relationship needs

Love thyself

aime-toi

i’m in Portland, staying with a close (vanilla, non-lifestyle) friend of mine. i found out last week that she’d gone through a breakup several weeks ago. Her live-in boyfriend of several years left her over the holidays and she’d been struggling through it. i picked up something on a Facebook post that told me the answer before she’d replied to my text asking what was going on. So i invited myself down as soon as the Portland snowpocalypse ended.

She is drowning in grief. i remember that feeling. And it’s more than a loss of a companion, a lover, additional income, the beloved dog he took with him, the debt he left you straddled with, the lies you now realize, it’s the loss of your former self, that strong, assured, self-sufficient woman, PERSON, you were when you attracted him in the first place. It makes you mad, sick inside, that you let it come to this. How did i let myself down and let another person, a relationship steal my self-worth?

And you feel like you’re never going to get it back.

You will. But the answer is not in anyone else–it’s in you. It’s been there the entire time. No, you are not going to be the person you were before, ever again. That person is gone, but in its place will be someone stronger, better, smarter. You have to believe this. But its going to take work. i know it sounds cliché, but you have to fall back in love with yourself.

And you have to forgive yourself, stop beating yourself up for being in the relationship, for whatever damage happened to you. Let it go. Don’t let it poison yourself any more. It happened, it’s done, dust yourself off and move on.

So i’m here to be a shoulder, an ear, arms to hug and hold, maker of soup, and out-of-the-house-taker-outer. We drank champagne, toasting her strength and our unending friendship. i’m proud of her, her accomplishments before and now. And i look forward to watching her fall back in love with herself.

Categories: balance, relationship, relationship needs | Tags: | Leave a comment

2017 Relationship Vision, Values, and Goals

Somehow Maximus and i missed reviewing our Relationship Vision, Values, and Goals last year–that should tell you just how chaotic last year was! We’ve never missed a year, so this was a big deal.

Values

We started with our values. As before, we brainstormed values and i wrote them on Post-It notes. We came up with quite a lot!

2017-values

We came up with:

  • Travel *
  • Friends
  • Fun
  • Entertainment (Parties, Movies, Theatre) *
  • Adventure
  • Fitness *
  • Family
  • Learning
  • Work
  • Financial Stability
  • Home *
  • Support (emotional, physical) *
  • GOT *
  • Health
  • Mindfulness *
  • Patience *
  • Contentment *
  • Happiness *
  • Balance *
  • D/s *
  • Sexuality
  • Honesty *
  • Disclosure *
  • Communication *
  • Accountability *

Then i compared them with what we came up with in 2014. A * indicates a new value from last time. i stacked duplicates and added what we felt were relevant from 2014:

  • Faith
  • Organization
  • Compassion
  • Cleanliness
  • Autonomy
  • Selflessness
  • Creativity
  • Spontaneity
  • Order

We then worked on ranking them as to their priority in our lives together. As we went along, we realized several were supportive of major values, so it ended up as a tree of sorts. As always, this process lead to a lot of discussion on meaning and level of importance–which is just as important, if not more so, as the exercise itself!

2017-values-ranked

Here are how our values worked out for 2017. It’s a bit more complex than last time. The bold text is a major category, supporting values are bulleted beneath. It has surprised us both times that faith has come in last. i think that the events of 2016 really influenced us, in that health ranked second this time, above family and career.

 

 Our 2017 Values

Our GOT Relationship

  • Support
    • Emotional
    • Physical
  • Patience
  • Mindfulness
  • Compassion
  • Selflessness
  • Autonomy
  • Accountability
  • Communication, Honesty, Disclosure
  • Sexuality
  • D/s

Health and Fitness

Family

Work, Career, Lifelong Learning

Financial Stability

Home

  • Cleanliness
  • Order
  • Organization

Fun

  • Friendships
  • Travel
  • Entertainment
  • Adventure
  • Spontaneity
  • Parties
    • Vanilla
    • Kink

Faith

So going forward, these are the values we will use to guide our decision making processes.

Relationship Vision

Now that we’d completed our values, we looked at our existing relationship vision to make sure that it still applied. And we found it did:

GOT – a lifelong, harmonious, loving, committed relationship together.

There was some discussion about this as Maximus thought it should simply say, “GOT,” but i need it spelled out.

Goals

We started by going through our 2015 goals since we hadn’t worked on 2016 goals and reconciled 2015. Turns out, we did a pretty good job of completing our 2015 goals. We noted that some were completed in 2016, so while we hadn’t written down goals for 2016 we did have an idea in our minds of what we wanted to accomplish based upon the task two years ago.

i’m not going to include the goals here as i have them in an Excel spreadsheet that i use to track our goals on a quarterly basis.

It feels good to be back on track with our Values, Vision, and Goals. It is a nice way to start a new year, knowing we are on track with each other and have things to check ourselves on.

new-year1

 

Categories: BDSM relationship, communication, D/s, openess, Reflection, relationship, relationship needs, Relationship Vision, Values | Tags: | Leave a comment

Munch Better!

just-right

Maximus and i went to a new munch last night, actually more of a discussion group with a potluck, and it was PERFECT for us! It actually was a combined meeting of two different groups, one a Dominants-only group and the other a submissives-only group. These groups usually meet separately, but they joined up for a combined holiday potluck and then went to separate buildings for their respective discussion groups.

We both loved this group. First, it had the social mixer we were looking for, but second, and most importantly, we really identified with these groups and met some wonderful and helpful people. We have reached out to several people on FetLife and are making plans to meet with them and to go to the group meetings and other events.

It sparked some great discussion on the car ride afterward, which Maximus wanted to continue when we got home. Maximus actually asked that we have Happy Half at 10 PM to go over His thoughts. Maximus shared that with that night’s meeting He realized that He has not been as vigilant and Dominant as He should be and that i have really been asking for. He said that He could see that many of the issues we have had over the past years and recently have been due to His lack of clear direction and communication. It surprised Him because it is not like He is in business, which i have brought up on several occasions, in that He is very clear and decisive with work. And, that because He has relied on (instructed) me to do the primary research into D/s and BDSM, it really has done us a disservice–and i really have to agree with Him here. He recognizes that He really needs to do the Dominant work and that it has been unfair to expect me to fill Him in on the details.

To correct this, i have uploaded all the books i have downloaded and read onto His Kindle. He will read a book a month and we will discuss what He’s read during my training days and/or Happy Halfs. He will be enforcing our rules, which He has been remiss at doing. And He will be attending the Dominants group and working on developing a mentoring relationship with one of the other Doms at this group.

i am actually thrilled about this. It’s been uncomfortable for me to be the lead in the D/s research and development and i have felt it flipped our roles at times. And i have found myself feeling embarrassed some times when we are with other people and there is a mismatch between our (Maximus and me) knowledge levels. i really want the discipline from Him and sometimes i think i act out just to push–i’d rather not do that. So it was a wonderful experience and something we really needed.

Categories: 24/7, BDSM, D/s, discipline, Dom/sub, munch, relationship needs | Tags: | Leave a comment

Not Poly

couple-holding-hands

i have a confession to make…Maximus and i went to Desire 2016 with the understanding that it was our last trip to Desire with the Life of the Swingset group. Yes, you read that right. But…we left Desire 2016 already booked for the 2017 trip with the Swingset.

So what was the deal? We are swingers, we are non-monogamous, we are kinky, but we are not polyamorous and at Desire 2015, we felt like the odd couple out. It seemed like there was such a big focus on polyamory that we started to feel like we were with the wrong crowd. And it wasn’t just a bunch of people we didn’t know or hang out with, we had friends, close friends actually, that started exploring poly after the 2015 trip.

And it squigged us out.

But we’d already booked the 2016 trip and we really like our friends, especially our poly-exploring friends!

Maximus and i talked about this dilemma quite a bit. What was our issue with poly? Was there an issue with poly?

First, we both view poly through a frame of infidelity. Both Maximus and i were unfaithful in previous relationships and Maximus had a previous spouse cheat and leave Him for this other person. We both understand the concept of poly, that it’s not cheating. And we both understand the comparison of polyamory to parental love, in that you can love more than one child, thus you can love more than one adult. In Maximus’ case, He and JB met another couple through a swinging website and all was great with the four of them as swinging friends. However, JB and the other husband fell in love and worked very hard to convince Maximus and the other wife (Ms. W) that it would be super fun if Maximus and Ms. W fell in love too–they could have a four-way relationship. But it was never called poly, never really was poly in that Maximus didn’t have feelings for Ms. W and it was just a ruse to distract Maximus and Ms. W from what was really going on. In my case, i cheated because i was lonely. My first husband, PiperC was professionally jealous and just plain stopped loving me because of it. i cheated to feel connected with people and to have sexual fun, but they were never poly relationships.

Second, we just see a lot of drama with poly relationships. When Maximus and i started seeing each other, we were fuck-buddies/travel-buddies. We lived three hours apart and had an understanding that we saw other people. We really weren’t dating, just friends with like interests (sex) and available to be a plus-one for anything, including travel. Ms. W was still in the picture as they were friends and Maximus carried a lot of (unsubstantiated, self-inflicted) guilt for her divorce, and was just one of many women He was FWB/FBs with. However, after a while, Ms. W became very possessive of Maximus once He and i took our relationship to the next level, and portrayed her relationship with Him as something it wasn’t when speaking to me or anyone else. Maximus was completely unaware this was happening and it caused a great deal of angst for us (as seen in posts in the beginning of our D/s relationship). So again, it wasn’t poly, but there was a component of three people and a lot of drama.

Unfortunately, we hear about/see the drama our new poly friends go through. And it’s heartbreaking for us. i am very empathetic, so seeing friends going through difficulties is hard for me. We’ve even had friends with situations similar to what Maximus went through with JB, in that two couples met, one husband and one wife liked each other and wanted the other husband and wife to like each other and all go poly in that configuration–but the other spouses weren’t into each other. It’s hard for Maximus to see that happen as it triggers some bad feelings. So we worry about our poly friends.

It’s not like we haven’t explored what polyamory is about. When i divorced OneGuy, i decided to figure myself out and explored all types of sexuality and relationships. Being that i had gotten into swinging with him, i wasn’t sure whether swinging was a me-thing or a we-thing. i had friends who were exploring tantra and i got involved in that, which got me exploring LoveTribe, and all different types of relationship avenues. i talked with, slept with, dated all kinds of people in different relationships, including polyamory, asked a lot of questions, and determined poly just wasn’t for me. Maximus and i even discussed poly when we first got together, having both just read The Ethical Slut and other books, but it just wasn’t our thing.

What brought this posting up was going through our D/s contract last week. Our contract outlines that we are primary relationships with one another, that we cannot be contracted as a Dominant/Domme or submissive to anyone else, although we can be in scenes with others in Dominant/submissive roles. Maximus stopped us at this point and wanted to discuss polyamory, wanting to make sure we were still on the same page about the topic as before. We talked about poly, about what it was, our feelings, and i just simply replied, “You fulfill all my needs–i just don’t need anyone else.”

And that’s where we are. We fulfill each others needs and we just don’t have any desires that aren’t met by the other. Furthermore, we endeavor to meet each others desires, whether it is something we can do ourselves or require assistance from others in doing. That is our joy.

So what changed with Desire 2016? We let poly be other people’s kink and didn’t let it bother us. We didn’t let ourselves worry about our friends in poly relationships–it’s there thing and it makes them happy, or not at times, but it’s their thing to deal with. We are here for them if they need a shoulder, but they understand we are here for support and not at all for direction. And we didn’t let it bother us that we were not poly amongst lots of poly people.

i did have a wonderful afternoon with a very special woman friend who is fairly new into a poly relationship situation with her spouse and another couple. She and i have always connected, both being s-types, and i feel very close with her. The following evening she pulled me aside to talk and she shared how special our afternoon together was and how connected she felt with me. It was such a wonderful moment, one i will always cherish. i wasn’t sure, however, what it all meant, being that she had started into polyamory. Maximus and i spoke about it and i decided i would just simply go talk with her about it. It was a great conversation and one we needed to have anyway, as Maximus and i needed to know how to navigate our relationship with her and her husband now that they were poly with another couple. She and i are connected but not in a polyamorous way–more of a soul sister, connected, loving way. It was great to have the clarity and not get squigged out by ambiguity.

Because we changed our perspective of the dynamics of this group we love, we will be back at Desire with the Life on the Swingset for years to come. i love this group!

YKINMKBYKIOK – Your Kink Is Not My Kink But Your Kink Is Ok

Categories: 24/7, Ethical Slut, polyamory, relationship, relationship needs | 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

Aftercare…not just for BDSM

spooning2

It’s been a hard couple of days.

i returned home after posting the last blog and promptly raged again. i feel full of poison. i understand how Maximus felt with my big rages two months ago where He felt poisoned and needed time for the toxin to clear His body. i don’t know what the half life of this toxin is, just as He didn’t know what the half life of that toxin was. i wish it wasn’t in my bloodstream, but it is.

We met with Fern yesterday afternoon. i’d texted her after the rage Sunday and made an appointment for us. i’m so very glad i did; so very glad Maximus agreed to go despite His busy schedule (He did begin to protest when i told Him to pick a time that worked best for Him, but He stopped Himself). She guided us through the Imago process. It was horribly hard. i felt so sick, so hurt. But it helped.

monkeyThe thing i really needed to start my healing process was for Maximus to hold me, i mean REALLY hold me. i’d asked Him for it several times, crawled into Him several times, but i just didn’t feel genuinely held. To me, it felt like i was being held by one of those wind-up toy monkeys, the ones with the cymbals where their arms mechanically crash the cymbals together–no feeling, just process. i talked about my need to be held during the session with Fern and i could see that Maximus still wasn’t understanding. i described the monkey and then said, “What i really need is Aftercare. Healing, restorative holding” And i saw His face instantly change, His body completely change. He got it…this He could understand.

“This would have prevented the rage this morning,” He replied. “I didn’t get that, but I get it now. It totally makes sense to me.”

We discussed the cyclical problem that my not being held in aftercare from this emotional beating had been. i was devastated, raged, needed healing, but He was afraid of this raging woman and pulled back, which made me need aftercare even more intensely and not receiving it, made me rage again. And so on.

He promised to take time for aftercare when we got home. And He did. And it helped.

We have healing to do. This was a big hit for me, one i didn’t see coming and it blindsided me. We will both be seeing Fern separately and together to work on this. i dropped Him off at the airport this morning so He could head to California for a backpacking trip through Yosemite with His brother. It’s going to be a good break for us both, an important break with time for us to think about our relationship and how to proceed. “I’m so sorry I’ve put you through this,” He said as we said our goodbyes at the airport. “We’ll get through it,” i replied. “Yes, we will. I love you,” said Maximus as we embraced.

Categories: aftercare, anger, communication, conflict, counseling, relationship needs | 1 Comment

Our Book Club

Up Reading

OMG, so first of all, i ADORE the movie Up, from which this pic was taken. i love how Carl and Ellie loved each other and took care of each other. And i know it is a cartoon, but i always connected with the love and friendship and devotion they had for each other. So when i discovered this image when looking for something to use in this blog, i nearly teared up!

Maximus had a busy travel week, actually He’s had several busy travel weeks, with some extremely important corporate meetings. Generally, when He travels, He works on the plane, but He mentioned to me before He left that He was going to use this trip to read The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman that i had blogged about in Translation!! Shhh, don’t tell anyone, but we share the same Kindle account so we can share books with each other! i hadn’t asked Him to do that and i really appreciated that He wanted to use His time on something for us.

When He landed after the first flight, He texted, “Wow. Read most of the book. It nailed us. Amazing. Thanks so much for sharing this. Have lots to talk about regarding the book. Lots of questions.” i was very excited about this! He nearly finished the rest of the book during his second flight and made a point to stay up very late, given the time zone differences between us, so we could discuss it. He had highlighted passages all throughout the book and i was able to follow along as He went through it section by section as His highlights showed up on my Kindle too!

Here are some of the passages Maximus connected with and some of our discussion about them:

We cannot erase the past, but we can accept it as history. We can choose to live today free from the failures of yesterday. Forgiveness is not a feeling; it is a commitment…I am amazed by how many individuals mess up every new day with yesterday.

We discussed letting bygones be bygones, both in experiences with previous relationships and in past resolved issues we have had with each other.

By “quality time,” I mean giving someone your undivided attention…When I sit with my wife and give her twenty minutes of my undivided attention and she does the same for me, we are giving each other twenty minutes of life. We will never have those twenty minutes again; we are giving our lives to each other. It is a powerful emotional communicator of love. It isn’t enough to just be in the same room with someone… A key ingredient in giving your spouse quality time is giving them focused attention…

Maximus made a commitment to better about not multi-tasking while we are talking, whether it be in person, over the phone, or via Skype. He does feel He does a good job at juggling other tasks while talking, but i feel He is distracted or that feels our discussion isn’t important enough to give His undivided attention to.

i also shared that when we are traveling, while we are sitting in an airplane at the gate or on the tarmac waiting to depart, i would prefer that He not play games or surf Twitter, etc., rather use the time to sit and talk. i’d not mentioned this to Him previously, but it has been something that’s bothered me when we’ve traveled together. i figured it was just habit from His frequent flying for work, and He concurred–it hadn’t even crossed His mind.

Recent research has indicated that the average individual listens for only seventeen seconds before interrupting.

We chuckled about this one. Maximus is learning to count seconds! And i’m paying more attention to not interrupting as well.

The “Babbling Brook.” For this personality, whatever enters into the eye gate or the ear gate comes out the mouth gate and there are seldom sixty seconds between the two. Whatever they see, whatever they hear, they tell.

Maximus is the poster child for the “Babbling Brook.” This is an area where we have had communication problems, in that He thinks aloud while talking in a conversation and i have gone along thinking a decision was made or a thought process completed and acted or responded accordingly, only to find that those were just thoughts and ideas, not the final product! i take things in and process them and then communicate final decisions or crafted responses–it is why i love writing so much, as i can dump ideas and then edit and move them around and fine tune them into a final product. Maximus is learning not to verbally dump, rather be more articulate, and i am learning to ask whether or not something is a thought in process or a final decision.

…establish a daily sharing time in which each of you will talk about three things that happened to you that day and how you feel about them.

i have learned that Maximus really, really values hearing about my day and sharing all the things that he did during His. i have misunderstood the meaning of Maximus’ daily recounting–i took it as reasons He was too busy to talk. And many times, in addition, Maximus has been such a Babbling Brook about His day that by the time He’s gotten around to ask about mine, i’m just so overwhelmed by all His words that i minimize my response to a few sentences. We are both working to improve in this area.

Quality activities may include anything in which one or both of you have an interest. The emphasis is not on what you are doing but on why you are doing it. The purpose is to experience something together, to walk away from it feeling, “He cares about me. He was willing to do something with me that I enjoy, and he did it with a positive attitude.” That is love, and for some people it is love’s loudest voice…The essential ingredients in a quality activity are: (1) at least one of you wants to do it,(2) the other is willing to do it, and (3) both of you know why you are doing it–to express love by being together. One of the by-products of quality activities is that they provide a memory from which to draw in the years ahead.

We both feel that this is an area where we perform very well. We will use this as a springboard to improve other areas that need work.

A gift is something you can hold in your hand and say, “Look, he was thinking of me,” or “She remembered me.” You must be thinking of someone to give him a gift. The gift itself is a symbol of that thought. It doesn’t matter whether it costs money. What is important is that you thought of him. And it is not the thought implanted only in the mind that counts but the thought expressed in actually securing the gift and giving it as the expression of love.

…symbols have emotional value...If receiving gifts is my primary love language, I will place great value on the [wedding] ring you have given me and I will wear it with great pride. I will also be greatly moved emotionally by other gifts that you give through the years. I will see them as expressions of love. Without gifts as visual symbols, I may question your love.

Gifts come in all sizes, colors, and shapes. Some are expensive, and others are free. To the individual whose primary love language is receiving gifts. the cost of the gift will matter little, unless it is greatly out of line with what you can afford. If a millionaire gives only one-dollar gifts regular, the spouse may question whether that is an expression of love. but when family finances are limited, a one-dollar gift may speak a million dollars’ worth of love…For the man who can afford it, you can purchase a beautiful card for less than five dollars. For the man who cannot, you can make one for free…If receiving gifts is his/her primary love language, almost anything you give will be received as an expression of love…You are investing in your relationship and filling your spouse’s emotional love tank, and with a full love tank, he or she will likely reciprocate emotional love to you in a language you will understand.

We had a lot of discussion about gifts, as it is my primary love language, and an area we have been miscommunicating in. i truly connect with the feeling that a gift shows that someone what thinking about you. This has been a topic of several discussions, disagreements, and dialogues, in that i just felt forgotten by Maximus. Most times, the gift i most wanted was a text that He was thinking about me, as simple as that. Other times, Maximus has mentioned He was going out to look for a gift for me, but then no gift ever appeared and it left me wondering what i had done to not deserve the gift He said He was shopping for. Or moreover, He would send me pictures of gifts that i never received. It was very confusing to me and i have felt hurt many times over it.

i did not understand my feelings about desiring gifts until i read this book. Because of this, i was embarrassed by wanting symbols or tokens of affection, thinking it would make me appear materialistic, which i absolutely am not. So, to temper this, i have told Maximus not to buy me expensive gifts, that i didn’t want them. But then i resented that i did not get anything! It’s not that i need expensive gifts, i just feel special and thought of when i receive a token of affection. It makes me feel special, and it’s ok to acknowledge that. Maximus has wanted nothing more than to give me gifts, but i have communicated to Him not to. He is excited to be able to follow His instinct now.

As my love language is gifts, i have been communicating my love Maximus by giving gifts to Him–but that is His least desired love language! So the ring i gave Him, meant the world to me, a symbol of my love for Him to wear, but did not have the same impact on Him. He now understands why i found it so devastating when He’d removed the ring after my last rage event–i was crushed by the symbolism that told me He no longer loved me, which was not the case at all. To Him, it was a ring. To me, it was my heart.

Physical presence in a time of crisis is the most powerful gift you can give if your souse’s primary love language is receiving gifts. Your body becomes the symbol of your love. Remove the symbol and the sense of love evaporates.

Huge revelation here for Maximus! One of my rage events stemmed around Maximus’ decision to come be with me after my grandmother passed away. He never thought for a minute about not going, but His Babbling Brook communication led me to believe that He was questioning going and was too busy to take the time to be there for me. This was a big eye-opener for Him.

Acts of service…doing things you know your spouse would like you to do. You seek to please her by serving her, to express your love for her by doing things for her.

This is Maximus’ primary love language. Now, i have been communicating to Maximus in what i thought were gifts: making meals, sewing a quilt, redecorating His home, painting, but it turns out, those really aren’t gifts, those are acts of service. To me, it was a gift of my time, energy, and expertise–to Him, they were actions that showed true love.

What is very interesting is that my submission in our D/s relationship is an act of service! Maximus feel immense love from this. What’s even more interesting is that i have felt it was my gift to Him–it’s even reflected in the name of my blog!

We really had a great conversation about this book. In fact, it met both of our primary love languages…a gift of His time to go through the book and share passages of meaning, quality “us” time, and an act of service from me to find something that would be so helpful for Him in our relationship. We have talked a lot about the information in this book and have employed a lot of the techniques and suggestions in it. And i got flowers delivered–the first time EVER any man has sent me flowers! It was heavenly and i’m still walking on air about them! Talk about a full love tank!

Categories: BDSM relationship, communication, relationship, relationship needs, The 5 Love Languages, Uncategorized | Leave a 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

What i’m Reading

reading

i love to read! i bought a Kindle with airline mile points about a year ago and love the convenience of getting books without having to drive to a bookstore or library. i can get a book at 3AM if i want! And it will suggest other books you might like, books i otherwise might not have known about. It’s not uncommon for me to read several books a day on my Kindle, or Kindle app on my iPhone or laptop.

What i’ve been reading:

Sex, Stories and Power Exchange by Dan and dawn Williams

sex stories and power exchangei started reading this on the plane ride back from our trip to Las Vegas. Maximus and i really, really enjoy Dan and dawn’s podcast, Erotic Awakening, and found their other book, Living M/s, to be very insightful and a great guide for us. This book is not so much a guide on total power exchange relationships as a collection of scenes. Dan and dawn include their discussion points at the end of each chapter, as they do in Living M/s, so there are caveats and lessons learned, etc from them in regards to scenes and M/s relationships.

Before i had the raging episode, i loaded this book on Maximus’ iPhone and He started reading it as well. i was, and still am, interested in discussing the scenes in the book and find out what interests both of us. i think it will be enlightening!

Women: The Ownership Manual by Logan Alexander

womenThis book was very interesting as it is a guide for men looking to establish D/s relationships. For me, it helped reaffirm the reasons i flourish in a TPE (Total Power Exchange) relationship: being protected in all circumstances and all times, being guided, a feeling of completeness allowing me to do anything for the right man, being uniquely desired, etc. The fascinating thing for me was that while reading it, i realized the points the author was making for male readers to understand and implement in fostering this type of relationship were all things that came, or seemed to come, naturally to Maximus.

Each chapter has case studies of D/s relationships and how they employed the concepts presented in that section. What i appreciated was the range of application presented, from subtle to extreme, recognizing that each relationship seeks its own level and aren’t cookie-cutter images.

Leading and Supportive Love: The Truth About Dominant and Submissive Relationships by Chris M. Lyon

leading and supportiveWhat i enjoyed about Lyon’s book was that it focused on the psychology of D/s relationships, not as a relationship as a whole, but on the level of personal dynamics of the Dominant (leading partner) and the submissive (supportive partner) and how they interact and are naturally attracted to each other. i really loved how the author addressed equality and control in the relationship, recognizing that both partners have equality and control in the relationship, something that many people do not understand when looking at D/s, M/s, or TPE relationships from the outside. And i appreciated how he found that many submissive (supportive) partners are leaders, major decision-makers in their professional lives and are so relieved to come home to a partner who can make decisions in their home and personal lives, melting into that and truly relaxing.

i found the information on the attributes of each partner, on what they need from the other person, to be extremely enlightening. And it helped confirm how my previous relationships were just not a good match for me. It was amazing to read this and then go over the conversations i’d had with Maximus about this topic and see how much of it matched up. And it was the same for the things He had shared with me.

These books were all different from one another, each dealing with a different aspect of BDSM, D/s, and kink. While there were parts that i didn’t need in all of them, there were parts that were very helpful and enlightening. i think it is important to be educated and informed, be open to all opinions and potential aspects to this type of lifestyle in order to both formulate and support your personal relationship. For some, this can be a great way to affirm they are ok, not deviant. For others, it can be a way to help decide what direction they want to take their relationship. Each book provided a kernel of knowledge that was reaffirming, thought-provoking, and helpful, and a great conduit to initiate important conversations with my partner.

Categories: BDSM relationship, D/s, Dan and dawn, Erotic Awakening, M/s, relationship, relationship needs, Total Power Exchange | 1 Comment

Blog at WordPress.com.

nijntje & The Bear

Dragons, Warriors and rabbits - The complex simplicity of my freedom under His domination.

Diary of seven

Diary of sub trying to survive in a modern dating world

Imani Sims

Curator & Person of Letters

Babygirl's Story Time

Memoirs of a DDLG Couple

submissy

Married submissive: The love, the kink and the connection.

20ishfeministblog.wordpress.com/

A website for the modern feminist

Active Submission

Because it shouldn't be passive.

CinnamonAndSparkles

If I had a power color, it would be sparkle. Landon Brinkley

The Bee hive

The World of Princess Bee

Domestic Discipline, Jenny style!

Unconventional journey to unimaginable fulfillment.

InnThrall: Seattle’s Kinky B&B

Private, Sex-Positive, Romantic Getaway

Lifestyle Wives

DIMINISHING THE STIGMA OF NON-MONOGAMY: WEBSITE FOR SWINGERS

The Beautiful Kind

A submissive's journal

Thrill of the Chaste

Personal experiences in the world of Male Chastity

On The Wet Coast

A submissive's journal

A Sexual Being

Where the lines of fantasy and reality blur…

TMI Tuesday blog

A confessional where people come to reveal too much information--sexy secrets, dirty deeds, and more.