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Couple with 22-year age gap call out trolls after being slammed by family

Couple with 22-year age gap call out trolls after being slammed by family

They believe age ‘doesn’t matter’ when it comes to love

A couple with a 22-year age gap have called out trolls after being slammed by everyone from strangers to family members.

Danielle Kent, 32, and Gareth Palmer, 54, believe age ‘doesn’t matter’ when it comes to love, despite facing repeated snide comments from others.

The couple, from Emsworth in Hampshire, met while working at a care home in August 2022, and how have plans to get married and start a family together.

“For me age has never really been an issue,” Danielle told PA Real Life.

“I think they are just insecure themselves and potentially jealous.

“We are very tactile and when we’re together, we kind of forget that there are other people around.

“I think if we weren’t as affectionate we wouldn’t get as many comments.

“But if you love someone, age doesn’t matter.”

Danielle Kent, 32, and partner Gareth Palmer, 54.
PA Real Life

After they first started dating, Danielle was accused by a relative of taking advantage of a vulnerable person.

But professional photographer Gareth said: “I want to know why people feel the need to belittle what we have and what gives you the right?”

Gareth was a facilities manager at the care home where he met Danielle, having showed her the building’s fire safety features and found conversations flowed naturally.

At first, Danielle felt hesitant about their blossoming romance, having previously dated a man who was 17 years older than her, but in October that year Gareth plucked up the courage to ask her out for a drink.

“I messaged her saying, ‘we should probably discuss this over a drink some time’,” Gareth recalled.

The pair met at the care home where they both worked.
PA Real Life

“And she immediately replied ‘yes, are you free tomorrow?'”

A few weeks later, they told their boss – who was ‘thrilled’ for them – and by the new year, Danielle had moved in with Gareth.

But not everyone was so supportive of their relationship, with an unnamed family member accusing Danielle of ‘taking advantage of someone vulnerable' - something her partner insisted she wasn’t.

“It really, really got to me because at the time I was a healthcare assistant so I looked after vulnerable people,” she said.

“So that really hit home and hurt a lot.”

The couple also remember a time when they were enjoying a drink in a pub when a man told them: “It’s really nice that you are doing your bit for the community.”

They're planning to get married and start a family.
PA Real Life

Danielle continued: “We sat down and kissed each other, and he saw that, so he knew we were in a relationship.

“I didn’t want to cause a scene, but I have to admit, my blood did boil and I did a lot to control myself.

“I just laughed it off.”

Another time, they were playing pool at a local sports club when someone loudly quipped that Gareth must have a ‘big d**k’.

“It’s just so childish,” Gareth said, adding that he’s also been told by family members that his relationship with Danielle is ‘weird’.

However, none of the negative reaction has stopped the 'tactile' duo from being affectionate in public – who aren’t always so critical, with one person telling them their love is ‘so wholesome’.

PA Real Life

The couple hope that, by speaking out, they can help break the ‘stigma’ around dating someone older.

“The amount of people I’ve heard over the years who say that a 70-year-old couple kissing in public is disgusting,” Danielle explained.

“But why is there an age limit on expressions of love?

“Isn’t there enough negativity in the world? It’s a positive thing. It’s love.”

As for advice for others, she added: “You only live once and I think if you love someone, that’s all that matters.

“We did go through times when the topic of conversation was quite negative when it came to family and friends’ views.

“But I just got to the point where I was like, why am I wasting so much of our happiness on negative comments?

“I don’t need to think about that because I’m sat next to the person who is my world.”

Featured Image Credit: PA Real Life

Topics: Sex and Relationships