Here, Samantha, tells the story in her own words.
￼I was having a couple of drinks with my friends, when I noticed a guy across the bar.
Who is that? I thought, hoping he’d catch my eye.
He was older – much older! But I felt an instant attraction to him.
I loved his silver hair and moustache, he was so handsome.
Knowing I had to speak to him, I plucked up the courage to go over and introduce myself.
‘Hi, I’m Samantha,’ I said sheepishly, feeling myself blush.
‘Good afternoon Samantha. My name’s JR. How are you today?’ he smiled. He was so polite!
After chatting for a bit, we swapped numbers.
JR was a truck driver, often away for weeks at a time, so we started to text loads. In one, JR told me he was 61.
Aged 18, it meant that he was 43 years older than me! But I didn’t care about the age gap at all. Age isn’t anything but a number, I messaged back. And I meant it.
‘I think I’m beginning to get feelings for him,’ I told a friend. We hadn’t even kissed!
I was sure he wouldn’t be interested in a teenager, but I hoped we could be mates.
So, when JR was home, we started going on walks together.
One day, we reached out and held hands. But then the abuse started.
‘He’s old enough to be her grandad,’ people tutted.‘Child snatcher,’ someone taunted.
The worst was when JR was called a paedophile.
‘Why are people so mean?’ I sobbed.
‘Don’t worry about it, honey,’ JR assured me. ‘All that matters is we have each other.’ I was so happy JR felt the same.
When I told my family about him though, they didn’t approve and I moved out. The only person who did support us was my grandma.
Finally, after three months of taking it slowly, JR asked me on an official first date – a drive in his truck.
We travelled almost 1000km, chatting the whole way about our lives.
JR had a lifetime of stories compared to me!
‘You’re so different to all the other guys I’ve dated,’ I told JR. ‘They were just so immature.’ We also finally had our first kiss!
JR had shown me what it was like to date a real man.
After we’d been dating for a year, JR and I were out for a meal for his birthday with my grandma, and he was acting strange.
‘Are you okay babe?’ I asked, touching his arm. ‘Yeah of course,’ he replied. ‘Why wouldn’t I be?’
An hour later, I found out what was going on when he got down on one knee in the restaurant in front of Grandma and proposed.
‘Yes, yes, yes!’ I squealed.
It was the easiest decision in my life. I’d been thinking about this moment since the day we met.
I was so happy to have Grandma there too, as she knew how much JR meant to me.
‘Don’t you think now we’re engaged we should live together?’ I asked JR, batting my eyelids hoping he’d take the hint.
He grinned in response, completely understanding I’d just asked him to move in with me, and two months later we were living together.
We began planning our wedding too, but sadly most of our families chose not to come.
In January last year there were just a few guests as we said our vows.
I was 19 – still a teenager – while JR was 62, but I couldn’t have been happier. JR looked gorgeous in his jeans and waistcoat.
I couldn’t say ‘I do’ quick enough when it was my turn. I’d never believed in love at first sight before meeting him.
‘I love you,’ I said, as we both grinned from ear to ear. We still get called names daily.
JR and I aren’t naive to the age gap between us, but we both agreed we would rather have 12 or hopefully 25 years of happiness together than be with people we didn’t truly love for longer.
The start of our relationship has been hard, with both our families and strangers giving us a hard time, but we’re determined to last our lifetime.
We long to start a family and are trying to have a baby. We won’t let hurtful strangers ruin our love for each other. I was the one who chased JR in the first place and he’s made me the happiest girl in the world!
Read more in this week's issue of that's life, on sale now.
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