The communication gamification post the other day prompted some nice comments, but one in particular has stuck with me all week. Trying to figure out how to explain a bit more about our dynamic (Charmer and Mine) and how it all works, without hanging her (or the commenter) out to dry.
Some background first that might help – Charmer and I have been married for a loooooooooong time. Like nearly 30 years. Together for even longer. [SSC: You mean we didn’t get married before we dated?] In that time, we’ve developed a pretty solid relationship, we’ve been through some really incredibly great highs and lows that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. OK, perhaps that’s not entirely true, I actually would like to wish some of them on my worst enemy, but that sounds bad, so I’ll just leave it at that. [SSC: For the record, I would totally wish them on him.]
Anyway, in that time, we went through the whole range of relationship configurations, from white picket fence mode to PTA mode to professional and now even empty nest. Throughout all of it, looking back, we had this dynamic where she pretty much ran the personal side of things (finances, house, etc.) and I worked to make that as easy as possible for her. I took care of the business side of things (we own a small company). Once we started working this way many, many, many years ago, the division of labor worked. Looking at it now, it’s well on its way to an FLR. We just didn’t know there was a term for it.
Formalizing this, calling it what it is and looking to really focus on refining it has led to a lot of revelations on what works for us. While she is amazing at taking care of the house, once she decides on something that’s needed (think new roof or appliance or maintenance or whatever) that’s when I try to step in and take it off her plate. I will work to make it happen for her, be it something I can create for her (Snake Den) or have to bring in outside help like a contractor. So the revelations came when we officially said “look, this works. Why not just call it what it is, make it real and then start working to make it more and more clear in our lives. It helps define who has responsibilities and who is in control of different things…” There’s that communication thing again.
Then we started tweaking it for the D/s stuff when we discovered that. I had no idea I was submissive to her. I still struggle with the whole concept – I’ve written about that, I’m sure I’ll write about it more. But this D/s stuff (not even necessarily bedroom D/s – lifestyle) lead to more communication. More expectations. We found that it was really tough if it ended up being on-again, off-again in terms of private and public interaction respectively. [SSC: We try to not impose our dynamic on people who don’t know about it. So, family interactions and dance studio were becoming issues.] So we sought to find a solution. That’s what I mentioned in the post.
Etienne mentioned this in a comment:
I’m can see how useful the “knock it off” gesture might be for you, but does Charmer never need a discreet outside perspective?
I read this as basically, “that’s all well and good that she’s watching over you, but who says she’s always right, who’s watching her?”
Great question! But it comes down to the underlying relationship. I have to trust in her judgment in the heat of the moment. Period. I have to know that she’ll not be making rash demands (unless she’s just outright messing with me) and that she’s trying to make something go the way she wants. [SSC: And, to be honest, I think I may have used the signal three or four times total. In spite of my snarky remarks, we really do usually agree.] If I have issues with anything, or if she has issues with anything that we need more attention on, we talk about it later. But in the moment, save for something dangerous or a limit, it’s her call. It has to be. At some point, there has to be a decision or call made. SOMEONE has to own whatever is happening that needs to be modified/done/decided.
I won’t say this hasn’t been without misunderstandings, or missed perceptions and expectations all around. But we work through them and figure out what we expect and need and move forward.
Heck, I’ve even cut WAY back on my disco dancing. [SSC: No. He hasn’t. And it really is just sad.] Just sayin’.
We lean on our relationship mightily. But the buck has to stop somewhere, and in our case, in our personal (non-work) lives, it’s all about her. Decisions, control, etc. But it’s not like she’s always standing there with a grip on my throat and threat over my head. It’s a mutually very respectful thing.
In my mind, it goes to the subtitle of this blog a bit. I mentioned “Chivalry” when we first set this up. To me, this is “enhanced chivalry” – where I get to do more things to show I care, and she reciprocates – it feeds on itself in the form of respect and support. And communication. As we talk, discuss, blog to each other, modify – lather, rinse, repeat – it feeds on itself and makes things work that much better. Which makes us want to do more. And we do. I’m constantly working to turn up the volume on things – to add more to our dynamic. And she’s doing the same more and more now. As we see the natural impact and goodness it brings, we want more of it.
But I never, ever want to suggest that she’s just “ruling” me (my term as an example only, no one has suggested that) and that I’m this lowly thing that’s only participating because she has me by the… neck. [SSC: Or, if I do, it has nothing to do with the FLR. But, I digress…]
Our relationship, the discussions, the communications, the respect – have done nothing but multiply many, many times over with the better clarity of our dynamic.
I hope that helps explain.