A woman fell in love with a man who is 19 years her junior – and some mistake her “toyboy” for her son.
Alice Lord, 50, said her age gap with, Ben Sharp, 31, can spark confusion at times.
But despite this, the loved-up couple, from Stafford, Staffs, have refused to let strangers' comments get them down.
Alice, an account manager, says: "I've recently turned 50 and I know Ben loves me for who I am, not a silly number.
"Who cares if he's young enough to be my son? We're having the time of our lives."
The pair have been dating for two years after hitting it off at a pub’s open mic night.
Alice revealed: "As my friend and I found a table, I spotted a younger man nearby.
"I thought he was gorgeous but he didn't look a day over 25. So, I shut it down in my head straight away, as he was too young for me.
"Turns out, he knew my friend and came over.
"My friend immediately told him to guess my age. Ben asked if I was 22 and I laughed and called him a charmer. I then admitted I was 48.
"He looked genuinely surprised and told me that he was 29.
"Although I was pleased he thought I looked younger, I was still disappointed because he was too young."
The age gap didn’t faze sales assistant Ben though – and the pair continued talking all night.
Alice recalled: "My friend left us and Ben and I got to know each other.
"I told Ben how I'd been divorced for 14 years and I had a 20-year-old daughter, Jasmine, who had Asperger's.
"I said how up until recently, I'd been home-schooling her and it'd been really hard to meet someone.
"To my surprise, Ben was an amazing listener. That night we kissed and he walked me home."
The pair exchanged numbers – but Alice didn’t expect her new crush to give her a call.
She admitted: “I didn't expect to hear from him again because I thought there was no way he'd want to date a 48-year-old.
"But days later, he asked me out. I couldn't believe it."
The following week, the pair met up for drinks and decided to make things official.
When they were in a relationship, Alice plucked up the courage to tell her daughter about the romance.
She said: "As Jasmine was only nine years younger than Ben, I was so nervous. But she smiled and said how happy she was for me. I was so relieved.”
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Then in September 2019, the pair announced their relationship to their wider families.
Alice remembered: "My friends kept joking that Ben was my 'toyboy.'
"Others laughed and said 'Enjoy it while it lasts' which did upset me. But I was determined to prove them wrong.
"Ben's dad asked him if he was embarrassed to be seen with me. I was upset but he was just in shock.
"Eventually Ben introduced us and he was so welcoming to me."
While the couple have the support of their families, they still receive dirty looks from strangers at times.
Alice said: "One day, Ben and I were hugging outside a pub when a group of girls started staring.
"They clearly thought I was Ben's mum. He realised too and suddenly kissed me.
"Then, he joked, 'And that's why Dad doesn't let you drink!' The girls gasped and I went bright red, but Ben just laughed.
"After that, Ben loved to freak out strangers by calling me 'Mum.'I guess it was just his way of dealing with it.
"Sometimes I'd get embarrassed but then I'd realise, at least we could make a joke of it."
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But after a year of receiving snide looks from strangers, Alice had enough.
She said: "Everywhere we went, people would nudge each other and gawk at us. I hated it.
"Then once Ben and I went to the vet and the man thought I was his mother.
"I was humiliated and I'd had enough of people making me feel old.
"I decided that the next time someone said something, I'd stand up for us.”
Alice added: "That year, it happened again at my work's Christmas party. A woman asked if I was his mother.
"I proudly slid my arm through Ben's and said 'He's not my son, he's my boyfriend.’”
Thankfully, the pair have learned how to rise above the awkward comments.
Alice said: "Now, I don't care what people think. If people can't get their heads around it, that's their problem.
"I love Ben so much and we're happy, so that's all that matters."
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