Matthew Anderson, 70, and Sunny Ross, 47, fell in love despite a 23-year age gap.
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When Matthew and Sunny began dating it caught a few people by surprise. Matthew, who was 65 at the time, was pursuing Sunny who was 23 years his junior.
“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.” - Mark Twain
“Some family and a couple of friends seemed to have questions at first about our age difference,” says Matthew.
It all started five years ago when Matthew was running a weight loss program and he came across a colleague who caught his eye. “Sunny was the monitor for my online groups. I did not meet her face to face for more than a year. Her job was to monitor my group and help me with the tech issues. Finally after communicating only by text for one year we were invited to have lunch with a mutual friend,” says Matthew.
The three friends met in a deli and had been chatting for about half an hour when Matthew spontaneously leaned toward Sunny to say something to her when their eyes met.
“Suddenly I could not breathe. Her eyes sparkled and my heart exploded and I was completely overwhelmed. I don’t remember much of the conversation after that. For me it was love and lust and everything in-between all at the same moment.”
As for Sunny, who was 42 years old at the time, it wasn’t quite love at first sight.
“It took Sunny a bit longer to reach the same point of romantic feeling,” admits Matthew. However, it wasn’t long until the pair bonded over mutual interests and their romantic relationship began to grow.
“Romantic love is not a choice and appears as a gift.”
“One of our happiest weekly events is going to the local grocery store for the week’s shopping. We have a great time laughing, pushing the cart, interacting with other customers and sometimes Sunny dances in the aisles. Somehow, this very ordinary errand has become an extra-ordinary event that gives us both quite a bit of joy,” adds Matthew.
They also share a love of 1960’s music, the outdoors—often going for nature walks together—as well as similar life values. “We love to be together so everything we do is special,” Matthew says smiling.
Soul mate connection
Although Matthew has been married before—one brief marriage, and another that lasted more than three decades—he says he is planning to marry Sunny, who he considers his soul mate.
“We are definitely soul mates. Our relationship is deeper and more loving than either of us imagined it could ever be,” he said.
The pair got engaged in June and wear ‘engagement bracelets’ instead of a ring to represent their commitment to one another.
Mathew and Sunny's engagement bracelets
“Marriage is the best way to make a testimony to our bond and we want our friends and family to be part of our public commitment. Given our love for the beach and ocean, it will probably be a simple ceremony either on or very near the beach,” Matthew says.
Age is just a number
As for the age gap, Matthew says he did not have a choice in the matter.
“Romantic love is not a choice and appears as a gift. It is thus sacred and should be honoured as such. I am closer to the end of my life than she is if things proceed normally. We both wish this was not so. However, at the same time, this fact is something we both use to treasure every moment we share.” Matthew says.
“Whatever happens we will be able to say we loved completely and passionately without pause. That is the best we can do and it makes our time together very special and usually full of joy.”
According to Matthew, his family and friends are coming around as well. “Once family and friends spent time with us and experienced how much in love we are then they let go of their reservations and are now very encouraging and supportive,” he adds happily.
Inspired by his own romance, Matthew Anderson wrote The Resurrection of Romance: How to create and sustain a world class romantic relationship that lasts a lifetime. This is a guide to enjoying a healthy and happy romance. Now available on Amazon on Kindle.
Finding love again
According to Relationships Australia, meeting someone after a divorce or long relationship comes with its own set of challenges and opportunities.
Couples who are re-partnering tend to be more realistic and know that it takes a lot of hard work to build a successful relationship. Couples in second marriages or partnerships are also more likely to commit to making their new marriage work, says Relationships Australia.
But there are obstacles and hurdles, and it’s important to not succumb to common traps. One mistake is to start a new relationship before coming to terms with the end of the previous one.
Studies show that the average person takes at least two years to adjust to a divorce or separation, but everyone is different and for some it could take longer, and for others much less.
To start a new relationship, you need to be emotionally free of the previous one. “Don’t jump right back into dating until you’ve healed,” says dating coach, Sandy Weiner. Once you are ready, she suggests making a list of five things that are not negotiable and referring to that list before getting too involved with someone.
Before jumping into a serous relationship also consider why you want to be with that person. Relationships Australia says couples should be realistic about what worked and didn’t work in previous relationships when making a decision about a new partner. Is it so that you are no longer alone, or because you want to be with the person you love?
Tips for seeking love online
Are you considering an online romance? There are risks involved to online dating, especially if you move from a cyber relationship to a real world one very quickly, warns Relationships Australia.
1. Stay realistic: When you are chatting to someone online, you cannot see their body language or overall behaviour. Information such as their gender, job, age and culture is all determined only by what they write.
2. It can be an advantage connecting online: Not all people are deceptive online, in fact some people express more honesty online than in the real world, according to Relationships Australia.
3. Take it slow: However, it is important to stay cautious. Take the online relationship slowly, as you would in real life. Don’t feel pressured to bring down all your barriers at once. If you decide to meet in person, try not to go alone and meet in a public place.
When did you know it was true love after meeting your significant other?