90 Day Fiancé's Darcey Silva is giving love abroad another shot after her engagement to Jesse Meester ended in disaster on the Before the 90 Days. Ahead of Silva's return to the TLC franchise on Sunday's season premiere, she revealed to PEOPLE that British online boyfriend Tom was her "rock" during her split from the former beau.
"My past relationship was toxic,” Silva, 44, said of her former fiancé, 25 . “I learned about what I want in a relationship. I really dug in deep to love myself and I know that I deserve so much more.”
At 39, Silva revealed her new guy is a bit closer in age to her than Meester, but insisted it's not the number that makes a difference when it comes to love.
“I don’t really look at age within relationships, but I’ve always dated a bit younger than me in general,” she said. “Tom understands my lifestyle. He’s a great family man, and just understood all that. He has the right mindset. We just have this amazing bond that I knew it was something worth pursuing.”
Meeting Tom, she added, there was a feeling of fate when it came to their romance.
“When I looked into his eyes, I just knew. I felt safe and protected,” she recalled. “He just treated me with respect and like a princess. I felt more of a woman. It was a very beautiful, heartwarming feeling.”
“He’s got this wonderful softness about him that I love,” she added. “We learn a lot from each other. We don’t take anything away from each other’s personality, like, there’s something that we could add to each other in the relationship, so it’s been beautiful.”
Appearing on Before the 90 Days yet again, Silva knows she'll face judgement from some over her relationship, but she's standing firm.
“I know there’ll be haters, I know there’ll be people judging,” she noted. “But I’m a strong, woke woman. I’m a single mom, and I hold the fort down so there’s no shame in my game.”
“Hopefully people will see the real strength about me and that I don’t give up on life,” she continued. “I’ll find my soulmate and no one is going to stop me.”
90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days returns Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on TLC.
Photo credit: TLC