Jamie Sims is a psychologist who works with organisations and Stacey Dowson is a lawyer that specialises is LGBTI issues. Together they make a cute couple, who balance the hectic corporate world and squeezing in as much time as they can enjoying Sydney’s LGBTI culture. They fell in love as the girls next door – literally.

Dowson explained how it all started: “I met Miss Jamie at various parties of friends.  We were both in relationships in those days.  Jamie’s relationship broke up in 2001 and she moved in a share situation next door to me, perfect really and this was around the same time my relationship was changing.” Although Sims chimes in with a grin saying Dowson’s love life was “on again – off again”.

Both agree swimming helped them to connect, although Dowson suggests mischief was also at play.

“We started spending time together – going swimming in the afternoons after work – Jamie often told me how much she loved swimming. I later found out that was not quite the whole truth.  I remind her of that when she tells me the ocean is too cold,” she said.

With both holding down impressive careers, they opened up about how this works for the home-life and how it has evolved. Sims explained that they grew into their lives as partners.

“When Stacey and I met we were in both in quite different career spaces. I was working as a psychologist in the public service and studying an MBA for fun. Stacey was working for a community law centre, so we had more leisure time and were quite relaxed. We partied at least once a month (maybe more),” she said.

“That all changed in from 2004 onward when I moved into the private sector and began a career consulting to organisations. I began travelling a lot and worked much longer hours. Stacey started her own law firm in 2005 and Dowson Turco Lawyers was ‘born’ in 2007 – she has been incredibly successful.  Subsequently, I became a partner in People Measures in 2012.”

Dowson also talks about how they support each other, adding: “In some ways I can see we both thrive in our respective pressured situations, despite Jamie’s anxiety around it.  I try to help her manage this and harness the power of it.”

Both also concede that getting out of the public service and community services has meant that they are time poor but they keep their connection strong through simple pleasures. Sims said: “Time is a lot more precious now. We both love walking our dog on the beach, hanging out together at our local coffee shop or having dinner together (we always sit down to dinner together if we are home) as these are the times we talk.  We rarely watch TV – and currently don’t have one.

“We also have fantastic friends – one benefit of getting older is that we can enjoy relaxing with people who we have known for years – dinner, theatre or just coffee,” Sims added.

Dowson was busting with excitement after recently moving to new digs in Coogee: “We live by the beach and we make the most of it as well.  We do our morning walk together most mornings and we try to get at least one swim in each week and sometimes more on a perfect summer weekend.” 

This popular couple seem everywhere during the festival season and Dowson confesses: “My body knows we aren’t in our twenties but my mind says let’s go.  I’ve had a few health challenges over the years so I am a firm believer that you should party hard when you can.  The days when you can’t are never that far away so make the most of it when you’ve got it.

“We are kicking off our Mardi Gras weekend tonight at Women say Something and then the parade, the after party, Laneway and a final recovery party, we should get home some time on Monday but shhh… I haven’t told Miss Jamie all the details just yet.”

Sims looked quizzical at Dowson but endorsed her views.

“Stacey says ‘when you stop moving you die’ so we are always on the move. We really enjoy our lives and feel that we are both very privileged.  We both come from very working class families and didn’t have much when we were kids or young adults – so we are making up for it now,” she said.

Dowson pulled out her best Aretha Franklin when talking about what makes the relationship work: “R.E.S.P.E.C.T, compassion and empathy for yourself, your partner and others as well as for animals and for justice itself, are the absolute minimum you need to keep you and your relationship healthy, just ask Aretha, she was absolutely spot on.  

“You really have to have a healthy dose of respect for each other, even in times when you don’t want to have it.  Empathy and compassion are a must because they help you think outside of yourself and that’s where loads of amazing things can happen,” Dowson added.  

“The other biggie is that we complement each other; Jamie is my voice of reason and she helps keep me contained at times when I could act too recklessly.  She does this in a way that isn’t too prescriptive but more of a gentle reminder.  She also understands you can’t tame a tiger so she gives me free rein and leaves me to come to my own conclusions but generally all the while she is still whispering in the background just loudly enough for me to hear.  Jamie can be a little risk averse and a little conservative in some respects and I very kindly offer her an alternative,” Dowson said, continuing to be playful around Sims.

Sims played back into the narrative, responding: “Stacey is smart, funny, and opinionated, she is also a big softie, but I think what keeps us together is our shared view of the world and the way we would like it to be better. We don’t always agree on everything but we do care about the same things. It’s important to speak up for the people (and animals) that can’t speak up for themselves. The secret to love or compassion is sharing it with others. There’s lots to go around.”

This Star Observer Love Story was made possible by partners at Ben & Jerry’s Bondi Beach benandjerry.com.au

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 Stacey Dowson from Dowson Turco Lawyers is a volunteer contributor on legal affairs to the Star Observer. Her profile is here.

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