Sunday, October 25, 2020

The Club - Meeting 358 - Buy-In and Who Decides the Rules?

A person who is knowingly bent on bad behavior, gets upset when better behavior is expected of them. - Jane Austen



Hello all.  Welcome back to the Disciplinary Couples Club.  Our weekly gathering of men and women who are in, or interested in being in, Domestic Discipline Relationships.  I hope you had a good week.


Mine was pretty uneventful, and surprisingly productive on a few fronts.  For once, I didn’t have any real behavioral problems. I completed some home projects I’ve been sitting on for a while and managed to get some outdoor Halloween decorations up.  I'm still loving this time of year!



Or, I was enjoying the season until the weather turned nasty. As often happens here, we seem to have gone abruptly and unceremoniously from fall to winter.  Not that there is anything wrong with winter.



Though, I’m not done thoroughly enjoying Halloween.



I also made a surprising amount of headway on the health and fitness front.  I've been trying hard to get rid of those persistent love handles. I also may have had an epiphany about why both my energy levels and, frankly, my libido have been down all year. I've been implementing some pretty significant dietary changes, and so far so good. I also have been getting back into the gym regularly for the first time since Covid hit, respecting social distancing, hand washing and mask guidelines.


While we didn't get a huge number of posts last week, I thought it was a very illuminating conversation.  There were several good contributions regarding how to humble a man with ego issues, such as myself. Though, did you notice how many of those contributions focused on the humbling power of witnesses?  It is interesting, to me at least, just how much we care about how others see us. 

Danielle’s contribution regarding “maternal” discipline and control definitely pushed some buttons for me. When I first discovered Domestic Discipline, it had this intoxicating mix of attraction and terror.  The level of control Danielle suggested gives me those same mixed feelings. Part of me is genuinely attracted to trying exactly what she suggests. 


However, it is really one of those “be careful what you ask for – you might get it” things, isn’t it.  That tension inherently raises the line between DD and FLR and what side of that line I want to be on. On the one hand, I really do find the level of maternal control she suggested very compelling and perversely attractive.  On the other hand, several months ago when she cracked down on some areas, I got resentful in a way that undermined some of her forward progress.  Yet, last week she was bossing me around pretty strongly on things like chores, and while I may have resented it in the moment, overall I got off on it. So, do I want to give up control to her or don’t I?


It’s a complicated question, and I think there are two interrelated factors that feed into how I react to her taking more control. The first revolves around the extent to which we are in alignment on whether certain behavior is a problem.  I think Alan summed it up really well a couple of weeks ago:


[W]e developed a list of behaviors that were problems for one or both of us. Very important at that point was that we both agreed that the behavior needed to change. In short, we both needed to buy into it as a goal whether it was relatively trivial or later when the behaviors were serious issues. That buy in by both of us was crucial.


Alan also advised starting with relatively minor issues.


Next, following Aunt Kay, we prioritized the list to 2 or 3 things to emphasize, picking middle range things rather than the most challenging behaviors, eventually working up to the most serious issues. We actually started with a cliché, leaving the commode seat up and one other. But even these “easy” ones established the habit of compliance and the reality of consequences.


To Alan’s last sentence I would add that focusing on “easy” things probably also helps her get habituated to exercising authority, precisely because it is authority that is likely to be obeyed. As she sees me comply with orders over and over again, she gets more comfortable giving them and I get more comfortable taking them.  Which is the goal, right?  So, I like Alan’s advice, and it illustrates the second factor that determines how I react to Anne taking control: If the behavior is something minor and easily fixed or adopted, while I may not like her order in the moment I am unlikely to balk at it and may even find it sexy after I have some time to let it sink in. But, if it is something bigger, like a hard-wired habit or something that I see as a core part of who I am, an exercise of control is more likely to be met with real resentment. 


Those two factors—the degree of mutual agreement and the seriousness of the behavior—are interrelated.  When she called out of the blue a week ago and gave me instructions on things she expected me to do around the house that day, it was minor stuff in the scheme of things even though one of the tasks (sweeping and cleaning our wood floors) took me almost an hour.  Even if I didn’t expressly agree in advance to her assigning chores like that, it didn’t spark resentment. Also, to the extent she was giving me orders for the express purpose of humbling me, there was a level of mutual agreement to that goal.


Conversely, I described the incident several months ago when she wanted me to come to bed when I was watching a movie and having a beer while doing so. That incident caused resentment, and my resentment undermined her authority for a while.  The reason I resented it was, while we both agree on the overall goal of keeping my tendence to binge under control, I felt like my behavior was within normal bounds. It was a Friday night. I was worn out from the stress of work and just wanted to veg out with a movie and a nightcap.  In other words, it was normal adult behavior, and I wasn’t hurt her, myself or anyone else. Looking back, the whole thing was a counter-example of Alan’s wise advice: (a) the behavior was not really minor and she was exercising some substantial control over my autonomy; and (b) there wasn’t real buy in that anything I was doing was a problem.



Whether your relationship is Domestic Discipline only or incorporates some degree of FLR, who makes the rules?  Guys, do you suggest to your wife the areas you want to improve in?  Ladies, to what degree do you decide which problems you want to address and how much authority do you have, or would you like to have, in determining conduct you want to address or habits you want to help him break or establish?  To what extent is mutual buy-in important?  And, what about the importance or impact of the behavior at issue?  In establishing your disciplinary habits, did you jump right to major issues or, as Alan advises, did you start with “easy” issues and work your way up from there? 


I hope you have a great week.  Be safe out there this week. 

Sunday, October 18, 2020

The Club - Meeting 357 - Adventures in Humbling

“’Thank you,’ the old man said.  He was too simple to wonder when he had attained humility. But he knew he had attained it and he knew it was not disgraceful and it carried no loss of true pride.” – Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea 

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’m sorry for the sporadic posting lately. It’s really been a tough few weeks.  I feel like maybe we have turned the corner on some of the angst and drama, but every time I think this year couldn’t get any worse, somehow it manages to serve up yet another unpleasant surprise.



Over these last few weeks, we have been caught in a vicious circle.  I’ve been stressed to the gills thanks to things going on at work.  My wife has been beyond stressed because of a major family issue.  My stress led to misbehaving even more than usual, including one truly epic fail that left her very mad and me very disappointed in myself.  The tension in the relationship then adds to our stress. I did tell her that I knew how mad she was and that I had been trying to atone for it with better behavior and trying to take some household burdens off of her.  She gets all that, but she also insisted on delivering that special kind of “atonement” that those of us in Domestic Discipline marriages have consented to and asked for. 


In an interesting development—one that is germane to this week’s topic—something about this latest behavioral problem seemed finally to push her in a much more dominant direction.  She spanked me hard on Monday. On Tuesday, we talked about how much I seem to be needing much stricter “maternal” discipline. She agreed and voiced her intention to deliver it.  But, we have had MANY such discussions, and it just never seems to gel.  So, it was somewhat surprising when she called the next morning and gave me two chores that I was to complete that day. The next morning, she called again and again gave me a chore to complete.  She also lectured me about a series of failures to lock all the doors when I leave the house, and though she didn’t come right out and say it, the unmistakable message was that I could expect a spanking if I did it again.   

In the moment, being bossed around like a teenager by a strict mother is, in a word, humbling.  And irritating in just the way it would be to a teenage boy in a strict household.  As I have said here many times before, I am not a submissive. While deep down inside I probably crave boundaries, in the moment they are being imposed I chafe against them. I really do have a deep-seated aversion to authority.

Yet, I also genuinely believe that more humility and less ego would be a good thing for me.  I’m a fan of both Buddhist and stoic philosophy, and both emphasize not getting upset or stressed by the negative circumstances we all will inevitably encounter in life.  When I think about the stress and anger I’ve been feeling at work, a lot of it is caused not by the circumstances themselves but by me being very invested in certain outcomes and very devoted to getting my own way. Similarly, when my wife calls and gives me an order to do certain chores that day, or implicitly threatens punishment for violating a “rule” like locking all the doors at night or when I leave the house, it is a very humbling experience and emphasizes how much I am attached to my sense of autonomy and to getting my own way. Overcoming ego and pride was a major part of the self-improvement “cult” Nxivm that I have talked about here a few times and that is the subject of the cable series The Vow.



While it is very difficult in the moment, I do believe that being humbled by having to take direction from someone else would be a good thing in the long run. And, to the extent that she really starts cracking the whip—literally and figuratively—on things like diet, exercise, drinking too much, etc., it could result in reversing some of the troubling health and aging trends I’ve been contending with the last couple of years.  I also know that I get myself into trouble due to arrogance, temper, and lack of respect for authority.  Given the number of times those things have created problems for me, some "humbling" seems in order as a tool to help me exercise a little more self-control and get a handle on some negative emotional reactions.  Finally, while it's true that while I am not a natural submissive and definitely do not get off on being humiliated, there definitely is something very sexy about my wife exercising power and authority. 


I also think that while on the surface I am very averse to authority and very sensitive about being put in embarrassing situations, deep down inside part of me seems to crave forced humility.  I don’t think it is a coincidence that on those few occasions when I have dreamed about being spanked the dream scenario has involved inherently embarrassing and humbling situations like being taken out of a work event to be spanked by a manager. Then there was the dream about riding in a car with my mother who pulled over to the side of the road to give me a well-earned spanking. I’ve also talked about the time I made some smart-ass remark at a family Christmas brunch after my wife asked me to perform some task, and she quipped that I could do it or she could spank me.  I'm not sure anyone overheard, but I'm also not sure they didn't. The fact that I still think about it two years later says a lot about the power of being embarrassed by being publicly "outed" to family and friends. 

Others knowing about a spanking definitely does something for me, and it has something to do with the fact that it is inherently embarrassing and humbling.  While I've never thought I was into humiliation, beyond the practical benefits of humbling, I can't deny that there seems to be a pattern of fictional humiliation scenes getting my attention or having free rein in my dreams, including particularly M/m spanking scenarios, being spanked in public, and others being told about our DD relationship. 



Then there is my fascination with crying, which drove a huge amount of my initial obsession after discovering DD.  I have always thought my crying fetish is very much about the embarrassment and vulnerability associated with being spanked to real tears.  And, I absolutely believe that one of the primary reasons I have not let go and sobbed during a spanking is, in fact, because the embarrassment of doing that holds me back every time I get close.


Our weekly topics here almost always involve me asking a series of questions about our readers’ personal experiences with or feelings about each particular topic.  I want to change this up a little this time.  While humbling may or may not be part of your DD or FLR dynamic, Anne and I are determined to keep giving it a try.  Doling out chores is part of it.  Ramping up spanking is part of it.  But, we have not gone much beyond those.  I can come up with other ways for her to exercise her authority in ways that empower her and disempower/humble me.  But, have you ever noticed how sometimes you can give your spouse advice about something and they will blow it off, then they’ll hear the exact same thing from a friend or co-worker and suddenly it becomes just the right thing to do?  Maybe the same dynamic is at play when I suggest to Anne ways she might go about humbling me.  Perhaps it would be more powerful if she hears it from YOU.  Also, I don’t claim to be all that creative. Some of you may come up with things I would never think of on my own.


So, if humbling is a part of your dynamic, tell us what you’ve tried and what has worked for you.  Even if it is not part of your dynamic and you don’t want it to be, give us some ideas of what might work if you did want this as part of your dynamic.  Guys, what could your wife impose on you that your ego would really struggle to accept?  What could she make you do, or ban you from doing, that would really humble you or enforce her authority?  Ladies, if you wanted to humble your husband and sand off some of that ego, what specifically do you think would help accomplish that? 



I hope you all have fun with this.  I can’t make any promises about whether Anne will try out any specific suggestion. But, she does read the blog fairly regularly, and something you say might resonate.  In the meantime, enjoy the season.  And, be willing to take the consequences if you enjoy it a little TOO much.



Have a great week.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Delayed (Again)


I hope you all are having a great fall weekend.  I'm sorry, but I'm still distracted with some other stuff this weekend, though I will try to get a post out later this week.  In the meantime, I hope whatever is left of your weekend is nice.  Hopefully you're getting more done with Halloween decorating than I am. Of course, I'm pretty sure our HOA would fine me for this one . . .

Sunday, October 4, 2020

No Post This Week

 Hi all.  I know my posting has been pretty unpredictable lately, and here I go again.  We've had family around all weekend and, honestly, it's just been one of those weeks. 

So, instead of spending a couple of hours working on a blog post, I'm going to take some time off and enjoy the fall colors, maybe from the seat of a motorcycle if the weather holds.

I'm also refusing to give up on the Halloween spirit, even if parties and kids roaming around the neighborhood in costumes may not be a thing for the first time in like forever.

Maybe it just means we'll have to spend the Halloween season focusing more on 1:1 time and adult activities.

Have a great week.