The short answer is no, dancing Bachata with someone else isn’t cheating, but I’m here to help. Are you in a relationship with someone who dances Bachata, and you feel uncomfortable when your partner dances with someone else? Do you think they are cheating on you? Maybe they are, or perhaps it’s you not feeling ok with that dance style.  After all these years of being in a relationship with dancers and non-dancers, I would like to offer three tips to make sure you honour yourself and your partner.

Tip # 1:  Talk to your partner. 

In every relationship, communication is critical. What would be considered cheating for each of you? There is emotional cheating and physical cheating. People may consider cheating as spending too much time with one person when your partner’s uncomfortable.

So if your partner is the dancer and you’re not, and they are going out dancing, my biggest suggestion is to evaluate the situation and take responsibility if jealousy is the real cause of discomfort. That is insecurity within you. It’s you waiting to feel more secure within a relationship with your partner. Your needs are probably valid, and although it is not wrong to feel that way, keep in mind that it does not mean your partner is doing something wrong.

I’ve been there. I’ve been the jealous guy about my partner, and it only just caused trouble in our relationship. But, on the other hand, Bachata can become very intimate. So if you are the dancer and your partner is not comfortable with you dancing Bachata, it is essential to have an open conversation about comfort levels and where to draw the line between what is acceptable and what is not.

So when I am in a relationship, my approach is to tell my partner that when I’m with her, dating her, I’ll dance Bachata, but I’ll avoid things like grinding, dancing too close or having my leg between my dance partner’s thighs. And that is my comfort zone regarding this matter, for you might be different. I know many couples who dance however they want with other people, but it’s just completely different when they’re together. So having the conversation and acknowledging that there are no right or wrong feelings and honouring that is extremely important.

The notion of loyalty, faithfulness and cheating awakens many emotions and can be complicated waters to navigate for a couple. For some people,  anything and everything could be cheating.

Meeting a co-worker three times a week for coffee and sharing things that you never shared with your partner or talking about your intimate relationship with them can be considered cheating.

A vital aspect of this conversation is understanding intimacy. What is intimacy? How does it look when you are intimate with someone? Where is that line?. Ask yourself these questions, and then compare notes with your partners’ answers. This exercise can be an interesting one to understand the feelings and reactions apparently caused by a Bachata dance.

Tip # 2. Agree on the Bachata Style you will dance.  

There are three main styles of Bachata practiced in North America there is Modern,  Dominican and  Sensual Bachata. And in its name, Sensual Bachata, you can imagine how it’s danced. Therefore, the best way to limit the feelings of discomfort is to talk in advance about what dance style is acceptable within your relationship.

In our school, we teach modern Bachata. Of course, there is nothing wrong with Sensual Bachata, but it is not my preference when teaching my students. Likewise, you will see the modern Bachata style in most clubs where you do turns, tricks, and dips. You can be close to your partner but not to the point that there is excessive grinding.

So, to put it in perspective, if you see your partner dancing in a regular nightclub, not a Latin nightclub, and they start dancing with other people and grinding against them, is that called cheating? Would you feel uncomfortable? If yes, that is the line you don’t want to cross regardless of the type of music you are dancing to.

Bachata is just a dance,  a fun, fantastic dance style. It’s a way to connect with yourself and others, but you can keep yourself within your usual standards of comfort as agreed upon with your partner.  That’s a general rule of thumb.

Tip #3. Set rules for yourself and pay attention.

 As a dancer, I’m steadfast in my rules, and there are lines that I will not cross. And suppose I notice that I’m getting too comfortable with another dancer beyond a dancer or friend. In that case, I drawback. In my experience, when I’ve been in a relationship and someone would be drawn to me, they would kind of bring themselves to me and be closer to me, and I would pull away.

I find rules are a way to be free, not constricted, because, within those rules, you get to play but not feel guilty or overwhelmed.

Having rules is especially useful for relationships where only one person in the couple is a dancer because this type of relationship might face misunderstanding more often than when both partners are dancers.

You’ve probably figured out the theme of this article, which is having an open conversation will help a couple avoid misunderstandings and hurt feelings.  Setting clear boundaries and expectations will allow you to enjoy dancing with friends and even strangers without offending your partner.

As humans, we have insecurities; sometimes, we want attention from the person we love, which does not make us needy. Sometimes we want some freedom to do what we love, which does not make us inconsiderate.  But dance should not be a reason to fight; on the contrary, it is a beautiful practice about connection and can strengthen a couple. It’s about approaching your partner, understanding their needs and expressing yours as equally important.

Bonus point.

Whenever I was in a relationship and had trust problems, I’m not talking about cheating. I’m talking about trust as discomfort; those were the moments when my relationships were weak and distant. The real problem was not about dancing; it was about lack of proximity, intimacy, and connection. My partner and I were not spending enough quality time together. We were not honouring each other, and that’s a bigger problem.

If you continue having issues every time you dance despite having clear rules, maybe the problem is not related to dancing.  If your partner feels uncomfortable with you dancing Bachata, it’s because they feel neglected in the relationship and vice versa. And so, voicing your feelings and opinions and being open to listening are necessary to have a strong and trusted relationship.

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