Wisdom and stability — these are two things that 25-year-old Aaliya Lara cherishes about her relationship with an older man.
Aaliya, 25, met her husband Steve Lara, 48, two years ago, and is a year younger than his eldest daughter.
While Aaliya does find it embarrassing to sometimes be mistaken for her husband’s daughter, she says the worst of the negativity comes from online.
The couple shared a video about their relationship on TikTok, garnering 7.5 million views and ‘plentiful’ hate comments.
‘[We get] comments like, “This is sick”, “He’s a predator”, “He will leave you for someone younger when you get older”, and many more that I try to block as soon as they pop up,’ Aaliya said.
‘I think the most negative, hateful comment I’ve received was, along the lines of “Bruce Willis got dementia and his young wife left him, she’s going to do the same thing”.
‘From the outside looking in, I guess our relationship can seem shallow.
‘But it breaks my heart for someone to even speak something like dementia into existence for the man I love.’
On top of that, Aaliya said, it’s completely untrue.
‘I’ve taken into consideration everything that comes with dating a man older than me,’ she said.
‘It may sound naive, but I am prepared to deal with whatever is thrown at us and intend to take care of him until his last breath.’
Besides, the benefits completely outweigh the positives for Aaliya, who ‘caught Steve’s eye’ at a business meeting in September 2019.
She said: ‘Some of the best parts for me of being in an age gap relationship is the wisdom and stability my partner has.
‘There were many things I didn’t learn or know when we met and he has really opened my mind to how limitless we all really are in life.
‘None of my family who lives in California own their homes, my husband has owned many and we currently own the home we live in, and that gives me a deep sense of joy and stability that I needed growing up.’
Now, Steve helps take care Aaliya’s daughter, Addilyn, five, who ‘loves Steve very deeply.’
Steve is also a dad to Adrianna, 26, and Cristian, 22, from a previous relationship, who have met Aaliya.
When it comes to dating older men, Aaliya says it’s true that some have ‘bad intentions’ when it comes to dating younger women.
‘Don’t allow yourself to be abused,’ she said.
‘Find someone who truly loves you and supports you.
‘It’s really in the small details where you will find the answer to whether a person is right for you or not.’
And, for the people who stigmatise and hate on age gap relationships, Aaliya added, ‘I would just say I hope that you can find the love that we’re experiencing one day.’
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