When Julia Strauß, 31, met Bernd Hasenbank, 72, last year, they weren’t looking for romance.
But they soon hit it off and fell for each other, and despite Bernd being more than twice her age, they say they have a wonderful relationship.
The couple, who live in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, have both previously been in long-term relationships, and two of Bernd’s three children are not much older than Julia.
Julia explained, ‘We got to know each other in a special stillness seminary in April 2019. A few years before, I had this feeling that I would meet a man in his 70s and have a very strong connection.
‘Leading up to the seminar, I started getting myself in a tizzy and when I sat on a bench and watched everyone come through, I saw Bernd come in and sit down next to me and it was as if I knew him from a past life.
‘Over the weekend of the seminar, it was clear there was something there and we connected.’
Since then the couple have been through a lot together but Julia says they are now stronger than ever.
She added: ‘One month later, Bernd’s apartment went up in flames because Julia’s laptop exploded. Bernd was burned and had to go to the hospital and the whole thing made us a lot closer. We went into a kind of nomadic period, moving from apartments to hotels to friend’s places until December 2019.
‘However, when we were ready to move into the restored apartment again, Julia met another man at work and so stepped out of our relationship for two months. In February 2020 she came back and since this time we have been even closer than ever. We call it our first and second semesters in the university of our life.’
Explaining what he loves about Julia, Bernd said: ‘Her physical appearance attracted me a lot at first but things soon got much deeper than that, and I discovered a wide field of inner beauty.
‘I love very much that this young woman is at a similar state of self-knowledge and honesty which is very lovable and at the same time, is a great challenge for my inner processes.’
Julia said: ‘I love the deep way he can understand me, sometimes better than I understand myself. I love the way he lets me feel safe and at home, how he protects me. I love his special humour and his very poetic way of seeing the world.
‘Life with him is like a special romantic science fiction poem from the ’70s with lots of music.’
Initially, their age gap played on Julia’s mind but now she feels it does not matter.
She said: ‘Sometimes it was very hard for me to differentiate between preconceptions I had and something I really didn’t feel good with.
‘But with time, I can see that the age gap is like an illusion and I don’t think about it so much anymore. The age is so relative, sometimes I’m feeling older than him and often we’re feeling ageless or the same. But besides that, I think he can guide me in a special way with deep wisdom and strength where I’m still more inconstant.
‘When you think of physical differences, he is anything but old and we regularly exercise together, he is a wonderful lover and he has so much power and a lively spirit.’
While out and about, people do stare at them as Julia looks much younger, but they do not pay attention now. Although some may think they are father and daughter, they haven’t experienced any awkward questions from strangers yet.
Despite having a daughter that is not much older than Julia, Bernd says his family has been very supportive of their romance.
He said: ‘My two sons also believe that if I’m happy, this romance can’t be wrong.’
Julia notes her friends are open to their gap and while her family took a little more convincing, they have come round.
‘They can see that we are happy together and that we have a healthy bond.
‘My parents are 60 and 67 and they were and still are sceptical from time to time but separate from the age gap, they really like Bernd and it feels familiar when we’re all together. They’ve even invited him to attend a large gathering next year and I’m proud that I will have him by my side.’
While they don’t plan on having children anytime soon, Bernd says he is not against the idea and they are waiting to see what the future will brings.
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