Jeremy, 47, and Charline, 19, were not even on the same time zone and lived 3,500 miles apart from each other. Jeremy is from Vermont, USA, while Charline is from Brussels, Belgium.
Charline stated: “I posted a picture on the 21 Pilots fan Facebook group and asked people what their favourite song was.”
She added: “Jeremy answered and I didn’t really react to his comments, but then he found me on Instagram and we started chatting on there.”
The pair realised they had a lot in common and gradually, they spoke more and more often.
“If it wasn’t for coronavirus, I don’t know if this would have happened,” Jeremy, a teacher, said. “But because I was in quarantine, I was online more than I would have been in normal life.”
Soon, Jeremy said he started waking up and wondering if Charline was awake, and it was clear his feelings were growing stronger.
But he knew there were hurdles to overcome – including a 3,500 mile distance and a 28 year age gap between the pair.
“I would never normally date someone so young and that far away, but about a week in I was like, ‘uh oh, I feel something’. I was excited to talk to her and I knew very quickly I enjoyed speaking to her,” he said.
He added: “I’ve had girls who live 70 miles away asking if I wanted to be in a relationship with them and I’ve always said no because I can’t do long distance. But with Charline, all the rules went out the window.”
Over the next months, the pair grew closer and chatted every day – and luckily, they didn’t have to try too hard to navigate the time difference.
Charline said: “Jeremy wakes up pretty early and I go to sleep pretty late, so usually when he wakes up I’m actually asleep for another hour. But it’s not a real problem for us.
“Something just happened between us, I can’t really explain it. We chatted every day, all day long.”
For the next year, the pair maintained a long distance relationship, itching for covid restrictions to end so they could finally meet.
Hoping the borders in Belgium would open by summer, Jeremy booked an eight-day trip to Brussels to visit Charline in June.
Thankfully for the couple, restrictions were lifted a week before Jeremy was due to fly – meaning after a whole year of chatting, the pair could finally meet.
“I went over there on 30th June. Neither of us were nervous about meeting because we already knew each other so well,” Jeremy said.
He rented an apartment near Charline for the week – but when he arrived, there was a surprise waiting for him.
Charline had arranged to get into the apartment before Jeremy arrived so she could greet him when he walked in the door. She’d decorated the place with Belgian flags and memorabilia.
“Seeing each other for the first time, there was an immediate connection. It was my favourite moment of my whole life, seeing her for the first time. It was absolutely magical,” Jeremy said.
“At my age, I’d given up on finding love. I thought I’d settle for just being a cool uncle, but now people tell me I’m living a fairy tale.”
For the next week Charline took Jeremy around Brussels and showed him the sights, introducing him to real Belgian fries.
Despite the nearly three decades between them, the couple say age isn’t an issue for them at all.
“I’m very childlike – I have Peter Pan syndrome,” Jeremy joked. “I’m the teacher that jumps on the tables.
“I’m very immature for my age, and Charline is very mature for her age. Neither of us notice an age gap between us because she’s an old soul and I’m a young soul.”
While some people tend to look down on relationships with big age gaps, the lovebirds say that, luckily, they’ve not experienced much judgment so far.
Jeremy said: “My parents were a bit concerned when I first brought it up, thinking she might be some young girl who wants a green card. And for Charline’s parents, they were like ‘he’s not much younger than us’.”
Despite the initial hesitancy, their families have both come to accept the relationship – with Jeremy even meeting Charline’s parents.
However, after eight days of bliss, the pair had to say their goodbyes when Jeremy flew back to the US.
“I joked that I left my soul outside the cab when I went to the airport,” Jeremy said, adding the pair hope to meet up again at Christmas.
“We have a plan for me to fly out on 26th December and stay until 8th January, but we don’t know what will happen with restrictions,” Charline said.
For now, they’re keeping up with each other online like they have for the past year, and counting down the days until they can hopefully be reunited again.
“She’s literally my dream girl. We’ve had this discussion many times and we know we want a future together. We’re both ready to move in tomorrow but between covid and timelines, we don’t know yet,” Jeremy explained.
While Charline considers whether or not she wants to go to university, the pair are weighing up all their options.
“My primary need is to be with him, even if I wait a few years to go to college. We spent a week together and it was the best week of my life, so my priority is to be with him,” Charline said.
Jeremy added: “I thought I’d been in love before, but I hadn’t until this girl came along. My world went upside down.”
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