Heidi Bloch and Zoe King make a long-lasting relationship look easy. I met with them a few days before they departed for Indian Wells, California, where they planned to not only enjoy a week of tennis at the BNP Paribas Open, but also where they were looking forward to celebrating their anniversary. Over the years, these self-described “opposites” have managed to turn friendship into a meaningful combination of love, respect and laughter. “Relationships shouldn’t be a lot of work,” said Bloch. “It shouldn’t be hard.”
After many years together, King, a legal consultant, and Bloch, an attorney, are obviously still very much in love. Together they have created a connection, which has carried them through life’s changing events and provided them a comfort in one another that is priceless. In their passion for tennis lies the ideal reflection of their relationship: They are, after all, a team—a real-life doubles team, each of whom trusts that her partner is the perfect match both on and off the court.
How long have you been together?
ZK: We’re celebrating 12 years the first weekend in June.
How far into your relationship did you know that you had found the one?
ZK: We knew each other as friends. I wasn’t looking to be in a relationship. It probably took me about a year, and the validation of that was (that) she truly lets me be “me”. Totally unconditional.
HB: I knew before she did … probably about six months … and I knew that I had her after her cat moved in. (King laughs). When she finally brought the cat over, I knew I had her.
After so many years together, what makes it all work so well?
ZK: I think we’re pretty opposite in our styles, but I think “opposite” works. If you’re so much alike, it’s gonna be kind of boring.
HB: I think we both are evolving, as people, and when people ask how long we’ve been together, it’s not just that it’s been 12 years; it’s been 12 good years. You always have your dips and things that you have to work through, but there’s never been a point where we had any doubts about our commitment to each other. We always tell each other “you’re stuck with me” and we both feel so strongly about that (and) I love the fact that I’m stuck with her and she’s stuck with me. We’re gonna grow old together. There’s no doubt in our minds and never has been. I always tell her, “I’m glad you’re on my team.”
How do you handle each other’s flaws or differences?
HB: I think you love them, despite their flaws. It’s a package deal.
ZK: I don’t love her flaws, but I accept them because that’s who she is. I can’t change it. I’ve tried to change them … it doesn’t work. (both laugh)
After almost 12 years, how do you hold onto that spark?
HB: You can’t ever become complacent. There’s a fine balance between becoming complacent—which you shouldn’t do—and becoming comfortable enough in the relationship that you don’t question it. And we’re crazy about each other.
ZK: You have to laugh at yourself, and you have to laugh with each other—we laugh a lot.
In your relationship, are there certain values that help to keep it successful?
Z: Having our own individuality is very, very important to us. I support her individuality and she supports mine.
HB: Neither of us feels we’ve lost our identity. We spend free time together often, but not always. We both enjoy tennis, but we also do it separately. We are very good at letting each other have our own independence and support each other in those efforts. Also, one of the most important things for both of us: Respect each other.
ZK: Yeah, you need to respect the person that you want to spend the rest of your life with.
HB: You have to communicate and you have to know what’s important to you and your partner. You make compromises and you pick your battles. It’s not a negotiation. ZK:(continuing) It’s a balance, and “balance” is a term we don’t use lightly.
How will you celebrate your twelfth anniversary?
HB: When we go to Indian Wells, we’re staying three days over and completely relaxing in Palm Springs and celebrating our 10-year anniversary two years late.
ZK: So, we’re gonna celebrate (years) 10, 11, and 12.
Describe your relationship in just one word or phrase:
ZK: The best. It’s the best.