American couple uses their 23-year age difference to create dating app for like-minded people

Mark Ryan Raj
Despite their large age difference, Sheldon Owen and Shanice Rivers are madly in love with each other and hope to start a family together some day. — Picture via Instagram/@j.sheldonowen

PETALING JAYA, Sept 20 — Love knows no limit.

Or in the case of Sheldon Owen, 49, and his fiancee Shanice Rivers, 26, love knows no age limit.

The couple who have been together for three years, and only got engaged this year, have decided to come up with an “age gap” dating app, as reported by UK news portal Metro.

The couple decided that the app will consider any relationship with at least five years between a couple to be an age gap, after 1,000 people agreed on it during a survey.

“One can argue that age gap relationships have existed in the world for years, but society has made it a taboo, so our goal is to change that negative stigma,” said Owen.

Owen and Rivers came up with the idea after talking to various people who were tired of looking for the “right one” on dating apps like Tinder, and decided to create a dating app to unite people aged years apart.

They even spoke with other people from successful relationships and found out that age gap relationships actually have a high success rate, just like their own.

With that in mind, the couple launched iagegap, using Owen’s connections on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and LinkedIn to raise US$100,000 (RM418,260) to launch their app.

“Our journey as an age gap interracial couple has been interesting, to say the least, both of our families support us and think we make a great couple,” said Owen.

“However, society, on the other hand, seems to have a different opinion, as most of the negative feedback we receive come from complete strangers.”

He explained that both he and Rivers often receive ignorant judgements based on their age and colour of their skin, but that they are not bothered by it because they are in love, despite their differences. 

“Shanice is an old soul and extremely mature, while I am a youthful 49-year-old with a great attitude towards life,” said Owen.

Because of their unique relationship, Owen said that they would be the perfect poster couple for an app like this, especially since they have uncovered a niche market in the dating industry.

Owen and Rivers look really happy together, despite the negative judgements they receive from society. — Picture via Instagram/@j.sheldonowen

He added that these types of relationships exist in many cultures and races, and that love can be experienced by anyone two individuals, regardless of age, sex, race or religion.

“If a couple like us can randomly meet and become extremely happy, then why not build a better dating experience dedicated to helping other people find their soulmates?” said Owen.

The app for iagegap is still in its coding stage and is expected to be launched sometime next year, but the couple has created a website, ( and an Instagram page to get things going in the meantime.

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