Critics question the sincerity of a 48-year-old lawyer’s declaration of love for his 103-year-old partner.
Mart Soeson, an Estonian, has been dating Elfriede Riit, 103, since 2013. Until he was compelled to move into a nursing home in 2022, the couple shared a home.
Soeson is now begging to stay with his older partner in Australia.
Mrs. Riit is the grandfather of Mr. Soeson’s, and she was born in Estonia as well. Later in February, she will celebrate her 104th birthday. She was his second wife.
Mr. Soeson tells Mrs. Riit that he loves her even though she is his grandfather’s widow.
The couple insists that their age gap of 55 years is irrelevant, and they should be allowed to continue their “unique and long-lasting” love for as long as Mrs. Riit has left to live.
“What began as a good relationship I had with my late grandfather’s widow slowly but surely turned into a meaningful and loving relationship,” Mr. Soeson told DailyMail in an exclusive interview.
Mr. Soeson is seeking permanent residency in Australia on the basis that Mrs. Riit is his partner, but his visa application has been denied.
He was not officially told why the visa application was rejected, but he believed that the Department of Home Affairs was skeptical about the legitimacy of his union with Mrs. Riit.
“Yes, I know we have an age gap,” Mr. Soeson told Daily Mail Australia.
“And I know it’s an issue for some people.
“But generally, the age gap is an issue for an elderly woman and a younger man. It’s not an issue for a young man and an elderly woman, but I can’t change that perspective.”
Mr. Soeson has now taken his case to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, which he attended on Wednesday, January 31, with Mrs. Riit and three supporters for the matter to be heard.
The hearing did not proceed in the Sydney courtroom because Mrs. Riit, whom Mr. Soeson had assisted from the Maxi Cab to the wheelchair, was too distressed to participate in the case.