- I started working, and one of my older co-workers found me so attractive that he couldn't attend meetings.
- Despite a 17-year age gap and living in different states, we found common ground.
- I think our age difference strengthens our relationship, and we are looking forward to marriage.
“This is going to be difficult.” This is the first thought my former coworker and now fiancé had when he first saw me in my Teams video board as part of his regular business meeting.
It was March 2022, and I had just joined a marketing firm where I was a senior account executive and senior freelance writer. Soon after, he was assigned to lead a weekly meeting that included me and two other people. This continued until the end of that summer when he decided that his initial attraction to me had put him in a compromising position.
“Not only were you beautiful, but I was starting to fall in love with you as a person, so I told myself I needed to step back and separate my professional and personal life,” Colin, who is now my future husband, said. “,” he told me later. “I've never been in a situation where I felt this level of attraction to someone at work. “I thought: ‘I have to give this meeting to someone else – I can’t manage this.’”
Our similarities outweighed our significant logistical differences
Communication between Colin and I was minimal until September of that year when he heard from a mutual colleague that my previous relationship of 10 years had just ended. Our office manager asked for my phone number and texted me to ask how I was doing. He even sent a picture of his dog to cheer me up.
I'd always known him to be a very friendly extrovert, so it took me several days to realize that his text messages were teetering on the edge of being friendly and something more. That's when I asked how old he was.
“I'm 44, how old are you?” Send a text message immediately at that time.
His age came as a shock to me when I was 27 years old. His personality was so jovial that I thought he was probably in his mid-30s. I wasn't expecting 17 years Age difference.
At the same time, it was assumed that I was in my lower 30s due to my career stage and perceived maturity.
Complicating matters was the fact that he lived in Boise, Idaho, which is not exactly adjacent to my home base of Charleston, South Carolina.
However, we agreed to talk. Although our relationship seemed a bit ambiguous on paper, we also discovered that we had a lot in common: we both went to a small music school and had a dream of becoming songwriters — and we both changed majors when we realized there was potentially more to it. Stable jobs. We lived together in Nashville but had long felt drawn to Charleston, South Carolina for no particular reason.
A week after the talk, Colin booked a $600 plane ticket to fly cross-country for the first time, a trip hampered by an unexpected nine-hour layover and a change in destinations. Instead of landing in Charleston around 4 p.m., he landed at an airport in Georgia two hours away, where I picked him up after midnight.
It's been love ever since.
The age difference between us makes us stronger
After publishing an article about the differences between Colleen and me when it comes to life stages, finances, and retirement planning, I quickly realized that age gap relationships are still highly controversial. I received hate messages for the first time in my life, and it opened my eyes to how couples with age differences are often excluded from the broader “love is love” conversation.
In my opinion, the age gap between us makes us stronger as a couple. We had to have serious discussions about life questions from the first week of talking, covering topics like how we define love, where we want to live, whether we want a family, and laying a healthy foundation of vulnerability and honesty.
He has provided a level of wisdom and maturity that has helped me overcome my own challenges every day, and I help keep him young. Although we're not blind to the difficult situations that could arise in the future — like me being his caregiver at an older age — we certainly don't think it's worth sacrificing everything we've found in each other.
We are both more in love than ever, and we can't wait to elope and continue building our lives together, from the big experiences like international travel to the smiles and little moments in between. We are committed to maintaining a lens of curiosity toward each other so that we always grow together.
Kelsey Herbers is a freelance marketing writer and journalist based in Charleston, South Carolina. Connect on LinkedIn.