Our age gap relationship: ‘Friends and family were supportive but a lot of people didn’t think we would last’
PUBLISHED: 19:30 06 December 2019 | UPDATED: 17:44 09 December 2019
Cyril and Maria show how age is just a number and prove relationships with age gaps can last the test of time.
Leonardo DiCaprio and girlfriend Camila Morrone have been smeared across tabloids around the world, highlighting their 23-year difference in age.
Camila, 22, spoke out about her relationship with Leonardo, 45, to the Los Angeles Daily Times saying that she "probably would be curious about it too."
Then there's the BBC's latest thriller, Gold Digger, pairing a woman with a love interest young enough to be her son - that's had tongues wagging.
But why do we find couples with age gaps so fascinating?
Couples with large age gaps aren't just confined to Hollywood, as East Anglia is home to a number of happy couples similar to Leonardo and Camila. Maria and Cyril Cohen from Suffolk are just one pair willing to share their experience.
Maria and Cyril also have a 23-year age gap, but their relationship is nothing short of a classic love story. After locking eyes at a friend's wedding, 24-year-old Maria and 47-year-old Cyril were introduced to one another and a spark was ignited. Unknowingly, they both visited the same pub one New Year's Eve - they became inseparable and the rest is history. Now, 41 years on, the couple have been married for 25 years and have two beautiful children together.
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Maria says: "When we first started dating, our friends and family were supportive but a lot of people didn't think we would last. But we just clicked. Our age gap has never been an issue. I have never looked at Cyril and seen a man that's much older than me - I just see Cyril."
Despite the 24 years between them, Maria's parents could see the connection that the pair had formed and were happy with their relationship. Cyril's family were slightly more sceptical at first, but soon came around to the relationship once they realised the couple's strong bond.
When the couple first started out, Maria found the difference in age to be more of an advantage than a problem. "Cyril didn't want to go to the pub every night or constantly be out with his friends. He'd already been there and done that. He was ready to make a proper commitment and wanted to make me his priority - which is exactly what he did."
Even after four decades love is still very much in the air for the duo. "Cyril will still hold my hand while we're watching TV and when he's driving he'll put his hand on my knee - it's the little things like that that mean a lot," Maria says.
The couple do everything together - from watching TV and playing cards to going on holidays and visiting the Alzheimer's Club that Cyril is now part of since a dementia diagnosis. "We talk and laugh and tell each other everything - we get on so well and it's always just been easy between us."
Making any relationship work for 41 years is an impressive achievement - but even more so when there is a significant age gap. Maria shared that the secret is, unsurprisingly, communication. "Cyril and I are always open with each other, and it's important to choose to share your life with someone you get on effortlessly with," Maria adds.
For other couples starting a relationship with an age gap, Maria offers some advice: "Love the person for who they are - not their age. It doesn't matter what people say, it matters how you feel. Because after all these years, Cyril is still the love of my life."
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