A grandmother-of-three has revealed how her fiancé is a whopping 28 years her junior.
Sharon Hawkins, 50, met Perry Hopstein, 22, on Tinder after lowering her age range down to 19, and since then, she is regularly mistaken for his mother.
Now the loved-up couple, from North Carolina, plan to marry this year.
Sharon, a secondary school teacher, said: ‘I may be old enough to be Perry’s mother, but I won’t let that stop me from chasing happiness.
‘Perry and I know we’re meant to be together and we don’t care what other people think.’
Perry Hopstein, 22, and Sharon Hawkins, 50, who met on Tinder when the grandmother-of-three joined the dating app in 2020, following her divorce
Sharon admits she’s often mistaken for her boyfriend’s mother, but it doesn’t put her off and they are planning to get married later this year
In 2015, Sharon’s 16-year marriage ended after she grew apart from her husband.
‘My ex-husband, who was a similar age to me, was great at first,’ she said.
‘In the last year of our relationship, I found myself stealing glances at men in their 20s whenever we went out.
‘I vowed to find someone more suited to my spontaneous personality.’
Happy couple: After splititng from her first husband Marie said she was determined to find someone more suited to her ‘spontaneous’ personality
Sharon matched with Royal Marine, Perry, on dating app, Tinder and was instantly smitten when she saw his picture
As soon as they started chatting, Sharon told Perry she was a grandmother, but the young man was not put off by the fact Sharon was 28 years older
Years later, in January 2020, Sharon matched with Royal Marine, Perry, on dating app, Tinder.
She says: ‘I’d lowered the age range down to 19.
‘I scanned Perry’s profile and realised he was 22, which made him 28 years younger than me.
‘He was also younger than my three kids.
Sharon said that she was instantly attracted by Perry’s piercing blue eyes and muscular arms, and they started exchanging flirty messages
‘Perry had piercing blue eyes, brown hair and muscular arms. He looked like a model.
‘I told him how I was a grandmother but he didn’t care.’
During the next few days, Sharon and Perry flirted back-and-forth over messages.
The next week, Sharon invited him to her house.
She says: ‘He was even sexier in real life. Even though we had such a large age gap, Perry was an old soul. We had a deep connection.
Sharon, pictured with one of her grandchildren, said that Perry was not put off by the fact he’s younger than all of her three children
After a few weeks of dating, the couple went their separate ways because they were concerned the 28-year age gap was too much. But months later, they realised they missed each other and got back together
‘Thankfully, my 23-year-old daughter who lives with me was fine with it.’
The following week, Perry returned to Sharon’s house to cook dinner for her and her daughter.
Sharon says: ‘As Perry handed my daughter her plate, she said, “Thanks, kid”. We all laughed.
‘I was glad we could make a joke of it.’
The couple were concerned about how Perry’s mother would react, but she’s welcomed Sharon into the family after seeing how happy they are together
But a week later, Sharon and Perry had doubts about their age gap and stopped seeing each other.
Despite this, the pair stayed in touch every day and after a few months, they realised they missed each other and resumed dating.
In June 2020, they officially became a couple.
Sharon says: ‘Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Perry moved in with me straight away.
‘It was fast, but I was the happiest I’d ever been and it just felt right.
‘My friends all called me a cougar, it was hilarious.
‘Admittedly, sexually, mine and Perry’s age gap was a kink.
‘But it wasn’t just about that.
‘He was romantic too, surprising me with hot oil massages and filling the house with red rose petals constantly.
‘He made me feel so special.’
Soon after, the couple grew concerned over how Perry’s family would react.
Sharon says: ‘We had to come clean to Perry’s mother, who was the same age as me. I was so nervous.
Perry, 22, has a baby face and is often mistaken for Sharon’s son when they’re out together
‘Perry lied and told her I was in my 40s, not wanting to give her too much of a shock.
‘Then, eventually, I met her and much to my relief, she welcomed me with open arms.
‘She said she could tell how happy I made Perry. I was so relieved she’d accepted me into the family.
‘Not long after, Perry met my sons, who are in their late 20s and my grandkids too. They all hit it off.’
Since then, Sharon and Perry began receiving dirty looks from strangers.
She says: ‘It was really weird at first but we soon began to laugh it off.
‘Then one day, we were out shopping and I gave Perry my bank card to pay for something while I rummaged through my handbag.
‘The cashier said, “You can’t let your son use your card”.
‘Perry and I tried not to laugh. Perry had such a sweet baby-face, it wasn’t her fault.
‘Not wanting to embarrass her, we didn’t correct her.
‘After that, people constantly confused Perry for my son whenever we for dinner or shopping.
‘After a while, we made it a personal joke of ours where Perry would tell me to stop mothering him whenever I told him to do something.’
Now, the couple are engaged and are planning to get married this year.
Sharon says: ‘I don’t care about a silly number.
‘It’s the person who Perry is that I fell so deeply in love with.’