Sydneysiders Gareth and Dan have been together almost 13 years now.
Dan says he was first attracted to Gareth’s eyes and gorgeous smile, while Gareth’s spark was lit at first by Dan’s looks and then his caring, fun personality.
Same Same asked the young couple how they met, and for their secrets on how they keep romance alive…
Dan, how did you and Gareth first meet?
We worked together at an RSL Club – I was in the food service area and he was a barman in the a la carte restaurant. We’d seen each other a few times but it wasn’t until we both worked the same function and had to share a section that we started chatting and found we hit it off.
A few weeks later it was my 21st birthday, I invited him to my party and he came after seeing one of Kylie’s Intimate & Live shows. We played some pool, had some drinks and he stayed till the end chatting with me until we were the only two left in the pub at closing time.
We were work colleagues first, then we got together but it was a very slow, tentative process. This is the first long term relationship for both of us and we purposely took things very slowly from the start as we wanted to build a firm friendship first before rushing into bed or anything else – we actually dated and were seeing each other for many months before we consummated our relationship.
Gareth, what was your favorite thing about Dan initially?
It was his good looks which sparked the attraction! But as we spoke more and I got to know him better it was his caring nature and humour. Dan’s easy-going and doesn’t take things too seriously which are qualities I admire in him.
Dan, what about Gareth told you he was the one you wanted to spend the rest of your life with?
Right from the beginning of our relationship, we could talk about anything and I realized early on that he was the most loyal, forgiving and understanding person I’d ever known.
What about you, Gareth?
I was a fulltime university student; Dan was working hospitality hours so the opportunity to see each other was limited. As we spent more time together I knew that he was a wonderful person, generous and loving and I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. I suppose moving in with me cemented that!
No doubt every relationship has challenges to overcome. A key for me was learning not to let outside influences like a stressful job get in the way of quality time together.
Additionally, understanding what each person brings to a relationship is the total of all past experiences. A key lesson for me is recognising that and no one person is right or perfect all the time – as much as we would like to think we are. To overcome any issues, open, honest communication is needed, no matter how hard it will be and a desire to make it work.
What do you think has been the key to making your relationship last?
I think there are a number of factors. Having individual and shared interests, spending quality time together and communication.
We maintain both individual interests and shared interests; letting each person grow as individuals helps us grow as a couple. We try to go away for the weekend every few months or so which helps us reconnect with each other and we are fortunate to have shared some wonderful holidays together.
We also have a monthly date day where we clear our calendars and spend time with just each other, and don’t do anything with friends or anyone else, it’s a day just for us. We take turns in organising the days and we have done heaps of wonderful things like a cheese making course, kayaking on Sydney Harbour, exquisite dinners, breakfasts, movies dates, or do local tours of wine or cocktail bars.
Communication and listening are key – and being present and giving your full attention when in conversation.
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