I was volunteering at a community radio station when one Friday night Greig turned up to volunteer as well. We became good friends. We were both very technical people and so we had lots of things in common and the friendship grew.
Apparently he’s always had this thing for blue eyed, skinny blond things and I turned out to be a bit of distraction to him. But neither of us knew the other was gay.
We were mates for 12 months before Greig got the balls up to tell me. One night, in a fit of alcohol-induced honesty, he told me he was slightly bent, though he wouldn’t elaborate on that.
A few nights later I asked him what he meant and he said he was gay. I said, So am I, and his jaw just dropped. He didn’t know what to say. We got together that night and we mark that date as our anniversary. I was 24 when that happened and he was 20.
We decided to move in together, which my parents didn’t take very well. Twenty years ago they invited Greig into their house for dinner and he hasn’t been back since.
I don’t see them that often anyway, despite the fact they live here in Sydney. Even to this day when I bring Greig up in conversation they always manage to change the topic.
I think one of the keys to our longevity is that Greig and I were friends first and we built a bond over common interests and common values before there became complications like sex. The other thing is I just never had any expectations of the relationship. From day one I was always just along for the ride.
A difficult time was when we started talking about opening the relationship. That was a few years in. It was my fault, I broached the subject and we decided to give it a try. The first few times something happened the other always felt awful afterwards, but we talked through it.
I don’t think we’ve ever thought about breaking up. He’s just someone I’m incredibly comfortable around. He just fits.
We’ve thought about whether we’d have a civil union, and the only reason I’d do it is for the legal benefits. At the moment we have our wills and all the paper work in order so if something happens to one of us, the other is protected.
Of course there is a risk my parents might try to intervene because they’re not very accepting of the whole thing, so if there was that sort of legal recognition we’d be in it.
We know a gay couple who’ve been in a monogamous relationship for 25 years, and couples who’ve been together for more than 10 years. That’s why I don’t think it’s a big deal we’ve been together for 20. I don’t see why it should be so hard to stay together. Why can’t everyone do it?
I joined the radio station in August 1985 and must have met him within a week or two of turning up. But the thing that really disappoints me is that I don’t remember the first time I actually met this man who was going to be my partner for 20 years.
It’s been a bit of a fairytale relationship -“ two guys at the same place in their lives, in their development, coming together.
I’m originally from the bush, from Wellington near Dubbo. I came to Sydney for boarding school and then started an apprenticeship with Telecom.
When we moved in together I had to tell my parents and they took it pretty well, and they’ve been remarkable ever since, which surprised Glen and myself. His city folk parents have been less than supportive, whereas my country parents have been fantastic, and both of my grandmothers adopted him as another grandson.
I’d put our longevity down to honesty and communication. We’ve always talked though things and been open with each other. I know some couples who have open relationships and choose ignorance as a way of dealing with it, but it’s certainly not been the case with us.
Opening the relationship was definitely difficult. It was probably two years into the relationship so it was fairly stable, but there were still insecurities there.
Like I thought if he went out with someone he might not come home, he might find somebody better. But we decided that if we find somebody and fall in love with them then it’s meant to be, and so be it.
There were people interested in us, we were meeting good looking guys and wanting to play, and we felt it was crazy to put these brick walls around the relationship and to pretend there was no one out there.
So we came to that agreement and came up with two rules: whatever we did outside the relationship had to be safe, and there had to be total disclosure. There can be no sneaking around behind the other’s back.
If some sort of relationship recognition, a marriage or an equivalent, gave us the same rights straight couples enjoy now, we would definitely be there claiming our legitimacy. Babies? No. We can’t keep plants alive, so no pets or children.
It’s been such a great relationship the whole way along. We both take life pretty much day by day, neither of us project where we’re going to be in five or ten years time. I think we’re both resigned to the fact we’re going to continue getting older together.
Interviews by Myles Wearring