45-year-old Mom talks about why she's marrying a lodger who's younger than three of her kids
We're often told that love can come in many guises and that none of us can prepare for the person we fall for. Indeed, while our society is a lot more open and tolerant towards romantic relationships that fall outside the 'traditional', it's clear that we still have a ways to go. Indeed, a significant age gap between partners is still something that we have are prejudice against as a society. When two consenting adults in a relationship together have an age gap of more than about ten years, people tend to view is as being suspicious; and the bigger the age gap, the more suspicious they are.
Nobody knows this better than mother-of-nine and nurse Tina Dickson. Tina is 45-years-old, and her fiancé is Brandon Dickson is 24; making him younger than some of Tina's children. Tina fell for the young chemical plant worker after he moved into her spare room as a lodger in 2013. At the time, Tina had no interest in a man eleven years her junior. But they often talked into the night, and developed a close acquaintance from living together. All this culminated in Brandon asking Tina out on a date in three months after he moved in, and the couple have been together ever since.
Commenting on their whirlwind love affair, Tina stated: "At the start, I was almost embarrassed for Brandon. I didn’t want to hold his hand in public, in case we saw anyone he knew and they gave him a hard time. Now, though, we just laugh it off. People’s negative opinions are their problem, not ours, and our families are both very happy for us. It’s that old saying - those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter."
She added: "After being single for four years, I was happy to have the extra cash, so I agreed to let out my spare room to him. He seemed friendly enough, but I didn’t even think about a relationship ... I assumed romance was totally out of the question, but then he’d make the odd comment here and there that got me thinking. Eventually, about three months after we met, he asked me out on a date. I was excited, but also really nervous, as this was so new to me."
"We got on really well, but wanted to be sure before we were introduced to our respective families. I had my children to think about and didn’t want them getting attached to somebody who wasn’t going to commit to us. We were also a little worried about what people would say."
However, Tina has admitted that their age gap comes with some disadvantages: like Brandon's music taste for example. "His music drives me insane, I can’t stand listening to it. I’ll talk to him about movies, too, forgetting most of my favourites came out before he was even born. He’s a real old soul, though. He’s not interested in going out partying all the time. He’s kept me grounded and brought out the best in me. Since I met him, I finished my nursing degree and started a midwifery one - and I truly believe that’s down to his encouragement."
Not only that, but initially Tina was worried that Brandon would be embarrassed to be seen with her in public. Indeed, they are often mistaken for mother and son. "I hate the thought of leaving Brandon and the children alone," Tina says, "But you can’t live like that. Anything can happen at any time, so we take each day as it comes. I never would’ve considered dating a younger man before Brandon, as I thought they were all immature. Now, though, I see that stereotypes do no good. I want to teach my kids that, too, and show them that love can come in all forms, at any time."
Tina and Brandon dated for six months in secret, and abstained from sex, before telling their families about their relationship. At first Tina's children were hostile to the idea, but after seeing how happy Brandon made their mother, they soon welcomed him into the family. Tina and Brandon have now had two children together, and Brandon has now proposed to her. They've yet to set a date for the wedding ceremony, but Tina wants her wedding to dispell the misconceptions around their age-gap. We wish the couple all the best in the future.