Monica Mares was just 16 years old when she adopted out her newborn son. It would be 18 years until she saw him again, having gradually built a relationship over Facebook.
But within weeks of their reunion, that relationship would take a “crazy” turn.
“It felt like I met somebody new in my life and I fell in love with him,’ Mares, 36, told The Daily Mail US.
“At first I told him, ‘I’m sorry I don’t know how you are going to react to this. I’m your mom and you’re my son, but I’m falling in love with you’. And he said, ‘You know what, I am too. I was scared to let you know’.”
The relationship soon became sexual, with Mares now believing her 19-year-old son is the man with whom she wants to spend the rest of her life. And Peterson claims to feel the same way.
In fact, not only are the pair unafraid to expose their relationship with the world, they’re actively working to raise awareness about Genetic Sexual Attraction.
Mares claims her two other children, aged nine and 12, don’t have a problem with her relationship with Peterson (apparently the youngest calls him ‘dad’), but their home state of New Mexico certainly does.
Both were charged with incest back in April, after police responded to reports of a domestic dispute at their Clovis residence. The pair were held in custody for breaching their no-contact order, but are currently out on bail.
“I never thought I was crazy for having these feelings because I didn’t see her as my mum, it was more like going to a club and meeting a random person. It didn’t feel wrong, it felt normal,” Peterson told The Daily Mail US.
“Honestly, I never thought we would get into trouble for our relationship. We were both consenting adults, when it comes down to it. She’s adult, I’m adult – I can make my own decisions. I never thought it would blow up into something like this.”
Mares is currently prohibited from seeing both Peterson and her other two children. But she believes it’s “every bit worth it” if it means they can be together in the long run.
“If they lock me up for love, then they lock me up. There is no way anybody could pull us apart, and I really do love him,” she said.
“It hurts he is far away. It hurts really bad. I wish I could see him, talk to him, but I can’t risk it.”
Peterson and Mares are due to face court later this year, where they could be slapped with an 18-month prison sentence if found guilty.
But despite potential jail time, despite immense backlash from their local community, the pair vow to fight to continue their sexual relationship. They even launched a (now-deleted) GoFundMe campaign appealing to the public to assist with their legal fees.
“He is the love of my life, and I don’t want to lose him. My kids love him, my whole family does. Nothing can come between us; not courts or jail. Nothing,” Mares said.
“I have to be with him. When I get out of prison I will move out of Clovis to a state that allows us to be together.”
In the USA at least, there’s no such place.