Friday, June 30, 2017

The Forum - Vol. 212 - Decisions, Decisions

"He may have a second rate intellect, but he has a first class temperament." Oliver Wendell Holmes on Theodore Roosevelt

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.

We didn't get a huge number of posts last week, but lack of volume is sometimes offset by depth of feeling. Whenever we touch on issues regarding public exposure or what our kids (adult or otherwise) should know, it seems to be bring out very firm opinions.  Me?  I'm still on the fence. But, it doesn't really matter.   If ours come to know, it will only be because my wife decides to tell them.  Or, because they already know and have, up until now, spared us the embarrassment of telling us about it.  Only time will tell.

Anna also made a comment about the constraints of talking about only one topic each week, and I don't disagree.  Having one particular topic--and having to be the guy coming up with it each week--is definitely constraining for all concerned.  Though, it's a problem I don't quite know how to solve, other than being flexible when people drift off into things that aren't precisely "on topic."  (I have made the decision, however, that I am not going to put up with it any more when a couple of OCD posters feel compelled to comment every week but have nothing at all to actually say, so they instead leave repetitive comments that are the communicative equivalents of a masturbatory fart.  I'm just taking those down, even if peripherally on-topic, because the commenters are playing this cute game where the first sentence may seem on-topic, then they launch right into their mother-in-law, spanked in front of her friends, facing the wall, leg-locked, little fantasy scenario.  Not putting up with that anymore.)  But, if someone has something truly communicative they want to talk about, I'll usually either let it go, or if it is way off-topic but would be a good one to explore, I'll suggest deferring to the following week, at which time I'll devote a full-blown topic to it.  Admittedly, that strategy is self-preservation at play, because it means I have one less thing to struggle over on Saturday morning as I look at a blank screen. But, I do sometimes get tired of the topical format in its entirety, and I do think about something like a Facebook group or a moderated discussion group for our more regular and productive commenters.  Something where anyone can post a topic and people can use a chat session to talk real-time, would probably be preferable, but I can't quite figure out the practicalities.  Something more like a "club" than a "forum." But, Facebook makes it very hard for people to post anonymously or even to post using accounts with pseudonym identities, and many of us just aren't willing to "out" ourselves to Facebook as a condition of using the service.  I also have been a member of a couple of on-line discussion groups, but running one usually requires some kind of payment for the software or hosting, which again leads to a loss of anonymity at least for the moderator.  So, I am open to all suggestions, but right now I can't come up with anything much better than the current format. 


Now, on to today's actual topic.  In addition to things regarding our family being in a bit of a state of flux, we've been dealing with some issues around life choices.  Nothing earth shattering yet, but we're coming up on that time of life when you may hit a fork in the road and need to make some conscious decisions about which one to walk down.  And, truth be told, currently we are not entirely on the same page.  That has me thinking a bit more than normal about decisions and how we make them in a DD or FLR relationship.  Now, I have never had much use for the notion of female supremacy.  I think some men are good leaders and make good decisions. Others, not so much.  The same is true of women.  I know some who are naturally good leaders who make great decisions for themselves and those around them. For others, it is a learned skill. And, some just kind of suck at it.  I don't think either gender has a monopoly on wisdom.  

I will now offend the female supremacists in the group to the core, by saying boldly that my wife is not a better decision-maker than I.  At least not consistently and in all respects.  If anything, I'm more rigorous and systematic in analyzing issues and coming to decisions on appropriate actions.  But, in some ways that's a result more of experience and confidence than aptitude.  Preparing for my career involved a lot of training in thinking things through in a very ordered way.  And, I have to make a lot of decisions every day.  It's kind of my stock-in-trade, as it were.  

On the other hand, I tend to get in trouble because while I am analytical, I also am temperamental and stubborn, and those qualities can overcome my better judgment.  And, I just do dumb and dangerous things sometimes.  For those reasons, it still makes a lot of sense for my wife to be at the top of our chain-of-command, at least in a lot of areas.  Because, she has a better temperament than I, and one that is less prone to doing dumb shitBut, we both recognize that when it comes to actually stepping up and taking the lead on making decisions for us,  she needs practice.  While she kind of likes the feel of being in charge once she does it, she doesn't always like thinking about that decision being hers to make. The conditioned need to get buy-in from me and others gets in the way of decisive leadership.  And, there no doubt are some conventional social roles at play.  Especially on "big ticket" issues. So, I have from time to time kind of forced her down that learning curve.  

A year or so ago, about the time we started really exploring FLR, she needed a new car.  Now, I am guessing it is fair to say that buying cars is still seen as the man's job in many, many families.  We get the pain of wrangling with the dealer over price, and just as we are patting ourselves on the back for striking a great deal, we get shuffled off to the finance guy who somehow hypnotizes us into buying the upgraded floor mats and that super-special undercoating.  It's an inherently competitive, adversarial, zero-sum game in many ways.  Well, this time, I decided it was her car, and she should get the experience of choosing and negotiating it all by herself, and if she was going to claim to be the Head of the Household, she needed to learn to get a little more comfortable with confrontation.  She was fairly pissed at me for refusing to weigh in on any part of the process, but she did a great job. In fact, she drove a hell of a lot harder bargain than I would have!

We both also have areas we like handling and others we don't.  So, my wife handles most of our bank accounts, but I handle most of our investments.  She pays the credit card bills, while I make most of the decisions on things like household repairs.  We both kind of like it this way, and even after DD and FLR we never really came to any formal allocation of decision-making roles, instead just kind of drifting into areas where we each have more interest and competence.  Even on kid issues, we tend to divide and conquer.  She makes a lot of the decisions involving day-to-day kid issues, while I handle how we manage their college funds, and I'm pretty active in helping advise them on how to succeed in school.  And, most big decisions are made jointly to one extent or another.  

If anything has changed since implementing DD and experimenting with an FLR, it is really the "chain of command" concept.  It an effective chain of command, the person at the top does not make every decision, but they are the final decision-maker.  They get to break ties.  If there is a dispute, they win.  We aren't perfectly consistent in applying the concept, but it is what we are aiming for.

How about you?  Does your DD or FLR relationship involve some actual allocation of decision-making authority?  Does she take on more of the decisions than she did before you went down this path?  If there is a tie, who wins?  If she has taken on more decision-making authority, has that proven to be a a relief or a burden? 
And, when it comes to discipline and punishment, is there any discussion about if, when and how it will take place, or is that totally up to her to decide?

I hope you have a great week.  Be safe out there on this long holiday weekend. 

33 comments:

  1. Female Supremacy???!!! What a load of of crap! That's like saying one race is better than the other!

    We all have our gifts, and it's the wise woman (or man) who learns how to delegate tasks properly based on a person's strengths. In my case, I gave up EVERYTHING after my accident, and assigned Shilo the job of deciding who did what while I was recovering.

    I've only recently (in the past month) taken over paying the bills using Shilo's guidelines. All the money goes into my account, and it gets paid out that way. Since I've lost touch on how much money goes in and out, he just suggests amounts and I pay it. Eventually, I will do all of that again.

    The fact remains that even when I was in my most weakened state, I made final decisions. I'm not always right, but when things go wrong, I take the blame.

    I'm not sure about how the others feel, but I want men in my life who are strong, intelligent, and definitely not robots. I expect to be questioned, I expect a difference of opinion, and I definitely want someone who will tell me when I'm wrong and how to fix it.

    Yes FLR-DD in inequal (unequal?). It puts the woman in charge, but it won't work unless the man is willing to step down. Choosing to follow isn't easy. It takes a certain strength to put yourself and well-being into the hands of another person.

    Now I'm rambling so I will stop.

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    1. Great observations. I particularly like the way you link real leadership with taking the blame. Funny how many people avoid leading precisely because they might have to take the blame if things go wrong.

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    2. Accepting one's Humanity only proves all the more that one is not better or superior to the other.

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  2. Hopefully you can see the humor (or Freudian slip) in your statement "If anything, I'm nor rigorous in analyzing issues."

    Have a great day.

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    1. More attributable to posting on a Friday night sipping once too often from my tequila snifter while watching a movie!

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    2. Hopefully you are enjoying Patron :)

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  3. Stress is less for me, my wife has taken on more decision making, the household runs better. As a male just get tired of making decisions and so the woman I married wanted that role and I said fine. It works for us. Jack

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  4. Hi Dan. It's been a while since I've chimed in. Around here I don't mind calling the shots , taking care of the house and all that goes with it. That's less stuff she needs to be concerned with and worry about. Dev fully handles my attitude and behavioral issues. Once the decision is made , there's nothing I can do about it. She decides the time , place and implement she'll use. She has walked in holding that 14" 1/4 thick paddle with the holes drilled and I pleased with her to use something else. ( didn't work ). On a couple other occassions I tried to " get out of it ". My art use instantly improved. Went to dinner and I pleasured her orally. She said all was very nice and appreciated but didn't change the facts and I was paddled anyway. When she says it's time for my " discussion " I get weak in the knees. Especially when she says " bring me the paddle ". She's in charge and takes total control. You all know what happens next.

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  5. Stupid spell check. My attitude improved and I pleaded with her to use something else.

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    1. The second one I worked out on my own, but you definitely had me stumped me with "my art use improved." It's juxtaposition with your oral pleasuring made me think maybe you were upping your game on that front. :-)

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  6. As in most households we have to make decisions on major issues (savings, investments, career, health care, insurance etc); finance; major house issues (decorating, major repairs); daily issues (picking up kids/grandkids, preparing meals, cleaning the house etc); family and friends; personal issues (what to wear, washing hair, bath etc) and free time decisions. When we first married Tim automatically assumed responsibility for all major issues, major house issues and finance. I assumed responsibilities for the house and preparing meals etc and for the other areas of decisions each of us made our own. Since my career is in financial control I used to get upset that I was not being consulted on certain financial decisions. This led to resentment on my part and was one of the subjects to be addressed as we moved into our new DD relationship. After we had signed our domestic harmony contract I warned him that I would not accept having my opinions overruled without proper consideration and threatened to use punishment if I felt he was ignoring me. His attitude needed a series of quite severe whippings to get him to change his ingrained views. We now have deep mutual appreciation for each other’s views regarding all important decisions and we finally adopt the most sensible decision. This has led to a far deeper bond and respect between us. The other daily decisions have been divided between us but I insist that Tim shares any decision that may affect me and in the event he fails to communicate he is punished. Sometimes he argues that his decision did not impact me but as I tell him it is my opinion about whether he should have shared it that is important – and it would be my opinion that results in punishment. When the children were younger and away from the house I would sometimes tell my hubby that I would make all the decisions for that weekend including how he would use his spare time, what chores were needed around the house and with whom he could socialize – all as part of the new level of discipline that we had agreed. I also warned him that he had to be obedient or else. Overall we are basically just sensible on decision making but I have emphasized that I will neither tolerate being ignored nor overruled without reason. He understands that failure in either of these will result in a real punishment. If he feels particularly strongly that I’m not correct or do not understand certain consequences of a decision (which may happen since I make no claims to be correct or superior in every matter) he has the option to avoid punishment by using our agreed “negotiate outside of the FLR scene” word “banana”. I know it’s an absurd word but it certainly would not be used in normal discussion so I know I should listen to his explanation. In the event that I still feel he did not communicate sufficiently I allocate a suitable punishment.

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    1. Hi Tina. I'm not sure I understand the last part -- negotiating outside the FLR scene. Can you elaborate on that a little?

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    2. "After we had signed our domestic harmony contract I warned him that I would not accept having my opinions overruled without proper consideration and threatened to use punishment if I felt he was ignoring me." This implies that your "Domestic Harmony Contract" makes you the final authority, at least in matters involving punishment. Is this the way your marriage works and if so, why did Tim agree?

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    3. Hi Anonymous (I wish you would put some handle on your identity even if it is not your actual name- anonymous is so repetitive). I am the final authority on decisions only after my hubby and I have discussed the various options. I value his opinions and do not believe in the superiority of women. I freely admit that he knows a lot more about certain issues than I ever will and I am not all powerful and all seeing so my opinions may not be the most suitable. However once we have made a decision I expect it to be honored by Tim. The main thrust of my comments was that initially in our relationship Tim would make decisions without my input (which I resented) and that is what led to our heart to heart discussion that he should never ignore me. That is when he asked if I could encourage him to be more thoughtful by punishing him if he failed to involve me in decisions. We also discussed the finality of decisions and the understanding that after we had discussed an issue and a decision was made he should not unilaterally change that decision without consideration from me. Again he suggested that I should punish him if he failed to involve me in any subsequent decision change. You should appreciate that the reason that we prepared our domestic harmony contract was because we love each other deeply and he recognized that sometimes he acted in ways that disappointed me and made me lack respect for him. Once he understood this he sincerely believed that he would improve if we followed a rigorous DD relationship. He freely admits that punishment always makes him nervous but since he has accepted the principle he realizes how fantastic out daily life together can be. Yes I make the final decision about what punishment he is to receive with the exception of the “banana” explanation I posted to Dan. As for Tim’s agreement – he was the one who initially suggested a DD solution since he realized just how hurtful his earlier attitude had been. I have to tell you that since we ventured down this path even though I am obligated to inflict pain on my soul mate our respect and love for each other has grown to such depths that it is difficult to understand why every couple is not following this course.

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    4. Hi Dan. I’ll try to explain what I mean by the last part of my posting.

      PART 1: Any time that a decision between us has been reached, usually by mutual discussion, I expect that Tim will honor and adhere to that decision and ensure it is implemented. However in real life some exterior forces may necessitate a change in that decision and when we were putting our domestic harmony contract together we elected to recognize that Tim may have a valid reason for non-adherence to my decision. I felt that if some major event or action had caused him to change the decision and I refused to give him an opportunity to explain but simply admonished him and inflicted punishment it would lead to resentment by Tim and lack of trust in me. Remember we have entered into this consensual agreement on the basis of mutual trust and love. I do not want to either appear, or become, a sadistic bitch just to demonstrate power over my hubby. Accordingly we agreed that if a decision was not upheld I would punish him according to the seriousness of the infraction after giving him a chance to explain why he had defaulted.

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    5. PART 2: Normally these explanations were minor and part of the ritual of him trying to reduce his punishment but in the event that he had a serious and genuine reason for the change then there should be a vehicle –a signal – that he could use for us to sit as a regular couple to discuss what had happened. I’ll give you two examples of when “banana” has been used. The first was early in our new relationship and Tim had not learned yet the meaning of a genuine reason for not adhering to my decision. I had decided that we would not buy a new flat screen TV but Tim arrived home with one and I was very disappointed in him. I advised him that he would be caned severely for his lack of respect but he claimed “banana”. I smiled at him and said “are you sure since if I do not accept your reason the punishment will be extreme”. He seemed confident and we sat while he explained that with our current budget we should take the opportunity of major savings and when he had been passing the store a floor model was being sold at 50% off so it was really an amazing deal for us. I immediately ordered him to kneel in front of me and I slapped his face hard. “This is not the purpose of ‘banana’ and well you know it- I can see I’ll have to teach you respect and obedience” I ordered him to the punishment room and caned him with 24 hard strokes of the cane with a further 12 even harder strokes for falsely using ‘banana’. I also had the TV returned and he was banned from watching any TV for a month. After this lesson he understood how our signal should be used and generally accepted any punishment that I felt necessary for failure to be obedient.

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    6. PART 3: The second example was fairly recently. I had an important business meeting which was to take most of the day with a power dinner in the evening. Both Tim and I would attend the dinner but I needed him to leave work early and collect my special dress from the cleaners. We decided that he would collect the dress, return home early and prepare for the evening that would include cleaning the house since one of the power group would be visiting with us. When I arrived home Tim was not there. The house was not dirty but had not been prepared – I was very upset. Tim arrived home with no dress. By now I was very agitated and disappointed that he had failed so miserably. I was expecting my visitor at any moment but I instructed Tim to go to the punishment room and wait for me. He immediately said “Banana” and I could see that he was very stressed about something. We sat down and he explained that his assistant of twenty years had been run down by a car and he had spent the afternoon in the hospital. He had such a close relationship with this lady that I could see how sad he was. He was almost crying with the unknown of whether she would recover. I asked him why he had not phoned me and he said he had tried but my phone had been turned off. I checked and I had switched it off while in the meeting. I listened to all his messages and then immediately hugged him to me and stroked his head while saying that the dress and cleaning was irrelevant. This was a genuine use of “banana” and shows that we realistically understand of the impact of life. Sorry this answer is so long but I felt it was necessary to explain why my strict discipline is conditioned by empathy.

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    7. Thank you Tina for taking the time for such a complete and thorough answer!!! Anonymously, Owen

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    8. Hi Tina. Thanks for all this. Though, I have to say, I'm with Tim on not passing up 50% off on a big screen TV. :-)

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    9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    10. Why wouldn't legitimate explanations be part of the process of deciding his fate without the need to "break character", so to speak, with a special code word?

      David

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  8. My partner has made all the decisions involving our relationship since the beginning. She values my input and we discuss nearly every issue and then she makes the decision. This is the way we set things up from the start. I must say, the fact I was retired before we met was a big help. I had a leadership role in a high stress career and when it ended, I could fully embrace the concept of someone making the decisions. Once the decision is made, I comply totally and never question it unless she determines it was a poor choice on her part and then we discuss it again.
    As far as discipline is concerned, she is in total control. We do have a list of infractions, each with 3 levels of prescribed punishments, but she is at liberty to ignore them or alter them as she sees fit. She determines if I am to be punished, when, how, how long, how hard and where (yes, I have been punished outside of our home).

    Perhaps a topic for discussion could be the differences between a DD, and a Female-led relationship. Maybe this has been done prior to my being a follower. If so, then I'm shut.

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    1. Do tell more about those outside the home punishments!

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    2. Well, most were with my former Dominant who firmly believed in discipline at the time of the infraction. If you misbehaved in public, you were punished in public. I have been hauled out of restaurants, spanked on the curb and had to return to face everyone. I was once spanked in Central Park in NYC in full view of the general public. This was awhile ago when one could get away with such things. My current Dominant is much more reserve and careful. I have been spanked outdoors, but nobody was present. There was this time at a friends home, that is a good story.

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  9. In our relativily new equality maintainance relationship Mrs Good Life being the dom isn`t on the agenda. However what I have noticed is the rarely used disciplinary side (2 in 6 months) all the possible offences are more likely to be broken by me and I am more likely to accept I am guilty. I have also noticed if thier is a dispensation to be had for maintainance I am ready to agree she doesn`t go over my knee and usually suggest a swap. I am also more attracted to having impliements used. Maybe this shows that in my inner brain I accept my wives superiority although I would fight tooth and nail to maintain the equality DD concept. Apologies if I veried away from the topic. Cheers Good Life Mickey.

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  10. Dan
    Wow! I won't comment on any of this week's entries. Both Peter and I walked away with the same thought. Each couple has to create the roles that work for them. I think everyone has only reached their comfort zones after much honest conversation and at least for us more than one "rule" we have had to alter or
    discard. Our goal is for peace, happiness and somewhere in all of this, keeping our love and respect for each other alive.
    Anna

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    1. Hi Anna. Definitely agree that each couple needs to figure out what works for them!

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  11. I guess our FLR is more geared towards behavior than decision-making. Rosa tends to follow my advice on a lot of things because, frankly, I have more experience and expertise in a lot of areas. I guess this goes back to my old "Lady/Knight" analogy: part of the reason she desires me is precisely because of what 'I can do' and how those talents make her life easier. But woe to the 'Knight with a bad attitude'!

    That said, as the subordinate in a FLR, I do tend to seek her input and approval far more than if we were just a typically more male dominated household. I run most purchases past her.....even though she thinks I over-worry spending. And as far as all those social things? She's DEFINITELY the decision maker!

    I guess another analogy that an old boss/mentor once told me was the old "racehorse/plow-horse" comparison wherein he said he preferred occasionally having to rein in a racehorse to having to constantly urge on a plow-horse. Rosa usually lets me be free to do what I do best because it makes she's not stupid. Why take on more responsibility when all she has to do is keep me in line while letting me do the things I do best? Where and when she wishes to exert more authority, she does.

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    1. Tbat's a good distinction, and fits my relationship as well. Even with our increasing focus on FLR, it's still more about behavior than decision-making.

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  12. The way it works with us is the final decision rests with me, the HoH and husband, but I consult with her. If my wife doesn't feel I have been sufficiently consultative in my decision-making, this is addressed during the spanking session.

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