Am I a silly prude or is my boyfriend's dancing inappropriate?
September 12, 2012 5:28 PM   Subscribe

Am I a silly prude or is my boyfriend's dancing inappropriate?

I enjoy dancing at clubs. When I began dating my boyfriend more than a year ago, I was happy to find out he does too. It was great to discover his friends like to go dancing as well, and everyone goes out together every few months or so. All the friends are securely long-married to each other (as couples), all have children. My boyfriend has never been married. For the first time on this past occasion, I saw my boyfriend doing some serious heavy grinding (dirty, clothed full-contact dancing involving hands in intimate places) with two of the married female friends at separate times during the evening. Not once did he do that with me.

I was unhappy and afterward said I thought his behavior was inappropriate and that he hadn't paid attention to me. I think that type of dancing is something you do anticipating naked sexual contact or at the very least, getting a stranger’s phone number. My statement wasn’t judgmental or particularly jealous. He blew up immediately. He accused me of trying to change him, of not accepting him. He says his friends, whom he’s known for 20+ years, all dance like this with each other and it’s a way of goofing off in a safe, controlled environment where nothing will happen. He said I should dance like this with his friends too. This idea is uncomfortable to me and it can create awkward situations. I would never dance like that with my friends and wouldn’t want them to do it with him. It certainly didn’t look like goofing off to me.

Anyway, he finally apologized but with the caveat that I was making a big deal about nothing. He didn't say he wouldn’t do it again, and wasn’t willing to compromise on it. He says he loves me and wants me to stay, but I kinda doubt love because it seems like he’d care about my feelings a little more. Our sex life is already lacking in quantity and quality so it hurts even more he’d act like this with other women. But he won’t admit he’s bored with me.

My question is, am I being prudish? I'm not really concerned that people will cheat on each other, but that it reflects on the state of our relationship and his unwillingness to work with me. He seems a mite immature, and perhaps he has warped my mind over this year, but could this be a symptom of worse to come? Should I break it off?

He is 40, I am 34. I was married for 10 years and think I know what naughty looks like. Neither of us are in our 20s, which would seem more likely given this dance-club conflict…
posted by AnnaAnachronous to Human Relations (52 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I think you need to trust your gut instinct here. The you should dance like that too and all his friends do it, meh. No, you're not being prudish, I'd have a hard time seeing my man do this with other women too. It speaks of immaturity when a dude goes all lowdown with other women in front of you, and not with you, and then tells you it's okay, you need to do it too. Blech.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 5:34 PM on September 12, 2012 [27 favorites]

DTMF. I mean, why not? He "blows up" at you and the sex isn't even good.
posted by crabintheocean at 5:34 PM on September 12, 2012 [43 favorites]

I don't think you're prudish. But I know he's an inconsiderate ass for not respecting your concerns. You should examine carefully how much more of your life you should spend with him.
posted by infinitewindow at 5:35 PM on September 12, 2012 [11 favorites]

Yeah, he's deliberately being a prick - he's gaslighting you for a start. And people who are decent apologise immediately with no great debate about it. DTMFA.
posted by heyjude at 5:39 PM on September 12, 2012 [16 favorites]

You're right; he's wrong.

I think that type of dancing is something you do anticipating naked sexual contact or at the very least, getting a stranger’s phone number.

Um, yeah. I'm 21 and even I know this isn't just a great technical dance move that serves any other purpose.

He said I should dance like this with his friends too.

He sounds like kind of an asshole.
posted by lhude sing cuccu at 5:41 PM on September 12, 2012 [7 favorites]

Yep. Sounds fishy.

Sadly for you, "blowing up" with indignation is the classic response when someone is seeking to deflect attention away from stuff they are hiding.

It's not that good between you two, anyway? Dump him. He doesn't seem worth the continued effort.
posted by jbenben at 5:42 PM on September 12, 2012 [8 favorites]

I used to grind with my entirely-platonic male friends (like "I threw myself at them and they turned me down" kind of platonic), so I think he's part-right. On the other hand, he doesn't sound like he's compatible with you.
posted by muddgirl at 5:44 PM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]

(I mean he's part-right in that sometimes platonic friends do this. Whether or not his friendships are platonic is outside my ability to know.)
posted by muddgirl at 5:46 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Wait, so your boyfriend acted in a way that made you deeply uncomfortable, and when you brought it up with him (no matter how you did it), he first blew up at you (defensive) and then told you that you should be behaving that way too (beginner's gaslighting)?

You're not being prudish, but that's not what this is about. You have fundamentally different values, and when that is combined with a lack of empathy on one side, the other side, or both, it's not going to work. End it soon.
posted by juniperesque at 5:47 PM on September 12, 2012 [13 favorites]

It sounds like you're already bored of him outside of this issue, so I think you should break up with him because this sounds awful.

I would mind very much if my boyfriend did anything near what you're describing. It would make my heart sink into my stomach and I would consider it a major violation, even if it didn't cause a problem with the women and their own relationships. It would be a dealbreaker for me.
posted by aabbbiee at 5:48 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

I don't think you're being all that prudish, and even if you were, he doesn't really respect how you feel. Do what you want with that.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:49 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

I agree the dancing is unusual, but I can imagine that some friend groups are more flirty and touchy than others and maybe this is just a collision of values that can be overcome. But if this was really as innocent as he claimed, he might have warned you, asked you how you felt about it, and made it something you experienced together. In fact the defensive blow-up suggests to me that he may have been deliberately provoking you, pushing a boundary to see what would happen, and then pouncing on you once you predictably pushed back. Notice how the discussion began about your feelings after being ignored all night, but is now about how you are restricting his freedoms. Interesting how that happens, huh?
posted by PercussivePaul at 5:49 PM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]

The thing with him saying stuff along the lines of "everybody I know does this," is that he's normalizing the behavior and in doing so invalidating your feelings about the matter. "What I do is okay, and you can't be offended," is not the stance you take with someone you respect. He's not considering your feelings here, and indeed he's suggesting you are the one who ought to change and be more sexual. Like you're at fault, like you're a prude. No man should ever make you feel that way.

I'm not saying it's abnormal or wrong to sexy-dance with people when you're in a relationship -- so long as the relationship specifically allows for such behavior. But that's a decision that two people make together, calmly and rationally, not something that can be declared unilaterally after the fact.

Trust your instincts. You do know what naughty looks like. Now decide what you're going to do about it.
posted by brina at 5:51 PM on September 12, 2012 [13 favorites]

Am I a silly prude or is my boyfriend's dancing inappropriate?

External categorizations don't matter. What matters is what you want from your relationship and whether your relationship is working for you.

Personally, this would be a deal breaker for me if I were in your shoes, and I am in my 20s.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 5:53 PM on September 12, 2012 [6 favorites]

I used to dance like this with my male friends who were coupled, when I was both single and coupled.

Key factor: neither my partner nor my dancemates partners minded. If any of them had, it would have stopped. Getting to grind on my platonic friends is not really a hill I am up for dying on.

Other thing: he doesn't pay attention to you there? Yeah, that's odd and kind of insulting.

I'd be over it, and over him.
posted by gaspode at 5:55 PM on September 12, 2012 [9 favorites]

To quote Vincent Vega, "Would you give a guy a foot massage?" Would he get all bumpy and grindy with one of his male friends?

And even if he would, well, I think he ought to be more cognizant of the fact that you're bothered by it.
posted by XMLicious at 5:58 PM on September 12, 2012 [8 favorites]

what XMLicious said. If it's not sexual, why is it gender specific?

groping is not ok, no matter how loud the music is.

If you thought this was fun/hot/cute that would be one thing but that's not what is going on here.
posted by French Fry at 6:02 PM on September 12, 2012

My guess is that he got involved with you in the first place in order to be part of a couple just so he wouldn't be out of place with his couple friends at these dances.

Which could mean there's more going on in this group of friends than he has been willing to tell you so far, and that he may want you to participate in whatever that is as well as the dirty dancing.
posted by jamjam at 6:07 PM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]

You should dump this guy so that he can find someone more compatible with his unusual ideas about appropriate touching. Those people exist, but they're less common. And you can find someone more compatible with you.
posted by grouse at 6:09 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Am I a silly prude or is my boyfriend's dancing inappropriate?

This is the wrong question. I have danced like this with platonic friends, including guys who I know, 100%, are not interested with me, are happily involved with other people, and who are completely non-skeezy. There is nothing inherently skeezy or inappropriate about what he's doing.

That said, there is also nothing wrong with how you feel about it. The problem is not that he does this, it's that you told him it made you uncomfortable and he was a total jerk about it. If dancing like this with his friends is more important to him than your discomfort -- enough so that he blew up at you about it -- THAT is the red flag, not the dancing in and of itself.
posted by brainmouse at 6:11 PM on September 12, 2012 [18 favorites]

I'm not really concerned that people will cheat on each other, but that it reflects on the state of our relationship and his unwillingness to work with me.

Pay heed to this feeling, OP. It doesn't really matter who is wrong or right here, it's how he handled it that makes me feel like he's a dick. If I'm reading your question correctly, in the year plus you've been dating, you've never seen him dancing like that with his friends, which makes me thnk that it's either not something they all do, or it's something that was happening when you weren't around. Were his dance partners reciprocating? Were other people dancing in that manner with people they weren't coupled with?

Either way, the dancing is a red herring and his response is a red stop sign.
posted by sm1tten at 6:12 PM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]

Are you both from the same culture and socioeconomic class? Because, in my experience whether or not this kind of dancing is seen as implying any kind of intimate between the participants is entirely a cultural/ hometown issue.
posted by fshgrl at 6:14 PM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]

My question is, am I being prudish?

That's not a good question, because it implies a negativity to your beliefs. Rather you should ask yourself "Am I comfortable with this?" You clearly are not. You don't want him grinding on someone and you don't want to grind on anyone else. In your mind, grinding isn't so casual. He and his friends think and act differently.

The only other question is "Do you want to put up with this?" That answer should guide your next actions.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:15 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm a 27-year old straight guy. I dance like this with a number of my friends, with whom I have no sexual interest* (and/or vice-versa). Or at least something like this, probably a bit more moderate, but let's say it's like this for the sake of argument. And I honestly don't think it's a big deal.

THAT BEING SAID, him blowing up at you and saying that you shouldn't consider it a big deal is bullshit. If I got your reaction from a partner, I would (hopefully, of course I am a jerk at times but that doesn't change what should be done) accept your valid reaction, work on at least a compromise if not a full kibosh on the dirty dancing without your permission, and for the love of god not tell you that you're making a big deal out of nothing.

And yeah, the lack of dancing like so with you? Weird.

DTMF or have a conversation with him in which you get some form of specific compromise from him that you can be ok with.
posted by Lemurrhea at 6:15 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

it reflects on the state of our relationship and his unwillingness to work with me

You nailed it yourself. The dirty dancing could be okay in the right context, but the fact that this guy lost his temper when you spoke out about your concerns and tried to tell you should fix the situation by doing something you wouldn't be comfortable with and was generally very disrespectful of your concerns is the real problem here. Is he like this about other stuff you disagree on?
posted by orange swan at 6:17 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

I am a giro who semi-regularly hooks my ankles over the shoulders of good friends/straight girls/gay dudes I just met; I am a good dancer, a lot of modern club dancing is simulated sex, I would be really eye-rolly and pissy if a new beau told me to cut out something I've been doing basically forever.


-I would have reassured you about your concerns a little better

-I would have agreed to some compromise/changes to make you more comfortable

-I would have spent more time grinding on you than anyone else in the club
posted by Juliet Banana at 6:19 PM on September 12, 2012 [12 favorites]

It doesn't matter what you think about booty grinding while dancing. What matters is that you had a concern and your guy dismissed it incredibly disrespectfully and manipulatively.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:20 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

GIRL. Not giro. I need to stop answering questions while I am actively drinking in bars. Anyway, it's not so much that the dancing is inappropriate, in all situations; it's that the rest of his behavior was fucked.
posted by Juliet Banana at 6:21 PM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]

What. To be honest, I'd say maybe it really is no big deal 1) if he hadn't exploded at you and 2) if he was paying attention to you, too. As innocent as it may be, if I weren't getting sexual attention at home and wasn't into doing the same with strangers, it would be too much of a mindfuck for me to deal with. Chalk it up to incompatibility if he's normally a good guy. (Really though, a good guy would be more reassuring.)
posted by stoneandstar at 6:26 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

He blew up immediately.

Yeah, you want to walk right away from that.
posted by mhoye at 6:28 PM on September 12, 2012 [13 favorites]

For the first time on this past occasion, I saw my boyfriend doing some serious heavy grinding (dirty, clothed full-contact dancing involving hands in intimate places) with two of the married female friends at separate times during the evening. Not once did he do that with me.

So you have gone out dancing regularly for the past year and he hasn't done this before. Whatever one's feelings about grinding, I think this is a sign that he was looking to get under your skin in some way. Maybe he wants to break up but hasn't got the nerve to do it and is hoping you'll do it for him. In any case, saying that "his friends, whom he’s known for 20+ years, all dance like this with each other" when you've never seen it is straight up dishonest, on top of all the other jerky behavior. I'd dump him if it were me. There's nothing redeeming about any of his actions.
posted by oneirodynia at 6:39 PM on September 12, 2012

Erm, and to answer the question as asked, no you're not a silly prude. It's perfectly reasonable to be uncomfortable with an SO suddenly behaving sexually to friends when they've never done so before (in your presence).
posted by oneirodynia at 6:42 PM on September 12, 2012

#1 There is NOTHING WRONG with being a prude. Your standards are OK because they're your standards. What you are willing to tolerate - and what you are not willing to tolerate - is not subject to review by an outside Coolness Assessment Force.

#2 I don't think this standard is very far at all from the 50th percentile of LTR toleration standards in America in the early part of the 21st century. I know plenty of people who are significantly closer to the 50th percentile than I am, and I don't think any of them would have a problem understanding this boundary. The fact is, you're OK with him dancing with other people in clubs, and I'm guessing that a good 30% of 30-year-old women would not be cool with that.

#3 Holy heck there is something very seriously wrong with your relationship. He blew up at you when you brought this up? He won't have a serious conversation about it? His reaction leaves you feeling like maybe there's something wrong with what you're comfortable with? I Nth the "yes, this reflects badly on him" votes above, and suggest a strong "get to the couple's therapy or get out of this situation" response.

(Personally, it'd take a lot for me not to dump a guy who "blew up at me" absent some really compelling circumstances, such a bomb going off in thirty seconds if we didn't take immediate action.)
posted by SMPA at 6:45 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

[Folks, less fighty more helpy please? This is clearly a situation about which reasonable people disagree.]
posted by jessamyn at 6:46 PM on September 12, 2012

Ok everybody's standards are different, but your description of his actions and, more so, his words made me nauseous. I personally would dance with my partner like that, but could never see him do it with another woman. Maybe he'll find a woman who can deal with it, or would even join in, but you aren't that woman. Don't settle.
posted by DoubleLune at 7:24 PM on September 12, 2012

It's appropriate to him and his group of friends. It's not appropriate to you.

Neither of you are necessarily wrong, and neither of you should necessarily change.

However, this, along with the rest of the things you mention in your post, means the two of you are probably not exactly compatible.
posted by erst at 7:52 PM on September 12, 2012

Honestly, even if "dirty dancing" is the norm for him and his friends, that fact that he's not dancing that way with his girlfriend -- i.e., you -- seems pretty suspect. I would rightly expect my wife to be very bothered if I danced with my female friends in the manner you've described, especially if I wasn't being at least as sexual toward her. So, yeah, I think he's in the wrong here. And, even if he isn't lying and isn't "wrong," it makes you uncomfortable. That should be all that he needs to know. If he won't stop, DTMFA (which is advice that I am very reluctant to give in general, and especially on AskMe where I don't personally know the people involved).
posted by asnider at 7:55 PM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]

Agreed with majority of above.

Not good. I have absolutely no problem with my husband dancing with other gals. Even close slow dances. But grinding and groping. Just not cool.

If he wanted to grind and grope, he should have been doing it with you. Then blowing up and gaslighting you--DTMFA. He and his gang have issues.
posted by BlueHorse at 8:00 PM on September 12, 2012

Yowza. I read like half of the responses and I feel they are mostly one-sided. Yes, he shouldn't have blown up at you. Yes, telling you you "should" dance the way he does with friends was invalidating and jerky.


It's odd to read so many people dumping on this guy for invalidating your feelings, when it sounds like you didn't really state your feelings. Instead of stating how you felt ("your dancing that way makes me feel jealous"), you accused him of doing something "inappropriate". Instead of saying, clearly, "I would like more attention when we are dancing in the future", you chided him for not meeting your unspoken expectations. This made a defensive response more likely on his part, because you were basically telling him off, instead of telling him your feelings and leaving room for him to express his.

So, disrespect and invalidation on both sides here. I'd suggest going into a discussion like this next time with the idea that your partner has his own feelings and reasons for doing things, and be open to hearing what they are before leaping in to tell him he's wrong.

Maybe you two are incompatible because of this, I don't know. But I do know this discussion could have been had with more success and less drama.
posted by parrot_person at 8:49 PM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]

To elaborate on my "walk right away" point: I don't think there's a problem with having your significant other grinding away on whoever, if you've had an honest conversation and youre both ok with that. If that works for both of you, go nuts.

If it doesn't work for you, though, and your partner either does it anyway, or gets aggro-defensive when you ask for that honest conversation, then that relationship really isn't going to work out. That's just not how adults who respect each other talk to each other, you know?

There's a person in the world with whom you can have that conversation like two grown ups, and who will respect your comfort zone, but it doesn't sound like this is that guy.
posted by mhoye at 9:06 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

It's not a good sign that he blew up at you, but did you try to dance with him like that at the club? If yes and he blew you off/ignored you to grind with other women, then I'd lean more towards the DTMF feelings other people have already voiced. However, if you didn't then you really need to have an honest talk with him, especially since you said this is the first time you've noticed this behavior. I think when you said, "I love dancing at clubs!" to him, he may have assumed that you and your friends danced like him and his friends, ie grinding.

However, I wouldn't think that dancing like that with friends who he knew wouldn't be interested (you did mention they're securely married with kids) to be that inappropriate. Weird, yes, but inappropriate, not entirely.

I tend to share the same point of view as the married women your boyfriend danced with. I've grinded with a number of my guy friends who were either dating someone else at the time or had their girlfriends at the club too. One thing that is clear and had been clear long before the group of us even contemplated going to a club is that I wasn't even remotely interested in these guys. No lines are really crossed and toes aren't stepped on. Why do we dance like this? It's a lot better than dancing with a total stranger who creeps on you for the rest of the night and is too drunk or too disrespectful to respect boundaries. One of my guy friends is also a much better dancer than most people, myself included, so it's fun to dance around with him (though we do more dance-y things than just grinding). For me, who's single, it's fun and sometimes I'll luck out and end up dancing with a stranger who's also just fun to dance and mess around with at the club who wanted to dance with me after seeing me dance with my friend.

However, if their girlfriend wants to dance with them or says anything, I'm perfectly happy to let them have their time together at the club or stop dancing like that entirely with my friend. None of the girlfriends ever said anything to me about how I sometimes dance with their boyfriends and my guy friends never brought it up as an issue. This is just how some friend groups would work.

So to answer your question: No, you're not being prudish. There are many of my guy friends who I would NEVER dance like that with because it would be awkward and uncomfortable. You just need a serious conversation with your guy. Make your decision whether to break it off after that.
posted by astapasta24 at 9:54 PM on September 12, 2012

It doesn't matter whether or not this is normal for other couples. What matters is that you make each other feel comfortable, secure, and supported in your relationship.

I'm also one of those women who will grind (pretty heavily) with guys that I have absolutely no interest in (and who know that). It's just for fun. And mostly, I only get a dance or two, before he wants to chase a woman, or a woman (presumably actually sexually interested in him) wants to dance with him.

However, if I'm out with my boyfriend, I only really want to spend time with him. And I will dance with him even more raunchily than any of my male friends. (Or female friends, for that matter.)

So I think it's strange that your boyfriend would dance intimately with other women, more so than he would with you.
posted by ethidda at 10:34 PM on September 12, 2012

I don't think you are being prudish. I think his dancing is inappropriate. But worse than that, blowing up rather than acknowledging your concerns and discussing matters is a sign of immaturity, insecurity, poor communication skills, and/or poor inter-personal skills. That would seem like it should be an even bigger concern to you.
posted by Dansaman at 12:25 AM on September 13, 2012

Maybe he's bi and that's his time to be Super Gay. Do his friends actually dance like that with each others' wives? I'm curious why he had to tell you that they do, rather than you having experienced it for yourself. Generally I think the trajectory of this between you two, and this is a big deal to you, just means you guys are not the best match. "That ain't my bag, baby."
posted by rhizome at 1:26 AM on September 13, 2012

Ew. I think it does somewhat matter what's "normal" - a hypothetical "normal" guy would see why you wouldn't like this, and would cut it out at your request.

If he can't even be bothered to have sex with you, I flippantly wonder why you'd keep him around. But that's easy for me to say.
posted by tel3path at 3:19 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

He either wants to dance like that with others, or he wants to win this argument, more than he wants you. Given those priorities, why would you stay?
posted by Houstonian at 3:24 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

The dancing isn't necessarily a bad thing -- if he were doing it with random strangers that'd be one thing, but with long-time friends habituated to it, well, fair enough. If this is completely outside your comfort zone, that is also fine -- it would indicate an incompatibility between you two, it would not indicate that either of you is Wrong.

The not dancing that way with you, though, is odd and fairly inexplicable (unless he tried it and you backed off?) and also indicates a possible incompatibility.

The blowing up at you when you bring it up is a really bad sign, unless your way of bringing it up was much more confrontational and aggressive than you think it was -- either way, a definite sign of incompatibility.

So that's three incompatibilities in a row, and a disappointing sex life to boot. Doesn't really sound like a winning combination to me.
posted by ook at 6:35 AM on September 13, 2012

Here's what worries me. You bring him a Fact Based Concern that is perfectly normal within the bounds of monogamous relationship concerns and he first gets angry and then asserts that you should also be subverting this norm of keeping ones hands out of the private areas of others.

I 100% agree that you are not being a prude, but want to say that when one partner brings up a concern, it ought to get listened to respectfully. I would believe this even if you had latched onto something super prudey, like not wanting him to show his ankles ever. This is not about whether you are a prude, and I'm sad that you've gotten it framed that way. This is about boundaries within your relationship, and respectful discussion of differences.

You say that you've never seen him dance this way, have you ever seen any of his friends dance this way with spouses/friends/strangers? If so, then maybe his story holds some water. Like, an ounce. Not a drop more. His anger and assertion that you should behave this way are still bogus. Dance in the ways and in the company that you enjoy. If you want a boyfriend who will get physical with you on the dancefloor (and, in bed!), please trust me when I say those men are out there.

*Regarding that Vincent Vega quote, it's easy to turn it around on the asker, "Well, would you be so upset if I was giving a guy a foot massage? NO? Then lighten up about what I do with my platonic lady friends who are married." YMMV
posted by bilabial at 7:45 AM on September 13, 2012

Him dancing in this manner in and of itself is, to me, not that worrisome. I do not think that this sort of dancing is always a prologue to sex. However, the fact that he didn't dance with you that way at all and then his reaction to you when you raised legit concerns about it is troubling. I would move on.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:19 AM on September 13, 2012

Regarding that Vincent Vega quote, it's easy to turn it around on the asker, "Well, would you be so upset if I was giving a guy a foot massage? NO? Then lighten up about what I do with my platonic lady friends who are married."

That isn't such a great turn-around if it's purely hypothetical... just saying "It would totally be physically possible to do that with a guy, you should think of that" does little to disprove that there's a sexual element to the behavior if the speaker only actually ever engages in said behavior with the opposite sex.

And beyond that, even "Yeah, I do that with EVERYONE" still doesn't actually disprove that there are sexual undercurrents, it could be seen as merely circumstantial evidence.

The real turn-around would be to go "Nah, there's nothing sexual about the bumping and grinding. See, watch me do it with this ottoman. I don't give a shit about that ottoman, if I saw it outside the dance-club I wouldn't give it the time of day."
posted by XMLicious at 12:42 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

I didn't get a sense of how the women he's dancing with fit into the picture. They are married, and I guess they would have responded appropriately if they felt he was violating some boundary with them. I don't see the dancing itself as the serious part of this interaction.

Anyhow, it seems that you two have boundary issues. His are as important to him as yours are to you. That's the most charitable way I can characterize his response to you. Maybe I'm just leaning toward your discomfort because of the way you described the situation, and it's possible he's not quite the jerk he appears to be. I don't believe you tried to make him look like a jerk.

It seems to me that you two are not really a good fit. You hint a other issues that seem to be coming to light. Might be time to consider D-ingTMA.
posted by mule98J at 12:50 PM on September 13, 2012

Wow, thanks for all the input! I didn't expect so many responses. DTMFA seems to be the winner by quantity. I think it's correct that we are not entirely compatible, and I've given this some thought before. It would be easy to say that he's a jerk, but probably we don't bring out the best in each other. The relationship is exhausting and it often feels very difficult to communicate like responsible adults. Thank you, everyone.
posted by AnnaAnachronous at 7:45 AM on September 14, 2012

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