Four months before her wedding, Mary knew it was over – Sydney Morning Herald

That was pretty heartbreaking, says Kavanagh, noting that her family was shocked.

It was starting to become apparent that things might start to get out of control.

She immediately moved out of the apartment they shared, moved in with her parents, and swore off men for a year.

I said to everybody who kept trying to set me up, I havent had good experiences, stop pressuring me to meet boys. Im going to be single for a year. Since 17, Id never been single.

She began to think she might never have a successful, long-term relationship.

You think, What am I doing that is attracting these kinds of people, and not allowing these relationships to flourish? she says.

Six months later, a work colleague, Billy, insisted Kavanagh meet his cousin. He just kept going, and going. Eventually, he sent me a photo, and I thought, Ohhhh, hes hot.

Billys cousin, Nicson Oliveria, 34, texted her and asked to meet for a drink.

I thought Id spend a week getting to know him via text, because this is what our generation does. I hadnt really been on any blind dates, ever. He said to me, OK, what about Friday? It was Wednesday. And I thought, Jesus, OK, right, were doing this. If its terrible, its fine, if hes an idiot, its fine, if Im an idiot, its fine.

Absolute butterflies, says Kavanagh, about her first impression of Oliveria, who works in IT at a bank. I turned up, and hes just a really beautiful guy, and he was so smiley. Now I know hes a big nerd, but then, I walked up and hes this guy in like, ripped jean shorts and a sleeve tattoo. I thought, OK, a bit of a bad boy. But hes not a bad boy at all. He comes from a lovely family. And he was just so direct. He said, I really want to see you again. Can I see you next Friday?

It was his calm demeanour, and the absence of pressure, from his side, that struck her, immediately, as being different to any partner shed been with.

A couple of years in, we talked about babies, and that all felt nice and natural.

Just the fact that he was direct, and not intense, was a really nice shift. There was no, You need to come, or you need to do this when I said to him I cant come to this thing, or that thing. He was awesome, Ill see you soon, then. He just let me be who I am.

It wasnt really long into it that we decided to live together. We were on a beach, we were together everyday, and he said, I love you, I want to live with you, and we did. A couple of years in, we talked about babies, and that all felt nice and natural.

After being together for around three years, they became pregnant with their son, Levi, now nine months old.

Their relationship hasnt been without its challenges. A number of people have looked at Levi, and asked, What is he? referring to his caramel skin or asked where his surname (Oliverias family stems from the Philippines) comes from.

I just dont want it to be a real topic of conversation when he gets older, she says. I just want to make sure that the discourses on race and nationality and ethnicity are all just kind of kosher.

But, for now, Kavanagh cant believe her life, as it stands.

I mean, Im smiling my face off right now. Hes just a really nice guy, and we have such a gorgeous baby. Im really happy.

Start your week with practical tips and expert advice to help you make the most of your personal health, relationships, fitness and nutrition. Sign up to our Live Well newsletter sent every Monday, here for The Sydney Morning Herald, here for The Age, here for Brisbane Times and here for WAtoday.

Samantha Selinger-Morris is a lifestyle writer for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

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Four months before her wedding, Mary knew it was over - Sydney Morning Herald

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