A woman who married a man 30 years older than her says her family accused her of trying to get another dad.
29-year-old Renee Chicoye and 59-year-old Alberto Santiago from Florida went to the same church for years but their love story started only when they sat next to each other during a movie night in August 2019.
Speaking about the time they first had a real conversation, the mother-of-one said: “I served at church as a kids ministry greeter and he was in the church traffic team so we always said hi but never had a long conversation until our church had a movie night.
“In the movie our arms touched, I got nervous and my heart started beating fast. I noticed he didn’t move away so I didn’t either.
“The next day I met with my girlfriends and told them how I sat next to the guy with the cool salt and peppered colored hair and nice smile.”
She continued: “One of my girls told me to go for it and I didn’t hesitate. I thought we were moving insanely fast the entire time, but it just didn’t feel wrong so I didn’t stop it.”
But one week after that night, the two started dating and they decided to tie the knot on July 25, 2020.
However, not everyone was pleased with their relationship.
“One member of my family questioned why I was looking for another dad when I already had one,” Renee, a co-parenting coordinator, expressed. “Others wondered what would happen in 15 years’ time if my son wanted someone to run around and play basketball with him but my partner of choice is too old.
“It was a rocky start and we didn’t give them a lot of time to adjust, but they’re our biggest supporters now.”
Alberto, a warehouse manager, also revealed that his relationship with Renee has not been easy for his daughter, who is only ten years younger than his wife.
Members of Alberto’s family questioned if he really wanted to marry Renee, who has a 3-year-old son.
“Because my son is still young, he requires a lot of attention so trying to find personal time to build our relationship isn’t always easy,” Renee shared.
“But Alberto puts me before everything and is always thinking of me. It’s hard to even believe anyone could offer themselves so much to someone else.”
The couple now hopes that family and strangers who might be skeptical of their relationship will show them the support and love they deserve.
“I didn’t set out to find somebody thirty years older than me, but I can see a person for who they are,” she added.
“All people have intrinsic value as a God-given gift. We just want to keep falling in love with each other every day with the hope that any trial we have to face will make us stronger for our children to give them the best lives that we can.”
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