I'm 66 & my wife's 29 – strangers stare when we hold hands & ask if I’m her MUM, our bedroom antics would stun them | The Sun

A WOMAN with a wife 37 years her senior has revealed they are happier than ever despite receiving backlash from strangers about their unusual relationship.

Julia Zelg, 29, and Eileen de Freest, 66, initially made headlines after meeting on Tinder and getting married in 2019.

Despite almost four decades between them and facing backlash from trolls who regularly mistake them for mother and daughter.

Julia says shockingly Eileen has even been accused of paedophilia but despite the backlash the London-based couple insist they remain “a team”.

But after struggling through “marital issues” during lockdown, the pair have decided to open up their marriage and are both “casually” dating other people.

With rules in place focusing on being “very honest” with one another at all times, the couple even get to meet each other’s new love interests.

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“We are [now] ethically non-monogamous, which has allowed us both to explore other connections while coming back together,” Julia, a YouTuber and singer, told NeedToKnow.co.uk.

“We’re learning more about ourselves and each other.

The couple are exploring their love life

“I’m exploring my sexuality, and Eileen is figuring out that she is more interested in intellectual connection than physical connection at this stage in her life – though that’s definitely still a part of it.

“We’re both casually dating people, and are open and honest with each other about those other relationships.

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“It’s been really fun to connect over crushes, dates, and more, and it’s brought a new energy and lightness to our connection.”

In the video, Julia says: “She [Eileen] is 66 now, she has the right to be retired, she doesn’t have to live life at the same pace as me.

“Because of the age difference, we are at very different stages of our lives.”

They announced the news this week on YouTube, where Julia has 300,000 subscribers, and on social media – where viewers questioned if it “defeated the whole point of marriage”.

A new direction – in love

In the video, the duo shared how their newly-open relationship works – with rules and boundaries in place to ensure both parties are happy.

For Julia and Eileen, they explained that the main thing was for them to be “very honest” both with one another and the people they date on the side.

Julia said: “If we are ever uncomfortable with anything, we tell each other and we make changes – we always put our love and our marriage first.”

The couple said they ask each other questions about new partners, and have even introduced one another to dates.

In the video, they confirmed they're “both casually dating” other people.

Battling low libido

Eileen said: “One of the things that has been difficult for me in the time of our marriage, the four-and-a-half years, is my hormones are kind of all over the place.

“I just haven’t had much desire…and that’s been a problem between us.

“For me, I’ve just been looking more for intellectual connections.

“I have a beautiful intellectual connection with you [Julia], but in seeking out other people, it’s been a little complicated because I’ll have to say ‘I’m just into cuddling!’”

For Julia, the focus has been more on “exploring” her sexuality, which is “more fluid” than she had previously thought, having always identified as a lesbian.

The wives also explained they are dating separately – due to having “such different taste” – and opening the marriage was not a way to look for a third member.

Julia said: “Sometimes we’re not attracted to the same people, or the people we’re attracted to are not attracted to both of us.

“We are so different and we have different types.”

A team – but with different tastes

“We are a team, and we love each other deeply, and while our relationship might transform in different ways as we are together, we will always be family.”

When Julia and Eileen first married they shocked the web with their near four decade age-gap.

At the time Julia said: ““People stare at us sometimes a little bit or they just assume Eileen’s my mother.

“If we’re somewhere and people say Eileen’s my mum, and I say that actually we’re married, they are usually very embarrassed.

“We’ve heard really awful things like people calling me a gold digger or saying I have mummy issues.

“Or in Eileen’s case, someone called her a paedophile, which is disgusting, I’m almost 30.”

The idea of having an open marriage initially came about during lockdown.

They know they're meant to be

Julia told NeedToKnow.co.uk: “During the pandemic, like almost everyone, we faced a lot of challenges.

“We were living in a small space and dealing with substantial Covid stress while I was also finishing graduate school and working full time.

“Meanwhile, Eileen was retired, and was at high risk of Covid complications.

“This caused a lot of tension in our relationship.

“I think that, for the first time, it became really clear that, while we are deeply in love and share values and interests, we are at very different places in our lives.

“Things hit a breaking point, so we decided to take some space with me travelling more to the US for my work.

“Doing that was really helpful because we were able to miss each other and come back together with joy and excitement.”

Now, they say opening their marriage has been “really positive” and “brought more lightness and understanding” to the relationship.

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Julia added: “One thing has become abundantly clear — we are family."

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