What if you had to pick between D/s and your relationship?
Hooray, it’s another one of my fun little chipper posts today, you know, one of the really perky ones…
Before anybody freaks out: this question is purely hypothetical. Beth and I are fine and happy and in love with our D/s marriage. But one of the ways I like to push my own internal limits is by conducting thought experiments on subjects that I find uncomfortable, and boy did this one make me squirm.
I saw a post on a forum a few weeks ago from a woman about to start a relationship with a man she loved, and she approached him about including D/s in their relationship. He refused, and she was set upon the horns of a dilemma: should she stick to her guns and break off the relationship, or should she stand by her man and shelve D/s indefinitely, possibly forever? I had no advice to offer this woman; her relationship was new and her experience with D/s was minimal. Honestly she could probably go either way and make a happy life for herself. In the absence of both an existing long-term relationship and a well-established D/s routine, the stakes are simply too low for me to want to influence her decision either way. If I were to give any advice at all it would be something like “follow your heart and trust that things will work out.” Yeah, I hate getting advice like that, too.
After reading her post, the question nagged at me. I felt a lot of empathy for this woman. I remember when Beth and I started our D/s journey by starting Domestic Discipline in our home. We had a lot of tough conversations. I’ve already mentioned that Beth asked me to start DD and I initially refused. 2014 was our first year in a power exchange relationship, and we took many fumbling steps together. To put the shoe on the other foot, I remember having to work up the courage to ask Beth to push her hard limit on anal sex. I felt terrified that she wouldn’t just say no but would also feel insulted or threatened or disgusted. We had nearly 20 years of marriage on the line. We had a lot to lose.
Actually, now that I think about it, the answer to “What if I had to pick between D/s and my marriage” is a no brainer: I pick my marriage, every time. It’s dealing with that answer that poses the interesting thought problem that my brain has been unable to put down.
And that’s just me, where I value the LTR infinitely more than the D/s. But what about other people? What about you?
I occasionally see people in the kink scene who are very experienced but are currently without a partner, and for them there’s often a sort of “third date conversation” that happens where they lay out their relationship needs. “I need a submissive partner,” they’ll say. Or “I can only be with someone who is willing to take charge of our marriage… and me.” These are people who have their love for D/s well established, and are looking to get their next LTR off on the right foot.
It’s really hard to conduct thought experiments about exploring relationships with a potential new partner, for what are probably obvious reasons: my brain doesn’t even want to think about life without Beth. (Not to be confused with Life After Beth, which is a great little zombie flick starring the lovely and delectably unsettling Aubrey Plaza. But I digress.) My brain keeps interrupting the thought experiment to ask “why isn’t Beth in the picture?” and I have to keep telling my brain “we’re fine, Beth’s fine, this is just a hypothetical experiment,” and it gets pretty exhausting.
So… I dunno. Obviously if Beth gave me a choice between revoking our TPE and ending our marriage, it’s not even a choice. I would have questions and want to talk about it and try my hardest to negotiate some alternative arrangement, of course, but at the end of the day if it was “her way or the highway” I would never choose the highway.
Does that restrict me as a Dom? I don’t think so. The most powerful word in all of BDSM is “no”, and withdrawal of consent is the submissive’s ultimate “ace in the hole”, although by this point in our relationship it’s more like “the nuclear option.” There would be lasting repercussions to work out, probably for years to come. Also, I could certainly never go back to being the person I was before we started D/s. I’m a completely different person now. So is Beth. If we decided to toss out D/s, our newly rebalanced marriage would wobble precariously in the hands of the two people we have become over the past few years.
I wonder what pieces of D/s I would keep, even without a D/s agreement in place. Probably a lot of them. I think we’d keep the much more honest and open communication we’ve learned over the years. I would still be assertive about communicating my expectations. I’d probably have my hands full dealing with our sex life dropping down to whatever is “normal” for people in their forties. Compared to our current sex life that would probably feel like “next to nothing”.
Heh. I just realized that “have my hands full” would probably be a literal statement. Pun obviously unintended, but that doesn’t mean I’m not proud of it.
At the end of the day, I’m honestly not sure how I would cope. Sometimes my thought experiments end this way, and they end up being the ones that haunt me, which is why I’m writing this down. Maybe this is less of a blog post and more of an exorcism. Begone, terrible nightmare idea! Feel free to comment or not; to think on the same question for yourself, or to make up hypothetical other people where you can say “if somebody else were in such-and-so situation, then I would recommend X.”
So… yeah. These are the kinds of thoughts that keep me up at night… and now they can keep you up at night.
Heh. My apologies for not having this idea two weeks ago. I could have posted this on Halloween. 🙂