Saturday, December 28, 2019

The Club - Meeting 324 - Happy New Years, Resolutions & Ask Me Anything

Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right. - Oprah Winfrey

Hello all.  Welcome back to the last meeting of the Disciplinary Couples Club for 2018. 

As all of you long-term readers know, I am a chronic maker of lists, and that includes lengthy, detailed lists of goals, expectations, hopes and resolutions.  I am not a person who is afraid of change in general and nowhere near arrogant enough to think I couldn't use some, including in my personal habits and performance.

Consistent with my recent bout of laziness, which has led me to recycle some older posts recently (though, to be fair, I did update them at least little), I decided to start this early New Years post by first looking back at the posts from 2018 and 2017.  It was an odd mix of forward progress, modest change, and some plain old intertia.  Surprisingly and a little depressingly, here is a verbatim quote from 2017, summarizing my approach to setting goals for 2018:

“I kind of feel like leaving things a little open to whatever happens.  As it inevitably will and instead of resisting it, I hope to allow for the possibility of being pleasantly surprised. In fact, one reason I'm not spending a lot of time coming up with specific career and work goals for 2018 is I wouldn't mind being in something very different by year-end and so, while I want to continue to out-perform in my current role as long as it lasts, I don't want to be so focused on goals related to that role that I don't stay mentally and emotionally open to letting something entirely new take me in an entirely different direction.  I do hope 2018 brings a deepening of the Domestic Discipline aspects of my relationship with my wife and a stepping up in her confidence level and willingness to take control.  Being the goal-setter and list-maker I am at heart, I probably will spend some time in the next few days coming up with specific things I would like to see us do to help bring those goals about, but right now, I just don't feel like it.  So . . .  Goodbye 2017.”

Now, the reason that entry seems depressing is that I intended to open this week's post by noting that my resolutions frequently focus a lot on career and financial goals, but that it is hard to do that this year because I am giving serious consideration to trying to be in a very different and likely much less lucrative career by the end of 2020.  But, when I looked at the 2017 post I found this was exactly where I was at this same point that year! So, on the surface, not much has changed in two freaking years.

Though,in some ways, things did not stay the same and, in fact, 2019 was a mirror image of 2018.  Here are some excerpts from 2018:  

“I hope you all had a great Christmas.  Ours was good.  In some ways, it seemed like a 'smaller' holiday.  Less busyness.  Slightly less running around from party to party.  And, smaller but more personal gifts.  And, I like that. Looking back on 2018, it was a pretty good year, if I ignore the career front.  That aspect of 2018 was mediocre at best, with much more involuntary downtime than I’m usually comfortable with. While our progress stalled mid-year, on the DD and FLR front my wife really did step it up significantly in the first half of the year, and hopefully she will get back on track once kids clear out after the holidays. Our kids are all healthy and doing well on their chosen school/career paths.  From a health perspective, this time last year I was convalescing from an injury and in a chronic bad mood due to lack of sleep caused by ongoing pain from said injury.  Full recovery took way longer than I expected, but I’m finishing out 2018 stronger and healthier than I was in 2017, and slightly ahead of where I was in 2016. At my age, doing better than holding steady is itself a surprising accomplishment.  While it was not a smooth ride for everyone in our extended family, all of them are still with us as we head into 2019 and their momentary setbacks now look like blessings in disguise. We also have some aging furry friends that are more like family than pets. I was pretty sure more than one of them would not see the end of 2018, yet while things are getting harder for them, all are still with us.”

This year ended a lot like 2018 -- scaled down busyness and running around and a focus on family.  In fact, one reason I feel better than usual this year is, while I put away my share of Christmas cookies and other bad food, we bailed on pretty much ever holiday party that would normally be on our agenda. And, that felt good. But, the similarities break down as I look backward over the course of 2019 and compare it to what I said above about 2018.  In 2018, things stayed pretty stable on the work front, and any lack of activity was involuntary.  In contrast, in 2019 I made a fairly disastrous career decision early in the year that kept me insanely busy for the entire year, at least on the management side. For our kids, it was kind of a mixed bag, with some resounding successes but also some big disappointments and frustrated expectations. From a health perspective, 2018 ended in better shape than it began, while this year I’ve been dealing with a chronic and frustrating problem that may be a result of the frenzied job pace, and it’s made it even more challenging than usual to keep to any sort of workout routine, leaving me slightly heavier than I was last year.  Though, when I look at just how bad the year was in terms of diet and exercise, it could be a lot worse, and on a few metrics I actually am in slightly better shape than this time last year.  But, for much of the year the trend was not good at all, and that is something that absolutely must get fixed in 2020.  As for our extended family, 2018 was rough for some of them but most of them seem healthier this year than last, with one significant exception.  And, finally, our elderly furry friends held in there through 2018, but the same was not true of 2019.

Now, as for specific resolutions I made in 2016 and 2017, the picture is pretty damn depressing.  Here is how I did:

General Resolutions

Fewer Saturdays spent regretting my Friday work-related socializing: This got a little better as we approached year-end, but it mostly was a bad year on this front.  Almost all of the bad behavior related to work responsibilities or, at least, work-related activities and temptations.  One more reason to rethink what a successful career looks like for 2020.

Temper at work: This was OK through much of the year, and I actually made a good amount of progress. I even formed some genuinely good relationships with a couple of people at work who used to consistently set me off. I really tried to start living by the mantra "assume good intentions."   Then, in the last month or two of the year it got a lot worse.  Honestly, the accumulated impact of a year of too much travel and too little sleep finally just got the better of me.

Nurturing important relationships: This was a very mixed bag. Thanks to travel, I saw less of my wife. Though, perhaps in a twisted form of "absence makes the heart grow fonder,"  in some ways our relationship improved, including on the DD and FLR front.  Though, honestly, I think that had more to do with more personal growth on her side than on absence per se, though one could argue that the absence gave her both room and necessity to stretch and grow. I did end up with some new relationships at work, but those were offset by not doing a great job of maintaining some meaningful existing relationships. If anything, that problem was exacerbated over the last month of 2019, as we skipped out on holiday parties with existing friends and work connections, as we were just too exhausted.

Exiting 2019 in better shape than I entered it, as measured by pant-size, blood pressure, strength and endurance: This was, at best, very mixed.  On most of the important metrics, such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels, I lost ground.  On the other hand, my strength is about the same and maybe slightly up, while pant-size is about the same and actually slightly down.  But, on the whole, it was a year in which I lost some ground, because I'm not living with a chronic problem that is making working out more challenging and painful.  I'm going to have to explore this in a more systematic and dedicated way in 2020, and it may be that I have to accept that aging inevitably applies to me and not not just the rest of the human race.  Nah, let's not go there quite yet.  

Domestic Discipline Resolutions:

Self-report any infractions at least weekly: Big fail. If anything, all my work related overnight travel made it even easier to get away with bad behavior.

Empower my wife to grow in her disciplinary authority: I think I did OK on this, though her actual success at “taking the bull by the horns,” ebbed and flowed. But, in 2018 the flow was in the wrong direction – she started strong but then lost ground.  In 2019, it got off to a slow start, but in the last few months she started getting a lot more consistent with using spankings to address issues that make her mad and in punishing bad behavior.

During spankings, instead of "taking it like a man," try hard to let go all ego and control, surrendering totally to her authority:  Let loose and really cry during a spanking: Like every other year, this was a total fail. 

Do a two-day boot camp to focus on our DD and FLR relationship: Fail.

So, where to go in 2020?  I’m still in this post-Christmas zen place in which I don’t feel very ambitious.  On the non-DD front, I really, really need to work on getting into better physical shape and getting the daily stress under control.  I’m pretty hesitant to make any career goals for 2020, given that I did have a plan in place at the end of 2018 and then everything went totally sideways and pretty much off the rails for the entirety of 2019.  In fact, in the past I had this almost faith-like belief that there actually was a connection between my plan and list-making and the goals I hit each year.  It wasn't always linear, but there did seem to be a connection.  But, wow, did 2019 ever lead me to question that assumption. The year as it happened looked nothing like the year I planned as I wrapped up 2018.  Though, I don't think passivity and inertia is the right course either.  I do think that I need to face up to the fact that if I keep doing what I’m doing in terms of care, even if that turns out to be very lucrative financially and a least “not bad” with respect to fulfillment, just staying in that rut may keep me from doing something that actually would be better.  You can do that only so many years in a row before time runs out. 

On the DD/FLR/kink front, I guess my real wish is to take the progress of 2018 and 2019 and make it more consistent, pervasive and systematic. An area I think we did make progress in, both in 2018 and 2019, was increasing the overall sexual vibe in the relationship.  That was really positive, and I hope we can take that in new and exciting directions. 
She has definitely gotten more comfortable being bossy and exercising authority.  It now just needs to become more automatic.  I have to do my part in that, primarily through finally getting on the self-reporting thing once and for all.  I’d also like to stop being so paranoid about confidentiality and, instead, open myself to more real relationships within this little community we’ve built, if others are willing.

How about you? If you’re on the receiving end of the paddle, do you have any specific resolutions for 2020?  Any specific bad behaviors you’d like conquer?  Any specific ways in which you’d like to see your wife take more control or crack the whip harder, literally or figuratively?

Ladies, what about you?  Do you have any resolutions for what you’d like to accomplish in 2020?  Any areas in which you’d like to improve as a disciplinarian or leader? What about goals for him?  Are there any behaviors you are committed to stamping out once and for all? Have you made any concrete plans for how to accomplish that?

For both sexes, feel free to share any resolutions that are not related to DD or FLR.  It’s great to hear what others think is important and what they intend to do about it.

Finally, I am well aware that this “resolutions” post has flopped pretty much every time I have done it.  So, I’ll combine it with another post that I did a few times but also didn’t do so well.  Maybe in combination we’ll get a conversation going. I call this post, “Ask Me Anything,” and it’s pretty self-explanatory. 

If there’s anything your curious about regarding my DD and FLR lifestyle, here is your chance to ask.  I’ll also try to answer questions outside the DD and FLR context, as long as they aren’t too revealing in terms of my real identity, profession, etc.  (Well, so much for that resolution regarding being more open and less concerned about being outed.  It’s not even 2020 and I’ve already blown one resolution!)
I hope you had a great 2019 and that 2020 is even better.  Rest up.  Be safe.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

The Club - Christmas 2019

Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection. - Winston Churchill

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. 

Thanks for joining me for this, the final post of 2019. For both good and ill, I feel like I could just do a mish-mash of 2017 and 2018 Christmas posts and it would accurately represent my 2019.  It’s been a chaotic two- or three-year run, and for the most part I can’t say I’m going to be sorry to see 2019 in the rearview mirror.  It was a year that could perhaps be summed up with that phrase about “the best laid plans of mice and men.”  I ended 2018 with a fairly detailed vision of what I wanted from 2019 from a career perspective, and by mid-January virtually the whole of that plan had fallen apart and things actually went in the opposite direction.  

It was a year that proved to me that while many hard things are growth experiences precisely because they were so hard, some are just mistakes. There were some career decisions I made very early in 2019 that made my whole year a roller-coaster with too much travel, too little sleep, and too much bad hotel and airport food and drink.  I have to call out my wife for not only putting up with it but supporting it by, if nothing else, just going along and keeping everything semi-normal.  Though, it has become a running joke with us that perhaps I should be concerned that she has taken it so well, maybe I need to come home early from a business trip to make sure there isn’t a new boyfriend I need to kick out of my bed.  But, in all seriousness, she has put up with a lot this year.

Still, as I said at the end of last year, I can give thanks for a few simple things.  All my immediate family made it through the year in one piece, as did most of our extended family.  Most of our family and the important people in our lives made it through the year in relatively good health.  None of our close friends or family suffered health or financial calamities, and one of my family members who was having a rough time on the financial and career front seemed to stabilize and improve her situation by the end of the year. And, while all the business travel truly sucked, it did lead to making some new friendships and deepening others. 

Deepening relationships also applied to my anonymous blogging life.  I’ve had more regular, though mostly still anonymous, contacts with people I’ve met through blogging world.  I’ve exchanged thoughts with Tomy about how amazing it must have been that during the days when he and his wife were actively running the Disciplinary Wives Club website it seemed to almost operate as a real club in which people actually got together and got to know each other on a personal level.  I really have only one relationship from the blog that is kind of like that, but that’s a start.

It also was a good year for increasing the female participation on the blog a little.  Danielle, Cecilia, Belle, Liz and others.  I hope we can ramp that up a little in 2020.

So, as I said last year, as we all run around buying those last-minute gifts, let's think a little about what a blessing it is to have people in our lives to buy those gifts for.  And, maybe do something nice for a stranger who may not be as lucky. I remember last year around this time I pulled up to the drive-through window at Starbucks and started to pay for my coffee, only to be told that the woman in the car ahead of me had already paid for it. I'm going to spend the next few days looking for opportunities to do little things like that.
I tend to try to keep these Christmas messages at an elevated level. But, I feel like I want to end 2019 with something more attuned to the spirit of this blog, which I like to think of as elevated but naughty. Plus, there is so much great Christmas-themed adult art out there, I just can’t resist.  So, let’s end with some visual inspiration. 

From the sublime . . .

To the explicit.

We haven't finished trimming our tree yet, though with kids around I doubt the event will be anything like this.

For whatever reason, I seem to be having a lot of conversations, with both blogging and "real life" friends about "hot wife," cuckolding and multiple partner scenarios.  It's not something we've done, but maybe if there were a case of mistaken identity . . .  I also really like the swinging pearls.  Nice touch.

We were so exhausted this year, we ended up skipping most office and neighborhood holiday parties.  Maybe if more of them were like this . . .

I do need to get some last-minute gifts, but if I can't find anything that seems appropriate . . .

Or, maybe a cute Santa's helper could make a delivery for me . . .

While our dynamic is exclusively F/m, here is a little something for those with other inclinations . . .

Similarly, while not exactly Christmas themed, I just love this cartoon and can never resist an excuse to post it.

Finally, this one, just because I'm in that kind of mood.

I hope you all have a great Christmas, happy holidays and a very happy and prosperous 2020!

Saturday, December 14, 2019

The Club Meeting 323 - Whatever It Takes

To be accountable means that we are willing to be responsible to another person for our behavior and it implies a level of submission to another's opinions and viewpoints." ― Wayde Goodall

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.

Mine was kind of roller-coaster of ups and downs.  On the upside, this week was the culmination of a bunch of frantic work travel that centered on events I “had to” attend and things for which I had some actual, significant role to perform. I still have to travel this upcoming week, but it’s a short trip for something relatively unimportant.  So, I do feel a sense of relief that a multi-week series of obligatory work trips finally came to a close.  We needed it to.  Anne had the same sense I did, that we had been separate too often lately.  We both had the sense of needing to be in the same place for even a couple of days, free of social and business commitments.  The feeling was not entirely consistent with our reality, as in point of fact we had seen each other just four days before, yet somehow this latest trip just felt so much longer.  I suspect it was just the aggregate of too many separate trips.  But, we both definitely felt it.  I’m hoping that now that the work and other obligations have paused, maybe I can get some of that Christmas spirit that K.D. and I have said we are missing.  I wonder whether it's possible to spank Christmas spirit into someone?

We had a good discussion last week, though I’m not sure anyone answered Alan’s actual question about whether there is a relationship between the extent to which a husband is naturally submissive and the extent to which corporal punishment is used in the relationship. As for the issue of natural dominance and natural submission and how much we individually reflect one tendency or the other, I’m in kind of an odd place right now.  For the last several weeks, I’ve been in a very dominant place at work.  There has been one incident after another in which I have gone off on someone or displayed a lack of respect for authority.  Yet, sitting here this weekend I feel a very compelling need to be firmly taken in hand.  Maybe it’s not paradoxical but, rather, inevitable.  I’ve spent several weeks way out on a dominant limb, and now I need someone to rein me back in.

We’ve talked before about using DD to solve problems at work, and it’s an area in which there seems to be little consensus in the group.  I really do which there was a way for my wife to have a more direct view into happenings at work and was more inclined to treat my work-related behavior very seriously.  Last week, Liz put it this way:

But arrogance is not leadership or at least not good leadership. He deserves to be punished for it and has asked to be punished for it. And because spanking was so prevalent in my family, I took to it quite naturally. I don't even consciously think of him as submissive or me as leading when I am punishing him, though clearly we both are. I just think I am smacking the arrogance out of him and now he can lead the way he is supposed to, whether at work or home.

Extremely well put, Liz.  Unfortunately, the primary reason it falls to Anne to discipline me at home for problems caused at work is because no one there can or will.  It’s kind of like the old days, where if you got a spanking at school, you got a worse one from mom or dad that night.   

The problem is for me the spanking, metaphorical or literal, happens only at home and not at work.  When I get in this very unbalanced state, I almost wish someone at work was strong willed enough to actually slap me down.  I would hate it at the time, but it would be good for me. My subconscious appears to agree.  Several months ago I recounted a dream I had in which I was attending some kind of work event that also, in the non-logical manner of dreams included both my wife and my father.  In the dream, I was to be taken out and spanked by our office manager.  I was very resistant and tried to plead my case to both my wife and my dad, but neither had any sympathy.  I think it's telling about my work dynamic that even in my dreams it was really two members of my family who made the discipline happen even if they didn't swing the paddle themselves, because at work there is no one who has a strong enough personality and enough authority over me to make me really, really want to make sure I don’t misbehave again.  That is a problem.  Merry put it this way last week:

Leader type people will constantly push limits and tend to be stubborn and self-willed, often to their own destruction (Lying, smoking, drinking, using foul language, aggression, and so on) The key to dealing with those behaviors is finding a type of discipline that is harsh enough to be a deterrent.

That is my way of drifting into a topic for this week.  Harshness.  Tough love.  The determination to bring about real change by any means necessary.  Escalation is another good word for it.   

I really believe that one key to effective discipline is for the recipient to know that in a power struggle he absolutely will not win. It was sort of like that for me growing up. I didn’t get in many outright power struggles with my dad, because I knew that if I ever tried he could and would show me who was boss. He was just one of those guys who will not ever lose.  Thankfully for my ass, he was not into making a lot of rules, because had he been I’m sure my ass would have been bruised well and often.  And, there is not a doubt in my mind that he would have escalated to whatever level he needed to in order to get his message across.  That’s just who he was.  Conversely, my wife has a sibling who is a complete fuck-up, and I think one reason is he learned growing up that my mother- and father-in-law would let him win if he resisted their authority.  In the end, they were never quite willing to find that type of discipline that was harsh enough to be a real deterrent.

Have you experienced that in your Domestic Discipline relationship?  Has there been a time when your wife’s message wasn’t getting through, so she increased the stakes in some way that finally got your attention?  Maybe the spankings became longer, more frequent, or more severe?  Or, maybe she added some punishment that did not involve spanking?  Perhaps some form of humbling or humiliation or public embarrassment?   

Whatever it was, did it work?  Conversely, perhaps there is some behavior that you want her to help you fix but current efforts have not been successful.  Is there something she could do that you fear enough that it might actually result in a real change if she did it or threatened it?   
For the wives, have there been times when you were frustrated with his behavior and clearly weren’t getting through to him using whatever discipline you were using at that time?  What did you do about that?  If he’s asked you to help change his behavior, or if there is something he’s done that really pisses you off, are you willing to do whatever it takes to root that out? 

I hope you all have a great week.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

The Club - Meeting 322 - Naturals

It is much safer to obey than to rule. -- Thomas Kempis

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. 

Mine was horrendously busy.  I keep thinking I see light at the end of the tunnel, but it now seems to be an oncoming train.  I really do need to sit down over the Christmas break and think about how to put the brakes on in 2019.  The pattern of dysfunctional behavior being tied inextricably to work is just crystal clear.  When I was on vacation a couple of weeks ago, my binge drinking stopped completely, nagging physical health problems cleared up, and my energy levels rebounded.  One full week back at work, and I reverted right back to form.  I sense a continuation of my annual “resolutions” topic coming!

Alan suggested a topic for us.  It’s one we’ve covered in some respect before, but it’s been a couple of years.  He also put a bit of a new spin on it.  His suggestion was as follows:

“Over the past year I have noted a real split between men who identify as Alphas and incorporate DD within that framework -and men who identify as submissive and approach DD and FLR's more or less as a "Beta" males.These very different dynamics ( alpha vs beta male) seem to lead to different female led relationships with the latter using less corporal punishment. It might be interesting to get into this because it seems a basic dichotomy in our community.”

It's rare that I completely copy the content of a previous topic, but I am blatantly plagiarizing my own former work this week, because I’m traveling today but wanted to get a topic posted.  So, some of our long-term readers will probably recognize much of the below.

Blogger used to have great polling feature, which they unfortunately killed a couple of years ago.  Before they did, I ran a poll that asked whether our male readers identified as “naturally submissive.  The results at that time were:

Naturally submissive:                      63 (68%)
Not naturally submissive:                29 (31%)

A year before I had done a rather poorly constructed poll that tried to test both the gender of our participants and their inclinations toward “leader” behavior or status in and outside the home.  The question and the results were:

I am [Male or Female] and Outside the Home I prefer to:

Female - Prefer to Follow                 2 (2%)
Female - Prefer to Lead                    5 (5%)
Male - Prefer to Follow                   48 (55%)
Male - Prefer to Lead                      36 (41%)
These polls kind of surprised me at the time, largely because I was projecting my own inclination and history onto our other participants.  While many of the poll respondents seem to have been inclined to follow their “natural” inclinations around dominance and submission both in and outside the DD context, I had come into this from the exact opposite angle.  My entire motivation for being in a Domestic Discipline relationship and wanting to explore a Female Led one is that I am not at all submissive in real life and strongly prefer to lead and really hate being led.  It leaves me very unbalanced a lot of the time, so my inclination has been try to balance things out by subjecting myself to being made to submit to another person’s will.  
Intellectually at least, my attraction to DD lies in the fact that it requires me, a fairly unyielding and dominant person, to yield and submit.  I am attracted to it because it requires me to grow in a direction that is not natural to me and that makes me very uncomfortable.  For me, DD is about bringing some order to a disordered state that; bringing balance to a personality that is inherently unbalanced, with way too much yang and too little yin for its own good.

Yet, the polling seemed to indicate that most of this blog's readers are coming at things from the opposite perspective, attracted to something that fits where they naturally want to go anyway.  It also shows why I sometimes get into discussions where we are just talking past each other about the nature of submission and why husbands who don't always toe the line should be cut some slack.  Not in terms of not getting the punishment they have coming, but in terms of understanding why they may not instantly and consistently obey every rule.  Every few weeks I will get a comment from someone to the effect of, "you just need to submit."  And, without exception those comments always irritate the hell out of me, because it's clear that the person just doesn't get that for a non-submissive person, submitting to someone else is a very hard thing to do.  It is not natural to them, and they must fight their natural tendency to fight and resist.  Conversely, if your natural temperament is geared toward submission, then isn't it awfully easy to advise "just submit"?  It's what you want to do anyway!

The same is true from the opposite side of the paddle.  Leading is hard, and particularly so for those whose “natural” tendencies are more passive or prone to followership.  Even for people who have strong leadership attributes, it takes thought and commitment and learning to be comfortable not just with a degree of confrontation but with actually initiating the confrontation.  And all that may cut against who that person has always been.  But, even if following is more natural to such a person, is it healthy? What do you miss out on by not leading, even if leading is hard?  Leading did not come easily to my wife.  Both by temperament and socialization, when confronted with an obstinate, unyielding husband, her first reaction was to flounce and pout.  But, she is figuring out over time that she actually does like leading, does like being in charge and, yes, does like spanking and punishing. 

How about you?  Are your natural inclinations with respect to being dominant or exercising leadership, or preferring follow or be submissive, reflected in your place in the DD or FLR hierarchy?  Do you consider yourself a “naturally” dominant person or, conversely, are your more inclined toward being the leader in your work and other non-DD and non-FLR relationships?  Do you do what comes naturally, or do you act contrary to form?  And, regarding Alan’s specific question, does the recipient’s bent toward dominance or submission have any effect on corporal punishment?  If the recipient is more submissive to begin with, is corporal punishment employed less often, or perhaps spankings are less severe?