I'm dating a man 23 years younger than me – strangers think I'm his mum & his family hate it too… but it’s all worth it | The Sun

WHEN Rachel Allen steps out with Alex Michael, they are often complimented by strangers for their sweet mother-son relationship.

But what they don’t realise is that 25-year-old Alex is not 48-year-old Rachel’s son, but rather her toyboy.

Rachel, from Houston, Texas, has been with her boyfriend, Alex for over a year and a half after meeting each other on a dating app following the end of her 26-year marriage.

Rachel, a teacher, joined the app after her divorce and didn't realise she had to alter the age preferences, and Alex had his set higher as he was curious about dating an older woman.

The pair, who now live together, started chatting, and after meeting for the first time, they say they had an instant ‘soulmate-like’ connection.

Rachel says: "I joined a dating app after my divorce. 

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“I was looking to get back on the scene and have some fun, although I didn't realise that I would need to change the age markers.

"I started to feel discouraged by the app. It was trashy and I wasn't into it.

"But then I saw the message I had received from Alex, and he'd actually messaged me in a nice manner.

"I kept going back to his profile, but I couldn't see his age. Although he looked younger than me.

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"But there was just something about him. We started talking every day and we hit it off immediately.”

But dating for the couple wasn’t as easy as most as they were living in different cities.

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With Alex living almost 2,000 miles away in New York, Rachel decided to fast track their relationship.

Rachel said: "I had no expectations for the trip and just thought he could show me around.

"He was also keen to meet up with me too and we discovered we had an even greater connection in person.

"We continued talking and meeting up. He flew out to Texas and we visited other places such as Miami.

"I never expected this to turn into a relationship, I thought it was just going to be a fling.

"But things progressed with us and we went on lots of trips, so I asked Alex, who is from New York, to come and live with me in Texas.

"Eventually, I asked Alex if he wanted to move to Texas and live with me.

"He got a remote job and everything fell into place.”

While Alex and Rachel barely notice their age gap, it hasn’t gone unnoticed by strangers.

"Alex and I are often told we look alike and we're regularly mistaken to be mother and son,” Rachel explains.

"When we walked into a gym together for the first time, the man on the front desk shouted 'mother and son! I can definitely see it!' to us.

"But I think he started to get the idea after we started walking in together holding hands.

"And on another occasion, a lady told me I had raised him right. We just laugh it off."

I have even had people yell 'cougar' at me.''

While the couple could laugh off comments from strangers, they encountered a few more issues when it came to their own families.

Rachel explains: "Neither of us had experienced such an intense connection before, however, we received lots of push back from our families.

"Alex's family is especially not happy about our relationship.

"I have two sons. They're 22, and 19. My youngest has been the most open and embraced it more, and I have had more push back from my eldest, however, he is always respectful."

After her divorce, Rachel says she was done with not being treated how she deserved and although judgement from family and friends has put a strain on the relationship, it's more than worth it.

She added: "We get stares and pointed at when we are out and about together, and it's mainly from women.

"I have even had people yell 'cougar' at me.

"But our relationship is so special, neither of us would ever want to walk away.

"We have talked about our future, marriage and kids.

"Biologically, I wouldn't be able to have any more kids, so if we decided we wanted to start a family together in the future it would have to be through another route. Perhaps adoptions or surrogacy.

"But we are in a serious, committed relationship and just taking each day as it comes. We are both so happy."

Alex lived with Rachel for a year before finding a place of his own in Austin, where Rachel has recently moved in with him.

He says that she helped him get on his feet and that the pair are looking forward to starting a new life together in a new city.

Alex said: "Being in a relationship with an older woman has been great. I'd never been with anyone older than me before, but Rachel has helped me mature and improved my morals and values.

"I don't have a fetish for older women or anything like that.

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"We know it's different, but Rachel looks amazing and she is young at heart. It just works between us."

To see more about the couple, visit: @alex.michael13_.

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