Is dancing emotional infidelity?

Is dancing emotional infidelity?

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Laura said:
I know this is going to sound weird, but it just came to me. For me, dancing is totally about me falling in love with myself. I grew up with so much self-hatred, self-loathing, with low self-confidence, etc etc. But dancing made me feel graceful and coordinated and happy and self-assured and pretty and shapely and elegant and and and and ....

I love stealing looks at myself in the mirror while I'm dancing, and it is is such a thrill to like what I see -- even though I'm about 30 pounds overweight and am rapidly approaching age 40.

So, I'm basically too much in love with myself when I'm dancing to really notice anyone else in that way :) :) ;-)
I agree to some of the things Laura write. I hit the wall a few years ago. Salsa is my way of healing and recovering. Both physically and mentally. It's much better than a shrink. Much cheaper as well.

These reason makes it very easy for me to avoid anything that seems to become a problem. My brain cannot survive more internal dramas. I have to avoid them or let them out in a secure way. If not or my brain will melt by the heat and the pressure. I rather melt down or evaporate on the dancefloor.

I was searching the internet for any discussion of dancing and infidelity, and I came across this thread. I was searching because I am the victim of infidelity that was made possible through dance. I was wondering if this was a common thing. I guess I'm not the only one wondering about the link between dance and infidelity.

My wife and I will have been married 15 years this June. She took up ballroom dancing seriously about two and a half years ago. I tried it from about 10 months, but my social anxiety made it more difficult than rewarding. This February I found out that my wife had had an affair with another amateur with whom she was considering entering an amateur couples competition. It nearly broke me and our marriage. We're slowly putting the pieces back together.

Infidelity doesn't strike only in bad marriages. It is a crime of opportunity, and dancing can provide a lot of opportunity. I've danced, so I'll felt the subtle and sometimes not subtle attraction that can pass between two people dancing. It's nice to think you can simply ignore it. It's nice to say that would only happen with bad people, or in bad marriages. But my wife is not a bad person, and our marriage was not a bad marriage. She made a mistake. She saw herself reflected back in a positive way that made her feel good, and she fell for the glamour of it. Life in a marriage is more like a microscope; every flaw is magnified.

So be careful with how complacent you are about your connections in dancing. It can happen to anyone.
I don't mean for you to take this the wrong way, but it sounds almost as if you are blaming dancing for what happened between you and your wife and I have a problem with that. Infidelity is infidelity and it can happen in any place, at any time, and in any situation. At many of the dance venues I frequent, a vast majority of the dancers are either married or in long-term relationships. Everyone dances with everyone else and seems to get along just fine.

But I am sorry that you had to go through such an experience.


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No, it can't happen to anyone. Just someone looking for an opportunity to cheat and something to blame it on other than themselves.
Even if they don't go looking - because I don't think cheaters always go into a situation intentionally looking to cheat - it's still their fault for turning a situation into an "opportunity". Lots of cheaters think "I didn't go looking to cheat, so it's not my fault!" While the first part might be true, the second is not.

Otherwise, I agree completely!


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This has been on my mind ever since I started dancing. But my hubby and I celebrated my first showcase as the day I was getting married to dance. I've emotionnaly betrayed him with every single dance I've done. I only had one passion in my life for 22 years and the past two I had another passion in my life. Is it bad, I keep asking him? He tries to convince me it's not, cos the guilt never goes. But at the end of the day it's what someone else previously said. I am falling in love with myself everytime I dance, so there's no room for anyone else. And the passion you see reflecting in my eyes doesn't come from your reflection but from my reflection mirrored in your eyes when I let myself go and dance with you.

and if I may add, I was relieved to have had the same emotional attachment to both male and females to both teachers and students...


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Loaded question which I've debated at length with dancers and non. IMO, any shared activity between the genders is going to create bonds. The nature of those bonds will depend on the people involved. But I've also seen the most stalwart admit to being tempted. So... it depends.


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I'm not sure if it's an artifact of the age of the thread and poll, but reading back, there appears to be remarkably little correlation between what people said they had chosen in the poll and what the board appears to claim that they chose.

Anyways, I consider it a poorly written question. As I see it, dancing is dancing and emotional infidelity is emotional infidelity. Now, it is certainly possible to do both, and depending on the individuals involved, a certain measure of care may be required in one's dance relationships. But I simply don't see them as being inexticably linked.

On a lighter note, I'll admit that my instant reaction to seeing this question was, "Ok, my pro-am instructor is engaged and my amateur partner is 15 years my junior. If dancing is emotional infidelity, I am apparently a terrible person." ;)


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I can't believe I never posted in this thread (maybe I did, and just don't see it) take on this notion is that most of us are going to notice when some one is attractive...that is simply about being human...and if we dance with one person regularly, we are going to notice whether or not that attraction becomes disproportionate or troublesome to how we operate during the rest of our lives or to what our goals might be...I think there is a point in time, nebulous to determine, when to continue something that has a disproportionate level of attraction is not an advisable way to be a faithful partner to whomever we are currently Jude, I don't really care for the way the question is phrased


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*Ponders the question while reflecting on other real life experiences.*

I have seen real life marriages break up through dancing, but I have also seen the same thing happen through office romance, online games, workaholics, hockey, etc.

One trend that I have noticed: when most of the passion, energy and excitement is destined for the activity and little is left for the SO, that’s usually when things start go wrong.
This thread sat dormant for almost 9 years before I posted. Seems a touchy subject for this many people to reply.

I am not blaming dancing. I am saying dancing provided opportunities that weren't there before. This is something of a point of contention between me and my wife right now. She's still dancing, with my approval and support. But she's not yet returned to social dancing, or socializing with the dance crowd after social dances. I liken it to returning to your favorite bar after having a bad drunk driving incident. Yes, it's your fault you got that drunk, but bars certainly provide a greater opportunity for that to happen than most places. Our marriage counselor expressed similar concerns.

As I said, I have a rather unique perspective on this. I've danced. I've felt the bonds, the attraction. I've felt the connection and the familiarity. I never went over any lines, or even came close to crossing any lines. But I've watched it happen with my wife. I don't think dancing made her do it. I don't think continuing dancing makes it more likely to happen again. But dancing contributed to the closeness she developed with her affair partner. It's an activity with a very personal feel. It requires physical contact, often smiling into each others eyes, sharing the exhilaration of a passion.

It's not like pool league, and activity we both took part in for years. Pool league is social, but the same kind of closeness doesn't take place. It's not like the gym. It's not like bowling league. It's a pretty unique hobby or passion.

I will agree with one correction to my earlier post: it can't happen to everyone. For some people, infidelity is just not an option. Even now, hurt and betrayed, I would never consider straying outside of my marriage. And it's the same with others, again according to my marriage counselor. So I retract that.


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One trend that I have noticed: when most of the passion, energy and excitement is destined for the activity and little is left for the SO, that’s usually when things start go wrong.
Very much agreed! Although IMO if someone is so invested in an activity that their SO gets what passion and energy is "left over," something has already gone wrong in the relationship...
A poor choice of words, perhaps. I don't control what she does. But she's working hard to repair the damage she did to our relationship, and wouldn't continue dancing if it was causing me unbearable emotional distress. Which is why she offered to not do the social dancing or going out for drinks after for a while.


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This thread sat dormant for almost 9 years before I posted. Seems a touchy subject for this many people to reply.
I imagine this has something to do with it:

So be careful with how complacent you are about your connections in dancing. It can happen to anyone.
Which more or less translates to "hey, dancers, you or your SO is gonna cheat if you don't watch out!" That might not be the tone you meant, but, well, it's the sentiment.

But dancing contributed to the closeness she developed with her affair partner. It's an activity with a very personal feel. It requires physical contact, often smiling into each others eyes, sharing the exhilaration of a passion.
I'm sorry, but if eye contact, light physical contact, and social interaction is going to make someone cheat... something's wrong. Plenty of people do these things in the context of dancing, and it means nothing more than "friendly interaction" or "three-minute dance crush". Sure, I guess if you avoid this kind of interaction, you might never discover the problem... but it's still there.

Dancing may provide something that is lacking in a relationship, but that is not a fault on the part of dancing. So instead of "be careful with how complacent you are about your connections in dancing" how about "be careful with how complacent you are about your relationship".


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#78 much to say here...and such a sensitive that I don't relish discussing anymore but I am going to talk about it only because I think I am in a unique position to speak to this....

it is no secret that I developed a very strong crush on my first pro...that in fact, during that time, it felt like a lot more than a crush to me...

and what I want to say to you Greylash, was that I adored my husband then and now. I was not a person who was ever inclined to be open to any sort of infidelity, emotional or otherwise....I think it is a fallacy that there are people who are open to it and people who are not and that there is some big distinction ...I think it is more nuanced than that...I am aware that some will disagree with me...we will have to agree to disagree..

Back to my point; what was true was that I had been in a marriage for a very long time (my entire adult life)...I was not aware of being particularly unhappy...I was aware that, like a number of married folks, we had allowed our busy lives and our level of comfort with one another to lull us into a rather complacent space...we started to dance together to do something together...As usual, my husband's very busy schedule left him with less time to dance than I began private lessons and took them more often, then a disparity in our skill level left us both frustrated he got busier I spent more and more time at the studio....all of this is to say that BOTH of us were responsible for the distance that developed...and the distance that developed is what created the vulnerability...not the physical proximity to my pro...though admittedly, that certainly didn't help...blessedly, nothing physical happened between my pro and I but, I did ultimately tell my husband and my pro about the feelings that had developed, and I do not at all take lightly the deep pain that my continued relationship with that pro happened to cause my husband...I have to live with that...and it is not pleasant...

But, what would be truly unbearable would be if my husband was not capable of grasping that we were both responsible for what was missing in our marriage that created that isn't about isn't about one of us being more at fault than the is about understanding how both of us failed to protect our marriage...not about one of us being more prone to infidelity than the other...there are no words for how grateful I am to be married to a human being who loves me so deeply and expansively and who is so secure within himself that he can accept some culpability, not all, or even most of it...but some of fortunate I am to have a spouse who can trust what I have learned (that I can learn and grow) and who believes in who I am at my core, which is not solely who I was at the worst and weakest moments of our relationship with my first pro ended badly under the weight of this issue and many other issues which were completely unrelated, including my dance progress....Very recently, it has undergone some healing....I have periodically attended some groups at my former pro's is an important is an important part of trusting and believing in myself...and every time I go and am not interrogated for it, I realize how hugely expansive and wonderfully loving the man I married is.....

there are things in my story that I hope you can hear and I wish you the very best


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#79 isn't about isn't about one of us being more at fault than the other...
Excellent advice, for all aspects of a relationship. IMO it's impossible to communicate and have a happy, stable relationship until you stop focusing on determining whose fault it is, and focus on "how do we fix this?"


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Human beings are social animals. We cannot remain sane without emotional contact with other humans. Further, it is not possible for all of our emotional needs to be satisfied by a single person (e.g., our spouse). We also need family, friends, co-workers, neighbors and acquaintances.

As others have mentioned, dancing is special only in the amount and type of physical contact, not in its emotional content. Many other activities involve physical contact, but I can't think of any that essentially consist of hugging someone else. Because of this physical contact, which is somewhat rare in our society, partner dancing can provide a shortcut to emotional connection.

For me, social dancing is often a component of a positive feedback loop of friendly contact. I have a strong emotional connection to the partners I dance with most often. I don't think of those connections as emotional infidelity, but as normal relationships. My husband and I are both somewhat introverted, so we appreciate the opportunity to make friendly contact without awkward conversation. When I see him dancing and chatting with another woman, my gut reaction is pleasure that he is enjoying himself. When I dance and chat with another man, I'm not open to any suggestion that that man can in any way replace my husband.

To summarize, even though partner dancing has an emotional component, it is not emotional infidelity. Crossing the line can occur from ANY kind of emotional connection. Since partner dancing can be a shortcut to emotional connection, it may appear to be dangerous. But it's the unhealthy expansion of an emotional connection rather than the origin of that connection that is the problem.

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