I’m 19 & dating a tennis coach, 48, I met while playing with his DAUGHTER – our families give us hell but we’re in love
YOU know what they say, you can't help who you fall in love with and for one teenager, her soul mate happened to her tennis coach who was also the dad of one of the girls on her team.
Teen Natalie Noble, 19, from Kentucky, has opened up about her romance with Bobby Lindsey, 48, who she first met in 2015 when she joined his tennis team.
Despite Bobby being nearly 30 years older than Natalie and their families not being accepting of their relationship, the pair, who have their own YouTube channel, are still going strong and love the "age gap" between them.
Natalie explained that things were purely platonic between herself and Bobby when they first met, but things started to turn romantic when she went to university.
She said: "Bobby and I first met in 2015 when he became my tennis coach. It was my first year playing tennis, his daughter was also on the team and he was the coach.
"Obviously at the start there wasn't any form of romantic relationship, we were purely a coach and a tennis student."
The pair had each other's phone numbers for "tennis purposes" but eventually started talking more and more until they were speaking every day.
"At first it was a friendship, it was like we were best friends," Natalie explained, adding that she and Bobby were "both in denial" about their feeling for one another.
"We just kept saying that we were just friends because we were so terrified of the idea of admitting our feelings."
Bobby, who has daughters of similar ages to Natalie, had tried to end their relationship and encouraged Natalie to date other people, but later moved into an apartment close to where Natalie was attending uni.
They then started hanging out and the more time they spent together, things began to develop between them, with Natalie and Bobby deciding to officially date last year.
Natalie admits that she and Bobby were both "terrified" of being in a relationship, but their attempts to try and pull away from each other never worked.
"We kept it a secret for a while because of being so scared of how we would be judged. I think I have always kind of had an attraction to older men. I am super mature for my age so I can't really connect with guys my age," she said.
Natalie and Bobby ended up quarantining together during the pandemic and eventually built up the courage to go public with their relationship, with Natalie telling her best friend first and later telling her parents.
"I dreaded telling my parents the most. After I told my mum she was completely devastated. She did not accept the relationship at all," she said.
Natalie's mum spoke to Bobby and accused him of "taking her youth", before giving him an ultimatum and telling him he had to tell Natalie's dad about the relationship within a week, or she would.
Natalie's dad was furious on finding out and her parents wanted her to go to therapy to "fix things".
They still haven't accepted her relationship with Bobby, but now "tolerate it" because they know it makes Natalie happy.
"It made me not care as much about what people think and it has taught me self-love. I hope and pray that one day they will be fine with the relationship, but we still aren't there," she said.
Natalie revealed that people disapproving of her relationship – Bobby's daughters aren't happy with the couple's romance either – has only made herself and Bobby closer as a couple.
She added: "My parents tried to put us through hell to break us up, but it just made us closer as we only had each other."
Not fazed by Bobby being 29 years older than her, Natalie said: "I love being in our age gap relationship because I have an older heart and Bobby has a younger heart."
She and Bobby, who still play tennis together, are now hoping that by sharing their story they can help other couples in age-gap relationships, who may have gone through a similar situation to them.
They regularly post videos online about their relationship and share helpful advice for other couples, like opening up to parents and how to deal with judgement from other people.
Natalie insisted: "We know it is not the most conventional relationship, but we are happy and in love and that's the main thing."
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