‘God sent him to me’ – Pretoria widow (64) head over heels for her Bloemfontein beau (29)
It all started with a Facebook friend request.
When Fransie de Bruin clicked ‘accept’ to the request from a man three decades her junior, she had no idea she had just connected with the next great love of her life.
But romance quickly blossomed for the 64-year-old widow from Pretoria and Bloemfontein’s Christiaan Niewenhuizen (29).
The two lovebirds started chatting on Facebook in June after Christiaan sent Fransie the friendship request “just because”.
Soon afterwards they exchanged phone numbers, and in August Fransie hopped on a bus to meet her young friend face-to-face.
“He couldn’t believe it when I turned up,” a giggling Fransie tells YOU. “He was incredibly happy to see me. I immediately swept him off his feet!”
Chatting to YOU from Bloemfontein, Christiaan says Fransie’s sincerity was like a breath of fresh air to him.
“I liked her immediately. She was so different, so warm towards me,” he says.
When Fransie visited Bloemfontein, she stayed at a guesthouse near Christiaan’s home.
“We’re both very religious,” Fransie explains. “That’s why I knew during my first visit that he is the man for me – enough of age! That night he held my hand as he prayed for us. I knew nothing else mattered.”
“Our attraction to each other is really because we’re both children of God. We’re also both soft-natured and we’ve been hurt a lot – now we can help each other heal.
“Ag, I think he’s unbelievably handsome,” she swoons, “and he makes me laugh so much.”
Their love affair is no passing fancy. With the blessing of her two adult sons (age 41 and 39), Fransie is now packing up her life to join Christiaan in his hometown later this year.
For his part, Christiaan, who has never been partial to women his own age, has found happiness in the older woman’s arms.
“I’m already in love with her, although we’ve only been together for a month in total. She’s different to anyone I’ve met before and I hope and pray God will bless our relationship. Then we’ll always respect each other as we do now.”
Yes, there are obstacles, Fransie admits, especially in other people’s attitudes to their relationship.
“I really don’t get it. There’s nothing in the Bible that says an older woman can’t be in a relationship with a younger man.
“When an older man has a younger girlfriend nothing is said about that. But when it’s the other way round then everyone has something to say.”
What’s more, she adds, she feels nowhere near 64 years old.
“I’ve always been very young in spirit. Before my husband died from cancer I looked after him for years.
“I didn’t want another older husband – I couldn’t go through the trauma of losing or looking after someone again.
“People always think I’m younger – especially when I’m well dressed, they think I’m about 35.”
Christiaan agrees. “But even if not, it wouldn’t have mattered. Her good-hearted nature is what made me love her.”
Fransie says she’s at peace about her relationship with a younger man, especially as her late husband had told her before he died that she shouldn’t grow old on her own.
“I’m not a person who can really function on my own. I believe God sent him to me and that we’ll walk a long and happy path together.”
As yet Christiaan has no plans to get a ring on her finger, Fransie tells us with a giggle.
But if you can still turn heads like a 35-year-old when you’re 64, time must be the least of your concerns…