A woman who is engaged to a man 44 years older than her insists they’re just a regular couple, despite strangers thinking she’s after his money.
Conni Cotten, 24, met her fiancé Herb Dickerson, 68, in 2018 when she began volunteering at the homeless shelter he worked at.
The pair, who live in Charlottesville, Virginia, USA, moved in together within four months of dating and got engaged last year.
Conni has revealed that they’ve managed to convince their family and friends that they’re just a couple in love, although others have labelled her a ‘sugar baby’.
“People were shocked when we got together,” Conni explained. “The most common comment I get is people thinking that I'm with him for money, they think it's a sugar daddy relationship or they think he's with me just for sex because I'm a younger woman.
“My family were shocked initially and they weren't a fan of the relationship. They were concerned for my safety but they've accepted him over time because they can trust him and how happy he makes me. They love him like family now.”
Farmworker Conni confesses that the pair had an instant connection, which grew stronger when they bonded over their recoveries from substance abuse.
She says that Herb was surprised when she started flirting with him, but things “moved pretty quickly” after spending time together.
“We were both in recovery and that's what really drew me to him,” the 24-year-old gushed.
“He proposed in 2020 as I was celebrating 18 months sober. You get a medallion to mark the time but he gave me a ring instead.”
Herb admits that he was surprised when Conni “came on really strong” as he didn’t understand why she was interested in him.
“I didn't know what to think at first. It was a bit unusual that she was flirting with me and I was on the job at the time,” he remarked.
“My family said she was too young and some people said she wanted money but they've come around over time.”
Herb ended up spending a year living with her parents throughout lockdown, which he says was a great opportunity to get to know them.
“We're from two different races so it was a culture shock as well,” he added.
“She has a completely different energy compared to women my age. She's really outgoing.”
Although Conni acknowledges that she’s worried about the future of their relationship, she wants to make the most out of the time they have together.
“I have thought about the fact that Herb might not be around for as long as me but I would rather spend the time we have together than give it up,” she said.
“There are so many benefits to being with an older man. I want a simple life with no games or complications. I just want a life full of family and happiness.”
“Herb has said to me that one benefit of being with a younger woman is that I still have aspirations and goals. I'm really goal-driven and lots of women his age may not have goals anymore.”
With Caters News
Never miss a thing. Sign up to Yahoo Lifestyle’s daily newsletter.
Or if you have a story idea, email us at email@example.com.