Musings from outside the mainstream.
BALLROOM BETSY writes into DEAR ABBY that she loves to dance but that her boyfriend of two years “Jonah” isn’t a good dancer. They plan to take lessons together. But in the meantime he’s displayed jealously, saying he’d be “insulted and hurt” if she dances with other dancer friends as well as with Jonah.
DEAR ABBY correctly suggests that Jonah is insecure, and poses the question, “what if it turns out he has two left feet?” Since BETSY enjoys dancing as much as she does, ABBY suggests it might be time to change partners.
Ok. Again, I don’t have problems with DEAR ABBY’s advice on the surface. But, it doesn’t drill deep enough. Why did BESTY wait two years to see if Jonah could dance or not? This aversion to conflict is just as limiting as insecurity.
If it’s taken two years for you to dance together, I bet Jonah’s got pretty good reason to be insecure or feeling like there’s no way he can succeed in this arena (with you). Dancing is important to me as well. I usually go dancing within the first 3-5 dates with a woman. You should have addressed this head on within the first weeks.
That said, I agree that a romantic partner who either doesn’t dance or seriously hampers the dancer’s ability or willingness to dance is a legit deal breaker. In the future, bring this up or include a possible romantic interest in the activity at the very beginning.
It can fend off a lot of heartache.
For what it’s worth, I know several women who love to dance married to husbands who do not. These are long term couples who have simply given each other permission to be who they are and remain committed to each other.
The first thing I’ll say to address your insecurity is that I understand it. It can be frightening to be around a woman in her element if you are not also confident in that arena. There are few activities where a woman radiates and glows like she does in dance. Women are often far more naturally fluid and graceful than men.
But, women appreciate when we make the effort.
So if you want to remain with this woman there are a few things you can do/keep in mind. One, take the dance class with her and, for god’s sake, let her dance with other guys. Remember; it’s who she goes home with that matters. Two, even better take a swing dance class without her. Learn to dance with other beginners. This way you won’t feel stupid in front of your lover. Also, it’s better to learn any dance with different partners. This help us learn to lead (and follow) rather than simply recognize or intuit our partner’s familiar cues and tendencies.
To both of you,
I fell in love with dance late in life. My main hurdle is that I need repetition to get a move down before it becomes fluid. I played sports while most of my girlfriends or dance partners took ballet or tap or modern dance as girls and young women. My observation is that many dance classes don’t give guys time and enough reps to get comfortable with a step or sequence at the foundational phase and move on to quickly. I’ve had some partners who just haven’t been patient. That doesn’t help, and I’d just as soon not dance with them. But I’ve also had far more partners with varying degrees of ability who are just happy to be dancing (with me or just dancing), and that’s who I choose to dance with.