘coming out’ to their families, the pair felt an overwhelming sense of relief as both parties took the news better than expected, with only Cheyenne’s mother opposing at first but now she loves her daughter’s choice of partner.
“We met online on a dating website and eventually met in person. I got kind of shy because it felt so unreal that we were finally meeting in real life. I was nervous, but he was so charming that I eventually got over my jitters,” said Cheyenne.
“We discussed the pros and cons of the age gap but it’s never been a problem, per se. We’ve actually broken up a few times because we thought that it just wasn’t possible to have the dream outcome with our families and society accepting and all of that. That’s part of why we kept the relationship a secret for nearly three-years.
“My mum was very opposed, but now she loves James dearly. I wouldn’t say that all of my family knows about James, not that it’s a secret but I’m not entirely close with everyone because there’s just too many people and I’m not going to make a special announcement to people that I don’t talk to frequently. I’m not going to hide him either.”
James added: “When we told our closest family members there was a huge sense of relief because we expected the worst and it went better than expected.
“We reached a point where we had to be honest with our families or our relationship would have ended. If we didn’t tell our families it would have been a fake relationship and it was taking an emotional toll on the both of us, so we decided to be free.”
For Cheyenne and James, they are just like any other couple who have silly arguments over families, finance and the future but they are not ruling out the prospect of having children in the years to come.
The couple don’t receive many negative comments when they are out in public together but they do sometimes get funny looks, James has even been high-fived in the street by a stranger who was so impressed. Cheyenne, however, used to worry about what others thought of them but now neither one of them could care.
“People are mostly polite, no one’s really accosted us about being together. If anything, they’re curious but don’t know how to ask us. We assume they think Cheyenne’s a gold digger and I’m a sex fiend,” added James.
“Most people don’t say anything in public out of politeness, maybe. When people, who aren’t just random strangers first meet us, they either comment on the interracial aspect or the generational aspect, it’s never really both.
“One time we were having brunch at an outdoor restaurant and a guy walked past us and yelled out to me, ‘you’re my brother from another mother, you got you some fine chocolate.’
“Sometimes I gets a nod of approval or a smirk, one time I got a high five while we were walking down the street. I have been more comfortable with doing things in public because I get to show her off but Cheyenne’s been more reluctant because she’s been more concerned with what people are saying and thinking about us.
“We don’t really care anymore. If anyone were to approach us on the street with negative remarks, we’d probably just laugh and walk away.”
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