Strictly curse: why falling in love is always going to happen

Bobby Brazier's confession he's falling in love with Dianne Buswell got everyone talking

Strictly's Bobby Brazier performing with Dianne Buswell
Bobby Brazier has admitted he is falling for Dianne Buswell. (BBC)

Bobby Brazier confessed he's "falling in love" with Dianne Buswell sparking discussions around the Strictly curse once again.

Adding fuel to the flames, the pair had performed the Samba to star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet during Strictly's movies week.

Strictly curse

In the show’s history, Strictly has seen dozens of couples break up and even marriages have crumbled in the showbiz circles as a result of taking part on the show.

As well as splits, romances have blossomed out of the dancing series – to name a few: Dianne Buswell and her partner Joe Sugg to former professional Kevin Clifton and Stacey Dooley, plus Ben Cohen and Kristina Rihanoff.

Brazier's comments about "falling in love" begs the question on everyone’s lips: will the Strictly curse strike again this series?

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 10: Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton attend The Olivier Awards 2022 with MasterCard at the Royal Albert Hall on April 10, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for SOLT)
Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton are one of the couples to fall to the Strictly curse, they now share a daughter, Minnie, together (Getty Images for SOLT)

Dating expert for Ourtime, Kate Taylor, has shed some light on why time and time again the couples on the show fall victim to the "curse".

She told Yahoo UK: "Strictly has definitely thrown a grenade into several relationships. At least 15 real-life couples have broken up while one of them took part in Strictly. But not many of the Strictly couples actually go the distance. Most split up within two years of the show.

"So I believe that Strictly creates an intoxicating bond between its contestants, but not one strong enough to last when the performances are over. The Strictly curse is more like a summer romance: hot, passionate and exciting, but it dies when you start wearing clothes again."

Falling in love on Strictly

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - JANUARY 17: Joe Sugg and Dianne Buswell attend the photocall for the 'Strictly Come Dancing' live tour at Arena Birmingham on January 17, 2019 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Katja Ogrin/Getty Images)
Joe Sugg and Dianne Buswell were partners on Strictly Come Dancing, and later became a couple. (Getty Images)

Speaking about the bonds built on the show, the relationship expert highlighted it is the closeness developed between the celebrity and their professional dancer that leads to the passionate feelings of love.

She said: "The show is a competition, so each team develops an ‘it’s us against the world’ mentality, and that is HOT. It’s the same reason why so many people in high-pressure jobs (like medicine, or the emergency services) fall in love with each other. There’s a feeling that nobody else understands what you’re going through."

Being physically close while dancing "absolutely" has an impact on the pairings falling for one another, the love expert claimed.

Strictly stars perform dance routine
The Strictly curse is talked about every year. (BBC)

She explained: "The Strictly teams would not be falling in love so often if the show was a Lego-building competition. When we embrace someone (like during a dance), our body starts releasing oxytocin, a super-strong bonding hormone. In my book Not Tonight Mr Right, I call oxytocin the 'Fatal Attraction' hormone, because its effect can be so intense.

"Oxytocin makes us feel affectionate and nurturing and also builds feelings of trust. Its effect can also take a long time to wear off, meaning the connection will last long after the show has finished. In your own life, build oxytocin on dates by holding hands, sitting close to each other, or just snuggling up."

Learning to dance

Strictly's Amanda and Giovanna perform dance on Saturday night with Bridget Jones theme
The celebrities have to learn dance routines every week. (BBC)

Most of the stars have little or no dance experience so the celebrity has a huge learning curve.

The relationship expert explained how something as simple as the act of learning can lead to love, saying: "Learning anything with a partner is a great way to form a connection. (The fact that it’s passionate dancing, in teeny tiny outfits, certainly helps.)

"When we tackle new things, our brains start pumping out dopamine (the satisfaction/motivation chemical) which produces feelings of reward and gratification.

"It's also one of the main chemicals we release when we’re in love. It’d be easy for Bobby to believe his happy feels mean he’s falling in love, when really they’re probably just his brain giving itself a high-five for mastering a two-step.

"Let's not forget though, that Bake Off contestants also learn new things together but they’re not ripping off their aprons with lust. So the Strictly glamour, exercise, team-work and close-contact must all play a part too. If you want the same kind of boost to your own relationship, do new things together as often as you can. Ideally in Lycra."

Strictly rehearsals

SOUTHPORT, ENGLAND - AUGUST 18: Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev in a Silver-Gilt Medal winning display by Poplar Farm Flowers on August 18, 2023 in Southport, England. (Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)
Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev met and fell in love on Strictly (Getty Images)

Hours of rehearsals also bring the stars closer to their professional partner.

Every week, the Strictly couples are throwing themselves into gruelling training sessions to ensure they learn all the new moves they need to showcase on the upcoming Saturday night.

It is no secret that the intense nature of the schedules will have an impact on the home lives of both the contestants and their partners.

Ourtime expert Taylor shared: "The main effect of this training schedule will be that it lessens the time contestants can spend with their own partners. That will begin to erode the bond they have with their home life.

Eddie Kadi performs with Karen Hauer on Strictly Come Dancing
Plenty of hours go into the dance routines that are performed on the Saturday. (BBC)

"Dancing will start to give them daily feelings of reward (from the dopamine) and affection (from the oxytocin), whereas home-life will probably start to feel stagnant and unfulfilling.

"In your relationship, try to schedule a weekly date night so you feel connected. Ideally, make it something offbeat and fun – think escape room, not early-bird dinner."

Strictly curse threat

Nowadays, everyone going onto the Strictly dance floor is warned about the Strictly curse and relationships mastermind Taylor said this can make people feel on edge.

Where the celebrity is spending less time at home and more time at training, the love expert points out jealousy and insecurity can arise.

She said: "The Strictly curse is so famous now, it would be impossible NOT to worry that your partner was going to fall in love with their team-mate. I don’t know how anyone would be able to contain their insecurity, it would just leak out: 'Do you have to hold them so tight during a rumba? Why do you never throw me up in the air like that? You SO checked out their bum when you did that turn!' You would be questioning everything.

Bobby Brazier dancing with Dianne Buswell in matching pink outfits on Strictly Come Dancing
Bobby dancing with his partner Dianne this series (BBC)

"From the Strictly team’s point of view, that would make their home-life feel less rewarding than their dancing partnership (because they’d be fielding questions and insecurity at home, compared to fun, dancing and companionship on set), which would fuel the attraction even more.

"In your own relationships, try to master your own insecurity and jealousy. It’s really easy to let fear control your emotions, especially if you have an Anxious or Preoccupied Attachment style. If you regularly struggle with jealousy, always ask yourself how logical your fears are before they take over your head.

"For example, your boyfriend liking another girl’s post on Instagram doesn’t instantly mean he’s going to run away with her. But him going on Strictly and having his hands on his partner’s perfect bum for 10 hours a day might be a slight threat."

Watch Zara McDermott talk about her Strictly fears

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Kate Taylor is the Dating Expert for Ourtime, and offers one-to-one dating coaching on her website,