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  • Just Trying to Help

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    "Dear Edie,
    I have a major problem. My life partner is a competent dancer but lacks confidence and when I try to help her improve we end up having arguments on the dance floor as she claims I'm too much of a perfectionist and that I take it too seriously. I have several female friends with whom I have a good spontaneous rapport on the dance floor where we're able to be really creative, sometimes exciting and even magic. I know my partner would never reach that standard as she is not as addicted as I am.

    My dance partners have husbands or boyfriends back at home who allow them space to practice their art as I suppose their relationships are secure enough. I am unable to convince my partner that my relationship with these other ladies is restricted to the dance floor only and the reason why I sometimes go out without her is because she's unable to disguise her jealousy when she sees me dancing well with somebody else.

    It's started to cause problems in our relationship. What do you suggest?
    - Just Trying to Help"


    Dear Just Trying to Help,
    It took me quite some time to think about your letter to me. I asked many of my personal dance buddies, both male and female, both married, and unmarried, about what THEY would do in your situation. Many of them had great ideas, and I incorporated them in the following response I have for you. Thanks for such a great question. There are literally thousands out there who are going through the same "partner hell" you are, and I'm one of them. Here is my response...Some of the advice I give may sound radical andharsh, but believe me, if you truly love each other, please do as I say. The results will be phenomenal.

    First of all, you need to be VERY THANKFUL that your life partner even DANCES with you, and enjoys dancing, in one form or another, whether they are addicted like you or not. Can you imagine if your partner hated to dance all together? Can you imagine going out by yourself each night, while they stayed at home sitting on their butts, getting fat, watching TV... or worse, while they went to different clubs and bars by themselves?

    The problems you are having are typical of people who are married. Picture this. You're in your car, driving down the road, you almost hit a car, but you manage to avoid a terrible accident. You're proud you were able to pull it off and get you and your life partner out of a potentially life-threatening situation using your expert driving skills. You glance over at your life partner, looking for approval, and all she can give you is "that look".
    - You know.... "the look".

    WE ALL KNOW "THE LOOK". "The look" - as if YOU were the one that almost caused the accident, and YOU are the one with the driving problem.

    Suddenly, out of nowhere, your life partner decides to correct your driving skills, telling you what you did WRONG, and how you SHOULD HAVE done this or that, and "Next time honey..."

    THAT, my friend is EXACTLY what we feel like when we being corrected or "taught to improve" on the dance floor. It's a blow to our egos, and gets us very defensive, upset, and mildly angry.

    99.9% of the time, it is virtually IMPOSSIBLE to correct our life partner's mistakes AT ANYTHING, including dancing - without a fight or argument of some sort. All types of excuses will start pouring out of their mouths. "You're too perfect" is one of them. "You take things too seriously" is another. Your partner is trying to protect their pride. They are more than likely a bit intimidated with your dancing, and feel that they cannot measure up against other dancers you enjoy dancing with. This gives them a feeling of insecurity and uncertainty. It will happen first on the dance floor, then if not stopped, flow into other aspects of your relationship as well.

    Once you've had sex with your dance partner, that's it. ALL SORTS of expectations between the two of you start creeping up while dancing. You probably love each other, are great in bed, and at everything else... so why can't you "sync it together" in dancing? What's the problem here???? What happened?

    What's worse, is when your partner sees you dancing with others. This situation just magnifies the whole problem. I've seen perfectly great couples split up over dancing quarrels and nonsense jealousy. Jealousy that was completely unfounded, and dreamed up by the other. Jealousy will destroy a perfectly great relationship. Watch out for it. It is deadly. It's poison. It is a killer, and its sting can be mentally damaging, and last a lifetime.

    My suggestion to you? If you are a guy, start (as soon as possible) making GOOD friends with the other "good dancer" guys at the clubs. Have as many of your new "male" friends dance with her as much as possible. Throw her to the wolves so-to-speak. She'll enjoy every minute of it - trust me. Dance together with her, maybe 15% of the entire evening. Make long lasting good buddies with her new partners. If you are a woman, do the same thing, except from a female side. I encourage dancers to mix in with all the other dancers in the entire nightclub if possible, and ALWAYS dance with a different partner EACH AND EVERY song.

    Avoid dancing with the same person all the time. When there are not enough different dancers to go around for an entire evening, start over from the top of the list, and work your way through a second time. Include your life partner on that list as well. Buy your partner drinks, laugh (force yourself to smile if you have to), pretend you are enjoying yourself, fake it, and 4-sure joke around.

    Never, never, never whine, complain, try to help, correct, hint, or give any indication that you care about his/her improvement on the dance floor. People dance to get rid of the day's frustrations. Dancers dance to let loose - not to be told what to do, and how to improve. If they want that kind of advice while dancing, they normally will accept it only in a class setting, social dance (NY), practice party (LA), or practicing at home - ANYWHERE outside the nightclub.

    There is nothing more unnerving to dancers than other dancers trying to correct them or talk to them, or interrupt them in the middle of a great song or intimate moment. You will never know when that special moment will be for your partner. You cannot read their minds, only their eyes. Focus on their eyes. Smile, wink, flirt with your life partner - NOT your joe-standard, love to dance with partners. Dancing with your life partner should be sexy, erotic, fun, a tease, and very memorable. Who cares about perfection if you're concentrating so much on each other, swaying to the rhythm as one person...

    Dance floor moments like those are truly magical. We can all make them happen if we lighten up, pay attention to our partner's eyes, and simply let "ourselves" become one with them.

    Let us know how it goes by placing your comments below!!

    Happy Dancing!
    - Edie, The Salsa FREAK!!
    www.SalsaFreak.com
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