The saying “Ships passing in the Night” could not have been more appropriate for Paulo and Alex’s chance meeting. Fortune indeed smiled broadly upon them, when Paulo, who works as a Veterinary Food Inspector for the Army (E5), went aboard the ship that Alex was assigned as Chef for the US Navy (E4). Although Paulo was focused on the ship inspection and not available, Alex was a recipe for romance and their chemistry was already apparent! They met up again in Sasebo, Japan in January 2012 and by June 29th, Alex and Paulo became engaged.
Currently, Alex still lives in Sasebo, Japan, and Paulo lives in Pittsburgh, PA. They are in the midst of their 2nd deployment where Paulo did his PCS move from Japan to PA. To find a way to be together, Alex has opted to get out of the Navy after his term is up to PCS and move with Paulo. In other words, there is no such thing in the same-sex military partner world as a “Marriage of Convenience”.
AMPA has been of comfort and support to Paulo and Alex, giving them an opportunity to meet other military personnel and families without hiding themselves. Paulo said AMPA is “a great opportunity to show others that we, LGBT families, do exist in the military and that we go through the same emotional, financial, and other issues as straight couples do.”
Both Paulo and Alex are very active and enjoy running and the company of a large group of friends. Their communication is a key component to keeping the relationship strong across distances. They are both very devoted to one another and utilize good habits of talking through their problems and not hanging up when one is still angry.
Paulo advises, “Sometimes, there will be difficulties communicating with one another (like phones and internet not available). But, don’t let that bring you down. All you have to do is be strong, patient, and have trust in one another. Remember, that based on the mission, sometimes phones and the Internet won’t be available.”
Asked about qualities that he likes about his partner, Alex said, “Paulo is not afraid to be who he is.” Paulo describes Alex as “very devoted to himself and all those around him, specifically the ones he loves and trusts. He is very humble, sweet, respectful and a down-to-earth kind of guy.”