Shanice and Sheldon looking loved-up. MDWfeatures / Sheldon Owen

By Liana Jacob


MEET THE businessman and woman with a TWENTY-THREE-YEAR age gap whose FAIRYTALE romance inspired them to create an AGE GAP DATING APP which they hope will BREAK negative stigma around age gap love and rival apps like TINDER.

CEO, Sheldon Owen (49) and professional digital marketer, Shanice Rivers (26) from California, USA, met in 2016 at a restaurant in Marina Del Rey where she was visiting. Their instant connection meant that it was love at first sight for them and they quickly had their first date just 24 hours later.

They soon became exclusive and while planning their future, they got engaged in 2019. Despite their families feeling sceptical in the beginning, they have witnessed the love between them and have given their blessings.

Shanice and Sheldon. LOS ANGELES, MDWfeatures / Sheldon Owen

With a whirlwind engagement, they are now planning on getting married in 2020 and have already decided to get pregnant soon after their wedding.

In summer 2019, after talking to different people looking for ‘real love’ who were tired of hook-up apps like Tinder, they came up with the idea of launching a dating app targeted specifically for age gap couples like themselves.

They have now set up an Instagram account based on their app and a website. After doing thorough research on various successful relationships and discovering that age gap relationships have a high success rate, they decided to give the people what they want.

Through Sheldon’s connection with Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and LinkedIn, they have managed to raise over £80,300 ($100,000,000) in funds to make the venture happen.

“We met three years ago at a popular restaurant in Marina Del Rey, California, USA. She was visiting and I lived in the area. We immediately hit it off and became connected very quickly,” Sheldon said.

“We exchanged phone numbers and went on our first date twenty-four-hours after we met. In the last 2 years, we became exclusive boyfriend and girlfriend.

Sheldon pictured with Shanice on a date night. MDWfeatures / Sheldon Owen

“On June 2, 2019, we became engaged to be married. Our wedding date hasn’t been finalised, but we are targeting sometime around September 20, 2020.

“Our journey as an age gap interracial couple has been interesting, to say the least. Most of the negative feedback we received has come from complete strangers.

“Both of our families support our relationship and think we make a great couple. However, society, on the other hand, seems to have a different opinion.

“We get two types of ignorant judgments one is based on our age gap and number two is based on our interracial relationship. Neither bother us, because we are in love and we hope to have a family together soon.

“Beyond our physical attraction to each other, we are both easy-going people and we love to laugh; our chemistry was very obvious the first time we met, and it has only got stronger over time.

“Our age gap has not been an issue for either of us. Shanice is an old soul and is extremely mature, while I am a youthful forty-nine-year-old with a great attitude towards life.

“We both believe that everything happens for a reason, and the fact that our paths crossed randomly when they did is a validation of our belief.

Shanice and Sheldon pictured kissing. MDWfeatures / Sheldon Owen

“Everyone was sceptical in the beginning because of society’s false interpretation of age gap relationships.

“However, we both have very supportive families and they want the best for each of us, therefore both families have been supportive since we’ve gotten serious.

“In fact, both families are excited about our wedding and everyone is supportive of us having children together.”

Since their engagement, the busy couple have been in meetings to launch a new dating app dedicated for age gap relationships.

“We are building a new dating app dedicated to the age gap community called I Age Gap; we want to create something authentic for the age gap community that connects real people looking for real love globally,” he said.

“We first launched a social community on Instagram called @iagegap to show our support for age gap couples, and we quickly discovered that this community was broadly underserved.

“Within weeks of launching our social media channel, we amassed over one-thousand-one-hundred followers and have received over a thousand messages asking us when our new dating app will be live.

Shanice and Sheldon pictured in town. MDWfeatures / Sheldon Owen

“We have clearly identified a niche market in the dating industry, and we happen to be the ideal poster children for an app like this to exist.

“We first came up with the idea early summer 2019 after speaking with a few people looking for real love and tired of hook-up sites like Tinder.

“We also did research on many successful relationships and we discovered that age gap relationships seem to have a high success rate.

“We also surveyed over one thousand people and seventy-six per cent of our survey results agreed that age gap is five years or greater.

“When you take this survey into consideration, one can argue that age gap relationships have existed broadly in the world for years, but for some reason, society has made it taboo. Our goal is to change that negative stigma.

“We also learned that age gap relationships exist in many cultures and races, therefore we felt that was a great name to embody the full spectrum of our goal, which is to connect real people looking for real love, regardless of their age differences.

Shanice pictured sunbathing with Sheldon. MDWfeatures / Sheldon Owen

“We will be launching, iagegap mobile app, and @iagegap on all social media over the coming months with the objective of connecting real people looking for real love.

“Our thesis is simple; create a positive and authentic platform for the age gap community and positive change will follow.

“We are coding now, and we plan to launch in early 2020. However, @iagegap on Instagram is already live.

“We are an educated couple working on making a better life for ourselves and we have been blessed in many ways, including the obvious blessing of meeting each other.

“We plan to be married next year and we plan to have a family immediately thereafter. It is our dream to be parents and we are extremely fortunate to have finally found each other.

Shanice pictured smiling with Sheldon. MDWfeatures / Sheldon Owen

“If a couple like us can randomly meet and become extremely happy; then why not build a better dating experience dedicated to helping other people find their soulmates?

“We are not blind to our age gap situation nor our interracial relationship, but we also recognise that there are many happy couples like us in the world and we believe that the negative stigma around relationships like ours should be removed.”


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