A 23-year-old has opened up about becoming a step mum to her new fiancé's daughter, after the couple fell in love despite a 34-year age gap.
Alyssa Renee Gutierrez met her partner Peter, 57, on a dating app three years ago and had "instant chemistry", with Peter then proposing to Alyssa in Mexico on earlier this year.
"We were both living in Charlotte, North Carolina, at the time we met, and our first date was three days before my 20th birthday," Alyssa, who now lives with Peter in Las Vegas, said.
"Peter had just got out of a 15-year marriage in which he had two children - one of his daughter's is only three months younger than me and we are such good friends!
"I've always been attracted to older men my whole life - people think I only like men who are older than my father which isn't true because when I was 18, I had multiple relationships with people ageing from their 20s to their 40s."
The couple are constantly faced with backlash online and in person, with Alyssa often being dubbed a "gold digger" and strangers mistaking Peter for her father.
"We live a luxurious lifestyle which often includes dining at the best restaurants, going to high end designer shops, travelling monthly, buying exotic cars, and living other upscale experiences," she explains.
"When I was dating men my age, they were more worried about hooking up with me and playing games and they would never commit," she continued.
"I've always liked the thought of maturity, no drama, stability and realness in an older man which is why they're my type - he appreciates me and goes above and beyond to make me feel special.
"There is constant judgement surrounding age gap relationships but as time progresses, it's becoming more common.
"I was hesitant of people looking at us in the beginning but now, I'm very comfortable with public affection with him and we are just like any other normal couple."
When Alyssa first began her relationship with Peter, she was often worried about other people's perception on their relationship.
Out of fear of facing judgement, Alyssa says she even kept her relationship a secret from her parents for a year and even lost friends over the controversial age gap.
"This was my biggest age gap relationship yet so of course I was nervous and sceptical on how my family, friends and strangers would view it," she explained.
"We kept our relationship very low profile for about a year until we felt ready to share - my parents were very supportive of the relationship which I'm grateful for.
"I lost some friendships and my best friend at the time because of it but I've gained so many more who accept and love us together.
"We live in Vegas so it's pretty common seeing older men with younger women."
And the pair are now engaged with plans to hopefully have kids in the future - despite Pete already having his two children in their 20s.
"We're planning the wedding for 2022. [His children ]have accepted me into the family which is really nice," she added.
"We do talk about the possibility of having kids, but we are in no rush and would love to travel a bit more first and experience life.
"I am trying not to think far in the future because I am still young and enjoy pool parties, nightclubs, concerts and festivals.
"Peter loves going to all of these because he is so young at heart and full of energy."
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