Couple find love in what they dub ''unusual heterosexual relationship'' due to his extreme femininity and her masculine traits

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Meet the couple who have found love in what they dub an ''unusual heterosexual relationship'' due to his extreme femininity and her masculine traits.

Maren Butler, 21, who identifies as a masculine woman, and James Carrington, 23, who considers himself a feminine man, have been together for a year-and-a-half.

James loves ''girly'' things, including stilettos, lash extensions, acrylic nails and crop tops - all accompanied by his self confessed ''feminine mannerisms''.

Maren embraces a muscly physique, shops in the men's section and chooses not to wear make-up.

For both Maren and James, this is their first heterosexual relationship as they previously both dated the same sex.

The couple does not follow any stereotypical gender roles but instead chooses to mix roles as they see fit - Maren likes to open doors for James and he will hold onto her arm when they are walking out in public.

James, an events manager, said: "We don't like to conform to any kind of norms not because we are looking to be different but we just do what feels most natural to us.

"Maren does most of the cooking - which is stereotypically a female quality - but it's just because she's the better chef.

"Even though I identified as gay before I met Maren, I wasn't seeking a romantic relationship with men.

"A long time before I met Maren, I had one boyfriend but we only lasted a couple of months as it didn't feel right.

"When I got to know Maren there was the click and that's how I knew this was special."

Maren, a student, reached out to James on TikTok in February 2021, after finding videos of him online - and found his confidence "mesmerising".

The videos, which she first saw on TikTok, showed James speaking about his experience being a "fem-man".

After chatting for a few weeks they discovered a deep connection and were both strongly sexually attracted to the other.

Soon after, the pair exchanged numbers and began texting and calling every day, discovering that they had lots in common, including their love for R&B music and a similar sense of humour.

Maren, who studies Philosophy and Public Health at Tulane University, Louisiana, New Orleans, US, knew that she had to meet James in person so after only a month of talking.

In March 2021 she took the 800-mile journey to meet him.

She said: "We'd talked about meeting up and I had a couple of days off school so I decided that it was the perfect time to meet.

"It took me over 10 hours but it was so worth it.

"When I arrived it was fairly late at night but it was amazing to see each other in person for the first time.

"James was just how he was over the phone; funny, intelligent and confident."

Even though the couple only had 48 hours together, they made the most of it and went out for their first meal and James introduced Maren to some of his friends.

The loved-up duo have now been together for a year and a half and are enjoying ''breaking all the gender and relationship stereotypes'' with their unique love story.

Maren, from Central Valley, California, US, said: "I remember seeing James' video and thinking he was so cool.

"It was his confidence and his androgynous look that was so appealing to me.

"I left a comment on his video thinking he wouldn't respond but in less than an hour he replied and we started chatting.

"Before James, I'd only dated girls but I've always been attracted to fem-men because I love the combination of confidence and femininity.

"He has a pretty face and pretty smile, what's not to love!

''It's an unusual pairing but we're so happy.''

Despite them appearing outwardly as an ''unusual match'', they both admit that they are each other's usual types.

James said: "At the time we met, I was presenting myself as a gay man because it seemed easier than explaining who the real me is.

"When Maren and I started talking, I thought it would just be a fun chat that would last a couple of days, I never thought we would have such a deep connection."

After just three months of dating the couple made it official in April 2021 and have been going strong ever since.

In August 2021, James uploaded a TikTok collage of his and Maren's favourite moments together and the pair went viral overnight receiving over 13 million views.

Recalling the moment, Maren said: "I woke up with a text from James saying we'd gone viral.

"We got lots of lovely comments of support, some not-so-great ones but that's just life and we're happy together and that's all that matters.

"It's always nice to get comments of support under our posts, not that we necessarily need them, but it's just refreshing.

"When in public, we mainly get stares from small children and older people.

"We don't take anything personal as some people just don't know how to react and that's OK."

Whilst the news of the couple's happy paring didn't come as too much of a shock for friends, who knew their dating preferences, it took their families some time to adjust.

James, from Durham, North Carolina, US, said: "My dad was taken aback when I introduced Maren as my girlfriend because he's of a different generation and a paring like ours isn't something he's seen.

"Of course, he loves her and says she's the best thing to ever happen to me but he doesn't get it.

"Society is so used to putting people into a box.

"So when you meet people as unique as us, for some it's hard to comprehend because of how we present ourselves in our appearance and mannerisms.

Maren said: "It was kind of similar with my mum, as she was initially confused by James' presentation.

"Whilst it's annoying having to explain our relationship, some people just don't know how to react because they're confused and or curious, which we don't mind."

With Maren in her final year of studies in Louisiana, New Orleans, and James working an events manager in another state, the couple rely on FaceTime to catch up.

Maren said: " We FaceTime for two hours every night without fail - regardless of how tired we are.

"It's our way to catch up on what's happened throughout the day and just talk.

"Sometimes the distance is hard but with a connection as strong as ours, it's so worth it.

"We see each other when we can - usually when I have some time off school and training, I can drive to James' and when he often comes for the weekend.

"It's hard sometimes but it works."

The pair are planning to move to California together next year where they will be able to continue their blossoming romance.

Maren is looking to do a masters and then go onto medical school and James hopes to further his event planning career. and start his own company.

James said: "We cannot wait to enjoy the everyday couple things like waking up next to each other, enjoying new experiences and not having to cram it into one weekend.

"Most of all, we're excited to do life together and get married and have babies."

Maren said: "It's important to live your life in a way that you're happy with and that is true to you.

"That's what we're doing and we couldn't be happier."