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Married Life
Advice for Dad who wants to dance?
By PudgeBrother Comments: 5, member since Mon Jul 09, 2007
On Mon Oct 24, 2011 05:26 PM

I'm a forty-something husband and dad who's returning to ballet after a long hiatus. I've found a nearby studio that offers 1-2 evening classes that I make without interrupting things at home.

But there's a small problem: My wife isn't on board. We've been married for over 8 years and have a very good relationship, but the issue of ballet pushes her buttons.

First, she feels it's a feminine activity. I don't mean to paint her as a bigot of any kind, because she's not. But she'd definitely call ballet 'girly'. We've had discussions about the athleticism involved, but she’s not buyin’ it. It’s taken me many years to get over what other people think and just enjoy dancing. Calling it girly feels like a personal attack, and it hurts.

Second, I’m in considerably better shape than my wife and she may be intimidated by me spending 3hrs a week in a room filled with leggy, leotard-wearing women. Understand that I love my wife and am not cruising ballet studios to find some action. I’ve invited her to take classes with me or visit as a spectator but she’s declined. Calling my commitment into question hurts, too.

I realize a heart-to-heart is in order, but perhaps someone here has some suggestions on how to get things back on track. Dancing is supposed to be a source of joy, right?

6 Replies to Advice for Dad who wants to dance?

re: Advice for Dad who wants to dance?
By Celebrianmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 7921, member since Thu Mar 31, 2005
On Mon Oct 24, 2011 08:39 PM
Hey, Bro. I'm sorry your wife is giving you a hard time about this. I think you're going to have to find some articles written by people talking about how ballet is not just for females and gay men. There are many straight men that just happen to like ballet and not only is there nothing wrong with that, but it is totally normal.

I definitely think the two of you are going to need to have that heart to heart. Convey what you put in your original message, that you felt attacked by her words. Ask her some seriously pointed questions so she can think about her feelings a little bit more. Is she interested in the fact that this makes you happy? Does she notice your post-class 'glow'? Does she realize how much of a stress reliever going to class is for you?

Also, OP, it would help to know, does she have any engrossing hobbies of her own? She might be feeling threatened that something is taking you out of the home and if she doesn't have anything that also takes her out she might not understand why you need to go someplace else. I can't understand that POV since I teach a class once a week and that definitely takes me out of the home, but some people get afraid and immediately their rational thought shuts down and they get angry and lash out. She might not realize she does that.
re: Advice for Dad who wants to dance?
By ChristinePremium member Comments: 6819, member since Wed Feb 04, 2009
On Mon Oct 24, 2011 10:31 PM
Just do it! Not to sound harsh, but I've been there with the "why do you need to dance?" crap.

#1 rule for a happy marriage...love and let love. If you love to dance, keep on dancing. If she loves to eat ice cream...don't comment on it...just buy her some fun flavors now and then. It is so unfair of her to judge this so harshly. She clearly doesn't understand.

I know so many people who go through this. Husbands and wives, alike. Does the resentment go away if the dancer stops dancing? No...it doubles. The only thing that changes is that once you quit, there is something else to resent that they don't understand, but then the dancer is resentful too. It just isn't fair for one partner to deny the other a reasonable passion.

Yes...a talk is in order, but make it clear that this is part of who you are. If she needs reassurance...work on that. But don't give up something this important to please.

Keep On Dancing*
re: Advice for Dad who wants to dance?
By danseuretoile Comments: 127, member since Mon Mar 26, 2007
On Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:03 AM
I think she may be jealous as well because you will be surrounded by ballerinas who tend to be attractive. Talk to her, explain this is something you love and I am sure everything will be OK.
re: Advice for Dad who wants to dance?
By PudgeBrother Comments: 5, member since Mon Jul 09, 2007
On Thu Oct 27, 2011 05:49 PM
You may have hit on something with regard to hobbies. She's got no shortage of interests, but she's a goal oriented type. Activities need to have a goal and offer some sort of return. Conversely, I'll try something just to try it. Must be the creative in me.

Many thanks to all for the feedback.
re: Advice for Dad who wants to dance?
By fireengine Comments: 29, member since Fri Oct 28, 2011
On Wed Nov 09, 2011 08:11 PM
Hi PudgeBrother. I have had a similar experience with my spouse. First she called me gay, asked me if I was turning gay, or trying to be-friend women. Well...not any of that...just a genuine desire to want to retake ballet! After some thought and direction from some of the Dance.net community I again approched my wife and after a adult conversation, we are both going to particpate in Ballet starting in January. Perhaps reading some of the posts I received may shed some light. Good Luck and keep in touch. If there is anything I can assisst you with feel free to contact me. Cheers, fireengine
re: Advice for Dad who wants to dance?
By PerfectFeet Comments: 342, member since Mon Feb 11, 2008
On Thu Nov 10, 2011 07:17 AM
fireengine, that's awesome! I was really hoping you'd be able to sort things out with her. You should go update your thread, because I'm sure there are others who are rooting for you!

This could end up being a great bonding activity for you guys!

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