Woman, 24, plans to marry man despite 44 year age gap

Conni and Herb met in three years ago

Conni and Herb met in three years ago (Picture: Mercury Press & Media Ltd)

When Conni Cotten, 24, started volunteering at a homeless shelter in 2018, she met Herb Dickerson, 68, and the pair quickly bonded.

Despite a 44 year age gap, they became friends – and then over time, they realised there was a romantic connection too.

Conni and Herb, from Charlottesville, Virginia, USA, helped eachother through addiction recovery and to celebrate her 18 months of sobriety, he proposed.

Initially friends and family weren’t pleased about the idea of them dating but now three years on, they’ve changed their minds.

Conni admits she still gets branded a ‘sugar baby’ by strangers but they don’t let comments like that bother them.

Farm worker Conni said: ‘People were shocked when we got together. 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.’

He proposed to celebrate her 18 months of sobriety

He proposed to celebrate her 18 months of sobriety (Picture: Mercury Press & Media Ltd)

Conni was instantly attracted to Herb but as they talked about their recoveries from substance abuse, their connection only got stronger.

Conni said: ‘We were both in recovery and that’s what really drew me to him.

‘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.

‘When we first met, I was immediately attracted to him and we had an instant connection.

‘I started flirting with him and he was really surprised.

Their families struggled at first but now accept their relationship (Picture: Mercury Press & Media Ltd)

‘We started spending time together. It moved pretty quickly from there.’

Herb added: ‘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.

‘I don’t know why she was attracted to me but she came on really strong.

‘My family said she was too young and some people said she wanted money but they’ve come around over time.

‘I lived with her parents for a year throughout lockdown so they got to know me really well.

‘We’re from two different races so it was a culture shock as well.

Conni and Herb (Picture: Mercury Press & Media Ltd)

‘She has a completely different energy compared to women my age. She’s really outgoing.’

The pair hope to marry and have many happy years together but Conni does sometimes have concerns about how much time she will have with Herb.

She said: ‘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.

‘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.’

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