What is the most important in life?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Partners In Business, Life - Las Vegas Valley Couple

Love stories often have the same narrative: Two people meet, fall in love, do crazy and romantic things together and get married. It often ends there or will fast-forward to the future with the couple raising happy children and staring into each other’s eyes as if they were on their first date.

The reality of marriage is far from a Hollywood plot, but it can be just as beautiful.

Dina Proto and Dina “Dom” Poist-Proto are the faces behind Teazled, an LGBT greeting card company. They came up with their business after witnessing their children struggle to find the right card for their two-mother household. While their business is now blooming, their marriage wasn’t always easy.

The couple met 10 years ago while working as nurses at a local hospice. Dina was married with children, and Dom was in an eight-year relationship with her then-fiance.

“We became friends first, but then I don’t know what came over me,” Dom said. “We were standing at a nurses station, and I just looked at her, and I said, ‘Have you ever thought about being with another woman?’ She looked up and said, ‘No!’ and put her head down. That was the turning point of our friendship.”

Despite Dina’s answer, the couple knew they had something beyond friendship. Shortly after becoming friends, Dina divorced for the second time, and Dom filed for divorce three months after being married.

The pair began dating in August 2005, and on Valentine’s Day 2006, Dina gave Dom a card with a heart-shaped candy that said, “Marry Me?”

“I stared down at it, and I remember thinking, ‘Yes, I want to,’ but a little part of me wasn’t 100 percent sure,” Dom said. “So I said no, and I kept the heart and tucked it away.”

“Our relationship almost ended there,” Dina said. “But I knew (she’d) fold.”

Two years later, Dom proposed to Dina with the same heart-shaped candy she placed inside a box.

They married in September 2008 in Laguna Beach, Calif. Reality caught up with them a year later when Dina opted to have a bilateral mastectomy.

“I didn’t have breast cancer; they caught it before it got to that point,” Dina said. “But that experience taught me how to re-evaluate life. It pushed us to (start our business).”

Teazled was started in 2011.

Dom’s mother, who was against the couple’s relationship in the beginning, inspired messages written inside the cards. It took her five years to come to terms with Dom’s choice.

The couple dealt with the emotional heartache of having a family member against their relationship, but despite the challenges, Dom’s mother finally came to terms with her daughter’s relationship.

“Now she calls Dina more than she calls me,” Dom said. “You really don’t know about the good times until you’ve gone through bad times.”

— Sandy Lopez, North View staff writer

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