Help! I think I’m falling for my ballroom partner

I met R at the first week of ballroom dance club my freshman year of college. The instructor asked all the boys to line up facing the girls and our eyes met. Then the instructor had all the guys step forward and pick a lady and I found myself hoping that the cute, tall guy might grab me, even though we hadn’t spoken yet. For some crazy reason he did pick me. Before we knew it, we had both decided to join the competitive ballroom dance team and were meeting up to practice outside of class just as an excuse to spend more time together. We were smitten.

Unfortunately for me, he decided a few months later that he’d rather date my roommate. Yay college. Nevertheless, R was the first of many dance partners that I fell for. By my rough count I had about 10 different partners over my four years of collegiate ballroom (we usually had a separate partner for standard and latin), and to varying degrees I crushed on 6 of them..and kissed 3 of them…Oops?

So let’s just say I’m familiar with this topic. And I bet a lot of you can relate! At least in collegiate ballroom, I can tell you that almost everyone crushed on, or did date, a fellow team member at some point. And even in the world of pro-am I see this happening to some degree. And it makes sense! Do you know how many pro dance couples have dated or are married to their partner??

The bond you have through dance is unlike any other. I think you are the best version of yourself when you dance: guards down, carefree. And dance partnerships can be like relationships, you need trust and good communication for the partnership to be successful. They’ve seen you at your best and worst (raise your hand if you’ve cried in front of your partner or gotten upset with them) and together you’ve worked together to push your dancing to new heights. Overcoming challenges and celebrating victories together bonds you. So, months into dancing together, there’s this moment when you realize you truly do care about your partner. All of this makes it easier to fall for them. And before you know it, the pretend chemistry of rumba is real.

Hey, maybe that’s why I often formed partnerships with people I had a spark with! It’s much easier to stare into the eyes of someone you are attracted to. Plus, it’s enjoyable spending time with them practicing and competing.

Reality time – it’s possible that you are enamored with their dancing abilities, but not really them as a person. One or both of you might already be in a relationship. Or your partner might also be your instructor in which case they probably have a policy of not getting romantically involved with students…Hate to break it to you.

But even if you can’t act on your romantic interest in your partner, don’t be embarrassed by the fact that you fell for them. It happens to the best of us. That’s the beauty of dance and the vulnerability that goes along with it. Just acknowledge those feelings and make peace with the fact that you can’t act on them. You can still milk your chemistry when you are on the floor competing; for that 90 second heat you can tell the story of your lives together.

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