Entertainment Jacqui and Temujin are in love, but face judgement and criticism for their age gap

01:51  09 august  2020
01:51  09 august  2020 Source:   abc.net.au

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a close up of a man wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: Jacqui Howard, 61, and Temujin Tera, 27, plan to marry in April. (Supplied) © Provided by ABC News Jacqui Howard, 61, and Temujin Tera, 27, plan to marry in April. (Supplied)

For Jacqui Howard, it wasn't love at first sight.

"There was absolutely no attraction for me whatsoever," she says of meeting Temujin Tera.

But now, it's "love like nothing I ever imagined, love like a fairy-tale".

They plan to marry in April.

But in the three years they've been together, they've faced discrimination because of the age gap in their relationship — Jacqui is 61 years old, while Temujin is 27.

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Sleepless in Sydney

Temujin, a performer, first met Jacqui when he joined her Sydney dance class.

"She just walked into the room and you could just tell she was such a big person, and she was definitely attractive to me at that stage," he

"I wasn't wanting her in any sexual way, I just saw her and thought 'I need to know about this woman because she has got such personality, and she hasn't even said anything yet'."

Jacqui, though, was married and says she "never even looked at Temujin in any other way other than a student".

Flash forward two years, and Jacqui — now single — was travelling to Singapore to judge a dance competition.

Temujin, who was working in the city, saw on Facebook that Jacqui was visiting and sent her a message.

"He said, 'Would you like to come and see my show?'," Jacqui recalls. "So I popped over, and we started a friendship from there."

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Age gaps tend to be more accepted in the queer community than they are in general. Personally, I love that my DGF and I were raised in different decades. It gives us even more to learn from each other. Listen to their concerns, answer their questions, and completely disregard their judgments .

But the reality is that we don’t talk about their dating challenges the same way we talk about the challenges faced by educated women. We also know that from surveys of people’s preferences, men [now] say it will bother them less to be in a relationship with women who out-earn them.

Soon after, Temujin returned to Australia and the pair became "best buddies".

"We were really, really deep friends, someone that I could talk to about my ex-husband and my life and how hard I was working, have a little whinge to," Jacqui says.

Jacqui invited Temujin to stay with her on her houseboat, north of Sydney. There, for nights on end, they sat and talked until the sun rose over the Hawkesbury River. Jacqui would go to work, but each day she rushed home to Temujin.

"I couldn't wait to race back to sit engaged in the most interesting conversation with the most extraordinary, unique human being I've ever met," she says.

"We would just sit cross-legged staring at each other."

Then, they kissed.

Judgement and disbelief

Although this is the widest age difference of any relationship he's had, Temujin says he is generally attracted to older women.

Jacqui, on the other hand, has never been attracted to younger men.

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But judging from their past performance, I wouldn't put too much faith in their judgement . A successful racing driver should be aggressive, but She needed to know that it was just a momentary lapse in judgement and that she was his only love . Finally, I have not wavered from my judgement

Later looking through their albums they will remember the happy time they have had, the islands, countries and cities they have seen. B. Pets provide support because they are always available to listen (without any judgment ) or rub up against your hand, which can help you relax after a hectic day.

She "hid" Temujin on her houseboat for some time, afraid of what others would think.

"It's a very big first for her, to be in such an age-gapped relationship," Temujin says.

"I think because she has the three daughters, she didn't want to feel this judgement coming from the family."

He says they were also aware of the rumours that would emerge because of Jacqui having been his dance teacher — that he would be simply using her to further his own career.

Temujin's family have been supportive of the couple's relationship. Jacqui's family less so.

"Some of my sisters have been extremely harsh and are still harsh," Jacqui says.

Her mother has also come to disapprove.

"At first she was on board, but then I think she listened to some of the conversation with the disapproving sisters and then all of a sudden she decided this is not really good," she says.

"She shouts in my face, 'He's not a man, he's a boy!'"

Others in the family, Jacqui says, have become supportive since meeting Temujin.

"They now know that he is no ordinary human being."

Jacqui says sometimes the people they meet don't believe they're a couple.

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"Temujin and my daughter are the same age … and my daughter has a best friend that is 55 years old, so people come to the table and try to work out the dynamics," Jacqui says.

She says when they're told that she and Temujin are a couple "they do not accept it at all".

"It has been, 'No way, prove it, kiss her,' you know, which I don't do in public."

She says they've asked people what they'd think of a relationship between a 60-year-old man and a 27-year-old woman.

"They openly say, 'Oh, good on him, I think it's great,' but it's a little bit repulsive when it's our way."

Listeners share stories

Jacqui and Temujin's interview prompted Life Matters listeners to share stories of their own age-gapped relationships.

"Another couple with the same age difference as us," wrote one listener, who preferred not to be named.

"I am the older woman in my 60s," she says. "Like Jacqui I've been shy about the relationship while my husband isn't."

She says that, like Jacqui and Temujin, the relationship began as a friendship "with no inkling of romance".

"We're both Christians and have had only positive, encouraging responses from friends and church family," she says.

"I was on my own for 19 years. I didn't know there could be love like this. I used to touch him and say, 'Are you real?' It took me quite a while to accept that this was even happening."

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Others also shared heartwarming stories, but one listener's experience wasn't so positive. Her partner was just eight years younger than her, but that was too much for him.

"He said he'd marry me if I were younger than him," the listener writes. "Also, because I had two sons, this intimidated him. And he lived with his parents at age 42."

She says the relationship dragged on for several years before she told him not to contact her again.

"He kept trying to contact me. I told him to go home to his mother, where he belonged."

'I'm going to be dead'

Jacqui says the age gap between her and Temujin is not without its problems.

He wants to be with her 24/7, while she wants to balance their relationship with other people in her life, such as her daughters and friends.

She also worries that she will die, leaving Temujin as a young widower.

"I'm going to be dead and he is still only going to be 40 and young enough to marry and father other children."

Temujin says it's a topic Jacqui brings up regularly, but he doesn't worry about it.

"I could get hit by a bus," he says.

"I'm not sure why we live life like that where we worry about who is going to die first."

It's a point Jacqui concedes from experience.

"My middle sister actually did have a relationship with a younger man, which at the time I probably was a bit disapproving of because I didn't understand it," she says.

"They got engaged, they were getting married in one month, and then he went out for a run and literally dropped dead of cardiomyopathy."

And despite her fears — and the judgement from some members of her family — Jacqui says there is nowhere else she'd rather be.

She says she is now experiencing the kind of love she dreamed of when she was a little girl.

"I had to wait until nearly 60 to say this was the fairytale love … this is what I thought relationships should be."

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