Becoming friends at work, Cara Foxall, 25, did not plan to find love with retail worker Gordon Robertson, 55, but their feelings soon deepened, and they have been a couple for over two years – now living together in Dundee, Scotland.
At first, though, she admits to being so concerned about her parents’ reactions that she only told them about Gordon when she fell pregnant with his son, Benjamin, now one – and finally introduced them when she was in labour.
But, speaking out in favour of age gap relationships, following her own positive experience, she said: “We have had the odd person thinking Gordon is my dad, not my boyfriend, but other than that, we haven’t had much negativity – not to our faces at least.
“He worries more than I do. When we’re out, he’ll say, ‘I bet people are thinking, ‘Oh isn’t she nice, taking her granddad out.’’ But I don’t care what other people think. We’ve clicked because of our personalities, not our ages. We’re Cara and Gordon – age doesn’t come into it.
“You can’t help when you were born, and you can’t help who you fall for.”
Before meeting Gordon, stay-at-home mum Cara, who has another son, Shaun, four, from a previous relationship, dated men either her own age, or slightly older.
So, when she first met Gordon through work around three years ago, romance was the furthest thing from her mind.
“I didn’t actually realise he was quite that much older than me. I thought he was in his mid-forties,” she explained. “He dresses quite young – it’s not like he was in a grandad cardigan and slippers – plus he’s young at heart, always telling jokes and not taking himself too seriously.”
For around six months, the pair were just friends, but their banter started bordering on being flirty, and the pals soon became lovers.
Cara continued: “We would talk all the time, both in and outside of work. Gradually, I started to wonder if he was flirting, or just being friendly.
“Then, someone else at work told me he liked me.
“I realised I’d developed feelings for him too. He’s got a great sense of humour, which is really important to me. You’ve got to have a laugh.”
Becoming an item about six months after they first met, Cara and Gordon initially kept their relationship quiet.
She added: “Gordon was fantastic with Shaun, and my boy absolutely loves him, but I wasn’t sure what other people would think.
“I didn’t even tell Shaun Gordon’s name at first, as I was worried he’d tell the rest of the family about him. He would call him ‘Man’ instead. My parents are in their late 60s so they are older than Gordon, but he’s still closer to their age than he is to mine, so of course I was wary of their reaction.”
Eventually falling pregnant with Benjamin in 2017, Cara had no choice but to come clean, with Gordon and her parents finally meeting for the first time when she went into labour in March 2018.
“Because everyone was so focused on me and making sure I was okay, that helped break the ice a little,” she said. “People are always a bit shy on first meetings, and because Gordon is 30 years older than me, I think my parents weren’t quite sure what to make of it all initially.
“But, he’s still here, we’re still happy and now they get along just fine.”
Despite her loved ones being supportive and her friends completely approving of Gordon, Cara is all too aware of the taboo surrounding age gap romances.
Still, she insists that having a partner 30 years her senior has worked in her favour, as he is much more settled than men her own age.
She said: “I’m only 25, so most blokes my age want to go out partying and drinking all the time. But I’m not interested in that – and neither is Gordon. He’s already done it all. Now he wants to be settled with our family.”
She continued: “I always say that we almost meet in the middle, maturity-wise, as men tend to mature slower than women.
“The only place I really notice our age difference is in the things we like, such as films and music. He listens to songs that came out before I was even born – but that can be a good thing too, as he’s full of stories from years and years ago, of things I’d have had no idea about.”
Now, as Cara prepares to welcome her new arrivals – due in January 2020 – into the world, she has also defended her decision to have babies with an older man.
She concluded: “When it comes to age gap relationships, people do tend to make the same criticisms – one being that the kids may not have as much time with Gordon as they would with a younger dad. But the thing is, anything can happen at any time. You can live to 90, or die at 30. We don’t know what’s around the corner.
“Of course, there are times when I think about the twins starting school and how he will be 60 by then, but you have to take each day as it comes.
“Gordon and I have a great relationship. I could be with someone my own age who treated me horribly. Would that somehow be more acceptable to people?To all those with a negative opinion, I would say if it has nothing to do with you, there’s no reason for you to be judgemental.”