Re: Looking for thoughts?
A few thoughts I have here:
1. I actually agree about one-on-one's with male friends. I have a policy for myself that I won't do anything with another female alone, whether that's a quick lunch/dinner, driving somewhere alone with her, some other activity, etc. I didn't grow up in a conservative culture either, this is just me showing respect for my wife by ensuring that she will have absolutely no reason to worry about me, and for myself by shutting down any temptation. I can also say that it has absolutely never ever caused any awkwardness or issues. I have female friends, but they are all parts of different groups of friends that I will interact with together, never separately.
2. Being a dancer of some kind... I suppose it depends on the type of dancing. Are we talking about stripping or burlesque, or something similar? If it's anything like that, then yes I would absolutely say that is inappropriate once married. It's just extremely disrespectful to a spouse. If it's something like ballet or tap dancing or line dancing or something as part of a group, then I don't see the harm.
3. Him discussing personal relational issues regarding your marriage with his mom is absolutely inappropriate, and should be a boundary in the marriage. It's ok for a person to have a close friend (one!) with whom they can confide in for emotional support and such, but for him that needs to be a male friend who has your marriage's best interests at heart. (Meaning someone that isn't just going to tell him to do something stupid the moment there is trouble) His mom is absolutely NOT that person, and frankly, he should actually be doing everything he can to present you as an amazing wife to his family, not revealing his grievances about you to them. Spouses already feel like they have pressure from the in-laws to be perfect, so making that worse is absolutely wrong.
4. Some expectations are healthy, many are not. You've both got to decide what is fair and what isn't and be honest about that. Expectations can RUIN marriages if it isn't addressed. For instance, due to your upbringing and life experience, you might feel that a good husband who loves his wife should absolutely say/do "X" every day/week/month. It's not even something you think about or ask him to do, you just innately expect it and feel that he should already know to say/do it, because thats obviously (to you) what good husbands say/do. Well if your husband doesn't feel the same way and has no idea that it's important to you, you'll slowly start to question whether he is a good husband at all, because after all, good husbands SAY/DO "X" and if they don't, then he might not care. That's the problem.
As an example, I read about a wife who's dad gave her mom a hug/kiss and "I love you" absolutely every single day when he got home from work, without fail. She saw it every day. In her view, that is what men do when they love their wives, period, and it shouldn't be something she should have to ask for. To her, it's a fair expectation, and if she has to ask for it, then that means he doesn't love her. Of course the problem is, not every guy grows up with that view, and just because he doesn't give her a hug/kiss and say "I love you" the moment he gets home doesn't actually mean he doesn't love her. In fact, most guys would probably be willing to do that if they knew it was extremely important to their wives, but she can't even bring herself to explain that to him because she feels like he should just know to do it. See the problem?
Then there are fair expectations. Like he shouldn't cheat on you, he should be committed to doing at least half of the household responsibilities (which includes generating income), he should value your time/thoughts/needs/feelings, he should be responsible with family resources, he should assist with child rearing, etc.
5. I think your marriage might be salvageable, if only because you aren't dealing with any major "get out now" deal breakers like physical/psychological abuse, theft, drug abuse, gambling, cheating, etc. So I think it's at least worth the effort to try. To start, I'd insist that you and he find and pick out a decent marriage counselor. (It might take seeing a few before you find one you like) Then commit to that process for a while. Lay out your needs for the counselor. Also, I HIGHLY recommend the following books, in order: 1. Boundaries in Marriage. 2. The Five Love Languages. 3. Love & Respect.
I confess, I tend to write the way I imagine I would speak if the discussion were happening in person. That means that I tend to ramble a lot, illustrate extensively, make used of a lot of analogies, etc. I apologize after the fact for the (likely long) length of my posts.