Oh, You’re a Rule Follower

I live in a really nice neighborhood and we have an amazing tradition. Once a month for over ten years the ladies get together for dinner at someone’s house or at a restaurant. I was the one to host the gathering for October.  The meal was lovely and the weather perfect. I love to cook and bake and have attained quite a reputation in the neighborhood for both. I have also worked in a bakery in the past and sometimes make cakes and sell them to my friends and acquaintances. It is a very informal and very small operation.

That evening we were talking about the food and the desserts and one of my friends asked me about selling cakes. I explained that I do not have a commercial kitchen and that I would need to modify my home kitchen if I wanted to turn it into a real business.

“No”, she said. “You can do it at home.”

“No I can’t,” I explained. “Well I could but there would have to be changes in lighting, countertops etc. if I were  to really do this in my home on a scale any larger than I do now. There are regulations on food preparation businesses.”

“Oh you’re a rule follower.”

I just laughed and said yes but inside I wanted to say – You have no idea! I mean I am in a Dd marriage!

I have to say her comment brought me up a little short and has made me think.

I am Fun

I am a rule follower.

I like their structure. I like their security. I like their stability.

Maybe that is one of the reasons that ttwd works so well for me. I like rules. Having a list of rules that Alex finds important gives me the structure I need and want. It gives me security and stability. It makes me feel safe. They establish a framework for how our household runs.

Beyond our home we have rules and laws, regulations and standards of behavior that help us live in a civilized society. Rules help us to do that.

It greatly bothers me when I see these standards eroding. When I see others who can’t or won’t follow the rules and it worries me that so many just don’t seem to care or notice these days.

I picked up my daughter from an activity last evening. She is driving now and in the time it took for me to switch from the divers seat to the passenger seat so she could drive I heard a group of young guys loudly throw the f bomb three times as they walked past. When did that become ok? When did it become ok to subject everyone around you to your crass language? When did we loose our sense of decorum?

Its not ok with me. I think we loose something when we loose manners and acceptable ways to behave in public. When guys walk around with their pants around their knees and girls walk around in public in their pajamas we all loose something. When we don’t have standards we loose something. We need them.

So yes. In answer to her question…

In both my personal and public life I am a rule follower and proud of it.

Always Learning

 

We had a kind of rocky weekend last week but like so many times before I think we both learned from it. We are getting back to ttwd after a kid imposed break and there were bound to be a few growing pains as we settled into our new routine.

It boiled down to that biggest of biggies… Communication. Things were expected and schedules changed but not communicated and feelings were hurt.

Then came the argument after. We often used to argue before by saying a few angry words and then retreating to separate corners. It was often never mentioned again even if there were hurt feelings. Eventually things returned to a status quo. Not real healthy I know but that’s what we did.

I refuse to do that anymore. This time we discussed things more and honestly I didn’t let him retreat like he used to. Changing how you have communicated (or not) your whole life is a process and reverting back to old patterns and behaviors is often the easiest. I forced the issue and made sure we talked it out pretty quickly and we moved past it and enjoyed the rest of the weekend.

We want and need our men to lead and they do most of the time but none of us is perfect and sometimes I think we have to be willing and able to do that leading ourselves if the old ways are too ingrained and too comfortable to break away from.

Just because I am in a Dd relationship does not mean that I should keep my mouth shut if things are not right. We need to work on our issues and if I don’t communicate to him how I am feeling he won’t know. We have a whole new way of relating to each other and even after two years it still feels so new. There will continue to be times where maybe I see us falling into our old habits before he does and it would not help either of us if I were quiet about that.

For us anyway it is more important to feel good at the end than to split hairs on whether I took control for awhile during an argument although respect must be maintained throughout. I am not and never will be a wall flower. That is not the woman he married and that is not what he wants. mistakes I wrote him a post on our private blog and thought you all might like to see what I came up with. It’s a list of tips on managing our disagreements. I entitled it

Arguing With Me – An Owners Manual

  1. Don’t leave me during an argument. If you leave I just talk to myself and get madder and madder and I feel abandoned. If you stay you force us to confront the issue and resolve it.
  2. Stay in the room/area and YOU make sure that things are resolved. I feel led that way.
  3. Apologize if it was your fault. I will do the same.
  4. Know that when you feel like we have talked enough or you don’t know what to say I ALMOST NEVER feel that way. I am very verbal and will always need to hash things out verbally more than you. Please be aware of that and let me work through my pain/issue with you. It is important to me that I feel heard and understood.
  5. Whatever the issue, even if it was your mistake, I am to always remain respectful.
  6. Don’t leave things until you feel like I am feeling better and heard. It is that point when we can heal and move forward.
  7. Touch is very important at any point in this process and makes me feel loved and cherished. For too long we didn’t touch and I value it so highly now.
  8. At some point you should declare the argument over. Again, I feel led that way.
  9. I know you know this but a maintenance session is often needed after an argument even if you caused the argument. It clears the slate for both of us and allows you to show me you are back in command. It makes me feel like we are back together again.

We don’t argue a lot anymore so we also haven’t had much “practice.” We both learned some this weekend about how we need to relate to each other when we are angry so when this kind of thing happens again we do better next time. That is all we can ask of each other really.

R E S P E C T

It is something so important and central to any relationship and is our first rule. I must show him respect at all times.

That is all very fine and good when I am happy and in a good mood, when I am not hormonal, or when I agree with him. But let’s face it, I am not all of those things all of the time and it is sometimes all too easy to push back, make a snide comment or let some sass come through.

The thing is I truly want to be submissive and show him respect all the time. I want to give him the respect he deserves and I feel I owe him.

Sometimes I wonder though if I am more worried about it than he is. I do pretty well one-on-one but when I am around other people (like kids or family over Thanksgiving) I know I am snippier and talk back more than I should but he never says anything.

On a recent trip I felt like there were several times that I could have been called out for disrespect and wasn’t. Hmm. Is it not important to him? Are his standards just lower than mine? I don’t know but I don’t want that to be true. I told him he has been too easy on me. I want him to hold me to a really high standard because I am capable of it. I have asked for and want his guidance. If he let’s me get away with too much I wonder if it matters. I think I loose a little respect then. I start to feel that it maybe isn’t so important so the next time I feel a little sassy I let it come out instead of holding my tongue because I don’t think he will care or notice anyway.

But I want a strict interpretation of our agreement and for him to hold me to it.

So we discussed it.

If we are not able to spank because we are around others we talked about a way for him to call me out and keep track until we are alone. I know that there have been times that he has not liked what I said or did but he feels awkward saying anything at the time. By the time we were alone though neither of us quite remembers. I suggested a way for him to make sure I know he noticed and deal with it later if he chooses. I carry a small notebook in my purse. If he tells me to “write” I will get it out and take note of what we were doing and what I said so that he has a record of the conversation and circumstances. If I have crossed the line I want to know it. When we are able to be together for maintenance I will give him the book and he will decide if the session remains maintenance or becomes a punishment session.

It is important to me that I be respectful toward him. I have asked for this and want this. But I need his guidance and leadership to give him my submission. I need him to lead so that I can follow.

I wrote all that before our trip for Thanksgiving and just having the talk really helped me I think. I was much more aware of how I talked to him and didn’t have to actually “write” until we were home. I was more conscious of showing respect. On the flip side though I learned I need to feel his respect more too.

We had an argument on our drive home where I felt disrespected by Alex and our kids. They thought they were fooling around. I felt attacked. I know they all thought I was overreacting. I probably was to an extent but…

We are in a Dd relationship and we have made a commitment to put each other before all things. I take care of him and he takes care of me.

I wrote once here about where the line was when we were playing around and how small deceptions now caused me to really question what was OK and what wasn’t. At the time we talked and I now give him a heads up or signal if the kids have cooked up something I think he needs to know about.

For me it really all goes back to a question of respect. I need to have his back with the kids. And he needs to have mine.

I have thought about this a lot since it happened. I understand how he can feel like I overreacted. When pressed he knew that I was upset because I felt disrespected. But I don’t think he really understands how deep it goes for me. If we are doing this well then we are both thinking about the other and making a conscious decision all the time to consider the other’s feelings. That is hard. It takes a lot of work.

Respect is the first tenant of our agreement. I need to know that his commitment to respect me at all times is as strong as mine.

Maybe I wouldn’t feel this way before Dd but I do now. For me at least I feel it stronger now.

I was not happy and he knew it and finally it reached the point that he had had enough and now my book has it’s first entry. It is justified. I needed to accept his apology with much more grace than I did.

It is a two-way street though. Respect has to flow in both directions and it does most of the time. It just sometimes takes bumps in the road to make us see that.

I’m not sure that before Dd and our recent talk the whole incident would have even bothered me so much but now I know how great it is to feel his protection and so if it is missing (or I perceive it is) I think I am much more aware of it. It will just take some adjustment from both of us.

And you know what?

That’s OK.

Evolving

So we have this rule. He put it in place to be a little playful and for  a submission exercise of sorts. It has been really hard for me to comply with. I truly have not broken this rule on purpose or with intent it’s just not something I am conscious of most of the time as I go about my daily life.  I am getting on with my day and going about my business and I just don’t remember to do this.

I’ve been called out on it several times.  Basically  I was constantly messing up and he always notices.

Well this morning we did maintenance and then I showered and got dressed for my day. He was moving around packing to go out of town and noticed I had messed up, again. To his surprise and honestly, mine too, I burst into tears and just deflated. I told him I didn’t do it on purpose at all and just cried. I was kind of blindsided by the voracity of my feelings but I told him that I felt like what it had become for me was a chance for him to call me out on something.

It felt very arbitrary and punitive and completely devoid of its original playful intent, at least for me. So we talked about it and hashed it out. It has never been my intent to disobey and I had absolutely not done it on purpose so when he called me out on it, whether he punished or not, it made me feel like it was a “gotcha” moment. I also felt like I was letting him down and that made me feel really bad too.

I don’t want this to be a game and that is what this felt like to me. I want the rules we have to advance our marriage and our relationship. He got that and has amended the rule to something I think we both will be more comfortable with.

That led to a larger conversation.  We talked about something in the past week that came up that I wanted some clarification on.

For a long time before Dd our standard operating procedure was to avoid conflict by not talking about something. If we had a disagreement we would often withdraw and stop talking because in the moment it was easier. Even now he will often let me stew or stop talking. It is a hard habit to break.

Earlier this week we had a small argument. He yelled in the moment. I got my feelings hurt and withdrew. He let me. What I really wanted was for him to come after me and not let me distance like that but like I said, old habits and all.

Today I told him I know that it is easier in many ways for him to let me be but at the same time I want him to know that even if I chafe at it in the moment I appreciate his guidance and leadership when he pulls me back to him. I told him that it may be “conflict inducing” in the moment but that ultimately I thought it would help us both.

I mentioned in a recent post that he really is more confident in his role as HoH than he had been before. Neither of us is perfect though and he is very fair minded. If he feels culpable in our conflict I think he feels badly sometimes holding me accountable. Does that make sense? It isn’t an easy thing we ask of our guys.

In many ways this feels like a “be careful what you wish for” moment. Whether he feels I have crossed a line enough that he punishes or simply insists that the distance is unacceptable and I am to stay near him is ultimately his decision. But if he is going to step outside of his comfort zone into a new way of doing things I have to be willing to open myself up to his care and guidance and not shut him down no matter how vulnerable that makes me feel.

What is Dd?

I have been absent for the past two weeks on a trip to visit both sides of the family and we are finally and thankfully home. Overall the trip went well, no major dramas, some time with friends we don’t often get to see. It was a long trip and one we were ready to end about three days before it did but all in all a success I think.

Grace at Enjoying The Journey asked everyone to take a stab at defining Dd. I thought it would be a good topic for this first post after the trip.

Since we know that everyone does Dd a bit differently I have been thinking about us and how we do it. At the very beginning of this I wrote out our agreement so we both were on the same page and also so we had something to go back to as we move forward to check our progress. It is essentially our definition.

Here is our agreement:

We agree to put our marriage first above all things… children, jobs, friends, family. If we are not OK then our kids are not OK. If we are strong then we can face whatever comes at us from the outside world.
In order to accomplish this we have elected you as Head of our Household. This means that we each have a say in what goes on and how the house is run but if we cannot agree you get to make the final decision and I will abide by those decisions. Knowing you are the leader means I don’t have to fight you for control.
We both agree to respect each other. Without respect everything else falls apart and we are too important for that to happen. We both have value and gifts that we bring to our marriage, our children and our home. We will work together by following your lead.
We know what it is like to live separate lives. We know how hard and lonely that was. We are not willing to allow the stresses in our lives to drive us apart and we agree to hold each other accountable and pay attention to each other when either of us starts to feel the other moving away. We agree that for us that means that you can punish me to ensure we remain strong.
We both agree that certain rules and structures are established to make our home and relationship run smoothly. This means that you have the right and obligation to make sure those rules are followed and you will administer whatever punishment that you see fit to ensure that our roles are maintained. This could include spankings, corner time, revoking privileges, etc.
You agree to never punish out of anger and will make sure that I understand why you are punishing even if I don’t necessarily agree. You also agree to listen to my objections. You may not be swayed by them but you will listen.
We both understand that you will follow through if you feel a punishment is warranted. I agree to submit to your decisions and to that punishment when you say so. Refusing a spanking does not mean that you will back down or that the punishment is not going to happen. It means that when I do submit that we have additional issues to deal with which will likely mean I am then in more trouble.
We both understand that this agreement takes an incredible amount of trust on both sides. Punishments are hard to give and hard to take. We are doing this because the pain of being distant is worse than any punishment. The attention and care that this dynamic requires means that we cannot let our marriage slip and that is the most important thing.

When I look back on this I am pretty happy with how well it still holds up. We have not rewritten it since. We have not had too many punishments and none that I have not fully agreed with.

At the same time we wrote out our set of rules. Our rules center on the 4D’s and distancing and are all pretty common sense. I don’t want to go into the specifics but this aspect is the part that has evolved and continues to evolve. Priorities change and so rules change as needed. We both talk about this and update as needed.

I think that last sentence highlights a central tenant of Dd for us and how it has changed us and how we do it. Communication. We talk about all of this. We make sure that we are both alright and both feeling comfortable. We talk about what is working and what is not. Without good communication Dd is not possible for us.

The biggest addition since we started is that I have agreed to submit to him sexually in all things and in all ways. I know in many ways this adds a D/s component but it has also brought us both so much closer. He feels stronger and more dominant when I submit to him in the bedroom and that dominance really gets my submissive juices flowing and at least for us truly enhances the whole Dd dynamic.

The beautiful thing about Dd is that we can individualize it for us. Every couple takes the basic framework and makes it their own. We add a sexual component, some don’t. We use spanking and alternate punishments, some use spanking alone, some don’t use spanking at all. It really is up to each couple.
What I feel all the Dd couples that we have come to know have in common is a sincere desire to improve their marriages and make them the best they can be. This lifestyle takes tremendous trust and respect for each other. Both partners make huge commitments to pay attention to the other and make the relationship the priority and that is something I think is lacking in so many relationships. However we define it, it works for us.
I was trying to find an image for this post, maybe a couple holding hands. This was just too cute not to include purely for fun. 🙂

Oh We Notice

Children learn from what they see around them. They learn from the behavior we model and from what they are exposed to. When we were broken and not functioning as a couple I really worried about this.

I want the best for my children and that includes finding loving relationships themselves in their adult lives. I want them to find someone that loves them and cherishes them, makes them laugh and makes them feel special. I want them to find someone who treats them with respect and and care. Someone who they can talk to and someone who listens.

We used to not talk, not laugh, not connect. We rarely touched or spent time alone together. I can remember having conversations with my best girl friend about this very issue. I worried that the adult, married relationship we were modeling for our kids was teaching them that this was normal. I didn’t want the lack of communication and the disrespect we both showed each other to be what they took away from our home and into their lives. I didn’t want them to think that the way to handle their problems was to not handle them at all and that it was OK to just coexist in the same household.

Things are so different now and I love that on many levels but one of the biggest reasons is that now they are seeing us interact in a whole new way. They see us happier and connected. They see us spending time together just watching TV or running errands together. They see us kiss hello and goodbye and a quick caress or touch. They see us more playful with each other.They also see us talking without a snarky tone of voice. They see me asking for his advice and input. They see me taking care of him in big and small ways, the cleaner house, the cup of coffee. I want them to see it all.

I had a conversation with my oldest not long ago about our new dynamic. I did not and will not talk to her about Dd but we talked about how much better our communication is and how much happier we are together. I told her that we were really working on our relationship and that we were much happier now.

I told her I hoped that she and her brother and sister had noticed. “Oh WE notice” she said and laughed. She told me how nice it is to see us happy and how that made her happy.

That’s so nice to know, so nice that what we are doing is making a difference to them.

Our number one commitment these days is to each other and the health of our marriage. We have a written agreement about Dd and at the very beginning is that commitment. If we are not OK our kids are not OK and our family is not OK. The fact that my kids can and do see the benefits of all of this hopefully means we are doing something right.

Grey Area

What to do? What to do? Is it OK to tell little white lies anymore?

I was faced with a conundrum. Alex told me to drop something off while my girls and I were out. We did it no problem. The the girls, who of course know nothing of our Dd relationship, decided we should pretend that we didn’t for a little while just for a joke. I went along with them but had a nagging feeling. I knew it would involve lying to him and make it seem like I had deliberately disobeyed him.

At dinner he asked if it was done and they exchanged looks and told him we forgot. I didn’t say anything. They actually immediately confessed and said we had done it but I think because he wasn’t too pleased he didn’t hear them. We all thought he had. After dinner he commented about us not doing it and we were surprised he didn’t know already. Once he realized that we had done it and told him right away he let it go but really he didn’t like it. I will probably answer for it during our next maintenance session.

I have to say I have very mixed feelings about this whole thing. The girls were just playing and were never going to trick him for long so I didn’t see the harm really. But at the same time I want to be honest and true to him. He feels the same way. He doesn’t want to be such a stickler that any of us can’t play jokes but he does want my cooperation and respect. I know he felt like that was lacking in the moment yesterday.

All this is somewhat dependent on the personalities involved but I wonder how others handle similar situations. Do you have grey areas? Is there wiggle room? Should there be? I’m still thinking.