A 28-year-old woman who is dating a man almost 50 years her senior has admitted strangers often mistake her for his carer.
US woman Kelsey Hopeful met 76-year-old Guy BonGiovanni in a yoga class – a hobby he took up after losing his wife of 42 years.
Despite their 48-year-age gap, the pair struck up a conversation after class one day and quickly became friends.
Kelsey, a special education teacher, admitted that there wasn't an "instant attraction" between her and Guy, a photographer – but two years after meeting, love blossomed.
"I decided to try something new and chose a yoga class at my local gym," Kelsey told The Sun.
"I started to examine my surroundings and the people in the class.
"Eventually, my eyes made contact with a man I thought looked like a famous comedian. He picked up his mat and moved it right next to me. I thought, 'Uh oh."
After the class ended, Guy asked Kelsey if she wanted to be friends, a simple question she said took her aback.
"We talked alone in that gym for two hours and when he said his goodbyes, he just walked away.
"There were no phone numbers asked for, nor last names, no guarantees that we would ever see each other again. That is how the story of us began."
The pair, who now live together, eventually found their friendship developed into a relationship but decided to keep it a secret for a year before telling anyone over fears friends and family would react negatively.
"In the earliest steps of our relationship, I would cry alone about our 48-year age gap," she said.
"We had beautiful times together watching plays, going for hikes, or finding pastry shops, but tears would come.
"[One day] I began to cry in front of him because I was experiencing joy on another level and then suddenly I remembered that he is 48 years older than me and he has fewer summers ahead of him than I do."
Though Kelsey admits she's still "scared of losing" Guy, the pair have decided there's no point in crying about death until it happens.
Eventually she told her loved ones about their relationship – but despite being accepted by friends and family, Kelsey said strangers still make snap judgments about them.
"When we are in public, there is a good chance that people from a distance may think I am Guy's caregiver," she said.
"Even when we explain we are a couple, we have received no snarky comments or facial expressions of horror.
"We're better together and I think people feel that when they meet us and see how happy we are."