By Rebecca Drew
THIS COUPLE fell in love after they met on FACEBOOK whilst living in different countries and have been married for three years despite their TWENTY-FIVE-YEAR AGE GAP and him being five years older than her DAD.
Mum of three, Amy Mappes (30) from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, first met her now husband, weapons safety manager, Bryan Mappes (55) from Minot, North Dakota, USA, on Facebook in 2011 as they both played the same game and were members of a group for its players on the social media site.
Six months after joining the group, Bryan sent Amy a message and they soon became close friends. Amy had recently come out of a bad relationship and was focussing on raising her three children, Terry (12), Rebeccah (10) and Savannah (9), whilst Bryan was in an unhappy marriage and they bonded over their similar circumstances.
The pair were soon talking all day every day and video calling regularly. Within a month, they knew everything about each other and within three months they had fallen in love, even though Amy was living in Canada and Bryan was in the US.
Amy was overwhelmed by Bryan’s kind and caring nature and was attracted to his beautiful smile and knew how special he was as he supported her through one of the most difficult periods of her life. Bryan was divorced in 2014 and made the trip up to Canada to meet Amy in person for the first time in September that year.
Before their first meeting, Amy was worried that Bryan wouldn’t be able to see past their age gap and wouldn’t want to speak to her again, but he proposed to her instead and asked her to move to America to live with him. They started the two-year process for her visa which included an immigration interview in Vancouver.
Since moving to America in April 2016 and getting married, Amy’s children have taken to Bryan incredibly well and call him ‘dad’, her family are accepting of her relationship and are happy to see her happy, but Amy admits she was surprised that they were ok about it as her own father is five years younger than Bryan.
Some people have accused Amy of only being with Bryan for his money and have assumed that he is a pervert for being with someone much younger but they insist that they are each other’s soulmate and that their relationship revolves around love.
“We met via Facebook on a game we both played in 2011 and we started chatting early 2012 all day every day,” said Amy.
“At first we were just chatting and became friends pretty fast online chatting every day. He was in a bad marriage and I had got out of a bad relationship, so we started bonding over that, which led into just talking about our lives; how his work was, how my kids were.
“We knew everything about each other within a month of talking. I fell in love with him about three months into constantly talking and camming, I think that’s around the same time he fell in love with me.
“What first attracted me to him is just how overly caring he was for someone who was so far away from me. Always asking how my day was, always worried about what was going on in my everyday life. Also how easy it was to talk to him, he is a very good listener. I never worried about anything I told him, I trusted him right from the start.
“He was also very physically attractive to me. His smile won me over on the first day. Most importantly he got me through one of the worst times of my life and I for him.
“The first day we met in person in 2014, I was a nervous wreck all day although I knew him so well and we had basically talked and cammed every day for three years, it was still nerve racking.
“Meeting him for the first time, I was almost sick to my stomach but very excited at the same time. What was going through my head was that I was worried he would spend a day with me, realise the age was too much and leave and never speak to me again but he came to Canada and stayed the weekend, he then asked me to marry him and move out to The States.
“So when he returned home, we started the process to move me down which took another two years.
“My family was surprisingly accepting. I was most surprised by my dad, who is five years younger than my husband. He never questioned me, never had anything bad to say. He never even asked me why, he was just happy for me from the start and they actually became pretty good friends.
“My mum on the other hand was a little more sceptical at first, wondering why a man that age would want anything to do with someone so young but she eventually came around after meeting him a few times, most of my friend were also very accepting.”
Unfortunately, Bryan’s children, who are three years older than Amy, from his previous marriage were not very accepting of their dad’s relationship. Amy gave Bryan the option to leave her, but he said that as they are all adults, they are open to make their own decisions.
Amy says that their relationship is better than any relationship she has had with anyone her own age and that her children see Bryan as a father figure, ever since her visa was granted in April 2016, which was one of the happiest days of her life.
“We have a 25-year age gap, it’s basically the same as any other relationship or marriage. If anything it’s better than when I was with someone my own age,” said Amy.
“The only time we ever really have an issue is when he thinks he is right about something because he is older. Or he may think he has more authority than me because of age but that’s very rare. Obviously with being older he is more tired than me at the end of the day but it never causes any major issues.
“The only one big issue we had with our marriage was the fact his children weren’t really accepting. They are three years older than me. I gave him the option of leaving me so he wouldn’t lose his children but he said, ‘not a chance, they’re adults and they can choose how they want to act about me’. We overcame that pretty easily.
“When the visa was finally granted, I was the happiest I had ever been. It was a two-year process and was very long and hard. We were unsure of approval but In the end it all worked out.
“We were both very happy when we got approved because then we knew we could finally have a life together. If we couldn’t have got approved, I’m not sure what would have happened. The distance was about a 12-hour drive.
“The kids have adapted to him so well. My youngest is now nine years old and was about a year old when me and Bryan started talking online. So, she has known him her whole life.
“They all see him as their father. They call him dad and they choose that on their own. He has played such a consistent role in their life for so long and takes very good care of them, he is a really good father.
“The move was a little rough on my oldest, who was about eight when we moved out to the states, only because he missed his grandparents and friends but he got adjusted into living here so fast.”
Amy and Bryan are focussed on making as many happy memories together as possible for as long as they can.
Their marriage is all about love and say that their relationship is just like any other relationship, despite what onlookers may think.
“My marriage and what we have together is all about love. It is the exact same as any other relationship out there. We fell in love with each other’s personalities, we fell in love while getting to know little things like what the other’s favourite colour was or what their favourite meal was,” said Amy.
“We have a lot in common even for having 25 years between us. It’s never easy for me to explain why I love Bryan because there is no one reason why I do. It’s a hundred little reasons, I just happened to meet my soul mate and he was older.
“People will still judge us regardless because it’s different to them and that is understandable. A lot of people will look at me and Bryan and assume he is a pervert or I am in it for money.
“That’s just not the case at all. We live the same way as everyone else. We don’t have an endless bank account. When people do say anything it’s usually about me being in this for money or using him for money. We don’t have an endless supply of money, we live the same way as 90 per cent of the world.
“To me we are the exact same as everyone else. One of us just happens to be a little older.”