When gran-of-ten Isabell Dibble, 62, received a friend request from Bayram Boussada, 26, she thought he was a barista she met while on holiday in Tunisia.
But when they got chatting in May last year, she realised he was actually someone else and they soon fell in love.
Although Isabell was skeptical at first, the pair hit it off, and she flew over to meet him in Madeira, Tunisia, in October 2019, where he proposed.
Smitten Isabell said yes and despite their 36 year age gap, she says she has never been happier.
They married in January 2020 in Madeira, Tunisia, at a registry, and celebrated with around 100 guests, including Bayram’s family.
Isabell, from Dymchurch, Kent, said: ‘I know there are so many cons that go on so I had my doubts and I was skeptical.
‘I read stories about women like this and I never thought I’d be in this position.
‘He’s never asked me for money, he’s never asked me for anything.
‘He doesn’t care if I move there or he comes here, we just want to be together.
‘I have family here, children and grandchildren, so I don’t want to leave.
‘We’re struggling to get him over here with everything going on, neither of us earn enough, unfortunately, but hopefully, things will turn around soon.’
In May 2019, she was flying back from Tunisa when a barista in the airport asked her out. She was flattered but declined because he was ‘too young’.
But when she got back to the UK, she noticed a friend request but again declined it for the same reason.
However when she saw his profile again in her suggested friends, she decided to send him a request so they could ‘chat’.
Isabell said: ‘He was good-looking but a very young looking chap.
‘He asked to add me on Facebook but when his request popped up, I said no because he was too young.
‘When he popped up again I thought: ‘Why not add him?’
‘It would just be to chat – it didn’t have to be anything serious.’
However, she quickly realised it was someone different who had the same name.
His name was also Bayram and he also lived in Tunisia, but the pair had never met.
She said: ‘I said: “We met in the airport.”
‘But he said I had the wrong person, but he still wanted to chat.
‘We started talking and things went from there.
‘We literally spoke for hours and sometimes we were up till 3am on the phone.
‘I knew there was something there before we met face-to-face.’
Bayram invited Isabell out to visit him in Tunisia in October 2019.
She ended up staying for a week and met his parents, who helped set up a surprise proposal for Isabell.
She said: ‘It was like we’d known each other our whole lives.
‘I know people say that but it really felt like that.
‘A week later he sent me pictures of a tray of rings and asked me to pick one.
‘When I arrived in Tunisia, I met his parents – who were incredible.
‘They set up candles everywhere and got a cake and he proposed to me in front of them.
‘My family were a bit shocked to begin with and told me to be careful, which is natural.
‘Some came around quicker than others but everyone is fine now and happy for me.’
The following year, she went back to Tunisia for the wedding on January 2, with Bayram’s family, but her loved ones stayed in the UK.
Despite their age gap, Isabell says her family is supportive of their relationship.
She said: ‘My family were unsure at first, of course they would be.
‘But their attitude is: “You had it tough in life, so do whatever makes you happy.”
‘I lost three husbands and they know I need some excitement and love in my life.
‘They know I’m young at heart and that he makes me happy.’
Isabell, who has three children and 10 grandchildren, says the pair on the same page about having kids.
Isabell said: ‘We’ve spoken about kids and I’ve already got three grown up daughters, so I don’t want anymore.
‘For now, he’s happy not having kids.
‘Plus he’s young enough that if he does change his mind, he’ll have time when he’s older to have them with someone else.’
The pair are now hoping to get Bayram across to the UK so they can start their married life together.
She said: ‘There must be so many people in our position with their partners stuck abroad and finding it hard to get a visa during the Covid-19 outbreak.
‘It’s so difficult with everything going on at the moment, it’s a bit up in the air.
‘Hoping it may be by June but who knows.
‘I just can’t wait to get him over here so we can stay enjoying time together.’
Bayram, who works as a taxi driver, can’t wait to start his life with Isabell once the travel restrictions are lifted.
He said: ‘We spoke for about six or seven months before we first met.
‘I was a little nervous to see her for the first time but I was excited.
‘I don’t care about our age gap, I don’t think about it.
‘Age is just a number and I don’t see her as an ‘older woman’, I just see her as a good woman.
‘She just makes me so happy – I trust her and she trusts me.’
Isabell’s daughter, Emma, 37, was dubious when she first found out about Baryram but is now fully supportive of her mum’s relationship.
She said: ‘I was a bit dubious to begin with.
‘You hear all sorts of stories about younger men meeting older women and they’re only after one thing.
‘The thing that really worried me was that she was going to another country to meet a stranger.
‘I was on the phone to her the entire time she went over there – she would do the same for me.
‘Although after seeing their connection, I can see how genuine they are.
‘He clearly loves my mum. She’s been through a lot over the years and had lots of losses in life so it’s really nice to see her happy.’
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