"People constantly think he’s my dad." Three couples on what it's like to have a big age gap.

Statistics show that around eight per cent of heterosexual couples are in a relationship with an age gap of over 10 years. And more often than not, these couples are faced with social disapproval from their family and friends when revealing this information.

On Tuesday night, on SBS Insight, journalist Jenny Brockie spoke to various couples that fall into that category. During the episode, the couples were asked how they met, whether they had previously dated people with a large age difference, and how their peers reacted to their relationship.

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Evie and her husband Pete have a 31-year age difference. The couple met when she was 25 and he was 56 and they now have a four-year-old son, Thomas.

Evie and Pete. Image: SBS.

"Together as a family, like most normal families, we go to the park, we go to the beach, we go out and have lunch together. Just your normal everyday things. The only difference might be is we might get assumptions because of Pete's age," Evie explained.

"I remember we had one particular occasion when we're at a cafe and someone said to me, 'That's very nice of you to take your dad out for lunch.' I made a joke of it and kissed Pete. They were a bit like, 'What?' We make a joke of it because for us it doesn't bother us, but we're quick to correct those people."

The couple met at church when Pete was still married to his first wife. They both explained the attraction had nothing to do with each other's physical appearance but because of their personalities and what they had in common.

Pete explained that his only concern about his relationship is his son being bullied.

"I love Thomas like there is no tomorrow. It does play on my mind. I worry about the fact that he may be bullied because I am much older than his friends' fathers. But there is not a lot I can do about it," he said.


The next couple, Leokardia and her husband Des, have a 34-year age difference. The pair met at church as well.

Leokardia and Des. Image: SBS.


When Leokardia told her family about her relationship with Des, they were instantly disapproving of the relationship and ended communication with their daughter because of it.

"I was disowned from my Greek family instantly," Leokardia began.

"It was horrendous. We had quite a short engagement and decided we wanted to get married very quickly. We had known each other for so long and didn't see the point in waiting. Inviting the family to the wedding and having the invitations returned and having those phone calls that were quite nasty and having nobody turn up to the wedding made it awful.


"So, you know, at our wedding we had Des's family, his brother and his mother, and I had nobody from my family at all. And that's where Des and I concreted that we're each other's family and that was it."

Two out of three of Des' children from a previous relationship didn't agree with their marriage either.

"I think they were hurt. They were hurt that their dad would have a mindset to actually change the foundation of their home, that they knew and loved," Des explained.

The couple have since had two sons and Leokardia's family have come to terms with their relationship. Despite this, Leokardia shared they still get strange looks when out in public.

Des and their kids. Image: SBS.

"People constantly think he’s my dad, [or] that he’s the children’s grandfather. Now that the boys are quite articulate, they snap back at people, 'That’s my dad'," Leokardia said.

The third couple featured on Insight, Russell and Zach, have a 33-year age difference. Russell, 52, and Zach, 19, met on an online dating platform.

Russell and Zach. Image: SBS.

Russell explained he only came out in his mid-40s after being married to a woman for over 20 years, and Zach too was reasonably new to the gay community, so the experience was new for the both of them.

"I grew up in a country town. I've struggled with my sexuality and didn't come out till I was 48 and found it a very difficult time. My first gay relationship was quite difficult. I guess I found a lot of difficulty finding myself," Russell shared.

When Jenny asked whether the couple had a moment where they noticed the age gap, they shared the moment when Aretha Franklin died.

Russell checked his phone one morning and said, "Oh my god, Aretha died".

While Zach replied, "Oh was she a friend of yours?"

All the couples were asked one final question, about whether they had considered the future and what would happen when the older partner reached their 70s and 80s.

"I tend not to think about what will happen when Des gets old, I tend to think about the loss more than anything," Leokardia shared.

While Russell explained their relationship is still in the honeymoon phase so they hadn't thought that far ahead.

"I guess I might think about it but we're at the very early stages of this relationship. I don't think anybody knows what's happening," he said.

Feature Image: SBS.

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Tuesday night's episode of Insight is available to watch on SBS On Demand now.