Mum, 22, says family tried to end her relationship with tennis coach over 32-year age gap

A mum says her family tried to end her relationship with a tennis coach over a 32-year age gap.

Vanessa Szabo-Menyhart, 22, and 54-year-old Geza Szabo first met at a table tennis competition in March 2018, when Vanessa was 19.

The pair became good friends and eventually went on their first date at the end of August that year.

Vanessa, from Maidstone, Kent, said: “I was a school-leaver when we met at the table tennis competition.

“It wasn’t love at first sight, because I thought he was a bit full of himself.

“When I looked at him I only saw that he thought he could beat everyone and that he was the only winner.

“We didn’t think about each other as people who we would want a relationship with.

“Later when we started to get to know each other and chat a lot online, we didn’t realise we had feelings for each other – it just felt like friends who were important to one another.

“Eventually I was attracted to him because he showed his real self. He was a gentleman with a really good sense of humor so he could make me laugh all the time.

“We have a 32-year age gap. I was never attracted to men his age before, and he never dated women my age.

“I was scared at first because questions like ‘can this work with an age gap?’ and ‘what will my family think?’ were in my head.”

Vanessa’s worries were not unfounded and her family told her that she was being taken advantage of, and even tried to split the couple up.

She said: “My family weren’t happy when I told them what I felt about Geza.

“They said I’m naive because if he started dating me, he had surely dated other women my age and was just looking for a new trophy.

“They tried to manipulate me, saying that I should be going out with friends and dating other people, living the life of others my age.

“They wanted us to break up. They said that I would regret it in ten years when I see other people’s relationships that are better than mine.

“They accepted my choice later, but the way was not easy to reach this conclusion. Only my twin sister supported us at first.”

Despite the challenges, the couple have not let other people’s opinions affect their relationship, even starting a family together.

“We had our first child, Henrik, on 27th August in 2020, after being together for two years,” said Vanessa.

“We got married two days later, having gotten engaged on 29th August 2019 at the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

“By that time, all people had to say about us was ‘congratulations’.

“I was worried at first that maybe because of the age gap we would have some different opinions about raising our son. But it turns out that I was worried for no reason.

“As for Geza’s age – he is optimistic he will be around to see Henrik grow up.

“If he follows in the footsteps of his family tree, his grandmother was 95, his grandmother’s mother was 107 and his father 99.”

Vanessa sees a lot of judgement in people’s faces when they see the pair together – and some people even mistake Geza for her dad.

She added: “Before you judge someone because of a huge age gap, try to get to know them better,”

“Not every young woman is with an older man because of his money. And not every mature man who has a young girlfriend or wife, wants only a new trophy.

“Fortunately we have friends and colleagues who have accepted us from the beginning as they realise our relationship beats our age gap.”