Saturday, June 3, 2017

The Forum - Vol. 209 - Soften But Not Weaken

"Are your convictions so fragile that mine cannot stand in opposition to them? Is your God so illusory that the presence of my Devil reveals his insufficiency?” - Marquis de Sade

Hello all.  Welcome back to the Forum.  Our weekly gathering of men and women who are in, or interested in being in, Domestic Discipline or Female Led Relationships.  I hope you had a good week.  Mine was good, though eventful in a lot of ways.  I had one special project I have been working on for a long time that is sort of work-related but not directly.  I don't want to say what it was, because it would reveal a lot more about what I do than I am willing to share at this point, so let's just call it "community service."  But, it was something where t if I succeeded it could have a very important positive impact on another person, but if I failed--and I was highly likely to fail--the consequences would be pretty dire.  Somehow the proverbial rabbit was pulled out of the hat.  It was a team effort, and I could not possibly be prouder of them and what was accomplished.  It has me feeling all warm and fuzzy and has left me incentivized to try to do more along those lines, i.e. looking for ways to help others in situations that don't reward me at all, other than making me feel good.  I say that during a week in which we all witnessed the terrible tragedy that befell two Good Samaritans in Portland.  It reinforces that doing the right thing isn't always easy or consequence free, but I pray that doesn't dissuade anyone from doing it. And, can we all make a pact to stop using the term "Alt-Right"?  These people are White Supremacists and Neo-Nazis and racists.  Let's not water that down by allowing ourselves to be co-opted into using the more benign label they want to hide behind.

It was also an eventful week when it came to observing power exchanges in action, or the consequences of a lack thereof.  I had a major conflagration with someone involving another work-related interaction.  It got pretty nasty, to some extent because we had diametrically opposing interests, and neither of us were willing to give ground.  In this case it involved someone outside my own organization, and there was a competitive aspect to it, but I've seen this happen in more collegial circumstances, too.  There is someone I work with who I consider to be a good friend.  But, every once in a while we butt heads over an issue that is touchy for both of us.  For all intents and purposes, we are peers and that creates a problem when we are on a common project and disagree on something.  There is no tie-breaking mechanism, and no chain-of-command that dictates who wins.  His view is he has more seniority, so in the event of a tie, he wins.  My view is, no, the person who will bear most of the consequences of the decision or be held most directly responsible for it chooses.  The problem is, we both are totally convinced we are right and since the issue is all about who wins in such a situation, we come to a very heated stalemate.  I'm going into this only because it got me to thinking about a point a female HoH made to me some time ago. Her view is that purely equal relationships don't really work in practice, to the extent they actually exist at all.  In most situations, there really does need to be someone who gets to make the final decision. Something that distinguishes D/s and FLR relationships is that instead of drifting through a never-ending series of arguments ending either in stalemate or bruised egos and hurt feelings, the couple has come to an explicit agreement about who makes certain decisions and about what the consequences will be of ignoring the agreed-upon rules.

Which brings me to the other power exchange-ish happening of my week; the little spat that developed with the persistent troll.   Where he and I can't see eye to eye on a very fundamental level is this: I just don't get why another couple's D/s arrangement is any of his business, as long as it is consensual.  He throws around the word "sadist" as if it some kind of sexual epithet, but as long as that couple is OK with their dynamic, why does he or anyone else care whether she enjoys being in charge and doling out punishment or, conversely, does so with great reluctance and self-sacrifice? Is the latter somehow morally superior, or is it just more disingenuous? You know the classic, "This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you" and similar platitudes that many of us heard growing up and all knew to be pretty much complete bullshit.


I don't have any problem with the concept that my wife might come to enjoy her role, and I certainly don't want to be married to a martyr who engages in this lifestyle only reluctantly and as a form of "sacrifice" for the relationship.  On the other hand, if that is how other couples approach it, I'm fine with that too.  The problem I have with this particular troll is he cannot or will not explain why he thinks he gets to choose how these women should feel, what kind of emotions are "acceptable" for a female HoH to have, and how others should react to it. At bottom, I don't really understand people who think they get to dictate how other people's relationships must work, or even why they care.  As I said in one of my retorts to him yesterday, I have enough problems managing my own relationships without worrying about how everyone else runs theirs. Moreover, I really don't want everyone to adopt my way of acting and thinking and feeling, because I kind of like the "kinkiness" involved in these power-exchange relationships, and if they were to become the norm they wouldn't be kinky.  Finally, I don't have any problem with people having competing likes and dislikes, including the possibility that someone might like something that I find distasteful.  Hence, the quote above from de Sade, which seemed a particularly apropos retort to someone who insists on having his own way on matters of personal behavior, who has a problem with sadism in particular, and who likes throwing around religious quotes.

Well, enough of that.  One of our new commenters (who didn't provide a name) asked me to expand upon a comment I left on JGirl's Taming of the Shrew blog:  http://ashrewtamed.blogspot.com.  She has just had a week of travel that took her away from her HoH and not having him around to make decisions had left her overwhelmed.  Her post explored the issue of co-dependence--or I guess it could more accurately be called just plain old dependence--in these relationships where one person has voluntarily given up some amount of control or power to another person. My comment on her topic was as follows:

Your posting strikes some chords with me regarding concerns I've had about our Female-led form of power exchange. Submission is really difficult for me sometimes, and part of the difficulty lies in my concerns about whether submitting to someone in one part of my life could have blowback in other parts, including my professional life. I've succeeded in my career to some extent because I impose a lot of control and assume a lot of responsibility. So, if I empower someone else to make big decisions for me in my life and if deferring to someone else's judgment becomes my new normal, will it make me less effective in those professional areas that require taking control and making the decisions.

In practice, it hasn't been a big concern, but that could be because while you and Jason are in Stage 3, we are somewhere in the early part of Stage 2. I don't know whether my concerns might start to have some reality if we were in the stage you are.

Do you think there is any way that you could build independence in some areas into your D/s relationship, such that one of the goals Jason gives you or rules he sets could be about taking control or being independent in certain areas? That way he would be setting the direction and the overall behavior he expects, but that could involve him requiring you to take control and exercise independent judgment in some areas?  Or, it very well may be that Stage 3 does cause some co-dependence that may have negative consequences, but that those are outweighed by the benefits you get out of it. That's a judgment only you and Jason are in a place to make.


FYI, the references to Stage 2 and Stage 3 are to a hierarchy of submission that JGirl uses to describe the phases her relationship has gone through, with Stage 3 being a pretty deep and fundamental submission or surrender of authority to the other partner.  The issue she was raising was basically whether giving up control in that way can have negative consequences for our ability to take control and manage other areas of our lives.  I was in turn raising the possibility that maybe the HoH could order the submissive party to take control and make decisions in certain areas.

As I stated, I have had some concerns about whether being on the receiving end of a DD relationship, and increasingly a Female Led one in which I turn over the reins to her more and more in certain areas could have a negative impact in others.  Particularly at work.  I run teams and am expected to lead, so could the conscious decision to surrender authority at home make me less effective as a leader in other areas? So far, if anything it has been the opposite, and in ways I would not have anticipated.  It's not that DD or FLR has "softened" me.  In some ways it has done the opposite.  I often get really frustrated with people who can't make decisions or do their work without a lot of guidance.  In the past, my way of dealing with them tended to be to get more than a little passive-aggressive, forcing them to make decisions on their own or taking the first opportunity to move them out of the group.  What I did not do very well was just tell them what I expected them to do.  While I am kind of naturally "combative" I am not naturally bossy.  I have a genuine aversion to giving orders.  Being the designated "follower" and watching as my wife works to become the designated Leader has illustrated to me in concrete form how hard it really is to give orders, but how things just work better when the Leader says what he or she wants and expects, without all the pussyfooting around.  It is a challenge for my wife to do that, i.e. to just give me a direct order and make it stick, but she has stepped up  to do it, and watching her do so has helped me learn to do the same.

It also reflects a concept I have come to appreciate more over time: chain-of-command.  In the military, people are expected to be both leaders and followers.  The Colonel bosses around the Captain but is in turned bossed around by the General. And, that works pretty well.  Being subject to direction from above not only does not diminish that person's own leadership, it can enhance it and can make the whole organization work better.

So, with that very long introduction, I'm not quite sure how to describe this topic, but maybe something along the lines of does being a disciplined spouse or being the "submissive" party in a relationship result in a negative co-dependence or otherwise "weaken" that party?  If so, are there things you have done to counteract it?

I hope you have a great week.  If you are new to this Forum, please take a minute to leave a comment in the Guestbook (tab above).

20 comments:

  1. Dan
    I think you answered your own question. I think you are becoming more and more aware that perhaps the submission at home is just that .. submission at home and at home alone. In my mind you are more of a mature man when you realize that.
    anna

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    1. Hi Anna. True, though the two can--and maybe even should--overlap. As I recall, you have spanked Peter for some bad work behavior. There have been instances where my wife certainly should have. I do think sometimes that I really should have a lot more respect for the chain-of-command, given that I really do like it in theory. But, if I was actually in the military I have little doubt I would have spent most of my time cleaning latrines or being put in the brig for insubordination.

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  2. I feel like for us, we are working on our weaknesses. I am learning to be more attentive and she is learning to be more assertive. There are other things going on too, like what kinds of things in our marriage warrent this kind of (dd) attention vs just discussions. It's been a great combination of healing and growth for us. Rcb

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    1. Rcb, that's pretty close to how I describe what DD does for us, though I look at it is both working on weaknesses and balancing strengths that may be a little too strong. Though, any strength can be a liability when taken to an extreme, so it still is basically what you said.

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  3. To answer the main question as I understand it, I would have to say, like always...anything is possible in any situation. The most co-dependent couple I know is also the most traditionally vanilla people you could ever meet in 2017. Conversely, Rosa and I always joke among friends that while we choose to be with each other, and while each of us contributes significantly to the relationship, neither Rosa nor I would have ANY trouble surviving or even thriving on our own. I am frankly mildly repulsed by people who can't exist on their own.......but that's just the libertarian in me grumbling.

    My biggest struggle is giving in, not seeking more input on what to do next. Which is not to say that as a human being in a relationship I don't seek her opinion on things.

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    1. Your last sentence generally resonates with me. My wife does tend to seek a lot of ratification where her decisions are concerned and, therefore, in order to help increase her comfort with leading there are times I flat-out refuse to give an opinion or make a decision, thereby forcing her to do it herself.

      Most of the couples we hang out with tend to be pretty equal, at least in terms of their visible power dynamic. I can think of one exception and, interestingly, it is a couple in which she clearly wears the pants. But, in that particular case, the husband seems to be kind of co-dependent on *everyone*. Just not a strong personality and incredibly indecisive.

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  4. Dan,

    I don't think you need to worry about being weakened at home or being less effective as a leader at work, because you are submissive to your wife's authority. Men who willingly accept a FLR are usually strong and confident in themselves; that is precisely what allows them to offer the gift of submission. I believe that a woman values a strong submissive, and one who can offer her love, support, and service, as well as obedience. Would she have any use for a weak man in such a relationship? In return, the woman offers her love, dominance and domestic guidance as an equally valuable gift - one that would be wasted on a man too weak to fully appreciate it. So, as you said above, the couples are equal...but just in a different way.

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  5. In total agreement with Strap51. I submit completely to my Dominant Partner in our FLR. She makes every decision. She welcomes my input, weighs it but the final decision is hers. I never feel weak in my role and I believe she, a a strong dominant, appreciates a strong submissive who does provide love, support, service and obedience. Sorry for using your exact words, Strap51, but as Dan has said, they are just perfect.

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    1. This is a topic that is probably worth exploring more, perhaps next week.

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  6. My wife and I are very much at the start of our FLR although we have been married for over 20 years. Recently she commented that we haven't argued in ages. My reply was 'of course we haven't Madam. When I asked and you agreed to take control in our relationship how could there be any arguments or indeed disagreements from that point? you became the decision maker from that moment in time and whilst it may be nice for you to ask my opinion in certain matters I understand that your decision is final.'
    Being able to have that attitude does not make me any weaker a person in any other part of my life. I can assure you that I can be just as stubborn at work as I have always been. In fact, I'm finding that following in our FLR has given me even more strength and more focus at home.
    M

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    1. I can't say we have gotten to a point where DD or FLR prevents disagreements or arguments, though I do think they provide a methodology by which to resolve them.

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    2. I don't know if they offer a methodology to resolve arguments as different opinions are healthy in a relationship. However they do make sure the disagreement is conducted in a respectful manner.

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    3. Dan
      Different opinions and even an argument are fine, as long as Peter realizes when I say enough
      if he continues, our next move is to punishment.
      anna

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    4. I agree with all three comments above and the message from anonymous. I will add that if there is a disagreement and a punishment results, after the spanking, it is over and done. Never to be brought up again. Slate is clean again and we move on.

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  7. My nearly 11 months of recovering from my accident and the resultant complications has had an effect on how I handle my Household. I had to delegate responsibilities and I became dependent on both Shilo and Stitch to take care of the simplest tasks. I believe I mentioned before that I am unable to provide physical discipline unless they are willing to receive it, but I also mentioned that neither of them really do anything worthy of discipline anymore. Before the accident, I had effectively disciplined them to the point of obedience, so I would occasionally give maintenance spankings.

    Being injured and dependent on them for everything not only meant I could no longer spank either one of them, but it also delivered a huge blow to my self-esteem. I'm happy to say that my self-esteem has somewhat improved, but I was unable to regain compliance on my occasional maintenance spankings. (Not that they need it)

    My next step is to find someone who desires discipline and is willing to accept it from me. (AH! the beauty of polyamory!) For now, though, I plan on resting on my laurels.

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    1. I hadn't really thought of things from that angle. We have talked about whether men would miss the spanking if they suddenly became perfect angels and didn't need to be punished anymore. But, what about the disciplinary wife who has come to enjoy being in that role?

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    2. Dan
      I think both men and women who have come to rely on discipline as an important tool in their communications would miss it greatly.
      annna

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    3. @Dan:
      There is always the possibility of "funishment" spankings (spanking for the fun of it) with Shilo for me if I really wanted it and he agreed, but I lost much of my strength, so it's not very probable at this point.

      @ Anna:
      I do miss it, but I understand that it's something that is possible in nearly every relationship. I was hit really hard when my recovery wasn't swift or easy, and I realized how blessed I am to have both Stitch and Shilo in my life. I have room in my heart for someone else who desires discipline, but I just have to wait patiently

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