The Strictly curse, if it exists, isn’t just a case of people wanting to bonk in the changing rooms. It’s about how doing something like Strictly changes your perception of yourself.
There’s an amateur dramatics society near the village where I grew up famed for having its own, very similar curse. I’ve lost count of the number of couples who got divorced as a direct result of joining.
Why? Because they joined am-dram looking for something. Most of the members are middle-aged people who feel lost, who’ve already ticked off the ‘get married, buy a house, have babies’ trifecta and feel that there is nothing left to excite them in life.
The drama group lacks the glamour of Strictly – based in a church hall rather than a TV studio – but plays the same role in these break ups.
It provides a similar space for people who have lost themselves in their relationships and the onslaught of middle-age to rediscover who they are, or rather who they were before they were swallowed up by their relationship.
One of the hardest things about adulthood is that the majority of our life’s events happen within one decade of each other.
For about 10 years of our lives the stakes are sky high and the life events just keep coming. New partners, new jobs, new homes, new babies.
So much happens when you are a young adult it can be terrifying. But then suddenly it’s over. You’ve put a tick in every box that you were supposed to, and now you’ve done everything. You’re staring into an empty void.
Filling that void is essential, but it comes with a risk. It might change your relationship.
For instance, not all relationships can handle one partner becoming celebrated, confident and empowered, which is probably what happens on Strictly.
Understandably, all the applause and sequins would make you feel more confident and powerful, which would inevitably spill over into the rest of your life. And it can happen under far less glamorous circumstances.
I believe that ideally marriage is for the long haul, and that it isn’t always easy. I believe in sticking out the rough parts and trying to stay together, especially if you’ve got kids.
But a marriage which can’t withstand one partner finding a new source of confidence and joy doesn’t sound like much of a marriage.
Sticking it out is brilliant if what you’re wrestling with is a temporary rough patch. But if the issue is that the person who you’re married to doesn’t like sparkliest, happiest version of you, then it’s time to ask yourself what it is you’re trying to protect.
There is no way to guarantee a relationship will last forever, and realistically not all of them are supposed to. All you can do is try to live your best and happiest life, and hope the best and happiest version of you is who your partner wants to be with.
Strictly Come Dancing gives people a chance to perform, to train at a skill, improve, boost their confidence. Even if it’s a factor in some couples splitting up, in my book that still makes it a blessing – not a curse.
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