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How They Met: Andrea, 59 and Robert, 64

Andrea, a former punk/goth drummer, met Robert, a business lecturer/consultant online in mid-life. Their shared values and open communication anchor their relationship.

Where are you each from?

Me: UK born of Austrian and Hungarian parents.
Robert: Canadian born of Polish and Ukrainian parents.
 

What are your ages?

Me: 59
Robert: 64
 

When did you meet?

January 2010

Where did you meet?

Outside the Angel tube station, Islington, London, on an internet date.

What were you thinking before you met? Were you looking for someone to be with?

I had been on lots of internet dates. I was Robert’s first ever internet date.

We were both looking for a relationship, though Robert says he felt a bit hard done by that he only ever went on one internet date!!! He jokes that he should have asked for a refund as didn’t get to experience the highs/lows of internet dating but got lucky first time.
 
What were your first impressions?

Me: He was tall (important as I am 170cm), handsome, and had a great smile and a gorgeous Canadian accent. He wore a dreadful cricket-style jumper that he soon took off as I had made a few comments about it. He was wearing a very cool shirt underneath, so he passed the clothes test (so many guys in their 50s and beyond have dreadful dress sense!).
Him: “Hot and fun to be with. And you still are.”
Where/when were you married?

We are not yet married. We got engaged in November last year and hope to set a date when the world resumes normal life again…
Is this the sort person you were expecting to be with?

Definitely. I wanted someone that had had kids; he has 2. I was looking for someone with similar values and outlook on life. He definitely hit the spot! He is a uni professor/consultant, travels (pre-Covid!) lots and is really interesting and fun to be with. He is kind, funny, and extremely patient. He wooed my then teenage kids with lots of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Krispy Kreme donuts. They said, “He’s a keeper, Mum!”
 

How are the two of you different?

I am more outgoing and sociable, enjoy going out to gigs, bars, restaurants, dinners, etc. He is quieter and more introverted. I like being busy, having projects on the go, going out and doing stuff. He is more reserved and likes quiet down-time more.

“We are able to talk about anything and everything”

What is the best thing about your relationship?

We are able to talk about anything and everything. We have never argued (really!!!) and are always able to talk about any problems or issues in a reasonably calm manner (him) or getting a bit more intense (me).
 
Our physical relationship is brilliant — we are totally compatible and both really enjoy this aspect of our lives together.
 
We both love being outdoors, hiking, mountains, beaches, walking for miles whenever we have time.
 

We are both foodies; I love cooking and baking, he loves eating!

How do you spend your weekends together? 

I am a yoga teacher, so Saturdays I teach a class. He runs the behind-the-scenes tech stuff for my Zoom yoga classes.
 
Afternoons we go for a hike, cook dinner, love to host or go to dinner parties (pre-Covid, of course), make and drink cocktails — Negronis are our current fave.
 
Sundays are our lazy day; long lie-in, cook brunch, meet friends for a walk (when allowed) or visit family. Walks in London parks when in London (we spend a LOT of time traveling when we are allowed to)
 

What is the best relationship advice you have received or given?

Listen to each other. Really listen — without distractions and let each other be heard. Think before you speak — if you’ve nothing nice to say, say nothing.
 
Keep love alive through physical love, sex, kissing, affection, touching, hand holding, etc.
Never, ever criticize each other to other people or complain.
 
Never let the sun set on an argument/bad mood/upset feelings.
 
What is one of your favorite vices?
 
Sunday morning lie-in with Robert.
A Negroni.
Home-baked cake.
 

What would you say one of his is?

The same!!! Although he would prefer a lie-in every day.

“I was a punk/goth in the ’80s…he is a business lecturer/consultant”

How do your different backgrounds add to your relationship?

We are different as I come from a very artsy, alternative background. I was a punk/goth in the ’80s, a fashion designer making goth/alternative/fetish clothes, rode an old Brit motorbike, a BSA, and was in a biker club, went to festivals and Hell’s Angels bike rallies, a drummer in an all-girl punk band, have several large tattoos and piercings. I married dressed in black as a goth, then became a mother of 3. One divorce and I became a primary school teacher and then a yoga teacher.
 
He has a PhD, is a business lecturer/consultant, has lived quite conventionally and been on the safer side of life, until he met me!
 
Our different backgrounds have very similar roots. Both children of immigrants, both aspirational, both love our respective children — and are fond of each other’s now. We share similar childhoods and that is remarkably bonding. Always feeling like an outsider at school; having a “foreign” surname in the ’60s and ’70s made school a difficult place at times.
 
Robert is Jewish and most of his family were killed in camps during WW2. My family were Austrian and Hungarian; also suffered in the war.
 
Now, our differences blend. We share similar values — honesty, kindness, caring for others. We both love our children and are working towards creating a holiday home somewhere that can be shared by all 5 of our respective children, future grandchildren and us. He has learned to appreciate old punk bands and alternative culture and people. I have learned to tolerate talk about the FT, business, mainstream culture and talk about pensions.
 

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