WHEN Jessica Hocking first started hanging out with her colleague Dermot Murray, she thought they’d only ever have a “father and daughter” kind of relationship.
The 26-year-old carer, from Mumby, Lincolnshire, intended on just being friends with the 58-year-old when she met him in February 2021 as he had previously had a “fling” with her pal.
She explained: “I didn’t want to know him at first.
I don’t have a lot of trust in men so to me it was very daunting.
“But the lady I worked with on the evenings had a fling with him for a couple of months. Then as a group of three, we became really close friends.”
After several solo shifts together, Jessica and Dermot couldn’t deny their chemistry and started spending time together out of work too – going on romantic dog walks and late-night car rides.
She explained: “He was a really good, solid friend – I could tell him my problems and share things with him that I wouldn’t tell anybody else.
“It started off like a dad/daughter relationship, it was a gradual transition from that to a romantic relationship.”
In April last year, the couple decided to make it official – but kept it a secret for as long as they could as they were painfully aware that their age gap might raise some eyebrows.
She continued: “I knew he was a lot older than me and I honestly didn’t think it would work because of the age difference [at first] but when things started to progress we didn’t think of that.
“At first we did keep our relationship a secret because we didn’t know what people would think of the age difference but then we thought ‘stuff it we’ll just come out with it’ because we couldn’t keep it a secret for long.
I wanted to be able to hold his hand in public.
“I was concerned what people would think of the age difference. We didn’t think much of it but because it is such a big age difference, we have had a lot of the time ‘oh is this your daughter? Is this your dad?’.
“The last time I went to hospital someone asked ‘oh is this your dad who’s brought you?’ I’m like ‘no it’s my partner’.
“It doesn’t bother us because we know that people might not understand.
“We have a great sex life.
Physically it’s very good, he’s gentle and always asks if I’m alright.”
Luckily, Jessica’s mum – who is just four years older than Dermot – is hugely supportive of the relationship and even allowed him to move in.
She added: “They’re like best friends. When I’m at work they watch telly together, which is really nice.
“Family and friends have been very supportive, which I was surprised at.
“I think the only worry that there is is because we’re in different lifetimes – when he retires I’ll still be working.”
Dermot and my mum are like best friends. When I’m at work they watch telly together, which is really nice.
Even though they’ve only been boyfriend and girlfriend for 10 months, the couple are looking to get engaged soon – and Jessica even got Dermot’s initial tattooed on her ring finger.
She said: “We’ve already gone engagement ring shopping, we knew very early on that we wanted to marry each other.
“I’m very picky about what I want and we were looking for a sapphire ring. But we found a completely different ring and we knew it was just the one.
“When it’s going to happen I don’t know but he’s said it’s definitely going to happen at some point.”
“I got the tattoo because we’ll be getting engaged at some point and he means the world to me. It’s a love heart with a ‘D’ in it on my engagement finger, which I’ve wanted for a while.
“I’ve never had a relationship where I’ve been treated properly or loved like he does – it’s all new to me.
“It’s just really nice because he’s old-fashioned in the romance way and I love that. We used to write notes for each other, the odd gift now and then is really nice.
“Certain things he does for me now is just really sweet like he’ll run a bath for me, or make me a drink or dinner – stuff like that just means a lot to me.
“If he leaves for work early in the morning, which he sometimes does, he leaves a note for me on the bed or I leave him a note for when I’m at work.”
Above all, Jessica wants people to know that age is just a number and they shouldn’t rule potential romances out just because of it.
She added: “Going out with an older man I find is so much better than [someone] my age because they have more life experience and he’s just so mature and loving.
“To anyone who thinks 32 years is too big a difference, I would say as long as they treat you well the age shouldn’t matter.”
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