Love. Ain't it grand? It comes in all shapes and sizes, and no two loves are the same.
The Huffington Post Australia celebrates love in all its forms with the How We Met series in the lead up to Valentine's Day.
Olivier Duvillard, 42 and Darren Palmer, 38
How long have you been together?
Olivier: Darren and I have been together for five and a half years and married for just over five… yes it was that fast!
How did you meet?
Olivier: We’d known of each other for a few years as friends of friends and met socially a long time ago.
About six years ago after breaking up from a long-term relationship, I started showing more interest in Darren and asked him out a couple of times, which he refused as I think he thought I would be better off landing back on my feet and see what could happen then. And that's exactly what happened.
I asked him out a third time late September 2010, which he finally agreed to. This was it, really.
After our second date three days later, he pretty much moved in. I asked him to marry me weeks later, and we were married on January 6, 2011 in South Africa.
Darren: We met through common friends. When Olivier first asked me out I said no. He’d come out of a long relationship several months before and it was too soon.
A few months after he asked me again, and I again said no. A few months after he asked me out again, and again I said no. He finally asked me out and I decided I’d just have one date.
We said good night and I thought “whoa… this is big”.
Our second date was three days later and people were asking us how long we’d been together for. I pretty much moved in right then, Olivier proposed to me two months later and we were married two months after that.
What drew you to one another?
Olivier: His incredible charisma, his drive and direction in life, passion for design, love of family in general and without forgetting to mention his handsome good looks. Hard to resist really.
Darren: Well he’s very handsome and tall and has a great accent, so they were the things that immediately struck me.
What do you like most about each other?
Olivier: He is an incredible and supportive life partner. He is a caring and attentive Dad. He exudes passion for his work and all things design. We are connected in our life journey. We truly are each other’s missing puzzle pieces as we like to put it. We both knew it after that first date I think.
Darren: He’s smart, very kind, compassionate, loving and surprisingly goofy which not many people get to see, because he’s also very sophisticated and stylish. I love that we see through all the other stuff everyone sees and we see each other clearly and love everything we see. He also loves animals, is a great Papa and is just a really wonderful human being.
What is your favourite memory?
Olivier: A fairly recent one from our last visit in Byron Bay a few weeks ago. It was one of those tropical rainy days, literally bucketing down.
We decided to drive around looking at local real estate (as you do living with a designer) and made a stop at The Pass beach -- my favourite spot in Byron.
We had not planned to go for a swim but watching surfers and kids out in the rain made us think we should too join in. And we did, we jumped in the water in our shorts and it was pure joy. We were connected, carefree and it was pure bliss being in the warm waves at the same time as being rained on. This is one of these moments I will treasure forever.
Darren: This is probably a massive overshare but it’s true. When we started dating Olivier made me a mix tape -- a CD of a few songs that reminded him of me. I was listening to it in my little apartment and the song came on with particular significance and I burst into tears and did that thing you see in rom-coms where they slide down the wall and sit on the floor in tears. I was so grateful to have found my 'one' that I was overcome. I know it’s cliché but damned if that isn’t exactly what happened.
What is your secret to long-lasting love?
Olivier: Talk things out. Support each other. Don’t go to bed angry. Laugh a lot and enjoy simple joys. It works for us.
Darren: We talk, we don’t argue, we understand each other very well and understand that if something is on the other’s mind the best thing we can do is ask what it is and have a chat. We laugh every day and we trust each other completely. Without trust you have nothing in a relationship.