Alexis Tadlock, 24, met Charles Tadlock, now 79, alongside his wife Kathy at church back in 2015.
Although they got on, she never imagined she would end up married to him.
Sadly, Kathy, 77, died in September 2017 from lung disease and Alexis was worried about Charles being lonely.
They started hanging out together and became friends but a year later, funeral director Alexis, from Sheridan, Arkansas, USA, began developing feelings towards retired school principal Charles.
She learnt that he felt the same way and they started a romantic relationship, getting engaged in October 2018 and married just two months later.
They have faced some backlash due to their over half-century age gap, but they are happier than ever.
Charles has two grown up children aged 48 and 54 but now Alexis and Charles are planning a baby of their own.
Alexis said: ‘Kathy and I were good friends, and I was very sad when she passed away.
‘I never had much to do with Charles, but one day I saw him sitting alone at church and he was crying.
‘I went to comfort him, and we talked for ages. We became good friends after that, and we would go do things together and just hang out.
‘Eventually, I think we became dependent on each other and my feelings really started to grow the more time we spent together.
‘But I never thought anything could happen between us. I tried to set him up with an older lady, but he flat out refused to even go on a date.
‘Then he asked whether I wanted to go meet a younger guy. But I just couldn’t imagine ever leaving him and finding a younger man.
‘One day, he told me how much he missed me. I asked him if he ever felt that way towards anyone else, and he said, ‘only my wife’.
‘We admitted our feelings towards each other, and our relationship just blossomed from there. I was over the moon when he popped the question and we got married just two months later.
‘He is the best husband I ever could have asked for and we love each other deeply. We’re very happy.’
Alexis said that when she first told her family and friends about her engagement, there were ‘mixed reactions’ – and while most were happy for them, she said others were ‘totally against it’.
The young woman added that she never lets the 55-year age gap deter them from public displays of affection – but said this can attract stares from strangers.
Alexis said: ‘When I told people about Charles and I getting married, a lot of my friends said if he made me happy then I should go for it.
‘Most were very supportive, but I did have some people who did not agree with it at all. They became very hateful towards me.
‘Usually people think I’m his granddaughter. Or they’ll think I’m his nurse or carer.
‘I am generally the one that tells people that we’re married, and often they don’t really know what to say. They looked very shocked.
‘We don’t make a big deal about it. A lot of people in age gap relationships feel that they can’t hold hands or stay close to each other because of what others will think.
‘But we don’t act any differently in public. I’ll kiss his cheek and we’ll hold hands.
‘I’ll lay my head on him and just act like no one is there. I really don’t care what others think.’
She knows that Charles is likely to die before she does – but said that having a baby with Charles would be a way to ‘keep a part of him’ with her forever.
They have faced some negative comments about their desire to have kids, but she has not let it stop them from trying – and added that she has always wanted to be a mother.
She said: ‘A lot of people get angry because they assume that Charles can not give me children due to his age.
‘But that is not true at all. We’ve gone for tests, and it’s actually me that has some fertility issues that we’re working on.
‘We want to have a baby. I’ve been told I’m selfish if I have a child with him because they might grow up without a dad.
‘But when he dies, I’ll have nothing of him. I need something from him to carry with me throughout the rest of my life.’
Charles said: ‘There are some old people that have young souls, and some young people that have old souls.
‘I feel much younger on the inside. The age difference doesn’t affect our marriage.
‘No matter how old you are, everyone still needs love.’
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