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We’ve got a 37-year age gap — I didn’t come out until we were engaged


Aaron Flynn-Shore, 30, and husband, Mike, 67 (Picture: Mike Flynn-Shore / SWNS)

Age gap relationships are set to be 2024’s biggest dating trend, and one cross-country love story tells us exactly why.

When he was 23 years old, Aaron Flynn-Shore moved to New York City for an internship. But what happened next was a chain of events that led to him finding love with a man 37 years his senior. 

He first met Mike Flynn-Shore, then 60, on LGBTQ+ dating app Grindr. ‘At the time, I wasn’t out so to speak,’ he said. ‘I was living an openly-ish gay life but my friends and family back home didn’t know.’

The pair have since built a life for themselves in Dublin (Picture: Mike Flynn-Shore / SWNS)

‘I wanted to live a gay life in New York and I took full advantage of Grindr.’ Recalling the moment sparks flew for the first time, Aaron said, ‘I saw Mike one day and I was like, “wow, that is a bit of me” – he was right up my street.’

Meanwhile, Mike says he was ‘taken aback’ when he first came across his eventual husband. 

Is it possible to find love on Grindr?

Is everyone just ‘looking for fun?’ apparently not.

The infamous app aimed predominantly at gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people, has a sticky reputation as a social networking platform for those looking for quick, no strings attached ‘fun’.

But apparently, thousands of people in their 50s and have been able to have successful dating lives thanks to the black and yellow app.

According to Ofcom’s latest data published in the Online Nations 2023 report about how people spend time online, Grindr ranks above the likes of Tinder, Plenty of Fish and Match.com for its reach of 136,000 over-54s.

Norbert, 57, from Manchester, says Grindr isn’t just for young people and he has found love on the app.

‘Grindr has dismantled the conventional boundaries of age,’ Norbert, who chose not to share his surname, told Metro.co.uk.

One thing Norbert enjoys about the app is that there is ‘no room for pretense’, which he says he doesn’t have time for anymore. ‘At my age, every interaction is about finding genuine rapport and Grindr facilitates that with ease.’

‘Looking back I remember him saying that I might just have to be the man he marries,’ the 67-year-old recalled. ‘He then told me his age, he said 23, and I said he better bring his driver’s license.’

‘He was young and I didn’t want to influence any decisions.’

The couple kept their relationship secret until their engagement (Picture: Mike Flynn-Shore / SWNS)

After leaving New York city in August 2017, Aaron and Mike continued to chat, with Mike even flying to Aaron’s home in Dublin in January 2020.

After returning to the States, the world began to shut down amid the Covid-19 pandemic, which prompted Mike to fly back to Dublin to spend lockdown with Aaron. 

Aaron met Mike while on an internship in New York (Picture: Mike Flynn-Shore / SWNS)

‘I got there and we spent three months locked up in a room,’ Mike said. ‘Being in a room together, we got to know each other really well, it was the best thing that could have happened.

Three months later, in May 2020, Aaron and Mike got engaged. 

‘I realised that I wanted to marry him but more importantly let him know how I feel,’ Aaron said. ‘I was 26 at this stage, I had accepted that I had always been into older men but I never thought I would have a long-term relationship.’

‘I remember saying that I would marry him, he was the only person I could marry.’

What is the ‘ideal’ age gap for a couple?

Toby Ingham, a psychotherapist and author of Retroactive Jealousy, Making Sense of It, says it would be difficult to give an exact number.

‘There used to be an idea that, as a rule of thumb, half your age plus seven was the guide to the younger age a partner should be,’ he previously told Metro.co.uk. ‘That may now be outdated.

‘From one point of view, we might prefer that our partners were peers – contemporaries of us. That if the gap was too big there would be problems in terms of cultural values, interest, etc.

‘Now, the [societal] accent being on inclusivity and normalising difference might eradicate such ideas.’

It was at that point Aaron realized that he needed to come out. ‘I thought ‘sh*t, I better tell my mother,’ he said.

‘I don’t give my family enough credit, my mother, it must have been such a fright for her,’ Aaron explained. ‘I said I was engaged and then told her it was to an older man, I gave her everything all at once.’

The happy couple then tied the knot on October 2020.

‘When we got married, everything was closed down,’ Mike said. ‘We were told we were only allowed six people in total.’

‘It was intimate.’

The pair have since built a life for themselves in Dublin. ‘Aaron gets real joy out of seeing me happy, he takes care of me and will do anything to make sure I am happy,’ Mike added. 

‘The age gap was never a thing for me.’

Aaron added: ‘To have someone who makes you feel so comfortable to make you feel better and that you’re not alone.

‘He makes life much more bearable and that is all anyone wants in life – it makes life much more enjoyable.’

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