They met at Sporties in Brisbane. Paul spied Terry while wearing that venue’s unofficial uniform of footy shorts and a singlet, while Terry’s preferred garb leans towards tuxedos. More than a decade separates them. They have lived between Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and now in Darwin. Terry has beaten cancer. They are ridiculously in love. Both highly educated. Both fit. The Star Observer wanted to find out what makes Paul and Terry so happy.
“It’s not our jobs” Terry explains with enthusiasm. “We decided early on that we as a couple were far more important than any job”. Terry Houguet-Pincham holds more than one master’s degree and Paul Ohlobla is a commercial pilot so it was not a response that fit the mould. Terry was caught off guard by the “tall and handsome man” who he would find out was called Paul, or Pasha to his mates, who used a different pick up line than most at Brisbane’s iconic gay pub the Sportsman. “Can I put my arms around you” showed a sensitivity that Terry was looking for.
They have barely left each other’s side since, except when the tyranny of distance was forced upon them because of work, financial or health reasons. Terry explains how 12 years ago, he took a risk with the much younger 23 year old Paul. He asked Pasha to take a punt with him and follow a slightly unusual trajectory and learning to communicate with each other in what they call “preventative counselling”. Paul explains “Terry has trained in this area and while it was not something I had heard of before, I thought why not”?
Paul’s open-mindedness to this not only affirmed to Terry that he was on a winner, but he says that the three years worth of counselling at the front end of their relationship allowed them to communicate in any situation. Both tell how it changed their dynamic of being self-focussed to being genuinely committed as two parts of the one puzzle, where not one would lead, not one would follow, but as life events changed, they were prepared for it.
Being older, financially independent and professionally employed in executive roles, and with a much younger man, Terry understands the stereotype of him being the provider, but dismisses it. He recounts how his cancer that could have killed him took hold, “Paul was very much the one taking care of me” he explains. “Of course it was an adjustment but we really were able to face any situation together”. “I can not explain the physical pain I was in, it was like nothing I have ever experienced and nothing would make it go away. Just existing was incredible difficult” he recounts.
“Just to have Paul there, caring for me, was just so warm and comforting”. While all that was going on, Paul also had to pick up the slack, working at Tullamarine Airport doing a twelve hour shift as ground staff at Tiger, while also working in a bar at Richmond, and still trying to keep his study going to become a commercial pilot.
“We just had to do it” Paul explains adding “without a doubt this was a huge amount of pressure, but you just got through it”. Obviously our physical relationship changed and as Terry was weakened by the chemotherapy but we never lost the intimacy – our connectedness. We were still as physically connected as ever”.
“Oh but we still had date nights” Terry pipes in. “I love wearing my tuxedo even if I am the only one out wearing it. Paul prefers suits. Getting ready for date night is just so much fun. But it is much harder up here in Darwin. Oh I sweat” Terry moans with a huge grin on his face.
The boys are in Darwin because Paul is flying for a regional airline and Terry has put his career on hold “for at least the next few years”, saying it very nonchalantly sneaking a loving glance at Paul who pretends not to notice, but his smirk gives him away.
“Going to the gym together also really helps” Terry says with Paul adding “absolutely – it is like two mates going to the gym but I get to perve on my hot husband at the same time.”
In response to the simple question of what is their secret, “communication” the chorus, like they have left the same training session. But of course they had and they credit it as being life changing.
INFO – Counsellor Gerry North explains more “Preventative Counselling Gets Going While Going is Good”