Imago

Insecurity

Her insecurities drown her;

rip and tear her apart.

It’s all in her mind,

if she only saw herself

the way that He does.

~unknown

Maximus and i are in Vegas as He has a convention. We’ve been looking forward to this as M&S decided to come to Vegas as well to share our trip and we hope to see our good friends Italian Stallion and Sparkle, who we met at Desire last year. The trip out was great, we had some good discussion on my M/s research and one of the books Maximus is reading. We’ve talked about some changes to our contract to reflect our M/s and separate out some things currently in it into rules and protocols, as well as some existing expectations of His that should be documented as rules and protocols.

Last night the plan was to have dinner with M&S and some people who we had thought were friends of their’s from Vegas and then go to their suite for playtime afterward. Turns out it was just us for dinner, which was fine. We had a wonderful dinner at Bouchon. i asked about their friends and S told us that they’d never met them, but that M had been corresponding with them for a bit online and by text. She said she was very excited to meet them and showed me a picture of a man with a gorgeous body. i asked to see a picture of the female half but she didn’t have one. She then added, “Well, the biggest reason I’m excited to see him is that he’s bringing pot,” which i misheard at first as he’s freaking hot until she repeated it. Maximus and i do not imbibe. We don’t have problems that other people do, that’s their choice, but Maximus cannot be around it due to possible random drug testing for His work, and M&S know this.

We went to M&S’s suite after dinner, which is beautiful and has a panoramic view of the strip and dead-on view of the giant High Roller ferris wheel. It was there that we learned a single female was coming over–someone they’d never met before. That surprised us and they really didn’t have much information on her. They told us literally five minutes before she arrived. We kept turning on lights in the suite so we would be able to visit with this girl and see her, but oddly M kept turning them all off, which was kind of disturbing to me. She arrived in the dark, really couldn’t see her, and we started to chat with her a bit. Turns out, she really wasn’t a swinger, this was her first time meeting a random couple, just has sex with lots of people–which surprised S as she’d had the impression from M that she was an experienced swinger from the online conversations he’d had with her. i wasn’t really impressed or comfortable with the situation, so i took Maximus into the other room and told Him that i really wasn’t feeling it, didn’t want to play, and really would like to head back to our hotel. He replied that He felt the same way.

Shortly thereafter, M announced that there had been enough talking and it was time to play. i looked at Maximus and said to the group that i really wasn’t feeling it. M&S said that was ok, we could just watch, as they were taking this women into the other room to play. Maximus got up and followed them in, saying He was going to watch. S came back out and sat with me and said she wasn’t really feeling it either. Soon, we heard the woman moaning and the sounds of squirting, which is Maximus’ thing, and the woman called out for S to come into the room. We both did and found Maximus finger fucking her. Well i was upset by this, as He told me He didn’t want to play with her and was going into the room to simply watch M play with her before we left. i gave Him a tug on the back of His shirt and whispered to Him that i needed to go. He knew i was mad.

We said our goodbyes and left. i was upset, didn’t want to talk to Maximus about it in the hall, elevator, cab, and by the time we got back to our hotel, didn’t want to ride in the elevator with Him and really wanted to go home. i felt He had betrayed my trust.

In the room, we decided to talk about it. i told Him that i didn’t feel like i could trust Him because of the situation that had just happened. He told me He was going into watch, wasn’t going to have sex, and that we were going to leave–but He didn’t do that. i had been very clear with my feelings and He had been clear in His response agreeing to that plan. i was calm, didn’t yell, but i told Him i wanted to go home, He could stay, and that i felt because of this lack of trust i couldn’t continue in M/s or our relationship.

Maximus started to respond by explaining what He had done and i stopped Him and asked that He use the Imago dialogue process that we are contractually bound to use in times of disagreement. i said that His explaining sounded like justification and we needed to use Imago as our contract required, and so i would not get angry. He did and communicated that He absolutely went against what He told me He was going to do, that He had betrayed my trust, understood that it felt like He had lied to me and how that would make me feel, and that He had prioritized not making M&S feel uncomfortable over my feelings, and apologized. He said it was a mistake and it made Him feel horrible. He also didn’t want me to leave Vegas, M/s, or our relationship, which i agreed not to do.

i was emotionally drained and after we finished that dialogue i shared with Maximus some feelings i was having, insecurities. Like i briefly mentioned in my last entry, i’ve gained weight after my hysterectomy and despite exercising and continuing my vegan diet, cannot lose weight, while Maximus’ clothes are falling off of Him. My running has become so difficult and exhausting that i cannot do it anymore. i am embarrassed by how i look, frustrated i cannot seem to fix it, disappointed in myself, don’t feel sexy, and getting quite insecure about it. His actions to pull back over the past year has compounded my lack of sexiness, to the point that i have lost interest in swinging, our swinger sites, etc. i communicated i was fearful about going to Desire next week because of it. However, i didn’t want to make a decision about canceling that trip while i was upset, emotional, and tired.

Maximus assured me how sexy He finds me and understood how pulling back compounded the situation. He promised to correct that. He agreed to talk about Desire later. We went to bed and i was still emotionally upset. Maximus got physically sick a couple of hours later, something i’ve never seen with Him before. i don’t know if it was our discussion or food. But by morning He was better and we had sex.

We had a late breakfast this morning with M&S. Prior to me arriving, Maximus talked to them about the prior evening. Turns out, they asked the woman to leave about twenty minutes after we left, as it was not working out, and the other couple never even showed up. It was a bust. Maximus explained that we (it’s primarily me) really prefer to spend a little bit of time getting to know people, or that they really know the people before we start fucking them, and last night just didn’t accommodate that for us. They totally understood. This evening should be better for that.

Maximus and i talked alone after breakfast and i told Him that i was feeling better. i shared that i need to get over this insecurity about my body because it is going to ruin me and my sexual feelings. i feel that my hormonal imbalance is not only affecting my physical body, but it is really messing with my thoughts and impressions of myself. He asked if that was why i had gotten upset about His actions with the woman the night before, and i said no, that was a trust issue about being told one thing and having Him do the complete opposite. i shared that i felt our M/s may be helpful in supporting my steps to regain my sexy security and He agreed. i also told Him that i wanted to keep our Desire trip as planned.

i feel badly that we had this hiccup. He was very appreciative that we did not have a fight last night, as would have happened even a few months ago, rather, we had a discussion without yelling and i/we stuck to our contract accordingly. i feel badly that i got upset at Him and don’t feel like a good sub because of it. However, i know that Maximus is human, and that human Masters make mistakes sometimes and i forgive Him for it. So despite our hiccups and my insecurity, i think we’re on the right path with our M/s, certainly are growing and interacting better when we comply with our contract and rules contained in it. i trust in Him and in our agreement. i will trust in how He sees me and grow from that.

Categories: communication, Imago, lying, M/s, swinging, trust | Leave a comment

Relationship Vision

freeway heart

Maximus sent me this picture he took while stopped on the freeway in San Francisco. It was a sign… And i just love this picture!!

Fern sent us the Relationship Vision sheets to work on. We’ve not had a chance to start on them yet due to work and travel, but i thought i’d share the instructions and worksheets now. i’ll post about what we come up with after we’ve had a chance to work on them, whenever that may be.

Mutual Relationship Vision:

My Dream Relationship Worksheet

Adapted from Short-Term Couples Therapy: The Imago Model in Action by Wade Luquet, A.C.S.W., page 110.

Working by yourself, write down all the things you would like in your relationship that would make it a fulfilling and nourishing relationship.  Start each sentence with the pronoun “We” and write each dream in the present tense as if you are already experiencing it.  Add descriptive words and make the items at least 50% believable.

Examples:

  • We are happily hiking together at least once a month.
  • We are effectively and peacefully doing projects on our shared space as needed (organizing, cleaning, fixing, redesigning, etc.).
  • We are enjoying satisfying sex and both freely asking for what we enjoy.
  • We are a cooperative partnership, allowing each individual to balance their goals and desires.
  • with their active participation in nurturing the relationship.
  • We are peacefully resolving issues as they arise and extending good will and appreciations for one another often.
  • We are enthusiastically supporting each others professional lives and easily creating abundance for our lives together.
  • We are joyously finding time for creative play and sensual satisfaction at least once a week.
  • We are playfully balancing our time together and apart.
  • We take time daily to listen to each others thoughts, feelings and stories.
  • We keep romance alive through daily attentive gestures and weekly dates.
  • We respect the ways in which we are different and cherish our similarities.
  • We resolve conflict through dialogue and containment.
  • We delight one another with random and unpredictable surprises.

Then go over your lists together, discovering statements that you mutually agree on. Add others as they come to you.

Combine the mutually agreed upon statements onto a single sheet. Print out copies (personalize with photos, a relationship mission statement, a favorite quote or poem, etc) and put up some place you each will see each day.

Ideally read EVERY day, and read together at least once a week.

Do ONE ACTION each week to help cultivate something on the list.  (It might take research, putting a reminder in your calendar, etc.)  You might choose to do the same thing for more than one week or you might try new actions.

Repeat ones that work!  Try new actions and build up that love account.

Do APPRECIATIONS!

i’m looking forward to working on our Relationship Vision and using it to reinforce our love for each other and filling our love accounts!

Categories: communication, Imago, relationship needs, Relationship Vision | 1 Comment

Forgiveness

forgiveness

Maximus and i were finally back together this morning. We took some time to dialogue two things that we needed to go over to finish the resolution of our conflict. The two things regarded eliminating absolutes and Ms. W.

Eliminating absolutes revolved around how my discovery that Maximus had lied and concealed His communications and meetings with Ms. W during the last two months while i worked on my rage set up a perfect storm of three major rage triggers that overwhelmed my ability to control my rage about it. The triggers were being lied to by my partner, having my partner conceal important issues from me, and abandonment. What do these have to do with absolutes? Well Maximus had told me from the beginning of, well actually before, our relationship that if He ever lied to His partner, the relationship would be over–this was how He described how important honesty and trust was to Him in a relationship. So when He admitted that He had lied to me, these triggers, especially the fear of abandonment, were just too much for me–i was simultaneously hurt, scared, terrified, and overwhelmed by my belief that He was now done with our relationship and i didn’t understand why. i had nothing to lose, He was going to leave me, and i raged–the worst rage ever. i acknowledged that He had made a choice to leave me and told Him to go, and then begged Him not to leave me, back and forth and back and forth. So in our dialogue today, we agreed that absolutes like that set us up for failure as they do not allow us to work on issues in our relationship that lead us to feel insecure, unsafe, and risk or lead to changes in our behavior that aren’t congruent with our morals. If y/You do _________, i/I will _________ doesn’t let us be human and recover from mistakes, and we ARE human and WILL make mistakes. Moreover, i really feel that i have made great headway against my raging, and had i not been confronted by this perfect storm of triggers, i don’t think i would have raged again.

In our talk about Ms. W. i shared with Maximus something that Fern had said to me at my last counseling session, something that i did not understand at the time but became clear yesterday after He and i had dialogued over the phone. Fern told me that Ms. W was a symbol for something. i didn’t agree with her, replying that no, Ms. W was a person, not a symbol. However, after doing some reflection about our phone dialogue yesterday, i realized that Ms. W WAS a symbol, a symbol of my fear of losing the emotional intimacy in our emotionally monogamous relationship. i had a belief that Maximus and Ms. W shared emotional intimacy, but that just isn’t the case, it isn’t fact. Ms. W may desire emotional intimacy with Him, but He has not, does not, doesn’t engage in that with her. The fact that Maximus had lied and concealed the continued contact with Ms. W reinforced my belief that not only did i think they were emotionally intimate, but were having an emotional affair; but when looked at factually, He had not had time to meet with Ms. W yet to go over with her the changes He was going to make in their relationship.

The significance of these two dialogues had to do with trust for both of us. First, a request for Maximus to trust in me that i am able to control my rage, that this was an isolated event due to extraordinary compounding of triggers for me. Second, my promise to trust in Maximus that He is not emotionally intimate with anyone other than me, that we are indeed emotionally monogamous.

At the end, i asked Maximus to forgive me for my mistrust and for my rage, and He forgave me. Maximus then asked me to forgive Him for lying to me and concealing the contact with Ms. W, and i forgave Him. Honestly, before yesterday afternoon, i did not even think forgiveness was going to be possible for weeks for me. In fact, prior to yesterday’s dialogue, my agenda for today’s discussion was going to be about confronting Maximus about the emotional affair He was having with Ms. W. i am so very thankful, again, for the courage Maximus had to initiate the dialogue yesterday that opened up my eyes, mind, and heart and allowed me to understand.

i am extremely hopeful that this, indeed, is the end of this chapter for us. This past week has been full of brutal truth. And as Gloria Steinem said,

The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.

Ending a chapter on brutal truth is so much better, in the long run, than ending a chapter on concealed truth. Even though it was painful, it got everything out on the table, in the open, for us both to see and deal with. It gives us a true clean slate to move on.

While this blog is my submissive journal and the main purpose is as an outlet for me to process my feelings and document how we develop in our D/s relationship, i do realize that it is public and we have had followers who came to it interested in the BDSM, D/s aspect, not relationship drama. So to those readers, if you are still with me after this two month period of drama, thank you for sticking with us, and we will be getting back to our regularly scheduled program! That being said, however, i do think that it is important for me to share the reality of developing a D/s relationship, in that it involves real people, with real emotions and real lives, and all the baggage that comes with that. D/s requires enormous trust and a grain of sand can cause enough irritation to hobble. Perhaps our story may help another couple dealing with their grain of sand whatever it may be, to help them seek counseling and learn to really communicate, really listen, and make it through the other side. And to not give up on each other.

Text from Maximus: Hey, I got a message from your ass saying it needed a butt plug. Just wanted to alert you…

Text reply from gabriella: KK. i’ll check in with my ass…my ass says “ahhhh, thank you Sir for informing g what i needed!”

butt message1

Looks like we’re back!

Categories: balance, BDSM relationship, communication, conflict, forgiveness, honesty, Imago, relationship, relationship needs, trust | 1 Comment

Priorities, What’s the Conflict, and Leaps

priorities

i think it’s safe to say that the Imago dialogue has been one of the best tools for our relationship. While we’re not perfect at it, stumble through it most of the time, it has given us a framework to be heard and takes the volatility out of communicating our misunderstandings. This week we had a disconnect on communication and scheduling. i really started to feel i was not a priority to Maximus. And really, right now, it is hard to write this blog in much detail because it has been so diffused by our dialogue that it feels like a non-issue!

The crux of the issue were behaviors that made me feel that i was not a priority, not that i wasn’t a priority to Maximus–there is a huge difference there. But, as perception is reality, my feelings were MY reality. i shared my feelings about this with Maximus via text, but He was viewing this through His lens, His world, and responded by telling me all the reasons i’d not heard from Him, all the reasons our plans had been rescheduled. i could see that He was not considering my feelings and, in fact, i prompted Him to take some time to consider how it might be helpful for Him to mirror and validate and have some empathy about how i might be feeling rather than giving me a list of reasons that felt like He was invalidating what i felt, thus confirming my feeling of not unimportance. We were at an impasse, texting was not working, so the discussion was stopped until He would arrive the next day and we could do Imago.

Interestingly enough, by the morning, Maximus texted, “In reflecting upon yesterday I would like to profoundly apologize to you. I will work harder to better communicate to you regardless of the events that are surrounding Me at the time. you’re in My thoughts every moment of the day but I need to work harder at communicating that to you. Again, I apologize from the deepest part of My heart. I love you and I can’t wait to see you very soon.” i was still hurting and knew that texting or talking on the phone while He was driving down would not be effective, so i let Him know that i needed to wait until He arrived at my home to talk about this.

We went through the Imago dialogue process and it really helped Maximus understand how i was feeling. And it gave me a chance to feel heard, without blaming or critcizing Him. This seemed to help Maximus consider how He was prioritizing all areas of His life, Relationship, Family, Work, and Fitness, and realize that this was occurring in all four areas of His life, not just with me. We discussed strategies to help both of us.

This could have been a horrifically volatile event. But it wasn’t. Were there tears? Yes. Was there raging? No. Was there understanding? Absolutely. Is there carry-over resentment? Absolutely NOT! It’s so well communicated that i’m having trouble blogging about it now!

What’s the Conflict?

question marks

Once we are able to dialogue about issues, Maximus and i can move on without underlying static. It really is remarkable. i don’t feel there is any unfinished business, no unheard issues.  This allows us to really be able to talk and share later, without grudges on old business, days later.

Last night, in a change of plans, Maximus and i decided to go out for happy hour and dinner. We ended up staying for hours, talking and talking and talking about us, how counseling was going, how the framework of Imago dialogue was helping. And we had some epiphanies, two in particular.

The first epiphany was about how Maximus and i define conflict. And it was really akin to Bill Clinton’s response during grand jury “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” Maximus was explaining that He visioned our relationship completely free of conflict–happy. This seemed completely unrealistic to me. As we sat at the bar, i decided to use an analogy to explain to Maximus how i felt having an expectation of a conflict-free relationship set us up for extreme failure. My analogy was about work, that overall, when He considers work, He finds it fulfilling, enjoyable, challenging, and that He really, really loves what He does. However, there are times when it is aggravating, frustrating, there are disagreements with others, conflict, and issues need to be dealt with, but that does not change the overall feeling that He loves His work. He did agree with that, but noted, “but there’s no conflict there.” This confused me, because i had just described a linear timeline of years of his work relationship with lots of little conflicts over the years that were dealt with but did not diminish His love for His job. i ran my finger along the bar in a timeline, showing a linear relationship of time with little stops of conflict all along, but that this did not divert from a feeling of happiness and satisfaction at the arrowhead at the end that was still moving forward through time. Maximus pointed about 3/4 through the line and said, “But there’s no conflict there,” and i pointed all along the line and said, “There was conflict here and here and here but it was dealt with.” And then we realized…i define conflict as a disconnect, something that requires an intervention of some sort to deal with a misunderstanding, a clarification, whatever, to prevent a catastrophic event; Maximus defines conflict as a fight, a rage, something damaging and huge, the catastrophic event!

whats the conflictWhat an amazing revelation! And how important is that? i’ve been thinking Maximus is unrealistically expecting a relationship free of misunderstanding, when He is describing a relationship free of damaging fighting. We completely agree on our relationship vision, we just define the words differently! He did not view disconnects or misunderstandings as conflicts, as i did–of course!

Leaps

leap

The final epiphany had to do with my communication needs. Maximus had been considering His communication style, in light of our dialogue the previous morning, in regards to me understanding the commitment in GOT. He shared that He thought He finally realized why i had trouble with this, something He felt was so clear and strong. He shared with me that He just couldn’t understand why i would have the question, “Why did You choose me?” when it was so obvious to Him. But that He is realizing now, that the question, “Why did You choose me?” was not questioning His decision to choose me, but that it was a request for validation, for Him to share what things led Him to choose me! This was a leap in thought for Him!

And this was clear to me! i started to giggle actually, because this became completely clear to me two weeks ago when we did the couples intake forms for Fern! i realized, when Maximus answered the question about what made Him fall in love with me, that we’d never discussed that before, and it made me cry to hear Him answer it. i know i’m great, a great catch, i just wanted to have that validated from Maximus.

We are back on track and better than before. We have developed techniques to enhance our communication and to deal with the occasional misunderstanding/conflict in order to avoid catastrophic conflicts. And we both feel we are ready now to have guided communication with Fern about the elephant in the room–Ms. W. The groundwork is done, the framework established, and we are ready to move forward.

Categories: balance, communication, conflict, counseling, Imago, relationship, relationship needs | Leave a comment

Beginning Imago

relationships

Maximus and i had our first couples counseling session with Fern. We did our session over Skype, He and i together and Fern remotely. It was a good session, setting a foundation for Imago therapy. Maximus was a bit confused, however, trying to figure out how we were supposed to use Imago to stop a rage event, but after He and i discussed it further after our session, we both understand that Imago is used to guide communication to resolve conflict prior to rage, to prevent me from having a raging event. This provides a framework for me to feel heard and for Him to not feel attacked.

Imago, developed by Harville Hendrix, PhD and his wife, Helen Lakelly Hunt, PhD, is based on theory that most conflicts are 90% triggered by past wounds and only 10% about the present situation. Furthermore, it is based upon your partner being the most ideal person to help you resolve those past wounds. Imago uses the connection between the partners to dialogue about issues rather than discussing them, in a safe space, at a time when both partners are able to fully be present for each other. The process  starts with one partner requesting an appointment to dialogue and then proceeding through a structure of Mirroring, Validation and Empathy.

Making an appointment is a crucial step in beginning this process. This requires the partner who has something to dialogue, be it an appreciation or a conflict, to request the presence of the other and to be able to articulate what the general topic would be. The other partner can either agree to discuss it right then, or request that they discuss it at a specific time later, when they are more able to commit to the process.

During mirroring, the sender articulates their thoughts, feelings, or requests using “I feel” or “I need” or “I love” statements, from their perspective, not shaming, blaming, or criticizing the receiver. The receiver listens mindfully, not interrupting, not stopping the sender. When the sender stops, the receiver starts by saying, “Let me see if I got what you’re saying…” and repeats back what the sender told them. This requires the receiver to really listen to what’s being said. The sender then can reply, “Yes, you got it,” or acknowledge things that were correct and  recommunicate things that were not picked up. When the receiver has mirrored back the sender’s communication correctly, the receiver asks, “Is there more?” The sender should ponder and add more if necesssary, and the cycle repeats, or acknowledge that they have communicated everything about this issue. At this point, if the sender is done, the receiver will then summarize what they have heard the sender communicate by starting, “So in summary, what I heard you say is…Did I get it?” The sender needs to listen and acknowledge or reiterate anything that was missed.

In the next step, validation, the receiver starts. In this step, the receiver acknowledges the sender’s perspective, but does not judge whether they believe it to be right or wrong. They are merely showing the sender respect for their reality, accepting that both partners may have different viewpoints. During validation, the receiver often starts, “That makes sense to me because…” and describing how their behavior or communication might have been received by the sender different than their intention.

The final step is empathy. Here, the receiver starts by communicating how they think their partner might be feeling. “I imagine you might be feeling….about this. Is that how you are feeling?” The sender now has a responsibility to acknowledge whether they got it or not, and if not, share what emotion they are feeling about the situation.

Imago Phrase Cues

SENDER
I would like to dialogue about . . .
Is now okay?
I feel . . .
I love . . .
I need . . .
What’s bothering me is . . .

RECEIVER
1. Mirroring
Let me see if I’ve got you.
I heard you say . . . or You said . . .
Am I getting you? or Did I get that?
Is there more about that?
Summary mirror
Let me see if I got it all . . .?
Am I getting you? Did I get all of that?
or Is that a good summary?

2. Validation
You make sense to me, and what makes sense is . . .
I can understand that . . .given that . . .
I can see how you would see it that way because sometimes I do . . .

3. Empathy

I imagine you might be feeling . . .
Is that what you’re feeling?

Maximus and i practiced this with Fern using an appreciation rather than a conflict. This allowed us to practice the steps without having to focus on a new way of communicating AND an issue. We stumbled through it. This is really a new way of communicating for us and we are not yet used to the structure of it. But, we did see the value in it. A big concern for Maximus is the empathy step, as he feels he is not an empathetic person and has difficulty assigning feelings to situations. Fern understood this and will be sharing a list of feelings with him for him to refer to in these situations. i don’t think Maximus is un-empathetic, i feel that the generation he was raised in devalued emotional/sensing/feeling response in males, seeing those as feminine qualities. i have, many times, been able to relate situations Maximus has encountered that were similar to something we are talking about, so He could put Himself back in that situation and remember how He felt at that time and apply that to our current situation and how i am feeling. This works if i know of a situation to relate it to, which isn’t always the case! i know Maximus IS empathetic, it will be a matter of developing that skill that was not valued, and i think Fern can be helpful in this.

Another thing we discussed with Fern, in context of Imago, was in regards to overcommunication. Maximus is still concerned about His overcommunication or oversharing and how i communicate better in writing and He communicates better orally. Fern shared that it is important to be able to contain ourselves when communicating, that we consider the impact of sharing every thought and thought-process rather than crafting the communication to share the thoughts more succinctly.  Maximus uses His communication to think out loud and that can be confusing for me, especially since as a writer, i present my thoughts on paper completely analyzed and edited to say exactly what i want to communicate–i don’t share the non-edited version. i take His communication as if it is edited, not a work in progress.

And it was a good thing we learned this concept and practiced Imago dialogue with Fern, because we had two instances to use this technique later that evening.

The first instance was right before dinner, about two hours after our session with Fern. Maximus and i had been discussing the session and playing with the Imago technique, summarizing our thoughts with each other. We had to cut the conversation short, however, as The Englishman came home before we were completely finished. When The Englishman wasn’t paying attention, Maximus shared with me how much He felt we were on the right track and held His hand up, wiggling His right index finger, and said, “And this [the ring i gave Him] will be back soon because of it!” The air was immediately sucked out of the room for me and i felt like i’d been sucker punched. i’d had no idea that He was not wearing the ring intentionally because of my last raging episode and worse, i’d not even noticed. i immediately excused myself to the bathroom to sit down and respond to this in private. i was horrified, sad, upset that i’d not noticed, upset that Maximus shared that when The Englishman was present (not that he’d seen it, but that i felt like i couldn’t talk to Maximus about it now and i felt set up for failure). i returned to the kitchen and motioned for Maximus to follow me. We went upstairs to the master bathroom and i asked Him if we could have a dialogue about the ring, and He agreed. We stumbled through the process and it really helped me to be able to calmly explain my feelings about it, feel heard, and for Maximus to understand my feelings, perspectives, and how that felt hurtful to me. He shared that His fingers had swollen in Las Vegas, which i knew, but that He had decided to wait to put it back on after we were back to normal, even though His fingers were no longer swollen, and do that with me ceremonially to celebrate our renewed togetherness. He had not, however, realized that i had not noticed He was not wearing it, assumed i knew He wasn’t, and it had not occurred to Him that i would feel hurt by Him not wearing it. This dialogue helped me feel heard, helped Him understand my feelings and perspectives, and make changes that benefited us both–He is wearing the ring. And no raging occurred. Raging would have most definitely occurred in the recent past with something like this.

The second instance was after we went to bed. While Maximus was on His business trip, He mentioned to me that He was planning on heading to Nordstrom to go see what He could find to get for me as a surprise. i thought this was wonderfully sweet and i was looking forward to seeing what might be in my drawer when i got to His home at the end of the week, which has been a thing that Maximus has done in the past to surprise me. He did not get a chance to go to the mall on that trip, however, but the expectation had been set up that He was planning on getting me something. There was nothing in my drawer when i arrived, but Maximus mentioned that He wanted to take me to the mall, to Nordstrom the next day and was very vague about it, so much so that i thought that was the new plan, to go together for that something for me. Unfortunately, our day got very full and the session with Fern went long, and we did not have time to go. As well, i had not brought clothes to go to the mall in and when we started out to go, Maximus felt He was peacocking me, overdressed in comparison, and then canceled our trip. i later asked what this trip was about and He said it was to go get Him some new dress slacks, which to me, seemed odd for Him to have been so vague about the trip if that was what it was about. By the time we went to bed, i was feeling that i had somehow disappointed Him with the session with Fern or how i’d dressed, and it caused Him to change His mind about getting me a gift. i ended up getting triggered about it during some rougher sex and excused myself to the bathroom to compose myself–Maximus allowed me this time to cry and breathe and return to Him to dialogue. i started by asking Him if we could dialogue about Nordstrom and then as we dialogued, i realized that my feelings were really about His overcommunicating. He actually thanked me for talking about this issue and how it made me feel; He had no idea that He was doing this, setting up my expectations for something that was on His list to do at some point, picking up a gift for me from Nordstrom. He’d not realized that His thinking out loud set me up to believe that i had a gift coming and could see how there being no gift and a canceled trip to Nordstrom would make me feel the way i did. “You’ve helped Me become a better person with this,” He shared.

It’s not intuitive yet and it’s not easy either, but we do see the merit in this process. It did help me not rage. i believe that it helps by requiring me to request a dialogue, knowing i’ll have His full attention, and that i have to give a topic of conversation, a focused conversation. Additionally, it allows me to talk without interruption and hear back from Him what He’s hearing, allowing me to clarify when we’re not on the same page. i feel heard and that my feelings are validated.

Categories: communication, conflict, counseling, Imago | Leave a comment

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