Tango Argentino > Tango and relationship

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by fazz, Nov 20, 2010.

  1. waltzgirl

    waltzgirl Active Member

    fazz, if I understand you correctly, you were not a dancer until you met this boyfriend and he introduced you to tango. As a result, I don't think you really "get" dancing. All your discussion of it seems to see dancing as a means to some other end--a way to meet people to date or a way to spend time with your boyfriend. Fair enough, since dancing wasn't something you were interested in enough to pursue on your own. But try to understand--for most people who dance, dancing is done to dance--for the pleasure of the activity--not for any other purpose. Many of us don't date in our dance communities--or do so very cautiously--specifically so that dancing will remain enjoyable for itself, without complications from romance. For many dancers, it's just more fun to dance with a variety of people; each partner brings something different to the dance, and that makes for a more interesting dance experience.
  2. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    Actually I admire Zoopsia's tenacity in consistently, clearly and patiently explaining
    all this to someone who seems not to be listening. Sometimes I wonder how Zoopsia
    has managed to work out what it is that Fazz is arguing.
  3. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    well, we're really just a couple of girls dishing about relationship problems... I have a LOT of experience with that! ;)

    (and when I'm not sure what someone is saying, I just project something onto them and assume I'm right, proceeding as though it's a certainty... LOL.
    Usually if I'm off-base, the other person sets me straight pretty darn quick :rolleyes:)
  4. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    Bet your friends appreciate you.

    Reading your answers in order to work out the questions
    may not have been such a good idea!
  5. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Several of them have said I should become a therapist or counselor. If I was younger and had time left for that much school, I would consider it.

    hahaha... well, it's a clue at least... not all clues solve the case.
  6. Dancebug

    Dancebug Well-Known Member

    I have been wondering how come nobody suggested this idea. I want to ask why the OP could not make friends of her own and become part of the community/his world instead of just waiting for her BF to come back, while he was dancing with other women. Having friends on the dance scene and chatting with them when you are bored with dancing is always fun. Nowadays when I go to a dance party, it is to see and talk with my dance friends than to dance. And dancers are most interesting people as a group, as far as I know.

    Also OP talked about the spousal space. I want to remind the OP that she and her BF were not married while they were dating. Expecting a spousal treatment while a couple is dating is not OK. It is good that the OP knows what she wants in a relationship. Unfortunately I feel she has something backward. I feel she wants to behave like a spouse before the relationship gets there. It does not work. It does not work even in the places where there are no dancers and no other women to interfere.

    My post might sound harsh, but I said what I said because I get what she says. I had the same kind of feeling and attitude. But I could not succeed in my relationship until I changed my view on relationship.
  7. LoveTango

    LoveTango Member

    Thank you, Zoopsia!

    I don't hide the fact that I have a happy family. I hope my dance partners don't dance with me because of the possibility of "dating" me.
  8. plugger

    plugger Member

    I agree that Fazz's issue is between her and her boyfriend and not with the tango community or the dance itself, but I hope this doesn't devolve into a "me vs you" zero-sum situation. There are couples who dance happily and only with each other, but many partners might feel that if they are asked to limit their dancing to one person, even the one they love, they're giving up much of the riches that the dance offers. Such a sacrifice, just because one partner currently and temporarily feels uncomfortable, insecure or jealous, is an awful lot to ask. Resentment is likely, and he might wonder what other demands are waiting for him down the road.
    I can't help thinking that this might be a temporary problem they'll look back on and laugh over in a year or so. I also wonder if her boyfriend is aware of how she might feel if she sits alone often while he dances a 10-minute tanda, and then maybe another, perhaps in close embrace and with very competent partners. He may have no intent to fuel her insecurity, but that result is perfectly natural.
    The advice that others have given, to socialize the other women at the milonga, is very wise. Also, she should accept dances with other men if asked, even if she feels unprepared.
    I know this is a tango site, but one reason I suggested that they might take a few C/W two-step lessons on the side is that the dance is fun (tango is wonderful but not exactly fun), busy enough to keep you focused on dancing (or you'll get run over), and very respectful and mannerly (you're separated by six inches or so and modestly clothed). And the dances last about three minutes, a short time to be apart. Perhaps most important, almost everybody in C/W is happy to dance with beginners. Tango dancers often have a different view -- I'll dance with you when I think you're ready for me -- which is perfectly valid in that community but can feel intimidating to newbies.
    I've went through times like that years ago as the insecure member of a couple. Now I get great pleasure both from dancing with my girlfriend and watching her dance with others. If this problem surfaces in tango it will probably surface in other aspects of your life together. You can deal with it, and you'll be glad later that you did.
  9. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    I know a married couple that danced exclusively for a year.
    Now they have big problems adjusting to other dancers.

    She could become friends with other followers but it seems that she could see a frenemy not a friend.
  10. plugger

    plugger Member

    That's another good point. If you only dance with each other, his leads will start to feel normal and correct to you even if they're not working very well and would be recognized by other dancers as incorrect. In effect, the two of you quite unintentionally develop a code that only works (sort of, anyway) with each other. If and when you try to dance with others later on, Fazz will probably have trouble following the leads of experienced dancers, and her BF will have trouble leading experienced followers. Much better to dance a lot with each other and also a lot with your felllow dancers.
  11. TangoRocks

    TangoRocks Member

    Wow, I'm coming to this conversation a little late, so a lot of what I would say have been already said, however let me put in my 2 cents. Note to the OP, you are not going to like what I have to say.

    I've been dancing ballroom/latin and swing for longer than the OP's boyfriend has, and so far have not dated anyone in my dance communities. However, it's an even bet that if my next gf is outside the dance community (most likely) she would be introduced into it, since I spend a lot of time at various dance venues and events. My nightmare is to have a jealous and possessive gf similar to the OP, insisting on exclusivity in dancing and/or for me to give up my favourite dances/dance partners because she does not want me dancing with particular ladies.

    Ballroom may not be as intimate as AT, but at higher levels with full body contact, I've danced with enough ladies much closer than I have been to anyone whom I wasn't already dating. Most if not all of these ladies have boyfriends, husbands, etc, sometimes in the very room we are dancing and so far I have not broken anyone up or caused marital strife among them. To paraphrase a quote often attributed to Sigmund Freud, "Sometimes a dance is just a dance" -- in fact, I'd say almost always instead of sometimes. I and many other guys go dancing to dance--not to find a date. You might as well ask yourself why the OPs bf didn't date any of the ladies at the milonga but is going out with her. If he was so enamoured, romantically, with his AT friends, he surely could have asked one out. Sure, there are guys who go dancing just to get into someone's pants, we've all met the type, but I've seen that mostly in club dance scenes like Salsa--not much in the ballroom/swing scenes that I am familiar with.

    Asking someone who's been part of a dance scene for 3 years before he started dating you to give up his dance friends would be more likely to backfire than not. If I was asked to give up dance, or given a list of ladies my new gf would "allow" me to dance with, she'd very soon become my ex-gf.
  12. Br0nze

    Br0nze Active Member

    I think I can understand where the OP is coming from, and I think it all depends upon the perception of an individual. I can speak only for myself, and I will do so, and hope that my experiences can be of help or of reference.

    It is difficult to watch someone you love be in the arms of another man or hold another woman. It is difficult to sometimes come to the conclusion that a "dance is just a dance." Dance plays with the parameters of personal and intimate space, space that is usually and typically reserved for personal and intimate people(s), ie: significant others. I think it takes a great deal of self-confidence and understanding of what dancing is and its function.

    For me, dance is a connection to another. However, it is a different level of connection for every partner I dance with. My girlfriend and I are both dancers, both dance teachers, and it is difficult for us sometimes to see the other in the embrace of another. However, we know that at the end of the day I go home with her and she goes home with me; we know that we are hopelessly in love with each other and because we are secure in our relationship, we've "gotten over it."

    It is in human nature to be jealous, and it is okay to be jealous. It depends entirely what one does with the jealousy that one feels. If I were a different person, I would make demands of my girlfriend to cease dancing with other men, but that would be foolish; I would lose my girlfriend as a result of being controlling. I do not want that. She does not want that. And so I must keep my jealousy in check, so to speak, just like she must keep hers in check if she sees me dancing with another girl. It's normal to feel these things... what is not normal is letting it take over your life, infiltrate your mind and dominate your thoughts.

    It takes a great deal of effort to be self-confident and self-comfortable. It takes a great deal of effort to be comfortable with "sharing" your significant other, not in a sexual way, but something close to, again because dance plays with intimate space. I think the best thing to do is to talk about how you feel and grow your perspective alongside your significant other. Typically in a couple the two people either grow together or grow apart. If there is no communication, there is no relationship. It's just like dance....

    It makes me happy now to see my girlfriend dance with others because she is enjoying herself as much as she does when we dance together. It is her joy that makes me happy, and vice versa. We also are aware that a job is a job, and our love life is our love life, kind of reminiscent of "a dance is just a dance." When we dance with each other, dancing is so much more than just steps and patterns. When we dance with others, dancing is just steps and patterns. It is the ability to differentiate and tap into a particular connection and turn it off when necessary.

    I cannot achieve the same level of intimacy with, say, a student as I can with my girlfriend, my dance partner (which are one and the same). And it is up to me to make that distinction. It would be inappropriate of me to expect it, even, it would go against my moral and ethical codes.

    That being said, there ARE men (and women) who go to Milongas and Socials purely to find a woman and engage in coitus. There ARE men (and women) who use dance as a way to enhance their sexual exploits. And there are men who do not do these things. Use your individual discretion to tell these two apart; I think it's fairly easy to do so.

    As others have said, the more you dance the easier it will get. The more you talk about it, the easier it will get. The more you discover about yourself, dancing, your partner, your bf, the easier it will get. There was a topic on romanticizing dance teachers and the dancer lifestyle.... this is an example of that very thing. That is not to say that dance does not lead to intimacy or relationships or love -- it can, I am proof that it can, and am happy to proclaim it -- but one must always be careful and be very self-critical and evaluative so as not to fall into the traps that can be sprung up very easily when one travels down that path.
  13. Mosca Negra

    Mosca Negra New Member

    Some flowers were never meant to bloom.
  14. Lonnie

    Lonnie New Member

    Do not want to dance with any other man

    My husband and I have just started learning AT. We have an extraordinarily close relationship and we love to do just about everything together. I was attracted to AT because it looked like a way to dance very intimately with my husband. I had no idea until we started that there is an expectation that you will dance with lots of partners - that brief physical intimacy with a total stranger is part of the fun.

    My husband's only difficulty dancing with other women is the fact that he is so new at it, he feels he makes mistakes and is therefore either a danger or a bore to any other partner. I have absolutely no problem with his dancing with other women - I rather hope he'll learn something each time - but I am experiencing an overwhelming aversion to dancing with anyone but him.

    It's a very friendly group that we've joined and I don't want to look like I'm stand-offish or not willing to play by the accepted norms. I just have less-than-zero interest in being physically close to any other man. Also, I have the great fortune ;-) of being hyper-sensitive to smell. Which means I adore the way my husband smells while the smell of any other man repulses me. And in AT, you certainly get within smelling distance! I can dance with a teacher for the same reasons I can be seen by a doctor: I'm getting benefit from a professional. But the others... no want! Any ideas how I should handle this? I can't see myself going around to every man in the group explaining all this!
  15. LoveTango

    LoveTango Member

    Welcome, Lonnie.
    I don't know about your community but it is not a problem at all that you only dance with your husband.
    You mentioned that "brief physical intimacy with a total stranger is part of the fun". I don't see it this way. At the beginning, I don't feel comfortable at all being with another man at such close contact. I love tango for other reasons, so I consider it (close contact) an obstacle to overcome. After a while, we desensitize, so the closeness has no intimacy implication at all.
    I think although you prefer to dance only with your husband and it should be fine to others in the group, it is to your own benefit to dance with other people. To me, one of the most addictive factor of tango is that we create an artistic experience through every single dance. I imagine, if you dance with one person over and over, the creativity might get dull? Could this be the reason that I often see wife or husband encourage their spouse to dance with another partner?
    Being dancing tango for less than two years, I am still a "beginner". You shall hear many different opinions on your issue.
    Happy dancing!
  16. Lonnie

    Lonnie New Member

    Thank you so much for your thought-provoking response. Perhaps after awhile I would desensitize, but I still have the issue of extreme sensitivity to smell. It's hard to describe this to people (which is most people) who don't suffer from it (sometimes it's great, like when the smells are wonderful. The smell and taste of a superb dish can literally bring me to tears of happy emotional overwhelm). If I can try to describe the level of revulsion... Most of us didn't grow up on a farm, and there are farms that, face it, smell bad. Very bad. But to the person who works on the farm, has lived there and knows all the benefits of the animals, the manure, the great food that is produced etc... that person probably either doesn't smell it any more - is desensitized - or likes it because of positive associations with it. But for many of us, hanging around particular parts of a farm is so revolting, we run from it. I know the perfectly fine men in the tango group don't smell like that! But my whole system reacts as if they did.
  17. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    He is right. But it's ok, followers know that from a beginning leader they can expect nothing but bruises and boredom. It won't prevent him from feeling comfortable after a while in a usual dance-studio, group-classes environment. For you, on the other sides, all men but your husbands are pigs. And your problem becomes your husband's problem as well, as you have to do everything together.
    How about you both go take private classes with a female teacher then?
  18. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    i agree with all the above.
  19. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Hugging is defined by the distance, IMO. It requires body contact. You can't hug if only your arms are touching each other.

    Now certainly, there are those who don't aspire to hug when dancing, and there's nothing wrong with that. There are also others (like me), that will want a close embrace for some songs, while being fine with opening things up (a bit) for other songs. But the amount of "intimacy" is not the same, as the emotions are not quite the same ("connection" vs fun/exhilaration).

    At least for me, anyways.

  20. Nathan

    Nathan Member

    That's a tough one. As far as I can tell, you've got two options:

    (1) Try to dance with almost everybody and hope you become desensitized with time.
    (2) Don't dance with anyone whose smell isn't in the range of neutral or good.

    Ideally, the best option is to try to become like the person who works on the farm (desensitized) so that your choice of partner's isn't so limited. It's hard enough finding partners with whom you can have a real connection under ordinary circumstances... if you're limited by their smell, it's going to be that much harder to have a good time at milongas!

    However, tango requires focus, and if you truly can't focus (let alone enjoy yourself) because of a person's odor, it won't be a good dance for either of you, so you might as well not dance with them. You may find that a compromise between the two options works best for you, and if so, try not to feel bad about not dancing with certain people. It's your prerogative to dance with whomever you choose, and to refuse invitations for any reason, big or small.

    Hope that helps. :)

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