If you ever talk with Charmer, you’ll see that she despises the end of year stuff of doing “a look back” and talking about what’s happened over the course of the year. The news programs will spout about things that happened, shows will talk about guests they had, etc. Drives her a bit crazy. [SSC: Very true. They ignore everything happening now for minutiae and interviews with the stars who made headlines this year. I don’t care about the 15 strangest baby names of the stars this year…]
But here I am. 2015 was a big deal for us because we learned a LOT about us. A lot about how we approach this thing we do. Specifically, our FLR has taken pretty strong hold at this point. I love that it’s not in a fantasy way, although I know you’ll be happy to know that it’s rare that she’s not walking around in black leather with a bullwhip while I dust. (Kidding) [SSC: How else would I get the dusting done?] We’ve found some interesting things that work well for us – I’ve written before about different ways we communicate in different scenarios.
One thing that I still don’t understand, but am trying to, is why there is even such a thing as an FLR. I mean, it’s not like there are many definitions for MLR (male-led). Why is it unusual to be in an FLR – why does it need its own term and all the fog and confusion around what it has to be?
In short, it has to be what you need it to be. But to me at least, the FLR is about making a choice to step up to what you’re good at, emphasizing it, then adding some “zing” to it. (More on the zing in just a minute.) The way things have started to work out for us is that the FLR is full-on doing what each does best, particularly in our home and with our close family. It’s just the truth that she runs these things better than I – it’s not my thing. [SSC: And, while it looks like we’ve suddenly started an FLR this year, we haven’t. We’ve had an FLR for decades–it just didn’t have a name.] Partly because my professional life is all about running stuff, so I really cherish flipping that on its ear in the off hours. Mostly though, it’s because she’s better, much better, at running those things.
I think the FLR approach let us have specific conversations about what each likes to do, what each is good at, and then set out expectations. Yes, we have set out expectations – we’ve defined what we need done, who does it. [SSC: Yes, we have an agreement. But true to our natures, he wrote it, I made a couple of changes and we were done. If it had been up to me to write, it would happen…never. It didn’t matter to me to set it down in words. He’s more official that way.] To me, the FLR was my chance to put back energy into things – I started actively looking for things I could help with or just outright take off her plate. Before we went through this, that was not as active a process – I was much more passive in our “getting things done” department.
So, this brings me to what I think I finally realized about why we call this an FLR and why it falls into this kink area of our lives. I think the FLR comes from the “add-ons” (wow, that sound clinical) to the “who does what” relationship. The stuff of more outright control that pushes buttons for both sides, the stuff of bedroom control. [SSC: You mean my domain?] I think when we start adding in those components, it moves from being a getting things done tool to an “FLR” and starts to morph into a kink-involved thing. Of course that’s also when the leather and whips are required. [SSC: Totally.]
I bristle a bit at the fantasy of FLR. Along those lines, I’m Hers talked about this a bit ago and had some additional thoughts about the reality of their FLR and how they’ve implemented things. It’s however you make it, however it works for you, but for us, it’s been about defining not only who does what much more evenly, but also about deciding on expectations. I know this may surprise many (not!), it comes down to communication. The decision on FLR or MLR (sorry) is one of “ok, we both agree on who is in charge here and we agree that they have final say on everything in their realm.” [SSC: Or at least final say within the framework of your own relationship. Ours is more comprehensive than others on power exchange.] We used the “food groups” analogies to identify what we were interested in establishing. You may be able to guess what “level” we chose and have implemented…
I love it. I love that it optimizes on who does what best and gives me the opportunity to extend taking care of my Charmer. I love that we have found ways to weave it into our daily at-home and out-and-about lives. I love that we’re adding more to it in terms of expectations. It’s been a sometimes challenging road to get here, but I can’t wait to see how we enhance it, what new discoveries we make and how it continues to shape how we live and work and play together. [SSC: And now, can we stop looking back and move forward? There are just a few things that I’d like you to do…]