They’ve been together almost a dozen years and married for four, but local actor Bruce Nelson, 52, and psychologist Dr. Richard Goldberg, 54, still emanate the romantic energy of new lovers.

They have a tendency to look deep into each other’s eyes as if they’re the only two in the room. Bruce and Richard are so in sync with one another that they’ve even developed their own vocabulary — it includes the term “derves,” code for whirling dervishes, or ways in which Bruce anticipates and responds immediately to Richard’s needs, from the domestic to the emotional.

It was one of these “derve”-type deeds that made Richard realize Bruce was “Mr. Right.” Returning to his Ednor Gardens home after a long day at work, he opened the door to his refrigerator. The light had been broken since he’d bought the house, but the light was on. Richard knew immediately that Bruce had fixed it.

While the chemistry between them is clear, Bruce and Richard didn’t become a couple immediately. They met when Richard, acting in a community theater project, received coaching from Bruce on how to mimic a German accent. About a year later, they both joined the online dating site They came across each other’s profiles, remembered each other from their brief earlier acquaintance, and decided to try dating.

Having already met each other made it easier to delve into a relationship. “We knew a lot of the same people,” recalls Bruce, who says that familiarity created a level of comfort early in the relationship. It also helped that the friends they shared voiced their overwhelming approval of the pairing. “Early on, a lot of people I knew were confirming that he was the one for me, and vice versa,” Bruce says.

While it’s nice when a couple’s friends approve of their relationship, its core strength must come from the couple itself.

“I loved his hearty laugh, his sensitivity. I saw him ply his craft onstage and just adored and respected his talent,” Richard says of his initial attraction to Bruce, who in turn was flattered that someone appreciated him as a professional. “He giggled at my stuff,” he says.

All these positive signs played a role in the men’s commitment to one another.

“I had a long, extended bachelorhood. Marriage meant coming into my own and being with somebody who could partner with me in life,” Bruce says.

According to Richard, this partnership includes acknowledging each other’s “challenges, weak spots and vulnerabilities.” Of course, we all have them. Both Bruce and Richard were quick to point out each other’s less-than-perfect points.

“He’s heavy on the brake,” Bruce says, while Richard notes. “He loves using those little floss picks. They’re everywhere.”

So too is evidence of their transcendent love.