I love the haunting finale of the end of the musical episode “Once More, with Feeling” of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Season 6, episode 7). In this episode a demon makes people break out in song and dance and reveal their innermost secrets (and sometimes spontaneously combust). After the Scooby Gang jointly defeat this demon, they sing: “The battle’s done / And we kinda won / So we sound our victory cheer / But where do we go from here?” The music isn’t nearly as upbeat as this sounds… minor and open chords and all. So, yeah, the baddie is defeated, but at a huge cost. No one can go on like before pretending they are “fine”. All cards are now on the table, and with these revelations, the characters need to find new ways of relating to each other.
That’s pretty much what my life felt like after our Christmas break.
For those who haven’t read the last (mammoth) post, here’s the summary: Just before Christmas 2017, I called a big fat stop to our D/s as we were doing it – or increasingly not doing it. Ten weeks of being half a world apart and single-mum-ing it had left me exhausted, and I simply couldn’t carry on as before. In my absence, Xander had reverted to his pre-D/s ways, and due to work and other reaons was also exhausted, and unable and unwilling to give me what I wanted. And with our D/s not being a power exchange but a power sinkhole, I quit. I quit going through submissive motions and I quit carrying 90% of our D/s life. I quit acting “as if” and supplying in my head what Xander didn’t do in terms of dominant talk or actions. And it took Xander several weeks before he could even tell me what he still wanted in terms of D/s. I did not like being in limbo. I didn’t know how to BE with Xander without his/our/my rules.
Eventually, we did talk and look at the broken bits of our D/s life and what we could put together again. It wasn’t much. Most of those conversations were difficult, painful and heart-wrenching for both of us, but they were worth the effort. We ended up agreeing on quite a few things:
D/s is a way we both want to relate to each other. It feels right when we do. And it’s become part of who we are, not just what we do.
D/s or not, our mutual love and commitment and our marriage stand firm.
Xander told me of his own accord that he wants back what we had (something I hadn’t really gotten out of him before), and that we would get back to it some day, even with my additional proviso that it’s got to be coming from him this time around.
We both came to the conclusion that I’d done everything I could to help Xander get comfortable with the Dominant we both know is inside him, and that it hadn’t worked. That there were other things blocking him… definitely fatigue, and probably depression or something like it. He agreed it might be a good idea for him to try something different, as his method of “stuffing down any negative emotions” instead of dealing with them clearly wasn’t working anymore. So he’s been regularly seeing a therapist for much of 2018, and it seems to be doing good things for him.
“The battle’s done / And we kinda won / So we sound our victory cheer. / Where do we go from here?” To be honest, I don’t think the battle is “done”. But we definitely “kinda won”: we are emotionally closer again, and our marriage stands strong even without relating to each other overtly in a D/s way. Days with spankings or sex are few and far between, but we are very gentle with each other and cut each other a lot of slack for not being able to do it all and be it all. We spend time with each other and go on very vanilla dinner or movie dates. We are renovating and building a sound-insulated den in our house where we will be able to spank without fear of being overheard. Xander changed jobs and is now not hating his work life every day. And recently, Xander put his foot down on my bedtime, which required a “Yes, Sir.” (And that’s a whole new blog post.)
I don’t think the trimmings of our D/s life – you know, the stuff with rules and spankings galore – are going to come back quickly. I’ve done therapy and I know first-hand how hard it can be and how much energy it takes to revisit and heal old trauma and shitty childhood conditioning. Right now, we both still struggle with low energy, lack of privacy/sound insulation, and two young kids who suck dry whatever energy Xander might have left at the end of the day, when he brings them to bed. But he won’t always be in therapy, and my adrenals will hopefully recover (it’s looking good now), and the kids will at some point learn to go to sleep by themselves. The den will be finished one day.
I am very grateful for and happy in the harmonious, peaceful, and loving D/s marriage we do have. Over the last two years, the underlying current of our marriage has irrevocably changed to this dynamic where he leads and I follow – and it doesn’t need to look like in the novels. (Does anything, ever, really?) It’s a marriage dynamic in which we support each other in the best way we can. Where I can now gratefully accept pizza nights and time out in a hot bath when he says so, and where I can ask him for a spanking, and he can say, “Sorry, not today,” and I can be at peace with it, knowing he heard me.
And that is a very, very good thing.
And something to build on. We’ll get “there”, wherever that will be. He said so. And when he says he’ll make something happen, he will, come hell or high water. I just have to be patient.