By Liana Jacob
PEOPLE stare at this couple because of their TWENTY-SIX YEAR age gap and they admit they worry about what their children will think when they are older.
University student, Ayesha Parks (22) from Ladysmith, South Africa, met self-employed worker, Patrick Wells (48) from Rosmalen, The Netherlands, online in November 2016.
Their relationship initially started off as a casual thing as they had both just came out of relationships. Throughout the year of dating and getting to know each other, they fell for each other.
They both currently live in Cape Town, South Africa, and despite being still married but separated from his wife, by 2018 they had fallen in love and Patrick was divorced.
Ayesha, who has a six-year-old daughter from a previous relationship, says that she gets on well with Patrick’s 12-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter from his previous marriage.
Despite receiving stares from strangers due to their age gap, they insist that this does not bother them and while their family were initially concerned about their relationship, they are now accepting of them together.
“We met in November 2016, online. It started off as a casual thing. We then started getting closer to each other the following year,” Ayesha said.
“Our lives started to blend more and more; he’s met my sister and I’ve met his parents and sister. We’ve met each other’s kids and they’ve met each other as well and they’ve spent school holidays together.
“Between the two of our lives, we aren’t faced with many challenges, but we notice the stares from society. It doesn’t bother us much. Our friends and family are supportive of us and our children like each other and us.
“We are completely open and honest with each other and we are very compatible. We enjoy most of the same things, we have similar ideas about parenting and relationships.
“We are both intellectuals and our minds work similarly. We spend a lot of time together and we can’t get enough of each other.
“We could both be ourselves with each other and we both liked and appreciated each other for who and what we were.
“We do often discuss the influence our relationship has on people around us, especially the looks we get from people, but this does not bother us.
“We are aware of the questions our kids might have to answer about our relationship but at this stage, seeing that they are still young, it has not come to that and they think it’s the most normal thing ever.
“For me, I struggled to accept that he had a past and has experienced a lot of things already that I am experiencing for the first time. In trying to accept this I had to have faith in our relationship and appreciate it for what it is.
“Our children think it is completely normal; they are accepting of it and enjoy our company. They see the relationship for what it is – which is a relationship based on love- and they do not see the age gap.”
Despite being happy and in love, Ayesha says that marriage is not on the cards for them but that their relationship is great the way it is.
“At first our families were a bit concerned as they were thinking about the future and if our relationship would be sustainable,” she said.
“We are at different stages in our lives and one of the major concerns was what would happen if I would want to have more children (which I don’t).
“Even though we are at different stages in our lives, we feel that it actually is better for both of us moving forward.
“We both don’t have to make sacrifices when it comes to children, careers and lifestyle which is usually the case is conventional relationships with people of similar ages.
“We don’t believe that commitment and marriage are synonymous. We are both completely happy in the relationship and don’t see why we should change ourselves because of what others may say.”