Culture, Featured

It’s a Love Story, and Baby, They Both Said Yes

Everyone out there is looking for “the one.” And only a few are lucky enough to actually find their destined partner.

But what if your “the one” has been there this entire time, just waiting?

That’s how the love story of Oscar James and Jomer Arances, an LGBTQ+ couple, came to be. It’s not quite a fairytale, but it is real and romantic nonetheless.

Unassuming beginnings

Unlike most fairytale stories and modern-day romances, James and Jomer’s love story didn’t start with love at first sight. In fact, they had known each other for a while before they decided to get together.

Photo courtesy of James and Jomer Arances

James is a fashion designer and Jomer is a makeup artist, so they often work for the same clients together. They initially only saw each other as friends and Jomer has even been in other relationships throughout the course of this friendship. However, at some point, during an event where they were working together, Jomer started to see James differently.

“I have been seeing him around in the past but I don’t know what happened that day. There was something in the air…When he walked into the room, I was mesmerized,” Jomer Arances says half-jokingly. “That was the first time that we worked together that marked something.”

From then on, Jomer started asking James to hang out; they talked about themselves and how they felt, and the rest is history.

Making it official

Even when they were already hanging out together, it took the couple a while to commit and make it official. “I wanted to focus more on my career and my business. So when he came, it took me a while to really commit again. It took us one year,” shares James.

Photo courtesy of James and Jomer Arances

While busy with work and life in general, the couple would hang out, sometimes drift apart, and get back together. James was particularly hesitant about committing to a relationship.

“I just knew at that moment… Maybe he waited for me.” —Jomer Arances

“It took me 5 years to be in a relationship again. I actually talked to God and told him if I commit (to a relationship) again, I don’t want to be in a relationship that is so-so or temporary. You invest too much—you invest effort and time, feelings,” James explains.

James is one to ask God for signs, and God sure gave him a sign.

Oscar James was working on the outfits for Morisette’s Sinulog concert and it so happened that Jomer was a Morisette fan and wanted to tag along. Initially, James only had 2 tickets and one was supposed to go to his assistant, but she told him she couldn’t make it to the event after all.

“It always brings me back to him.” —Oscar James Arances

So by a stroke of destiny (or by his assistant wanting to help them get together), James and Jomer went to the event together instead. Those were definitely some life-changing concert tickets. 

“That was the time he asked me if we wanted to be official,” James admits. “[And] I just knew at that moment.. Maybe he waited for me,” adds Jomer.

Finding the one

After making it official and dating for a while, the couple didn’t take too long to decide that they were with “the one” they would want to be with for life.

“At first, I didn’t really believe in the saying ‘when you know, you know’ but somehow things just happened,” James adds. “No matter how you pull yourself away from that person, there’s that energy that brings you together… It always brings me back to him.”

Photo courtesy of James and Jomer Arances

After a year, they decided to get married.

“We just knew,” Jomer shares. “It was more of a mutual understanding. We were both on the same page, we got so much love and support from our family and friends. What is there to prolong the wait? Getting this chance to love and be loved is difficult, especially in our community (LGBTQIA+), it was something we didn’t want to lose anymore.”

Support from their community

Luckily for James and Jomer, their friends and family have been very supportive throughout their journey together. Oscar James elaborates, “Actually, Jomer’s and my family and friends have been very supportive of us all along. The love, understanding, and support has never been a doubt from everybody.”

This is why they are able to lean on not only each other but also their friends and family.

As the concept of same-sex marriage is still foreign to the Philippines, there are bound to be nay-sayers when they find out about their relationship. “People are entitled to their own opinions. I think respecting each one’s perspective is the key. So long as you live life with good intentions in ways you do and to people, I think that’s what makes it more,” says James.

A future together

You can fairly say that Jomer and James got their happily ever after. They are looking forward to a future with goals for their careers and personal lives with each other.

“It’s more of the feeling of assurance and security to one another, I must say. And it gave us deeper purpose to anything we do… together.” —Jomer Arances

They serve as an inspiration not only to each other but also to their fellow LGBTQ+ looking for love and acceptance. Jomer shares, “Always choose to be happy and free—free to choose yourself above anyone or anything else. If not now, when?”

Photography Kyrra Kho

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