Three Miami Love Stories to Give Us All Hope

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Each week, Miami dating expert Nikki Novo gives us advice on finding love in this hopeless place. Have a question for Nikki? Email it to cultist@miaminewtimes.com.

When it comes to dating, Miami gets a bad rap. Maybe it's partially deserved. But perhaps we're just failing to see the good? After one too many unfortunate dates and a few short-lived relationships, it's easy to think that this Magic City has lost that loving feeling.

On the contrary: love is all around. For this edition of Relationship Rehab, we caught up with three local couples who live, work, play, and love in this city -- and make it all work somehow.

Before reading the series of interviews below, be warned: love does not have a limited supply. Just because they found it, doesn't mean there's none left for you. Instead, their stories and tips are an inspiration to all of us. If it happened to them, it can most definitely happen to you. Believe and you will see it. These locals did.

Dan Mileweski (owner, Lester's Miami) and Nina Johnson-Milweski (owner Gallery Diet)

What's the secret to making your relationship work?

We spend a lot of time together; our lives are integrated in a way that I don't think would have been possible had we met later on in life. We work together, play together, travel together... it works for us that way. I love knowing I always have a partner in crime. 

What do you think is the best way for singles to meet other singles in Miami?

At Lester's! Honestly, the happiest dating stories I have seen in Miami come from online dating; it's not the easiest social scene to navigate and leisure is often linked to work, which has its own difficulties. When you open yourself up to meeting people online, your possibilities become much broader. 

What's your advice for frustrated Miami singles?

It's easy as we get older to become stiff in our ways, but relationships are about compromise -- keep that in mind, even when you're on a first date. 

JennyLee Molina (Chief Creative Officer, JLPR) and A.T. Molina (Music Producer)

How did you two meet?

JennyLee: We met at PS14 (next to Vagabond), which sadly no longer exists. It was during an industry night that invited "local celebrities" to guest DJ, and I was up that night. He dug my playlist and just casually made conversation. The following week, he was invited to DJ and I was back at PS14. Except this time, he offered me a beer. We hit it off right away and just talked and talked for hours. The flow was effortless.

Our first date was two days later and he gave me a single red rose. I was already thinking, "Oh, you're a keeper." We have been inseparable from then on. Fast forward two years later and we're tying the knot in Vegas. Who says you can't find love at a bar? 

What's the secret to making your relationship work?

We are "best friends with benefits." We also support each other in everything that we do and respect each other's space when we just want to be. It also helps that we are hopeless romantics and we've never stopped being cute with each other. We go away regularly, have weekly date nights and make it a point to spend as much quality time together as we can -- when we let life get in the way of our quality time, it really begins to take a toll on us and we are cognizant of that. You can't make it work if you don't work at it. 

What do you think is the best way for singles to meet other singles in Miami?

Get out there and find the beauty in being alone! Make time in your busy schedule to go to events that offer activities you love to do, especially if it involves interacting with other people. Sign up to volunteer for a cause you're passionate about, take that salsa class, check out that bar crawl or go to that book signing -- by yourself. Not with a friend. This will force you to meet new people. I also think online dating is a great option to meet people who are looking for the same thing. 

Anastasia Koutsioukis and Ahmet Erkaya (owners, Mandolin Aegean Bistro)

What's the secret to making your relationship work?

We don't just love each other, we like each other. We're best friends first and enjoy spending alone time together. We work together, so it's important to nurture our relationship even if its just for an hour a day, whether it be grabbing dinner or running errands. It is the quality of the time you spend together, not the quantity.  

And two: never lose who you are in a relationship. Don't forget to be you. After all, that is what the other fell in love with. Never try to change your significant other. Love them for all their good and give them their space. We all need quiet time.

What do you think is the best way for singles to meet other singles in Miami?

I think you should hone in on your interests. What do you love to do? Don't try to be someone you're not. I don't believe in opposites attracting. You have to share the same desires, interests and morals for a relationship to work or else someone will constantly be compromising. If you're active or love yoga or cycling then hit the gyms, a yoga retreat or a cycling club. If you love culture and the arts then go to gallery openings or volunteer for an organization. Or if you're a food enthusiast hang out at restaurants or take a class. Find the community you fit into. You'll enjoy yourself and you'll be happy, and that's what makes you attractive in the first place. Your enthusiasm and genuine interest in what you're doing will attract like-minded people.

What's your advice for frustrated Miami singles?

Stop blaming the town you live in. I meet so many amazing singles. There are plenty of great people in Miami. Work on knowing yourself first and stop trying to figure out men or women. Have a positive attitude and stop trying to find Mr. or Mrs. Right at the clubs!

Oh, and most importantly, real love doesn't come with a stellar resume, or checklist; it's a feeling that comes from the heart. 

Soon, Nikki Novo will answer your questions about love in Miami. Need advice? Send your troubles to cultist@miaminewtimes.com.

Follow Cultist on Facebook and Twitter @CultistMiami.

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