From the first moment they looked into each other’s eyes, they knew that there was something between them. Though on paper they may seem like opposites, after one date they formed a deep commitment to figuring out long-distance logistics and had laid the groundwork for the 10 beautiful, fun and loving years they have spent together so far. It is immediately apparent how much Steven Garcia and Blake Miller truly enjoy each other. Warmth and laughter envelop them and are at the heart of what makes their relationship such a success. Three cheers go to Match.com in its early years—it brought together this incredible pair who value communication, independence and most of all, spending time together in their picturesque, retreat-like home in Lago Vista.
Tell me about when you first met.
SG: I call him my bargain boyfriend. I had tried Match. com a couple times and it didn’t work out so well. I got rid of my account, and then I got an email saying someone was interested in me—I could see his profile but I couldn’t respond. It happened that Match.com was doing a free weekend so I signed up for the weekend so I could get his email address and then immediately signed off again.
BM: I had been on about three dates and they didn’t go well either. After about six months I decided just for fun to change my radius from 20 miles to 100 miles and he showed up because he was living in San Antonio. I think I had only emailed eight or nine people and Steve was the only one who responded (laughter)…and it’ll be 10 years in October.
What makes your relationship so successful?
SG: Every day, it’s like joking with your best friend. I can honestly say I don’t remember one time we actually fought in 10 years.
BM: I don’t either actually. I think communication—I know it’s such a cliché but it’s so important—I communicate a lot more than Steve does; he’s a man of fewer words, but we’ve gotten to the point where if I need to hear something, I’ll hear it. You know, it’s funny that you said “best friends”—it’s the very first thing that came to my mind. But even your best friends can get on your nerves, right? We keep our own interests. He does theater, and while it takes a lot of time away from the relationship, it gives me my alone time. He gets to do what he loves, I get to see him on stage; it’s such an amazing balance all around. Then I have my interest of fundraising. It’s really important to me to give back; it’s who I am. Steve’s gotten more interested in the past couple of years, joining me in the fundraising efforts for Hill Country Ride for AIDS, Well Aware, and Austin Film Festival. Overall, I think it’s about a good balance of enjoying each other, doing your own thing, communicating.
Tell me about the most joyful day you have shared so far.
BM: I would have to say the boat last Saturday.
SG: That’s funny—that’s exactly what I was just thinking.
BM: It was pretty epic. We’re coming up on 10 years and we’ve had a lot of amazing times, but we just came through the shipwreck—the Costa Concordia that wrecked off the coast of Italy—for Steve’s 50th birthday. Long story short, we took the small settlement they offered because we weren’t physically injured and took that money and bought a boat. We took the boat out for the first time last Saturday and it was an opportunity for a lot of great dialogue and conversation. Just the two of us floating in Lake Marble Falls; I just feel like we really reconnected in such a great strong way after this chaos that has been our lives since January and the shipwreck.
SG: It’s easy to think you’re communicating all the time, but being out there on that boat with nothing else…it was really a gift.
Would you say the cruise was the most difficult day?
SG: It was difficult because we didn’t know what was going to happen next, but there was total confidence because I knew I was with Blake.
BM: I get shit done, just so you know.
SG: I know that when we first got the idea that this ship is going down, we were out on our balcony, and I was looking at the stars thinking “I pray to God that my family knows I’m thinking about them.” And then, when we finally got onto a life raft, I thought, “We are going to be OK.” Then it dropped and you could hear it cracking; it was going to fall apart. That’s when I turned to Blake and said, “If this is where it ends, then I’m glad I’m with you.”
BM: That’s exactly what he said. I think all I could muster at that point was “Me, too.” That was the scariest moment.
SG: But it was a moment, you know, we were very fortunate to find a lifeboat.
BM: Looking back, we were very proud of ourselves. It was one of those moments that asks, “who are you going to be?” We were focused; not screaming, not crying, not pushing, not being rude to other people, but really just taking care of that we had.
What do you love most about one another?
BM: He is one of the most genuine, kind, real people I’ve ever met. My friends absolutely adore him, my family adores him because when you see him, he gives you that warmth and attention; he looks in your eyes. There’s nothing like it.
SG: For me, I think it’s the changes that Blake has brought into me. He is the most courageous person I know. He takes whatever comes in life, and just says OK, this is where we are, now what do we do? He doesn’t go back and wish something else had happened. It’s changed my life immensely. He’s made me a much stronger and more confident person than I was before. That’s the best gift he’s ever given me—my confidence.
What is your favorite thing to do together?
SG: Just being here at the house. We’re out in the middle of nowhere; it was a Green Acres sort of thing so we gotta like each other. It’s to the point now where people will invite us out to really cool events, but I could also just sit on the couch and talk to Blake and unwind with a drink. I still honestly look forward to that. When we are having a quiet dinner at the table I still get butterflies.
BM: Just being. That’s what I love to do most with Steve. I love going to a concert with him; I love going to a play with him; I love seeing how excited he gets by performers because he is one; I love going to restaurants. I used to look at people sitting at a restaurant not saying anything and I thought it was so sad, but I realized that they could just be enjoying being with each other.
Do you have any gay couple role models?
SG: I would say Tom and Scott, friends of ours who recently moved to Chicago. It was the first couple that we met together. I think they have a lot of what I enjoy in our relationship. They joke with each other, when I see them communicate with each other they have so much fun together.
BM: They also look at cute guys together without getting mad.
SG: I do set my mom and dad’s relationship as a model. They’ve been together 55 years, and they still love being together. It’s the same thing, they have their separate interests, but they feed into each other.
What do you want L Style G Style readers to know about you?
SG: I was thinking earlier, I would love to write a book called “I know a gay couple,” for those people who don’t. Because I really do think when you do know somebody, you realize “it’s not what I thought.” With the whole shipwreck thing, I had never been out to my students, you know middle school I just thought it would be too much of a distraction, but then all the news reports said a gay couple from Austin. So when I got back to school I told the kids, OK, you have 10 minutes to ask me anything you want about the trip and then we’re gonna put it aside. One of the kids raised his hand and said, “Now who were you on the ship with?” and I said, “That was my partner.” Next question was, “Is the food good in Italy?” It makes zero difference to them.
BM: It’s that generational change we’ve been waiting for. We’re so close to where it doesn’t matter.
Describe your relationship in one word or phrase.
SG: Best friends.