Monday, October 28, 2013

The Times I Didn't Listen And Wished That I Had

It's true that in the many years we've been together, there are times that Tom and I butt heads completely on a decision. We did not have this DD arrangement. There was no dynamic of him being in charge. We were in an "egalitarian" relationship. I use quotation marks because what we had was not what couples who have a successful egalitarian relationship have. What we had was a constant power struggle - over ten years of it in fact. There's nothing more mentally and physically draining than going through life where every day is a constant power struggle. But that's where we were.

Anyways, the point of this post is to talk about some of the times that I wish I would've let him taken the lead on the decision. I know there's more events than I will discuss, but my memory isn't overly wonderful. So here's a few that stick out in my mind a bit.

1. The time I was friends with a taker. You know those people. They're not really your friends - just so long as they benefit from the relationship and can get what they want. They don't really care for your feelings, but expect you to listen to their laundry list of woes whenever and wherever. In this particular instance, the friendship developed rapidly during a time in my life when I was dealing with things and so this was fun and irresponsible friend that fit the bill as far as my letting go and finding a release for some stressful circumstances. She was a nut from the go, continually ran her husband and guys in general through the mud, a pathological liar, unstable and mentally ill but not taking medication for it. You know, the whole nine yards of nutty. But I gave and gave and gave because there were glimpses here and there of her caring for me and because she was my "fun" friend and I didn't want to let that go. Well, when she decided to end her marriage and started dating while her husband still lived in the house, divorced him, and then gave him the runaround and threw obstacles in his way when he tried to see his kids, I just couldn't take it anymore. The situation had been souring for months and I was trying to walk that fine line of being a listening ear while not agreeing with her behavior, even trying to stick up for her husband when the opportunity arose. I thought maybe if I hung in there she'd come around and see that her behavior was nuts and decide to straighten her life out, get on meds, and resume her relationship with her husband. Boy was I delusional! But she was one of those people that hears and sees what she wants and I realized that any listening on my end was only validating her horrible behavior. My husband sang this tune for months before I finally decided to listen to him. The thing is that I knew deep down that he was right all along, but somehow it just felt wrong for him to tell me who to be friends with and I told him as much. I felt like that was crossing the line. Perhaps I should've also remembered at that point that he has never prior to that or since told me to end a friendship, even when he didn't really care for the person. This was different. He saw her draining me and using me and I just let it happen. I felt a huge weight lift off of me after ending the friendship. Now all I really regret is the countless hours poured into that friendship that could have gone towards friendships much more deserving.

2. There was the last vehicle purchase decision that I made. The vehicle had issues, but I felt it'd be okay because we were still getting a deal and once we fixed said issues it'd be fine. We're two years out and still haven't fixed the issue because we haven't had the chunk of money that we need at one time to fix the issue, which was Tom's concern and why he didn't want to get the vehicle. So we have a vehicle that can't go out of town and now our second vehicle, our good one, is down because it needs a new computer right now. So we are literally trapped within the borders of our town. Perfect!

Granted, I'm sure there are other issues where I didn't listen to him and things turned out dandy. But I guess maybe I needed to write this post because there are the times where he really does know what he's talking about and if I'd just listen to him, I'll thank him for it later.

We actually have an issue right now that we're going back and forth on. Granted, this isn't the sort of thing where I can just blindly submit as this will uproot our current lifestyle and change my current job. He's at a point where he's all for the new opportunity, but I will have to personally give up a lot in order to take it and money wise it doesn't seem worth it to me. Anyways, who knows what will happen or if the opportunity will even pan out. But I am trying to remind myself that maybe he can see something I can't and this could be a situation which in hindsight I would be happy that I listened.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Growing Pains

Tom: Let's go upstairs.

Me: Drags feet and stomps up the stairs (how did I turn into a three year old all of a sudden?)

Tom: I have to discipline you. You should've seen the look on his face.

Me: Hanging head in shame. He looks really mad. Are you in control? 

Tom: Yes. I'm mad, but I'm in control.

Me: Assumes the position.

Whack   Whack

Me: Squirm squirm Do you always have to use that thing? It's so thin that it's probably like using a cane! (speaking of his treasured lightsaber).

Tom: Yes. I like it. It's effective.


Me: Owieeee!

Tom: I'm going to five. You've got two more.

Me: Okay.


Squirm Squirm


Tom: All done.

This one was well earned friends. Hubby and I were arguing and I took it out on my oldest son. I yelled at him for something minor - ripped his little heart to shreds really. That's not the kind of mom that I want to be, not the kind of mom I feel that I am. Not by a long shot. I definitely deserved to be disciplined and probably even more so than I was.

Tom still takes it pretty easy on me when it comes to discipline, but I've noticed something. When we first began TTWD, the minute I would cry out or protest he would stop and figured I'd had enough. Now he's pushing past that point. He's not pushing past by much, but I see him evolving and growing into his HOH role.

Also, if you have read Epic Fail - Don't Try This At Home, then you are aware that we've also made progress in our ability to manage the discipline in a way that feels emotionally safe to me. Oh, we discussed safe words and 15 second rules and such after that incident, but in this moment that all left my head and all I could squeak out was, "Are you in control?" He knew what I meant and he gave me the reassurance that I needed to feel safe. As safe as one can feel when they're about to be whacked with a lightsaber anyways!

She knows she's going to get a spanking and feels a bit apprehensive. I can relate!

Well done to my HOH. I'm feeling grateful as he is learning and gaining confidence. I know that our roles feed into each other. As I improve with mine, he improves with his and vice versa. I don't believe we will ever be that couple that seemingly changes overnight. I think we will quietly creep along until one day we look back and realize how much things have changed.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Come Here

Adjusting to being led continues to be a struggle for me. The other day we had a situation in which Tom decided to critique the way I was managing our money. Let me first explain that we've actually decided that we'd eventually like for him to take over this aspect of our lives as in our case we think it would help with the dynamic we're trying to build. However, he is not wanting to take this on until he is done being a student and has more time to manage this. Anyways, things have been incredibly tight. In fact we've had more years in our marriage when money has been horribly lacking than we have where things have been semi-comfortable. That being said, we knew things would go from manageable to pretty terrible while he was in school and they have. I have continued to manage the money. It's a huge stress and headache for me, but I do it because I'm usually good at staying on top of it. Things don't always get paid on time, but it's not usually due to poor management. It's usually due to simply not having it. So here we are and I've dealt with this headache constantly all the while working an insane number of hours each week and he decides to criticize how I'm taking care of things. I immediately had one of my crazy moments.

Me: I don't remember exactly what I said, but it was something to the tune of, I've managed all of this our entire married lives. Yes, sometimes things don't get paid on time. Sometimes I have to call and cancel automated payments at the last minute. But I have my reason for doing things the way I do based on the experiences I've had doing this over the years. I don't need you micromanaging what I'm doing. In the time I've been doing this, we've never had anything shut off. Our mortgage has always been paid, not always when we want it paid, but it's been paid. I've paid all of the bills and there has always been enough food to keep the kiddos fed. What more do you want?

Him: Come here.

Me: This is where I just went on and on. No idea what I said - I think just reiterating the same points, working myself up, and starting to get emotional. Oh, I do remember that I chose this moment to remind him of the one very short window in our lives when we were first married that he tried to take over the bills and it did not work out.

Him: Come here.

Me: Some more carrying on.

Him: Come here. You need to learn to listen and come when I tell you to.

Me: Carrying on in a higher pitched voice and inching forward a few feet.

Him: Come here. You're not listening. Get over here.

Me: Carrying on and dragging my body forward unwillingly until I'm standing a foot away from him.

Him: Reaches out and hugs me. You need to learn to trust me. When I tell you to come here you need to come. You do manage everything and you do a great job.

Me: Feeling humbled and incredibly daft for not listening sooner.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sipping Coffee and Checking In

"It's been a relaxing morning sipping coffee and discussing life and the future with my hubby. In the time that we've been married, so many things in our lives have changed. Some facets of our life have worked out better than we imagined - we could not ask for more amazing children. Other things have not turned out the way we had hoped. Life is like that. We all know it has to rain sometime and sometimes it seems as though the rain is actually hail and it's never going to end. But despite everything we've dealt with in our ten years of marriage and everything we have yet to muddle through, I am at least happy to have my best friend by my side for better or for worse. I could not ask for more in this adventure called life."

This is a recent update of mine on a certain media outlet. I have nothing profound to say today as my time is limited and my brain is not fully awake yet. And thankfully there is no story of any epic disagreement or disciplinary action to share. I share this because this quote would not have happened had it not been for our current DD path. Of that I'm very certain. Despite our hiccups, this is the right life for us and it's bringing us closer and increasing our connection to one another.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

When Submission Hurts

I knew the day would come that submission wouldn't be easy, when something I felt extremely passionate about would be inadvertently trampled by my HOH's passion in an opposite direction. And since I've agreed in advance to submit to his decisions, I would have to follow through and do just that. That day finally came - last Friday and Saturday to be exact. I've wanted to write about the situation, examine it, and get my feelings out ever since. But every time I tried, the words that came to my head continued to plead my case and list all of the reasons that I believe my HOH was wrong. I promised myself when I began my blog that I would not use this as a place to bash Tom. So I've realized that because this topic is so sensitive to me, I just can't go into the specifics. I can only say that we had a huge difference of opinion on something that affected me personally, as well as a friend of mine.

What upset me the most about the situation is that I didn't feel listened to. Because of our schedules that day, most of my pleading of my case was done via online messages. At one point he said (typed), "Well, you're just going to do what you want to do anyways. You always do. So why are we still talking about this?" That hurt because I really was trying to submit, but I never agreed not to express my opinion and I at least want to feel heard. I honestly felt that he wasn't attending to each point I was making.

It felt a little like this.

So for me to submit, I feel like it's important to know that my points are being heard and considered. Despite feeling as though I was not heard, I felt that if I really want to continue down this DD/Ds path, that I had to submit even though I thought my HOH was making a mistake. This is NOT easy. I gave way and let him have his way and missed out on something that was very important to me. Later in a discussion with him, when my suspicion was confirmed that he had not heard the major point that would've changed his decision, I struggled with bitterness. I also felt a lack of empathy coming from him and felt left alone to grieve. None of this is really okay. But he's not perfect and he's going to make mistakes in this just as I do. So if I expect him to get over my mistakes (hello, whacking him with an implement), then I have to forgive him when I'm let down by his leadership and decisions. 

It took me awhile to get into the right head space to write this post. We've since made peace with one another, although I have let him know that when this opportunity arises next year, I fully plan to take advantage of it and hope that he is supportive. I'm hoping that since I chose to submit in this case, he will bear that in mind. I hope that I've written this post in a way that's conveyed my emotional struggle, but also been respectful towards my husband. It can be a struggle to walk that line at times.

************Well, I've decided to edit because I'm feeling that it's impossible to have a discussion about this without more information being given. I will continue to try to walk that line of being respectful and conveying the situation honestly. I became a runner a year and a half ago. I'm at the highest weight I've ever been. I'm down 30 pounds from that, but I have roughly 70 more to go. I hate hate hate being this overweight. In the past year I've run a 5k, two 7 mile races, and a half marathon. I was supposed to run an obstacle race this last weekend. We have two vehicles - only one of which is reliable enough to go out of town. That vehicle broke down. So unlucky me had no way to my race that I'd signed up for months ago. I only had one other person on my team and she lives at the race location - an hour away. I resolved not to mope around and to have a good weekend in spite of it. I learned that my brother and SIL needed childcare in order to go out of town for the weekend. So I volunteered thinking it would get my mind off of it. In the meantime, after I'd volunteered, someone offered to let me use their vehicle to go to my race. It was out of the blue and unexpected and a generous offer. It was from people that we've known for awhile, but are not very personal with if that makes any sense. So I wasn't sure how I'd feel about borrowing their vehicle and  I'd already made a promise to watch my brother's kiddos. I would never back out on someone like that. Then, my brother and SIL informed me that they changed their mind and decided not to go out of town. They no longer needed childcare and wanted to know if I still wanted the kiddos to stay that weekend or if I wanted to take their vehicle to my race the following day and watch their kiddos a different weekend. All of the kiddos would have been disappointed, but as long as we rescheduled, they would all be okay with it. So I presented all of this information to Tom via online messages as he was at work that day. My thought was that yes, it sucks for the kiddos to have to reschedule, but I also committed months ago to doing this race with a friend. It was one thing when I had no way to get  there and it's out of my control. It's quite another when that's not the case. So I ended up referring my friend to another team I knew doing the race in her town - a team where she didn't know anybody - what an awful situation to put somebody in. I was okay with it when I had no choice and no way to get there, but once I had a way there this felt completely wrong and disloyal to me to ditch her like that. But Tom was sticking to his guns that I shouldn't go. We should just go ahead and have the kiddos and get it over with because he didn't want me to reschedule for a different weekend. He had plans to study for a test (he's a full-time student right now) and he didn't want that getting in the way. However, I had plans to arrange childcare for our kiddos the entire time I was racing, so I wasn't going to leave him high and dry. Anyways, after continuing to get a no answer from him, even after he came home and I mentioned verbally (I'd already told him in writing via online message) that my brother and SIL offered their vehicle, he told me no he wasn't okay with my going. So, since I've committed to this dynamic in our relationship, I've submit despite how much it sucked. Come to find out later that night after the kiddos are already there and it's definitely too late to change anything, he tells me he didn't realize that my brother and SIL were going to let me use their vehicle. He thought I was planning on taking the other people's vehicle and that's why he wasn't comfortable with it. He would've been fine with my going. It's a classic case of he thought he knew what my argument was, so rather than read and listen fully to what I had to say he skimmed and missed important information.

I can't even begin to communicate how let down I am. I've forgiven him, but that doesn't mean I'm over the disappointment. I know I've forgiven because we've had loving interactions since then and trust me when I say I'm not the type to just be loving anyways if I haven't forgiven. But everytime I log into a certain social media site and see all of the pics of the girls hugging mud stained with that "proud as can be I conquered the world smile" on their faces, my disappointment comes up again in a fresh new wave. That will only heal with time. Now I was able to accept this a bit easier for a couple of reasons. I've been battling exhaustion and my training has not been what I wanted it to be. However, if I had been training hardcore for this for weeks on end and he last minute told me I wasn't allowed to go, I'd say screw it and accept my discipline when I got back. I work 60-72 hours a week supporting him so he can go to school. I homeschool our kiddo. And we live in constant financial stress. So if this is my way of blowing off steam, relieving stress, getting healthy, and having some fun through such a difficult time in our lives, I don't understand why he would keep that from me. And that's why I said what I did about this needing to be different when this comes up next year. If I've been consistently busting my butt to train and once again committed to meeting up with others, I'm not ditching a second time. After all, I don't want to lose my fit friends. And I don't want to feel robbed again of the sweet victory that is crossing a finish line after months of hard work and training.

I don't know when I've had a race that he didn't try to stop me at the last minute. For some reason he thinks it's incredibly inconvenient to him for me to go run a race and leave him alone for the day. Three months ago we had a similar situation. We were not in a DD relationship at the time. I'd trained well for my 7 mile race and he pitched a fit because he didn't want me to go. His reasoning - we don't have the gas money. I manage the finances and I know what we have. I went. He came with the kiddos and supported me. But it was only after we raked each other over the coals for three days straight. I didn't want to go through that this time and look where it got me. I love him and want to submit, but I'm not going to let him take away the one thing in my life that is not about him or about the kiddos.

And this is why I didn't want to fill in the specifics because I knew the tone would start to turn venomous. I'm trying not to dear readers. Please give me the benefit of the doubt on that. The reality is someone reading this may think "Wow. She's not submissive at all!" Well, I say people can think what they want to. I used to run the show and make all of the decisions and I'm tired of being in that role. Since starting DD/Ds our marriage has improved by leaps and bounds. I am very sure that divorce was only a matter of time before finding this. But that doesn't mean it's going to look perfect. And our DD/Ds relationship is not going to look like other people's. In our relationship I will absolutely express my opinion. He does have final say - as he clearly did in this situation despite how I felt about it. But I don't see expressing my opinion as topping from the bottom. Neither Tom nor I are interested in a relationship where I don't state my opinion. We've discussed this. That might work for other people, but not for me. Now there are times where he doesn't want to hear my opinion and that's a different matter. I will try to express my opinion in a way that's disrespectful to him. But especially on those issues that I am most passionate about, such as this one, I will express it whether he wants to hear it or not.

So anyways, there you go. That's the whole story as best I can relay it. I hope that it's not too much of a rant, which I did not want to do.*********************************