Retired Rev Philip Clements, 79, met Romanian male model Florin Marin, 24, on a dating site – and married him. He also sold his home in Sandwich, Kent, in order to buy a €100,000 flat in Bucharest, Romania, 1,500 miles (2400 km) away. But the lover split up over an argument they had just days after Philip handed over the keys of the flat to Florin!
The couple had made a stance against Church of England rules barring clergymen from same-sex marriage by having a low-key wedding ceremony at Ramsgate Register Office in April, 2017. Now, Philip is back to the UK and staying with his friends, as he barely has a penny to his name. While his married life started off well enough, the old dude felt isolated in Romania, where he didn't speak the language and had few friends. "We went off in April and we had a great time. We used to go out to the cinema and shopping. He makes me laugh. We'd laugh a lot," said Philip. "I came over to England for some medical appointments for a fortnight in late August. When I returned, we had a disagreement."
"I thought he was unreasonable. I take some responsibility for it too but I decided there wasn't a future," he continued. "I was very lonely, not knowing the language or having any friends. Florin would spend a lot of time going out. He used to go to bed very late, sometimes 5am in the morning having been out nightclubbing or watching films. He said I wasn't allowed to go clubbing. It wasn't for old people. In my heart I didn't accept it but I trusted him."
Why did Philip hand over the flat to his young husband? "When things were going well, I wanted him to have security when I die. I'm 80 next year," he explained. "I didn't want there to be any doubt about occupancy when I die. He appreciated me doing it but I didn't know we were going to break up so soon. I left very sadly and very unhappy. My friends in England were telling me I should leave him but I left with a very heavy heart. He came with me to the airport. I've lost everything really. I've lost my house and was in a poor state. I stayed with friends on alternate weeks until I was given a granny flat attached to one of my friend's houses. I regret selling my house. I bought the flat."
"It was my suggestion to go to Romania and Florin liked the idea but I think we would have been better off if we'd stayed at my house in Eastry," pondered Philip. "I wouldn't have been so isolated and he would have had things to do." However, the story isn't done yet. Florin had visited England recently for a couple of days. "Florin started to contact me again. I hadn't lost my feelings for him so I reciprocated," said Philip. "He started texting and speaking on video and we're still in touch now. Things were very amicable. It was as if he did regret what has happened. I believe in giving someone a second chance. There's still something that binds us. We're not enemies."
"He's not doing it for money because I haven't got much money left," said the old romantic. "The two of us suggested that one day we would have a flat in a town – Dover or Canterbury. He's renting out the flat and he said he'd put part of that towards the rent. I don't want a divorce and he says he doesn't want anybody else. I've asked him to tell me if he finds somebody else and I would understand."