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“Fresh out of national service in 2012, Nicholas Fabian Cross, our company’s new intern, was an instant hit with the ‘aunties’. He was goodlooking, had charisma, a wicked sense of humour, and great taste in clothes.
He joined a group of us for lunch on his first day, and we became fast friends. We worked on different floors, but he started appearing on my floor to chat – under the guise of offering to return sample items to clothing brands for me. He left me short letters on sticky notes. Once, he even visited a ‘Love Calculator’ website, calculated our ‘Compatibility Score’ and printed it out for me.
It might seem glaringly obvious that he was trying to woo me, but I never got the hint because I just assumed he wasn’t interested in women. Plus, he was so friendly to everyone that I couldn’t be sure if I was receiving special treatment.
Not to mention, Nick was a whopping nine years younger than me.
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A year into his internship, Nick enrolled in a university in Perth, Australia, to further his studies. In mid-2013, a few weeks before he was scheduled to leave, he made his move. We were both running separate errands in Orchard Road, and decided to meet at the taxi stand. That’s when he confessed his feelings for me, saying that he needed to get it off his chest before he left.
His confession took me by surprise. ‘Go and enjoy your time there,’ I told him. ‘Maybe when you’ve graduated and you still feel the same way about me, we can see where to go from there.’ Undeterred by my rejection, Nick handed me a love letter right before he left for Australia.
Throughout his busy first semester at university, he made time to Whatsapp and Facetime me daily. He would also snap photos of flowers and send them to me. Since he couldn’t send me actual flowers, it was his way of showing me he was thinking about me. In the end, I was won over by his sincerity. By the end of 2013, we had become a couple. Nick and I shuttled between Singapore and Perth to spend time with each other – especially on special occasions like birthdays and Christmas. We spoke every night over Facetime.
Both our families were supportive of the relationship, but I admit that our age difference hung over me like a dark cloud. Would he end up trading me in for a newer model when he felt I was no longer attractive? Would he be too busy building a career to start a family? Would he ever be financially secure and able to support the family if I needed time off to have a baby?
Nick’s response: sending me articles about women celebrities who had dated younger men. And he would constantly reassure me that he was serious about making things work between us.
Photo: Her World
I did have friends who warned me to be careful and to manage my expectations. They told me Nick might change his mind about me after he graduated and started work. Thankfully, he didn’t.
In fact, when he started working in 2015, I noticed he would go above and beyond his duties, determined to climb the corporate ladder so he could help shoulder our financial responsibilities.
When I told him that I wanted to get married by a certain age, he knew what to do. He got down on one knee in May 2017 while we were in Osaka, Japan, on holiday. We were married before the end of the year.
Most people can’t tell that I am nine years older than Nick. It helps that he looks mature for his age and I look much younger than my age. Sometimes, my friends joke that I’m sapping his youth. But you know what? I’m glad I have him to keep me young.”
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This article was originally published in the February 2018 issue of Her World.