Reflecting on Thirty Years

Jim Parton
4 min readSep 14, 2023
Photo by Author (on right)

“A great relationship is about two things: First, appreciating the similarities and second, respecting the differences.” ~ Invajy

Thirty years…How did that happen? We now look back on a shared road that has taken us on so many different paths. Many couples probably survive hardships greater than the ones we faced. Many may have enjoyed much less stressful happenings in their time spent together. However, I’m confident that none of them have traveled a road remotely similar to ours.

Our backgrounds were quite different. I was from Southern Oklahoma. He was from Iowa. We both had followed very different paths to Southern California. I graduated college and married a lively girl from the coast. She and I met while we were both working in Sequoia National Park for the Concessions Service called “GSI”.

He came to California after college to enjoy the Southern California weather and began working as a florist. He then worked in the studios with an events company that produced corporate parties and film studio functions.

We met as my marriage ended and he had left a dead-end seven-year relationship. I am sure why we became attracted to one another is still a mystery to most people. I fell in love with him the first time we ever talked. We had a short parking lot conversation at the beach. We were both leaving, and I had just been in the traffic, and I was cautioning him about the heavy coastal traffic I had just experienced. He remarked on the Dan Fogelberg music I was listening to. That simple. And, that complex.

“A great relationship doesn’t happen because of the love you had in the beginning, but how well you continue building love until the end.” ~ Anonymous

I was new to the gay relationship scene. He had been “out” for many years. Many of our younger gay friends find it amazing that we have stayed together for so long. Some seem to assume that our journey has been an exercise in overcoming the boredom of being with the same person.

Actually, our story has been more like the classic story of The Odyssey”. Our story has been one of so many different experiences all tied together by one protagonist, the very act of being gay, happy, and together in this society.



Jim Parton

Retired Teacher and Funeral Celebrant. The gay and married dad of three grown children. I have always been fascinated by the human condition. Come read with me.