Uncomfortable with my wife ballroom dancing with other men

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by NewMantoDancing, Aug 8, 2013.

  1. Aura

    Aura Active Member

    I'm not married so I can't give you advice there, but as someone who was once terrified of physical contact of that nature let me assure you that positioning like that is geared towards better dancing.

    My instructor that I began learning this with put it something like this (Let's see if I can re-iterate this correctly.): If you really want to glide around that floor in your Smooth/Standard dancing you need to make an appropriate shape. Those points of contact help with this. If you're in more open position, the kind that newer dancers use, it's harder to really zoom around that floor if that's the desired outcome. And as cabbagefairy said, the increased physical connections makes it easier for the lead to communicate to the follow what he wants her to do. It's all very technical.

    What helped me get over dancing so closely was a change in my thinking. If I got nervous, I told myself that I was putting way too much thought into it. "It's just dancing, and the only thing I'm trying to do is move better." I remember taking karate and having similar situations with physical contact. I had to remind myself that this is all about learning to defend myself and that the man touching me is only trying to teach me. Nothing more.
    chomsky likes this.
  2. Dots

    Dots Active Member

    I can think of one way that you can make it easier for you to be comfortable with this. Take the time to look at your wife dancing with her instructor and notice the points of contact that make you uncomfortable. Then look at the instructor dance with another student of the same level and notice that he is probably using the very same points of contacts. If there are teachers of the same level, notice how they too are using the same technique.

    This should help your mind go from “that guy is touching my wife” to “dance teachers must use these techniques with their students at that level”.


    The next best thing would be to try it yourself in the context of a private class or something. Heck, I remember how bright red my face had turned when another dancer insisted that we dance in contact position (back then, I was single and she was married). It’s always awkward at the beginning, but you’ll get used to it :)
    Mr 4 styles likes this.
  3. dbk

    dbk Well-Known Member

    Meh, you get used to it. It will probably help if you work on the same thing yourself... you'll very quickly realize the hows and whys of body contact, and that they're really not all that, uh, stimulating.
    chomsky, dancelvr and Mr 4 styles like this.
  4. sudoplatov

    sudoplatov Member

    Charlton Heston was once asked what it was like to kiss a beautiful actress like Sophia Loren. He replied, "Mostly, it was remembering not cast a shadow from your head on her face."
  5. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    although, let's be honest...sometimes, it's a little stimulating
    twnkltoz and cornutt like this.
  6. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    :D

    LOL... I was trying to figure out a graceful reply to the previous... it goes something like, "Body contact with pretty women? I don't have a problem with that!" (And note: a woman who dances is, by definition, a pretty woman.) Having said that... I do also at times dance body contact with other men, and I can tell you that I score a zero on the Kinsey scale. It's all in a day's work, so to speak.

    I've heard dancing described as the "three minute affair". You dance, and at the end, you thank your partner, walk her back to the seats, and it's over until the next dance. There are a lot of married people, pros and amateurs, who do most or all of their dancing with someone besides their spouse, and it doesn't lead to anything. Now, I do know single dancers who have met and gotten together through dancing, but it just as well could have been any other shared social activity. I hear very few credible rumors about affairs in the local dance scene; I wish my work environment was as ethical.
    chomsky likes this.
  7. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    right...and while there are also occasional teacher/student....um...." events "...it is rare....
  8. Wolfgang

    Wolfgang Member

    Trust me, we're pretty 'uncomfortable' with dancing with some other guy's wife or girlfriend too. Gets old.
    You brung her - you dance her.
    Bailamosdance likes this.
  9. cabbagefairy

    cabbagefairy New Member

    That's a bit unfair. Why should married couples only get to dance with the same partner all night? That's pretty much implying all the single people are dancing together for others reasons than just to dance.
    dbk and dancelvr like this.
  10. Wolfgang

    Wolfgang Member

    ..which, in the real world, the are.
  11. cabbagefairy

    cabbagefairy New Member

    Guess it depends where you dance. In the ballroom/latin scene, at least the places I have been, it seems to be dancers going to dance. Salsa, tango arg, bachata parties seems to be a bit more casual/flirty I guess, which is why I avoid them as a bunch of guys hitting on me when I just want to shake my thang gets old really fast.
    samina and danceronice like this.
  12. NewMantoDancing

    NewMantoDancing New Member

    This has all been quite helpful. I understand the why of the contact and the importance for being able to really flow across the floor and perform the intermediate/advances moves.

    We attend group lessons together and we each dance with other partners throughout the group lesson. I am having no issues with that. We attend dance parties together and we dance with others at those events. I am having no issues with that.

    My wife has invited me to come watch her lesson this evening. Part of me wants to go. Part of me is concerned about how I will react.

    I have to find a way to understand what is bothering me and get through it. Is it seeing/knowing my wife is looking so glamorous and alluring in contact with another man? Is it the length of time involved - it is not just a few weeks - it is essentially 6 months? Is it seeing/knowing my wife is so happy while in contact with another man? She is the happiest I think I have ever seen her when she is dancing with or talking about dancing with her instructor. When we dance well together at a dance party I am the happiest man in the world. She seems to be the happiest woman in the world when she is dancing with another man.
  13. bia

    bia Well-Known Member

    As far as this goes, it might help to see the graph posted in another recent thread:

    http://dance-forums.com/threads/problems-as-couple-learning-dance.43858/page-2#post-1009690

    I can imagine that in pure dance terms, she does in fact enjoy dancing with her instructor the most at this point. Good dancing just feels really good, and it's often particularly engaging when it's a new discovery. You, like other new leaders, can't give her that feeling yet, just because of your level of dance experience and the fact that leaders have the harder job at the beginning. As long as she's still happy to dance with you and other new leaders, isn't comparing you unfavorably to her instructor, isn't nagging you to improve faster than you're able, and isn't showing signs of translating her wow-he's-a-good-dancer feelings for her instructor into feelings beyond dance (which, given that she's inviting you to come watch, seems clear), there's no danger in her enjoyment, although I do understand why it would hurt your feelings. As the new-discovery-wow wears off for her and your own dancing continues to improve, the disparity in her dance enjoyment with each of you should narrow. Until then, the more you can regard her joy in this as impersonal -- like she just discovered rock climbing or fine cooking or whatever -- the easier it will be for you emotionally.

    ETA: I just thought of another analogy. Say you cook her a nice meal, and she enjoys the food and the fact the you cooked it for her and the experience of eating it together. And then she goes to a world-class restaurant and has an amazing meal by a professional chef, and you can tell she enjoys that food way more than what you cooked for her. You're not going to have a hard time coming to terms with that, right? Can you think of dancing the same way?
    atk, middy and twnkltoz like this.
  14. DerekWeb

    DerekWeb Active Member

    I suggest you take some private lessons with a Lady teacher yourself. You will improve more quickly, and you will learn how much "easier" it is to lead a professional. You can compare that to why your DW enjoys dancing with a professional. It really opened my eyes.
    stash, dbk and bia like this.
  15. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    okay, I am not going to lie to you...many a woman has failed to separate the divine feeling of dancing with their pro, from thinking that their pro is, likewise, divine....most get over it without un-do consequences, some do not...but it will fade...one way or another...that being said, it is most likely that your wife is only in the throws of how good it feels to dance with him...if you have never danced for long periods of time with someone as talented, you will struggle to understand it...it is not about her enjoying another man...it is about how it feels to dance with him....admittedly, that can get confused...possessiveness, however, has never been a turn on...so charm her with what you do well and be confident enough to let her have her thrill...trust me, that wins in the end
    stash and bia like this.
  16. NewMantoDancing

    NewMantoDancing New Member

    I like the analogies, but they aren't quite the same. Physical contact, elegance, romance, sexual connotation are not related to food, while they are all related to certain dance.
  17. NewMantoDancing

    NewMantoDancing New Member

    What confuses me is that in ballroom dance we are both beginners. She has done lots of other dance in the past where I have not, but in ballroom dance styles, I have learned quite a bit more than her in my lessons. When I dance with others at dance parties, it seems effortless. When we dance together, some of it is OK, but much is very hard- it is the lead - follow thing. For her routine with her instructor she is memorizing a QuickStep routine. In her routine with her instructor she is just so happy; when we dance together it ends up strained.
  18. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    It´s no wonder: she simply reels off a pattern, whereas you try to lead. Simultaneous coordination, navigation, and interpretation are much more difficult, don´t forget.
  19. jjs914

    jjs914 Active Member

    It is a totally different experience to dance with someone who is much better than you (a teacher) compared to dancing with someone who is at or around the same level with you. When you dance with someone much better than you, often it seems effortless because that person can over-compensate for the things you wouldn't be able to do one your own and make it seems like you're doing everything right. Of course that's easier than dancing with someone who is also trying to figure things out.

    As a new dancer I think it's easy to get swept up dancing with a person who is a great dancer...because it makes us feel good about ourselves.

    I danced with a partner at my level for years and there were always things that didn't work dancing with him that would work if I danced them with my teacher. It didn't mean I was a better dancer than him, or that I had feelings for my teacher, or that I didn't like my partner. I think that's just part of the reality of how two people meet in the middle depending on their levels of experience.

    Good luck as you try to wrap your head around this!
  20. bia

    bia Well-Known Member

    True, much of the time, but that's kinda my point. To get OK with the situation, it's important to realize that the physical contact and even the visible sexual connotation that are necessarily there in dance do not necessarily translate to romance or sexual emotions. Sure, sometimes they do. But lots and lots of the time, the physical contact is just using the body as a tool, and the sexual connotation is acting, as appropriate to conveying the mood of the dance. So if you don't have any evidence beyond the fact of the enjoyment of the dance that there's any inkling of romance, it's in the best interest of your sanity and your relationship to assume that the whole activity is as romantically neutral as anything else fun and enjoyable. (If you do have such evidence, see fasc's advice.) Ultimately, keeping up the discomfort will communicate to your wife that you don't trust her. And that's bad for a relationship even (especially) if the whole thing is as neutral as enjoying a good chef's food. So I'd recommend trying it as a mental strategy even though of course the parallel isn't exact.

    I don't have anything to add about the instructor thing, but about the difference between you dancing with others vs. with her -- this is not uncommon, and has been discussed at length here:

    http://www.dance-forums.com/threads/cant-dance-with-wife-or-best-friend.43399/

    Basically, the stakes and expectations are higher for both you when dancing together. You know each other well, you do other things together well, so you would expect to dance together better than with others, plus this is the time that you want the romantic connections that you typically associate with dancing. But you're both beginners, and dancing is hard, so of course there will be difficulties in the dancing. Those natural difficulties then assume a much larger importance than they do when you're dancing with anyone else, because they go against your expectation, so they increase the tension and frustration, which then messes with the dancing more. She might also have a harder time following you than others if the act of following feels to her like taking a less equal role than she normally has in your relationship. The best I can say here is to just realize that this is normal. Try to lower your expectations and be generous to both yourself and your wife when the inevitable bumps come along in the dance.

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