Dealing With Dance Partner Break-Ups


A relationship on the dance floor is very much like a relationship in life. There is lots of emotion, drama, communication and mis-communication, pressures and sometimes a difficult mis-match of goals. When difficulties become too large, a dance relationship may unfortunately come to a breaking point. Here are a few points on how to deal with dance partner break-ups.

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First off, don’t panic, but do accept the fact that no break-up is easy, even it is your decision.

  • Even if you are the one who initiates the break-up, or the break-up decision is mutual, you may still be concerned about whether you are doing the right thing or not. When you have invested time and effort with someone, when you both have shared goals, when you have good memories, it is hard not to feel some personal regrets, over and above the concern you may have for your partner.
  • It is important for both you and your partner to be clear about the reason for the break-up. If you cannot state a clear reason in your own mind or you keep changing your mind, you might be in too emotional a state to make a decision. This is the time to think things through clearly, and talk to you partner about anything about the partnership that is on either of you minds.
  • It is important to have this conversation before breaking up, even if you think you are clear that there needs to be a change. In some cases, even very difficult situations can be resolved. Even if resolution is not possible, any break-up will be much harder for both of you if one partner feels blind-sided.

There are 5 stages of emotion that you are likely to go through. If the break-up is not your choice, the intensity of each stage will likely be more. If the decision was mutual or fully your choice, it is possible that you may not notice some stages, while clearly feeling others. Or you might feel it all. This too is normal because whatever the reason is for the break-up, you are still loosing a partner. These are the same 5 stages that people may go through with any major loss. When you break-up with a partner, part of what you react to is not only the loss of the current partnership, but the promise of what you both probable hope for in the future.  You may also feel some loss of status or confidence.


Stage 1 – Shock and Denial.

This is where you might not know what to do or feel, you might feel confused, or you might think that things will change, and the break-up will be short or not really happen. This stage is typically short, as long as you are realistic, and your partner does not give mixed messages.

  • At this stage you are likely desperate for the answers. The risk is that sometimes a level of high emotion may make it hard for you to hear them.
  • If you initiated the break-up or the decision was mutual, this stage might still make you feel a bit off balance even if you are certain about the decision.
  • The best thing that could happen here is clarity about the reasons for the break-up and honestly between both partners.
  • The fact is that it is very difficult for the goals, skills, needs and commitment of two people to stay perfectly matched forever. Sometimes it does happen; other times partners understand and balance differences and the partnership stays very positive and successful; but in some certain cases the changes are such that continuing the partnership no longer makes sense.
  • The vast majority of break-ups happen because of the changes that happen over time, not because there is any mistake or problem with one partner or another.
  • The majority of new partnerships break because the partners want it to work so much, that they do not take the time to check if they are truly on the same page about critical objectives, and realistic about practical issues. Again, no problem with one partner or another just both being blinded by enthusiasm.

Stage 2 – Anger

This is where you might feel resentment for the time and effort you put into the partnership. You might also feel anger toward you partner and focus on or magnify his or her flaws.

  • This stage can be brief or it can be very very long and painful. While it is often important to have a friend to speak to sort things out in your mind, remember to choose someone who will be a confidante and not the starting point of gossip.
  • Also remember that continually speaking negatively about someone will make it more difficulty for you to move on, and will ultimately reflect poorly on you.
  • Interestingly, even the partner that initiated the break-up may start to feel anger. This is likely because it is helps confirm that the break-up was the right thing to do. It is good to keep in mind that this type of anger is largely emotion about the situation  and there may be no real reason for anger toward your ex-partner.


Stage 3 – Changing or Disrupting Things

You might look for signs that your ex-partner’s new partnership is not working out. You might also try extra hard to show off your newly found exceptional skill, change your look, or try to get others to speak on your behalf in an effort to make your ex-partner very aware of what he or she no longer has.

  • This stage can come before anger or at the same time. The early part of this stage can be pretty intense and exhausting, so does not typically (hopefully) last very long. When the intensity settles, some aspects of this stage can unfortunately last a long time. The problem is it that it prevents you from focusing clearly on yourself and your future since it is draining, and keeps you anchored in the past in not the most productive way.
  • This is also the stage when you are the most vulnerable to starting a new partnership without first make sure that it is right, so be careful about quick decisions.

Stage 4 – Sadness

Allowing yourself to fell sadness is not a bad thing, as long as it does not prevent you from moving on or seeing the value that you got from the partnership.

  • You may have had great times. You may have developed personally or in your dancing. You may miss certain things that were special about the partnership.
  • It is normal to feel a little sad when you leave behind one stage in your life. Remember that every experience you had at one stage in life will put you in a better place for the next one, if you focus on what you had gained more than what you lost.


Stage 5 – Move On

  • You will know you are there when you no longer compare your current partner with your last one.
  • Or, as you search for a partner, you focus on your current goals rather than on recreating the past.

The bottom line is that emotions are normal with any major change, but so is the strength you feel when you take the best of what you gained from your past, and build on it for an awesome future.

Author: Miss P
Photography: DanceSport
Exclusively for Dance Comp Review