'I'm 23 years younger than hubby - pals ask why I'm not with someone better looking'
A woman married to a man 23 years her senior says people can't understand why she's not with someone "younger and better looking."
Alexandra Sinyavskaya, 31, met Antonio Scuzzarella, 54, back in 2014 when she was working part time at a coffee shop in Turin while studying.
While Alexandra worked shifts, Antonio would stop in for coffee as his office was just around the corner. After showering her with compliments, Antonio eventually won her heart and the pair began to date.
However, two months later, they amicably separated when Alexandra decided she wasn't mature enough to be in a serious relationship.
She finished her studies to qualify as an accountant and moved back to her hometown of Moscow, Russia - but the pair remained friends over the years.
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But in February 2020, shortly before the pandemic started, they found themselves in touch more often and reconnected online. Before long, they'd booked a trip to Barcelona together.
Alexandra said: "In February 2020, we made plans to go to Spain together as friends as he knew the country very well and I have always wanted to go.
"We bought tickets and made plans for a holiday in Barcelona when Covid hit and Italy closed its borders.
"He insisted that I should go without him, but I said no and we stayed at home, him in Turin, Italy and me in Prague, Czech Republic."
During lockdown, the pair spoke every single day and kept each other up to date with what they were doing. By September 2020, Alexandra had moved to Turin to live with her beau.
While living with Antonio, Alexandra fell pregnant - but tragically she lost the baby at five weeks.
"It made us realise that we want to be together, get married and start a family," she said.
In February 2021, she found out she was pregnant again - but tragedy struck once more when Alexandra miscarried at seven weeks.
After a tough few months in which Antonio proposed but Alexandra did not accept, the pair finally got engaged when she was ready in June 2021 and the pair tied the knot in December.
Although the couple are smitten with each other, Alexandra says they do get some unusual looks and comments from people who judge their 23-year age gap.
"People assume that I am with him for his money and say if he was a simple clerk or a street sweeper I would not be with him," the accountant said.
She added it took time for Antonio's friends to understand she's with him for love, and not because she wanted his money or a to live in Italy.
"Some of my friends still don't understand why I'm not with a better-looking guy my age," she said.
"Sometimes when we are out in the streets people ask whether he is my dad and we have to clarify that we are a couple.
"It is funny, but it also gets very annoying after a while."
Alexandra is no stranger to age gap relationships, having dated a 26-year-old man when she was just 16, and being with a man 19 years older than her when she met Antonio.
"I discovered very early on in my dating life that I don't like the system," she said.
"I want you to show me something that I don't know.
"I prefer a man who knows how to live, I want a man who is experienced, who is well-travelled and knows who he is."
She said most people judge age gap relationships because they're "not educated" about them.
"Anything out of the norm is unacceptable," she said.
"People make comments about you, your partner, your relationship but you don't have to explain anything to anyone just be happy."
Although she's madly in love with an older man, she's warned other women considering an age gap relationship to remember their partner will most likely die long before they do.
"At some point your partner will be very old," she said. "You have to understand that it will come and you have to be prepared for that as well."