An Ohio woman is opening up about how her relationship with her ex-boyfriend’s father has hurt some of the people closest to her.
Sydney Dean was just 11 years old and a sixth grade student when she met Paul. But, years on, the two are now claiming to be in love.
After Sydney, now 27, and her boyfriend broke up, they remained friends, and she often found herself spending more time at her ex’s home during the weekends.
When Paul’s son got a girlfriend during his teen years, Sydney felt like she was the third wheel and would often spend time talking with Paul instead.
The two began to form a spark of connection, and they started dating when Sydney turned 16, the legal age of consent in Ohio.
“I never expected to fall in love with Paul, and we met in a non-traditional way, but I’m so happy I did,” Sydney said when talking about Paul.
Sydney and Paul got married in 2016.
Despite their marriage, their road to love has not been without its highs and lows — the duo spent years convincing their families they were the real deal.
“My mum already knew who Paul was,” Sydney said, “and from the few times they have talked, they got along just fine.”
When Sydney spoke to her mother about the age gap, she said her mother was unhappy.
For a year, Sydney’s mother would get on her daughter’s case about the age gap between her and Paul, 51.
“The age gap really got to her, and it stayed that way for about a year – eventually, she came around,” Sydney said.
“[After this], we would go to her house almost every weekend just to hang out or have a BBQ,” Sydney added, adding that her mother supports her daughter’s marriage now.
Her father was that same, but he eventually came around and she said he now likes Paul.
Sydney understands the strangeness of the age gap and shared her story about one friend who found her and Paul’s age difference a bit too much for them.
“This friend would never want to come hang out or even talk to me much at all if he was around,” she said.
Eventually, her friend no longer wanted to speak to her because the age difference was just too strange.
Sydney hopes that by sharing her story, she can show that an age difference is normal.
She said she wishes people would understand that couples with an age gap can love one another despite the age difference.
“There are a lot of negative assumptions about age gap relationships, but that doesn’t mean couples can’t be in it for the right reasons,” she said.
“He is the best husband I could have asked for, and he treats me so great.”