Saturday, February 15, 2020

The Club - Meeting 331 - Struggles & Rationalizations

From “The Big Chill”:

Michael: I don't know anyone who could get through the day without two or three juicy rationalizations. They're more important than sex.
Sam: Ah, come on. Nothing's more important than sex.
Michael: Oh yeah? Ever gone a week without a rationalization?

Hello all.  Welcome back to the Disciplinary Couples Club.  Our weekly gathering of men and women who are in, or would like to be in, Domestic Discipline relationships. 

I hope you all had a great week. Mine was, once again, more of a struggle than I’d hoped, on a lot of fronts.  I am getting constant, annoying reminders that getting old isn’t for sissies, even if it is better than the only alternative. But, it really is a struggle facing up to one’s own physical limitations and owning up to the fact that there may be a bodily price to pay for a life well-lived.  

I’m also really struggling mentally with the fact that the universe is flashing signals left and right that my career is going in a different direction that may be beyond my control, and that I’m probably starting to go over that inevitable apex of the hill that happens when you stick around in any job or relationship just a little too long. In other words, as I get deeper into middle-age I find myself surprised to be going through an unsurprising mid-life crisis. Given that I am a problem-solver by nature, my reaction to all this is to wring my hands and create to-do lists and draft journal entries laying out the pros and cons of various major career moves.  I ran some of those past a work colleague a few months ago, several of which she thought made no financial sense, leading her to advise: “Why don’t you have a normal mid-life crisis and just get yourself a blonde and a sports car.”

So, right now I’m struggling with roles, and I'm rationalizing all sorts of reasons to stay, to leave, or to do either on a certain schedule.  That’s probably why, when I was complaining to KD this morning that I couldn’t think of a weekly topic, it resonated when he suggested asking people if they have had to struggle with accepting their own roles and what realizations and rationalizations resulted.  So, let’s do that.

Based on the exchanges we’ve had over 7 years on this blog, I don’t have much doubt that most DD relationships are initiated by the man literally asking for it.  That common pattern was reinforced just yesterday, when Liz and I talked about how Art suggested they try ‘real’ spanking, after his mother-in-law reacted to some bad behavior by telling him he should be “thrashed” for it.  While the exasperated observation came from Liz’s mother, it was Art who ultimately took it seriously and suggested giving it a try.  I’ve recounted several times that I initiated our Domestic Discipline relationship after coming across the Disciplinary Wives Club website, though I wonder whether I’ve always made it clear that while the website itself had some mysteriously powerful influence over me, I don’t think that would have been the case had I not been in an emotional place in which I was frustrated with my own bad behavior and lack of self-discipline and looking for some solution.

Of course, as we’ve all talked about many times, there is a big difference between fantasy and reality, and it definitely is possible in DD relationships to get more than what you asked for.  So, on the realization front, I can say that I’ve realized—many, many times—that real disciplinary spankings hurt like hell and are far, far different from the fantasy.  I’ve also realized, because I have had so many real disciplinary spankings, that some behaviors are really, really hard to root out.  I know that I’ve used this particular caption several times, but I think it really does express the quandary that some of us go through when DD becomes, for lack of a better term, real.

In terms of struggles accepting a role, for me that is more of an FLR thing, though not entirely.  As I’ve said, I initiated the DD relationship, and in general I accept my role as the disciplined party.  Obviously, like probably every man here who has experienced a real disciplinary spanking, I struggle to accept the reality of what is going to happen once Anne has ordered one, and I definitely struggle to accept a real spanking as it is happening.  In fact, I would say that difficulty accepting—surrendering—to the reality of the situation is probably why I have not been able to cry from a spanking, ever.  I just can’t quite get past that internal resistance that causes me to “man up” and just try to get through it.  In fact, it’s been interesting working through this paragraph because, when I wrote the first sentence I really was of the mindset that I accept my role in DD but not so much in an FLR, but as I continued to write I started to process the fact that even in DD my ego gets in the way of really surrendering to my role of chastened, punished husband by really letting go and crying in front of her.

Accepting the “lesser” role in an FLR is even harder, probably because it is far less aligned with my impulses.  As I said, I think DD was attractive to me intellectually because I knew I had behavioral issues that needed to be addressed, but the appeal was also incredibly visceral.  I wanted it and needed it.  With FLR, it is more intellectual than visceral.  Like Art and kind of ZM, I have problems with arrogance and ego, and I feel like being bossed around at home and being humbled in that way would be good for me.  But, the attraction to that is much less visceral than was my reaction to DD, and the plain fact is I really, really hate being bossed around while it is happening.  That’s not to say that I don’t find my wife’s exercise of that power sexy after the fact, but it is very much after the fact.  In the moment, I hate it.  But, I rationalize complying with those orders because, in the long run, I do think it helps me to let go of control and ego.  It’s sort of like a Zen tool but it involves being bossed around and humbled instead of sitting on a meditation mat. 

I guess another rationalization is that there are certain issues (drinking too much, in particular) that DD just has not rooted out or even tempered much after several years.  Yet, I have come to the conclusion that DD benefits my wife even in those areas where my behavior may not improve much, because it allows her to express her dissatisfaction with that behavior in a very concrete way.  Now, I don’t know whether that is realization, rationalization, justification, or some combination of those, but I do think there is at least some truth in it.

What about you? Regardless of which side of the paddle you are on, have you struggled with accepting that role?  What areas have been particularly hard to accept?  Have those struggles led to any insights and realizations you’d like to share, profound or pedestrian?  Do you find yourself rationalizing some of the stuff that prevents you from accepting your role? I'd love to hear from the women what they've struggled with, though I have to admit I sometimes scratch my head in wonder at how easily many wives seem to slide into the role in terms of accepting the role of disciplinarian almost like it was just another item on the to-do list.

There's also an interesting interplay between my acceptance and my wife's, and I wonder whether the same dynamic holds for some of the rest of you.  The two illustrations immediately above involve an elevated level of assertiveness on the part of the wife, and I think they illustrate (in very different ways) a point that I've brought upt to my wife several times and that I think she finds counter-intuitive: The stronger she is in her role, the easier it is to accept mine.  I do struggle with accepting my role in an FLR, and sometimes I struggle to accept a particular spanking even when I have it coming.  Because I do have that internal resistance, it actually helps for her to be more strict, more stern and generally more bossy.  On some level, harder, more stern orders are simply easier to comply with, probably because they don't seem to invite the possibility of actual resistance.  I know one of the struggles some women face is being perceived as "bitchy," but I really react better and accept my role more easily when she is more strict and stern.  Let's face it, who wants to follow a weak leader?

Before, I go, an update on the reporting regimen that Liz suggested.  It is interesting that once I came to a somewhat workable technological approach to reporting, I do find myself really struggling with aspects of it.  In suggesting his ideal reporting tool, ZM talked about how the ideal tool would involve a report that you can’t “take back,” i.e. once you hit the button it’s gone and she knows.  That is what I find myself struggling with, entering information into an app and knowing that the second I hit “enter” it shows up on her own networked app.  Something about it seems even more like self-sentencing to a spanking that does journaling about certain offenses, perhaps because the report in the app is so simple—just a list of offenses committed—and thus lacks precisely what this week’s post is about, namely rationalizations and explanations. But, I’m also accepting that our reporting just isn’t going to work very well until our current living arrangements change and we have more alone time.  So, I’m going to keep reporting but I don’t see things changing much for another few weeks in terms of impact on consistency.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

The Club - Meeting 330

“The more a daughter knows the details of her mother's life [...] the stronger the daughter.” - Anita Diamant, The Red Tent.

Hello all.  Welcome back to the Disciplinary Couples Club.  Our weekly gathering of men and women who are in, or would like to be in, Domestic Discipline relationships. 

For me, it was a pretty rough one.  January got off to such a good start, but it just fizzled.  I feel like I’ve taken steps backward on so many fronts, some my fault but some less so. A physical injury keeps getting in the way of any aggressive exercise routine, and it’s starting to become a major distraction.  I had a work event that turned into a much—too—late evening affair.  We also had some other things going on that, in conjunction with the injury issue, kept me from catching up on any rest as we hit week’s end. I hate it when I feel more draggy and exhausted on a Saturday morning than I was on Friday. That was par for the course in 2019, but I was hoping for better in 2020.  Oh well.  Best laid plans, and all that.
There was one thing that happened at work that almost made the whole week worthwhile.  As I’ve noted on here a couple of times, I wear a  choker with a pendant that symbolizes a submissive male in BDSM circles. I spent quite a bit of time shopping on-line for it and, in the process, I became at least somewhat attuned to some of the more common designs for submissive “day collars," i.e. inconspicuous necklaces and chokers that symbolize a BDSM slave/submissive collar.  Well, yesterday a work colleague, who works in another office, was visiting my office and stopped in to talk. Near the end of the conversation, it finally hit me that she was wearing a slave collar.  Perfect circle in the middle of a cloth choker.  Had I noticed it earlier in the conversation and had time to process the realization, I might have commented with a benign “nice necklace” or something. Could have been fun watching her reaction.

Another thing we’re struggling with is alone time.  We just haven’t had much lately, and it definitely has put a major crimp into our plans to crank up the DD and FLR aspects of our relationship.  Though, as I’ve noted before, restraining DD and FLR activities is a choice, not an inevitability.  KD is very open about those aspects of his relationship with Rosa.  ZM and I (or our wives) have been much more inhibited.  Danielle noted last week that she has a grown son in the house and has decided to put her arrangement with Wayne out in the open, and at last report she was thinking through when and how to make it more visible. 

KD does seem to be the rare exception in which the DD relationship is pretty much fully out there, at least within the family.  And, in the seven years I’ve been doing this blog, there have been only a handful of commenters who have said that they knew growing up that their father was subject to domestic discipline, and those seemed to involve a more or less passive understanding of the situation. There was no open discussion about it, rather, it was just kind of in the background.  One of the rare examples was Holly, who recounted how she “learned” about Domestic Discipline:

"There wasn’t any time I wasn’t aware of domestic discipline. Mom spanked our dad, never in front of us, but when she took him into the bedroom there was no doubt what was going on and anyone in the house could hear it. I didn’t think much of it except that mom was definitely in charge, which everyone knew anyway."

Later, after her young and immature husband started acting up, her mother openly advocated that she should take up the paddle or strap. She resisted at first because she thought her mother had been too ready to spank for every offense, but she came around as her husband’s behavior worsened.  While she was also one of the seemingly rare examples in which the wife instigated the DD relationship, she had reason to believe her husband would accept it and might even want it.

“I knew it was real from the first spanking I administered because I knew men can be managed with a strap if a woman is determined. I had also suspected for a while my husband wanted this. Our dating relationship really became serious when he found out my father was punished. He never directly asked me to take control, but I was certain he would accept it, and I was right since I received no resistance when I told him what was coming. Also, the way he stripped and presented his ass to me on command convinced me I was right.”

So, Holly was the rare woman who observed (or overheard) her mother spanking her father, who had discussions about it with her mother about it at an appropriate time in life, went on to tell her future husband about it, and then went on to have a Domestic Discipline relationship herself. 

The last time we devoted a whole topic to this was back in 2017. Since I’m feeling uninspired today, I’ll repeat some of that post here, but I’ll also try to add some more detailed questions and recent observations.

We have talked several times about how to work in DD around the presence of kids in the household, and we've shared ideas about how to mete out well-deserved discipline without the kids overhearing.  But, what about once they are grown, or at least young adults?  Is the DD or FLR side of your relationship something that should be kept from them once they are off on their own?  Or, was Holly’s mom right to be relatively open about being in charge and disciplining the father, culminating in the mother openly advocating that Holly take up the paddle.

Based on seven years of talking from time to time about what kids do know or should know, it seems like most of us are reluctant to share this part of our life with anyone.  But, why is that the case once our kids become adults and move onto their own relationships? Aren’t we supposed to try to give our kids the benefit of our parental wisdom?  If you think DD is something that help’s  your own marriage, or if you think it helps your own performance or your mental/emotional wellbeing, shouldn’t you share that with your adult kids for their own potential benefit? 

Those benefits could take a lot of forms.  Perhaps, like Holly’s mother, you have a daughter who needs to take charge of her own ill-behaved husband?  Or, or maybe your darling son (or daughter) is having a hard time growing up or otherwise could profit from being on the receiving end of the marital paddle or strap? So, isn't that something we would want for our adult kids as they move out into the world and experience their own inevitable marital and personal challenges? Even if we thought it was something that needed to be kept private while they were growing up, do those same concerns still apply later in life?

I once just sort of assumed this is a private activity and should be kept that way.  But, my views have evolved over time.  As I said in response to a comment from Danielle two posts back, I've pretty much decided that, now that they are (young) adults, I am OK with them know everything at a general level, whether about the disciplinary spankings or about our blooming FLR, or both. As for what they actually do know, to the best of my knowledge they don't know about the spanking part. At least that’s my wife’s view. But, I do have my doubts. A spanking could have been overheard at some point, or they could have seen a paddle or strap that wasn’t locked away. As for the FLR, they have noticed my wife's more assertive role in the last couple of years, and one of them has noted her bossiness. They have told my wife that she seems to "wear the pants" and she doesn't deny it. But, I don't think she has taken it any further than to tell them that I like her making more decisions because I have so much responsibility at work and, therefore, want to have less responsibility at home. Or, words to that effect. 

Honestly, I don't know how open we eventually will be. As I've said, I've decided that I'm OK with them knowing everything, though I don't have any desire to talk to them about it. It's really my wife who is reluctant to let them know more, and I'm not totally sure why. I think it would be empowering for her, and possibly a growth thing for them, if they saw an example of a woman being fully and openly in charge at home.  Our 2017 topic addressed this.  I noted at that time a quote that had caught my attention: 
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.”

While I didn’t note it at the time, the quote was from Marianne Williamson, who later threw her hat in the ring for President of the United States.  When our DD and FLR wives hide the strongest part of themselves aren’t they “shrinking so that others won’t feel insecure. 

 As I said, we addressed this topic back in 2017, but we’ve added several commenters—including two or three Disciplinary Wives—since then, and others’ views may have evolved during that time.  So, here are some specific questions, but please feel free to add your own thoughts, observations and experiences:
  • Were either of your own parents disciplined by the other parent when you were growing up? 
  • Are your kids aware of you disciplinary relationship? 
  • For those of you who are in an FLR, are your kids aware that the wife is the leader in the marriage? 
  • Have you ever spanked or been spanked by your spouse while the kids were in the house or might overhear? 
  • If your kids are not, to your knowledge, currently aware of your DD or FLR relationship, might you tell them or let them find out about it in the future? Why or why not?   
  • Does their gender effect your view in any way?  If your daughter married a man with maturity or performance problems, would you pass along some helpful hints that maybe she should educate herself about DD?  What if you had an immature or misbehaving son? Would you ever suggest to him (or to his frustrated daughter-in-law) that maybe disciplinary spankings could give him the structure and boundaries he seems to need?
I hope you all have a great week.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

The Club - Meeting 329 - Attitude

Don’t let your mouth get you into something your ass can’t handle. – Unknown

Hello all. Welcome back to The Disciplinary Couple’s Club.  Our weekly on-line gathering of men and women who are in, or would like to be in, a Domestic Discipline relationship.  I hope you all had a great week.

This one was kind of rough for me.  One of those nagging, age-related infirmities I’ve been dealing with really flared up and wrecked my plans to get back on track where exercise was concerned.  It was pretty painful, which may or may not have contributed to a spat I got into regarding someone at work. It was one of those things that you can really rationalize in the context of Domestic Discipline relationship when you are kind of hoping to avoid punishment for it.  The other person’s behavior really was out of line, and it did really need to be addressed. Yet, I feel like my reaction may have been excessive, and even if it wasn’t it created a major time sink as I dealt with the fallout of raising the issue in a very strong way. Basically, I lost my temper and didn’t really pause to make sure I was level-setting my response appropriately.  Given that my temper is one of those things that I think a good hard spanking might give me an incentive to try to control, there is a good argument that I should get one. Yet . . . I can’t quite bring myself to feel the slightest remorse or contrition about my dealings with this jerk. But, maybe it's about needing to be disciplined for not being self-disciplined because, whether the reaction as justified or not, it reflected a loss of control and letting my temper and anger dictate the course of events.

There.  I guess that was my self-report for the week.  😉  But, seriously, I did take up Liz’s challenge. Sort of.  I did report the work incident and one other issue, but I did it this morning and, thus, arguably blew the 48-hour deadline.  Though, to rationalize things once again, I sent Anne a proposal regarding self-reporting after discussing it on the blog last week, and I haven’t gotten any communication back saying she agreed with the plan.  So, we really still need to discuss it and agree to the logistics, including the deadlines.   

I also had a change of plans mid-week regarding the mechanics of self-reporting I originally envisioned using a shared electronic log, using the “Collaboration” feature on our Mac computers' word processing program, which allows you to share a document with others who can then edit it in real time.  But, later in the week I had an exchange with one of the commenters about an app called Wunderlist that we have used for a long time to share things like shopping lists and household to-do’s.  I had thought about using it for a self-reporting tool some time ago, but I didn’t really follow up.  I think I’m going to experiment with making it my primary vehicle for reporting misbehavior.  It has a few advantages:
  • Secure & Confidential:  The app owner can create shared lists—such as “Behavior Log”—and invite only designated people to each list.  So, we can have a Christmas present list or household shopping list that all family members can add items to, but I also can create a Behavior Log list and invite only Anne.  Other family members will not see it on their device and they won’t get notices when an item is added. 
  • Instantaneous notice:  Whenever I add a new item to the list, like “Lost temper at work,” Anne gets a notice on her app showing I added it.  And, if she has enabled notifications for that app on her phone and computer, she will see the addition and its content right away.  So, she doesn’t have to open a file periodically or login to anything to discover whether I’ve entered anything.  The other thing about instantaneous updates is as soon as I write an item on the list and hit one butt, there is no taking it back.  She now knows and there is no going back to delete or modify something before sending.  Just doing that this morning added to a sense of “inevitability,” that I think some men who are attracted to DD really want and need.
  • Archiving: An item stays on the list until it is either marked as “done” or deleted, and you can choose whether completed items are deleted completely or archived.  I like that feature for two reasons. First, since an item will be marked as “completed” only after she has either spanked or otherwise punished me for it, the list just keeps accumulating until she gives me a session over the ottoman (unless she adopts the “waiver” deadline that Liz suggested – we still need to talk about that).  Second, the cumulative list of “completed,” i.e. punished tasks is something we can go over periodically to see whether behavior is improving, whether she is being diligent in correcting behavior, etc.
  • Deadlines:  The app allows you to set deadlines and reminders, which are useful for tracking whether bad behavior is being addressed promptly. And, the app shows when each entry was made, which should help her monitor whether I am reporting things promptly.
  • Comments: As Liz noted last time, the individual items on a log should probably be pretty short and to the point, like “lost temper at work.”  But, the app also allows you to append a longer comment to each item.
  • Encouraging FLR and bossiness: The app allows the user to assign a “task” to another user.  So, if she wanted to, say, assign a chore and wasn’t there to do it in person, she could just enter a task and assign it to me along with a deadline for completing it.
So, this one app accomplishes a lot of what I wanted in a reporting tool or log.  There are, however, two issues.  First, the app was acquired by Microsoft, and they are ending support for it in June. But, they have their own app called To Do, which seems to have almost all the same functionality and which can import data from Wunderlist.  Second, I do still kind of like the idea of having an actual log or table listing offenses and punishments, perhaps with more information about the spanking or punishment itself.  Something along the lines of a log that Alan reported his girlfriend used to keep. So, I may use Wunderlist for reporting to Anne, but task myself with creating and updating a log.

Arthur reported on his efforts at self-reporting, noting that in some ways it is detracting from his communication with Liz because he always self-reported anyway, and he misses telling Liz about work-related incidents verbally over dinner.  I’m not sure the two are mutually exclusive, though for this experiment they have chosen to use the written reports as the main communication vehicle.  He did observe some positive aspects of writing things down, including making him take a closer look at some of his behavior: “On the other hand, I have made a couple entries of things I have said that I may not have mentioned in conversation because they didn't seem very arrogant until I thought about them. Is being a smart-ass a form of arrogance or just my kind of humor? I guess it's flirting around the edges of arrogance. Is that a slippery slope? Probably. I did get paddled more this week than in a long time (extra swats both Monday and Thursday) and I am not looking forward to this coming Monday. Maybe the log is showing me that I haven't made as much progress as I thought.”

So, I will keep trying to make headway on my own self-reporting and will report back in a few weeks. Though, in all likelihood reporting is not going to lead to any immediate change in our disciplinary frequency.  Danielle reported that one of their sons is living with them again for a short while, and we have a similar long-term houseguest situation going on.  I suspect it will keep us from really changing very much for at least a month.  Though, I will say I admire Danielle’s decision not to change her public demeanor, basically ensuring that her son knows that she is in charge.

But, on to this week’s topic. Arthur and I have both shared our concerns about our workplace behavior, and they are at least somewhat similar.  His concerns are about arrogance, while mine is about temper, but in both cases the behavior is about saying something that isn’t polite, is potentially hurtful, and might be unfair to the person on the receiving end of the behavior.  Or, it’s just kind of boorish and should be beneath us.  Edmund Burke said, “Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength.” He was right, and I’m not proud of myself when I act that way at work.   

Worse, I have to admit that my mouth or a display of bad attitude gets me into trouble at home as well.  Like Arthur, I have a pretty sarcastic and smart-ass sense of humor, and I can sometimes take that too far.  I also can sometimes have an attitude, including to my wife.  I even catch myself in it sometimes.  She’ll ask me a question, and if I think it’s silly or uninformed I may roll my eyes.  Or, she asks me an open-ended question and I give her a one-word reply.  And, every once in a great while I will display some real temper around her, like the incident I reported on last year in which she told me to turn off a movie and go to bed and I let my temper show and let her know I thought she was nagging. 

Surprisingly, she hasn’t really resorted to her spanking authority to deal with those “attitude” issues.  In fact, it’s kind of remarkable the extent to which Domestic Discipline in our home has focused on things I do and not so much what I say or how I communicate.  In fact, I can really think of only one time that she spanked me for rudeness, when she thought something I said to the one of the kids—that I thought was a joke—crossed the line into sarcasm that left hurt feelings.  There are times I catch myself doing something like an eye roll, and I myself know I probably should be paddled hard for it.  Yet, I don’t think she’s ever spanked me for copping an attitude with her or for mouthing off.  

I’m not really sure why, because we have flagged disrespect as a punishable offense many times.  I think maybe it is because spankings in our house tend not to happen immediately after an offense, and during the time delay between an act of rudeness or attitude and the next spanking, she’s forgotten all about it.  Or, it’s one of those things that doesn’t reach a certain level that seems to be required for her to remember that spanking is an option to put me in my place.  I think it also may be that she has not quite made the mental leap to seeing herself not just as wife who spanks for certain offenses but as a real Head of Household and maternal figure who can and should spank simply for being disrespected. 

While I definitely do not want more or harder or longer spankings, I do think it is a mistake to let incidents of disrespect or verbal offenses slide.  They can have a really pernicious impact on a relationship.   

And, if this maternal-like grant of authority we’ve talked about means anything, surely it means I can’t get away with disrespecting her.  It's also one of those "broken window" things, in which punishing "small" things might have a larger impact. If she makes me more attuned to the need to watch my mouth at home, might that make me consider things more before popping off with something inappropriate at work?

How about you?  Does your mouth sometimes get you into things your ass can’t handle?  Are you spanked for mouthing off or saying disrespectful or rude things to your wife or others?  In this age where Thanksgiving dinners descend into ideological warfare, have you spanked or been spanked for something said to a friend, relative, co-worker, service provider, etc.  Do you think you should be?  

For the wives, do you spank as often for things your husband says as for things he does or fails to do?  Is disrespect or discourtesy something you let slide too often? If you have spanked him for such things, is there a certain special satisfaction in being able to use spanking or other punishment to take him down a peg?

I hope you have a great week.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

The Club - Meeting 328 - Reporting & Communication Tools

“Nothing quite encourages as does one's first unpunished crime.”- Marquis de Sade

Hello all. Welcome back to The Disciplinary Couple’s Club.  Our weekly on-line gathering of men and women who are in, or would like to be in, a Domestic Discipline relationship.  I hope you all had a great week.

For me, this week was in some ways a testament to the short shelf-life of resolutions. I’ve been fighting some kind of bug that’s left me really drained, and I had a lot of work-related travel.  My workout goals dissipated down to almost nothing.  And, I ended up with one totally discretionary work happy hour that tired me out even more.  Yet, I honestly don’t feel too guilty about any of that.  The plain fact is, I felt really awful for the better part of two weeks, and it’s hard to sustain focus on anything when you feel like that.  I simply didn’t have the energy to exercise, and exercising when you’re sick may just leave you even more depleted.  As for the happy hour, I’m on the road constantly these days, and there are times that a subordinates just need to decompress with the group leader and get some personal attention, which is what I did.  So, this is one of those weeks when my behavior very well may earn me a spanking, but I can’t really bring myself to feel very chastened.  Now, the challenge of course is not to let this become a pattern for the year, which is where Domestic Discipline has something to offer even at times like this when I don’t feel particularly bad about something I did or didn’t do.  It establishes boundaries, hopefully preventing a respite from peak performance becoming “too much of a good thing.”

Last week’s topic went in kind of an interesting direction, didn’t it? The topic was consistency, but by mid-week it had morphed into a discussion about self-reporting. That happens sometimes, with topics going in an unintended direction. But, generally, that’s a good thing.  It is indicative of an actual discussion.  Self-reporting also seems to be a topic that people really latch on to, and it stirs a good deal of actual debate.  I’ve addressed it repeatedly on the blog, including about this time last year, and it almost always draws thoughtful, if sometimes passionate, responses.  ZM provided us with his position on this and bit of an historical retrospective:

I was reminded this week that self-reporting and journaling are real hot button issues which quite frankly is quite surprising to me. As I said earlier this week, I am happy that it works for others, but I don't see why proponents of it are SO adamant that it needs to be part of DD. I was looking back to find one of the strongest statements about it, made by one of our long-lost-but-not-really-missed "flouncers," Elizabeth about a year ago:

‘He has to confess, and he does that by keeping an honest and complete journal. Those of you who are unwilling to come clean and instead are expecting your wife to find out about all your misbehavior are living in a dream world. It's dishonest and disrespectful.’

I am fine with the suggestion that maybe keeping a journal might help with consistency, as well as provide opportunity for self-reflection. Also, if you wife is in charge and she wants self-reporting, then by all means report! But I bristle at any suggestion that those who don't keep a journal and self report are not serious about DD, or even worse dishonest and disrespectful. My wife doesn't want self-reporting. If I did so, then THAT would be disrespectful.

That is close to my own position, though my wife has said that she does like and want more self-reporting.  In fact, late last year as we were talking about how to ramp things up with respect to both Domestic Discipline and FLR, self-reporting was the one thing she identified that really needed to happen if things were going to get more consistent.

Alan, however, offers a bit of “real world” counterpoint regarding the challenges that men faced with the prospect of real discipline contend with when it comes to self-reporting:

“I agree completely that a husband who conceals misbehavior or fails to self-report is setting his wife up to fail on consistency. But, at the same time, you are identifying perhaps the central paradox in adult discipline: those areas of my life where I need her consistent discipline are exactly where I try to avoid it. And like Dan and many other men who have reported it, I cannot bring myself to self-report behavior that is going to get me punished.”

I’m with Alan on this. We both acknowledge that not self-reporting does make consistency really difficult, and we both acknowledge we want and need consistency.  So, when we don't report, we are necessarily dooming the DD relationship as a whole, but we are making consistency pretty impossible. ZM’s quote by Elizabeth is right in that respect; there is simply no way a wife is going to detect all bad behavior on her own.  But, on the other hand, how realistic is it to think that someone who has asked someone to impose discipline on them because they have trouble doing it themselves will  magically develop such self-discipline when it comes to reporting that same conduct?  That is Alan's point.  In the real world, aren't most offenses reported when the offender knows he's going to get caught anyway?

That prospect of getting caught was very real when we were kids.  That's why the threat of "get a spanking at school, get a harder one at home" had real teeth.  Most schools didn't rely on self-reporting.  Notes went home to the parents after a spanking was imposed at school.  Report cards were generally mailed, not sent home with the student whose card was slathered in Fs.  Unfortunately, as adults when we screw up at work or commit an offense outside our disciplinarian's view there seldom is a mechanism by which our wives will hear about it anyway.

I'm trying to be honest about the problems some men have with self-reporting, but that doesn't mean we can't and shouldn't do better.  That's certainly true in my case.  Unlike ZM, my wife has indicated that she wants self-reporting, so I recognize I do need to try to do a better job on that.  That's why Liz's interest and suggestions last week were timely and appreciated.  Her husband does self-report, yet Liz still had some thoughts on what a good self-reporting process might look like.  Combining a couple of her comments, Liz suggested:

“Dan, here's an idea for next week: Challenge your followers (and yourself) to keep a log for 3-4 weeks and then report back here how it worked as a DD tool. I asked Art and he is willing to do it rather than tell me about his work (mis)behavior each evening. You could even set time limits for the self-report and the review: Husband must report his misbehavior within 48 hours or an additional penalty is added. Wife must apply discipline within 5 days of the report or it is waived.”

I like Liz’s suggestion in three respects.  First, it is concrete, including specific expectations regarding deadlines.  Second, it proposes some additional penalty for failing to report (though that part was not concrete).  Third, it is bilateral and mutual with respect to consequences.  Yes, the husband must self-report and faces consequences if he doesn’t act diligently and in a timely manner.  But, the wife also has to be diligent and risks losing the authority to punish for that offense if she doesn’t take care of business in a timely manner.

I suspect that last part—waiving a punishment if it goes unpunished for a certain period of time—is going to be controversial.  Yet, I think the underlying premise—that it takes two to tango and both sides have to respect their roles—is part and parcel of the way a genuine DD relationship has to work and even more so any relationship that purports to be involve a real power exchange such as a Female Led Relationship.  There is a lot of lazy leadership that gets forgiven in these relationships under the rubric of the wife having authority not to discipline and all the concerns about “topping from the bottom.”  Any genuine form of leadership takes active engagement. It’s like saying I’m a good master to a new puppy if I allow him to pee on the floor nine times but on the tenth I rap him on the nose with a newspaper.  Yeah, maybe I’m still his master, but am I a good one?  Am I actually being effective and fair in that role?

The theoretical point that it takes two to make any aspect of DD work has a real-world component in my own DD relationship.  Anne and I have talked about this self-reporting issue time and time again.  I’ve proposed any number of procedures and processes.  I’ve spent hours drafting forms and “report cards” and given them to her for approval.  Here are just a few examples:

Yet, it never seems to become a solid thing for us.  You can and should blame it on me for dropping the ball.  I suggest a certain process for filling out the forms, but then it doesn't happen.  Still, that is only half the equation.  I have given her the authority to impose rules she wants followed and to impose consequences for failure to follow those rules.  So, if she really does care about me reporting, versus just telling me she cares about it, then why hasn’t she suggested a better process or enforced one that I've suggested.  Why hasn't she just picked up a paddle on a Saturday afternoon and given me a good hard session simply for not giving her a weekly report that morning as we had discussed the week before?  Instead, we talk, and talk, and talk about it, and we both are serious in the moment about wanting to happen.  Yet, it doesn't, and in a real relationship where there has been a real power exchange, do I really bear all the responsibility for not implementing a better self-reporting program?

In that vein, Alan offered the following observations on Liz’s suggestion:

This actually can work maybe with some modification such as shortening both the reporting interval and the time a wife has to administer. However, my experience is that it impacts the disciplinarian as much as the naughty boy. My former girlfriend used a version of it we called the "24 hour rule" (don’t remember which of us came up with the idea but remember she liked it). It didn't require any self-reporting from me, but it did require that she administer any punishment she ordered within 24 hours or it was waived. In practice, it produced more spanking on the spot or as soon as we returned home. She did use a log but only to record formal punishments including the date, instruments used, offense punished and a 1-10 evaluation of how well I accepted it. I also had to sign it before I was allowed to pull my pants back up. Very humbling as I remember but also very effective.”

Liz had also focused on the concept of using logging or journaling, though she was looking at it as a reporting tool: “I would envision a simple log that lists the date of the entry followed by a few words about the misbehavior- what happened and when. Example: ‘Sarcastic to co-worker yesterday.’ It would be at the discretion of the disciplinary wife to punish for the entry, seek more information, do nothing, etc. Personally, Art and I do not need such a journal because he self-reports. But the idea obviously interests me. I like the concept of having all of the misbehavior listed in one place in clear black and white.” Of course, one log could fulfill both purposes, i.e. self-reporting offenses and then logging the punishment once it occurs.

As I said, unlike ZM’s wife, mine does want me to self-report.  I do so, but it’s not reliable or systematic. That’s my failure. She doesn’t really enforce the self-reporting requirement, and many offenses that I do report or that she personally observed or otherwise knows about often don’t happen or are delivered many days after the offense occurred. Those are her areas for improvement.  While I’ve proposed many systems for reporting, drafted forms, provided them to her with suggestions about putting a real system in place, neither of us really follows up. 

Yet, we both see a lot of value in reporting offenses, talking about my behavior, and making sure she is informed about what’s going on in my head.  And, it’s not just in service of the goal of enabling her to more effectively detect and deter bad conduct.  She likes knowing what is going on in my life, and like many men I’m not always real verbose about my internal state of mind and about things that are bothering me. That’s why we instituted a journal that I am to give to her periodically. That one has worked reasonably well, though not perfect by any means.  I do send her journal entries fairly regularly, though I need to increase the frequency to at least weekly. I could use it as a reporting tool, and to some extent I do, but it’s much more ambitious than a log and it takes a lot of time on my end.

Summing all this up, given that my wife, unlike ZM’s, does want me to self-report, I would like to have something separate and apart from the journal that really focuses on reporting and documenting offenses and their consequences.  I’d like us to have a real system in place that we actually observed more in the practice than the breach.  An ideal system would have the following features:
  • Simple – Wouldn’t try to do too much.  It would serve as a simple means of reporting and documenting offenses and consequences.
  • Useful forward and backwards – clear as to dates for the offenses, reporting and the punishment, both to aid in making sure discipline is reported and addressed consistently and to serve as a historical log in order to assess progress or just reminisce about how our DD relationship has developed over time.
  • Light weight – easy to access and simple to use
  • Mutual reporting – both parties would have the opportunity and the obligation to report offenses or, in her case, convey dissatisfaction with any aspect of my behavior
  • Secure – not easily accessed by anyone but the two of us
The problem with the journal is it really meets only one or two of those requirements.  In theory, it could be lightweight, but in practice many of the entries are quite long, and they kind of have to be the fulfill the purpose of letting her know what I have going on.  It took me a while, but I did figure out a way to make it relatively secure.  I write it in Pages (Apple’s word processing program), save it with a password that only she and I know, and send it by email or text.  She can open and review it at her convenience, but to gain access to it someone would have to know the passwords to both the file and to whatever device she has it on.  The journal does help serve as a historical compilation of my thoughts and observations about our DD and FLR relationship, but you would have to dig through hundreds of pages to get to simple information about what offenses happened and when, and it would be very spotty in identifying whether they were ever addressed.

So, all in all, I think we need something different from the journal.  Something that is more like a log and less like a diary. Ideally, it would be something we both can, and must, access regularly but that is secure from prying eyes. It would be something I must use to report behaviors that have been identified as punishable or that I believe should be punished, and it should be something where she enters things I’ve done that she thinks need to be dealt with, like disrespect or inattention that I might not have thought of as an offense at the time or that I failed to report.  It also should allow her to note whether punishment will be given and of what type (spanking, grounding, etc.). And, it should allow us to document whether the punishment actually did happen.

In today’s wired and networked world, wouldn’t you think there would be some kind of shared app or electronic tool that would allow two parties to enter information securely and be notified when changes or additions were made?  For all I know, there is.  Maybe something like Google Docs or a document shared in iCloud?  I haven't worked much with shared docs, but surely something like that could be made to work?  Maybe some of you have personal experience with such tools and have ideas about how they could be used for DD logging and reporting?  Or, maybe you’ve arrived at some non-electronic system that really works for you for reporting bad behavior, discussing whether it will be punished and when, and then documenting whether the consequences ever actually happened?

So, first, for those of you who are interested, I will take up Liz’s challenge and encourage others to do the same. I will pledge that over the next week I will talk to my wife (again) about putting an actual system in place and about how we can build in some regular processes to support it.  Unlike our earlier efforts that focused only on my duty to self-report, I’m going to suggest that we adopt something like Liz’s suggestion as to deadlines: I have to report within 48 hours, and punishment must happen within a small number of days or its waived.   

But, that leaves several questions unanswered, like what is the “extra” punishment if an offense is not reported?  Moreover, what do we do to ensure that we actually implement it this time after so many other efforts?  For those who are interested, let’s take up Liz’s challenge with whatever tweaks and modifications you think might be beneficial, then I’ll ask for updates in a month or so.

I do realize this topic is really just an extension of last week’s comments, and I know that some wives aren’t interested in the whole reporting thing.  But, the whole “reporting” string of comments started mid-way through the week, and it could merit some further discussion and fleshing out.  And, even those who aren’t interested in self-reporting might have ideas to share with those who are.  So, here are a few questions people might be able to help address:

  • Is the Disciplined Husband in your relationship required to self-report offenses?  If so: 
    • How reliably does he do that? 
    • Is there any formal procedure for it or deadlines associated with it? 
    • What happens after he reports?  Is there some obligation on the Disciplinary Wife’s part to punish it within a certain time, or at least communicate a decision about whether he will be punished?
    • What are the consequences for not reporting or for not doing it promptly?  An extra spanking?  A harder spanking?  Some non-spanking punishment? 
  • Do you keep a log or journal that tracks offenses and/or punishments?  What form does it take?
  • Are there any apps or other electronic tools that you use to track or communicate about offenses and punishments?  If not, can you think of anything a couple might use that would allow for: 
    • Mutual logging of offenses 
    • Notices to update the log or notices that a log has been updated 
    • Security and privacy
  • Or, maybe you prefer a paper journal or log.  If so, how do you keep it secure from prying eyes?  Or, is that something you even care about?  
  • Finally, given that even the best system depends on human beings implementing it and sticking to it, what are your ideas on how to make the reporting and the punishment actually happen?
 Thanks in advance for all your input.  Have a great week.