Is dancing emotional infidelity?

Is dancing emotional infidelity?


  • Total voters
    109
#82
On top of the physical contact, looking into one another's eyes, etc, I think there's also the component of music, and the whole setting of a social dance ... what with the anticipation of being asked, the 3 minute crush, and then separation and each again anticipating the next dance together, it could be pretty romantic. Heck, it can be a bit like high school again.

I'll admit that, in my younger days, I got carried away this way with a leader from the studio. We both relished those fleeting moments of close contact, beautiful music and sweeping around the floor. At the time, I had a boyfriend who was totally oblivious.

Can dancing lead to emotional infidelity? From my experience, I'll be first to say yes, it can. I also say emphatically that I allowed it to happen, instead of setting boundaries. In the committed relationship I am in today, I would never allow that to happen again.
 

chomsky

Well-Known Member
#83
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.
Same here. Thanks for this. I couldn't have found the words myself. I'll share it on my FB, hope you don't mind.
 

DL

Well-Known Member
#84
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 [inextricably] linked.
I agree. They're separable. With dancing or anything else: Boundary setting in the context of personal relationships is important; and as others have noted, vigilance in defense of established committed relationships is also important.

At the same time, as has often been said before on DF, dancing carries a radically different definition of "personal space" than most people encounter in day-to-day life; and with the diminished physical boundaries the "measure of care" in dance relationships perhaps must be greater, than in relationships in other activities.

I remember, long ago, when as a complete beginner I was doing some web searches about "learning to dance". I came across one site for a university team that offered classes, that opined (paraphrasing): "If you're part of a couple, and considering learning to dance because your relationship has some problems and you think this would be a romantic way to spend some time together and work on them: Don't do it. Just trust us on this. It's a really bad idea."

Nonetheless, people with strong relationships and who are careful with boundaries can and do dance, without "emotional infidelity" or the like. I probably would reject a claim that dancing is a justification or a root cause of infidelity. However attractive an explanation that might be, my sense is that the world is rarely so simple.
 

dbk

Well-Known Member
#85
I remember, long ago, when as a complete beginner I was doing some web searches about "learning to dance". I came across one site for a university team that offered classes, that opined (paraphrasing): "If you're part of a couple, and considering learning to dance because your relationship has some problems and you think this would be a romantic way to spend some time together and work on them: Don't do it. Just trust us on this. It's a really bad idea."
Hahaha, excellent advice! Although I would say that the arguing is what does couples in, not being around other people.
 

bia

Well-Known Member
#86
Hahaha, excellent advice! Although I would say that the arguing is what does couples in, not being around other people.
Yup. Dancing (specifically, practicing together to prepare for competition) is the hardest thing that DH and I do together. And I say that while being satisfied overall with how we manage it and pleased that we continue to improve in its management.
 

Mr 4 styles

Well-Known Member
#87
And I say that while being satisfied overall with how we manage it and pleased that we continue to improve in its management
after 13 years my wife an I finally don't "argue'..

oh wait we didn't dance today theres always tomorrow
 

twnkltoz

Well-Known Member
#88
My husband and I recently split up, but not because of dancing. When we were together, we could social dance a little, but generally we did not get along dance-wise. We could not practice together. We enjoyed social dancing together but only a couple times a night--the rest of the time we would split up and dance with others although we would often hang out together between dances. If dancing were going to cause me to stray, I've had plenty of opportunities in the past 13 years we've been together and was never tempted. To me, dancing is just dancing. Yes, there's an emotional connection and 3 minute crush, but it ends with the music.

My previous boyfriend would not let me go dancing without him, even with my brother as an escort, because he didn't trust me. That was just one of the things wrong with that relationship.

There are so many opportunities to connect with someone outside your marriage and let your marriage fail, if you're not doing the work at home to keep it going.
 

toothlesstiger

Well-Known Member
#89
My take on this: Let's assume I'm an non-dancer, and my SO is a dancer. When we meet, she has already been dancing for years. We hit it off, develop a relationship. I know, at that point that I am satisfying something in her that she could not satisfy through dance. I can have some measure of trust. If on the other hand, she didn't start dancing until we had been together for a few years, we have a change that I have to account for. My SO is growing in a new direction. There is a chance that she will grow away from me. Even if I take up dancing with her, there is a chance that she will find something that pulls her out of her relationship with me.

Now, I don't intend to judge how things go. I'm just pointing out the practicalities of how I would approach things. You could swap out dance for "new career", or "going back to school", and the same worries apply.

I consider marriage to be a commitment to be worked on. But I can't control another person, including my SO.
 
#90
sigh...so much to say here...and such a sensitive subject...one 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...so I began private lessons and took them more often, then a disparity in our skill level left us both frustrated ....as 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 vulnerability...it isn't about blame...it isn't about one of us being more at fault than the other...it 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 it...how 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 marriage....my 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 studio...it is an important step...it 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
A very moving Post "Fas", thanks for sharing.
Chris
 

chomsky

Well-Known Member
#92
My take on this: Let's assume I'm an non-dancer, and my SO is a dancer. When we meet, she has already been dancing for years. We hit it off, develop a relationship. I know, at that point that I am satisfying something in her that she could not satisfy through dance. I can have some measure of trust. If on the other hand, she didn't start dancing until we had been together for a few years, we have a change that I have to account for. My SO is growing in a new direction. There is a chance that she will grow away from me. Even if I take up dancing with her, there is a chance that she will find something that pulls her out of her relationship with me.

Now, I don't intend to judge how things go. I'm just pointing out the practicalities of how I would approach things. You could swap out dance for "new career", or "going back to school", and the same worries apply.

I consider marriage to be a commitment to be worked on. But I can't control another person, including my SO.
It's the change...The couple changes as a whole...They grow up together, they face the change together not one against the other but together. Just like a dancing couple dances together and not each dancer on their own. It's the togetherness...makes no difference when your SO dances or doen't dance in dance or in life alike...
 

toothlesstiger

Well-Known Member
#93
It's the change...The couple changes as a whole...They grow up together, they face the change together not one against the other but together. Just like a dancing couple dances together and not each dancer on their own. It's the togetherness...makes no difference when your SO dances or doen't dance in dance or in life alike...
It depends on the couple. I have seen couples grow together over time, even as they change, and I have seen couples grow apart with no obvious change, and vice versa.

I have noticed that different cultures have a different idea of the sanctity of marriage (I don't mean what religions say, but what the culture expects in terms of how hard you try to make it work). It is common in America to be more focused on getting your own needs met than on the partnership. There is no stigma to being divorced. It is passed onto generations. If your parents were divorced, it looks normal to you. If your parents were together through your whole childhood, this will also color your inclinations.
 

chomsky

Well-Known Member
#94
It depends on the couple. I have seen couples grow together over time, even as they change, and I have seen couples grow apart with no obvious change, and vice versa.

I have noticed that different cultures have a different idea of the sanctity of marriage (I don't mean what religions say, but what the culture expects in terms of how hard you try to make it work). It is common in America to be more focused on getting your own needs met than on the partnership. There is no stigma to being divorced. It is passed onto generations. If your parents were divorced, it looks normal to you. If your parents were together through your whole childhood, this will also color your inclinations.
I wouldn't say there's a stigma in Greece either. But I am only talking out of personal experience. I guess it's not only cultures. It just depends, as you said. It depends on your own personal circumstances, what life brings in your way...
 

toothlesstiger

Well-Known Member
#98
Hmm, let's give the guy a break. The way he expresses himself is rather ignorant, but if he had never been exposed to dance before, I could see where it would be disturbing. At least he asks for a sanity check, there. And if he were a rational, well-informed, there is still cause for concern, as she may discover something in dancing that he does not provide, as I had talked about earlier.
 
#99
And then, you get attitudes like this guy:
Sorry Guys,
I can forgive this guy his distinct lack of trust in his relationship and his similar lack of knowledge of Dancing. But I simply cannot forgive his atrocious spelling and his abominable grammar.
The fact he is also an emotional Neanderthal, just makes me feel incredibly sorry for his prospective partner. Rant over.
 

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