Couple branded 'disgusting' defend their 33-year age difference
They say that love knows no boundaries - but there are always exceptions to the rule. All kinds of things can get in the way of a relationship, from serious issues such as opposing political beliefs or differing life goals, to more trivial stuff such as alternative music tastes or a disagreement over which comic universe is better (side note: it's definitely Marvel).
For some people, though, the problem with the relationship comes not from those who are actually involved in it, but from everybody else.
Amanda Harper and Jay Horsky, a Californian couple who have been together for three years, have received a great deal of online abuse from people - all because of their somewhat unconventional age gap.
The couple, who first met on the online dating site Plenty of Fish, share a 33-year age difference - meaning that 58-year old Horsky is often mistaken for his 25-year-old girlfriend's father. Perhaps understandably, some people have taken issue with this, and Harper says they have received a lot of negative criticism because of the nature of their relationship.
According to her, Harper has been labelled "disgusting", "a horrible person" and "a gold digger", and that the pair frequently receive dirty looks from complete strangers.
"I don’t understand why I get called nasty things for being in a happy and healthy relationship, it just blows my mind," she said.
Speaking about how strangers usually react to the revelation that she and Horsky are part of a romantic - not a familial - relationship, Harper explained:
"Normally people who work up the courage to ask, 'Is he your dad?' which is a conversation starter I then proudly say 'he’s my boyfriend'".
"Even in pictures of us, you can often see people’s shocked or disapproving faces in the background, but we don’t let it get to us and still remain happy. You get the evil eyes and daggered looks, but I would say we have more positive feedback than anything."
But how do they cope with the constant criticism?
"We laugh about it a lot, we never want to associate any negativity towards age gap relationships and want to educate people," she said. "The worst part for me is that people can’t see that we are good for each other and very happy."
And, in fairness, the pair are undeniably well-suited to one another. They immediately clicked when it transpired that Horsky had a passion for making Halloween props, and now the couple own a haunted house business together.
Of course, it helped that Harper already had a self-confessed attraction for older men. When asked about what drew her to her much-older partner, the 25-year-old said:
"For me, men under 40 are just too young, when my friends point out someone young and attractive I have to ask them what shirt they are wearing because I can’t see it. I only register men with grey hair, in the same way that certain people only like redheads or blondes, I love greying hair."
Ultimately, all that matters is that both people are consenting adults, and that being together makes them happy. They seem to be doing a better job of their relationship than most couples I know who are much closer in age - so all the best to them, I guess.