It’s been impossible to write a blog post during or right after our big overseas trip, because during I didn’t have time or space to write anything, and afterwards, well, I had no effing clue where we were at, Xander and I. I wrote most of this post 6 weeks after returning and I finally came to an understanding of where we were at – which wasn’t where I thought we’d be. This post spans half a year of time and a huge shift in my heart, so be warned, it’s a long one. I made every effort to keep it engaging…
So, our big trip overseas spanned three months, starting in August. We wanted our (bilingual) kids to spend enough time surrounded by their “minority language” that it would click and become their go-to language at home. And that worked. Sadly, Xander had to go back to work, so we were (literally) half a world apart for nine weeks, with the kids and me on the other side of the earth. Overall, it went pretty well, considering, although it was hard, hard, hard. Over the last two years, I’d come to enjoy and depend on Xander’s lead and frequent spankings at home, but I coped surprisingly well with being on 24/7 for this time and having to call all the shots, and all without spanking – I had only two meltdowns worth mentioning in that whole time. Then again, I had to keep it together because of the kids, so I couldn’t really afford to melt down and wallow anyway. I had to dig deep into my reserves, because I couldn’t replenish them during that time and, on my return, have relapsed into adrenal fatigue. But I’ve dealt with adrenal fatigue before, and my recovery is going well this time around.
So, that much for background info. But you’ll be wanting to know what happened with Xander and me, and our dynamic. In summary: It changed.
I wondered how much of our dynamic I’d need to function well while away, and how we’d make that happen. Well, it didn’t start well. In the months running up to the trip, Xander had very little free time or headspace due to work pressures and ongoing tiredness. I supported him as best as I could, giving him space, but I also told him, more than once, how much of a problem his lack of emotional presence and engagement was for me. There was nothing either of us could do about it, so I just submitted as well as I could, and carried on, always hoping for that holiday time. He said, “We’ll have three weeks together, with no work to worry or house maintenance for me, that’ll be our time to reconnect! And we’ll have some family around who could surely look after the kids for a few hours for us to get away.” Three whole weeks! It’d be wonderful! But to cut a long and tedious story short: It didn’t happen, and it wasn’t wonderful. It was a catastrophe. In the first week, too much travelling and visiting, being in other people’s spaces all the time, weather so hot and muggy we could barely function to begin with, and one particularly toxic family visit made it impossible to have privacy or find energy for anything.
We had our first “real” conversation and connection (of more than five minutes) ten days into our trip, and that wasn’t fun either, because by that time I was so furious about having been sidelined for so long and not seeing any effort on Xander’s behalf to connect with me that I fairly ripped him a new one. Plus, he hadn’t held up his side of our agreement, there’d been no check-ins of any kind, and he barely even asked how I was doing. After that, we had one lovely morning away together when we went to pick up a rental car. The rest of the three weeks was packed too full with visiting. We were back on the same page in one respect, though: dejected about the lack of connection options. Hoofuckingray.
And then he went home, and I was trying to find some form of normal with the kids. For the first week, connecting with Xander didn’t even happen daily because he was travelling in other time zones and our schedules just did not match up. So I put on my big girl panties and coped. “He’ll be home soon, and once he’s back into his daily work routine we’ll find regular times to connect.” Well… he got home, he was jet-lagged, he was working, he was tired… in short, all things I understand, but I still got pretty angry at his lack of initiative to connect with and support me. It made me feel like that short chubby awkward girl with the cheap glasses who keeps hoping for a crumb of attention of the gorgeous, smart hunk two classes up. Looking back, it had been quite a while that there were only two ways I could get his attention: insisting on it in a thoroughly unsubmissive bossy way (I need this from you NOW) or being in a state of emergency, and I was getting damn tired of that pattern. He had no idea how to dom me from afar and didn’t try out any of the ways I’d written down for him either, so I did what I’ve been doing the past two years when he’s been overloaded with other things: I’d spell out what I needed from him, plan the way I’d like to do things, get his stamp of approval for that, and carried on as if this had been his idea, as if he’d actually follow up by himself, and pretend to be content in my little bubble of somewhat submissive space, fuelled by knowing that he loves me and wants me to be happy. It were mostly the memory of his dominant energy when it does come out which kept me going, and my stubborn determination that if I do this long enough, he’ll eventually come around to doing his part. My mantras were “Fake it till you make it”, “Submission fuels dominance”, “Work on what you can control”, “Be the submissive you want him to make you be”, and “Your role in his life is to be a joy, a blessing, a smile, more often than a pain in the ass. You are a reflection of his dominance with your words, your deeds, and your demeanor.” After all, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck, right? Or at least it might one day grow into one.
So, I made it through. We made it back. I yearned to settle back into being his little slave girl, only to find that the “Master” had really disappeared. In the two months he’d been alone in our home, missing us and being by himself, Xander had slipped back nearly all the way into his old “nice guy” ways, and would not exercise any dominance over me. He was even asking my permission to do things again. I know he asks out of consideration, and I appreciate the spirit behind it, that he loves and respects me. And I do want him to ask about my opinion or how I feel about him going on a motorbike ride on a weekend day, but I so ever do not want to be the one calling the shots for him. His spanking skills were still there, but I pretty much had to beg for him to make time for that or not get any. So, in short, I didn’t get spanked much, we didn’t have much sex or quality time or conversations. Having to jump up and down and do cartwheels to get his attention was seriously getting old.
Additionally, in the time apart, he’d gotten used to looking after himself instead of all of us, and I’d gotten used to deciding and getting things done without his input. I didn’t see him changing back, and he was signaling his unwillingness in many ways. For the first time, I found myself increasingly unwilling to submit to him. It was one thing to submit to someone who leads well, but I got the impression his judgment on what we needed had taken a serious hit.
A week before Christmas, I threw the towel. I simply could not continue as before. I was deeply unhappy with the how I’d been carrying the emotional bulk of our our D/s and marriage, and that he wasn’t showing any inclination to increase his engangement. He said he was happy with the way things were, that he thought they were fine for me, too, and that he didn’t have the energy to dominate me. I can’t begin to describe how hurt and how angry at myself and at him I was. I felt like an utter fool for making his life so dandy and comfortable and myself into his low-maintenance submissive and slave girl. Had I turned myself into the proverbial doormat?
Now, I have to back up a bit here and set something straight: This summary sounds like poor me is complaining about how selfish Xander has been doing it all wrong all along. But that’s definitely not the whole story, so while it was my experience, it’s not true as such. It wasn’t selfishness or disinterest that made him act this way. And I realised that what I did needed to change, too, because I had been contributing to the situation, and not a little: Over most of our D/s journey, I’ve practiced submission in areas I wanted him to want from me (and he sure liked it) and in things he said he wanted from me, all fueled by very little input from him and lots of input from myself. I learned to make do with spankings instead of the leadership and dominance I craved. I was (and am) practicing good self-care, to meet many of my own needs so he wouldn’t have to. But now he was telling me he didn’t even want to do that.
Fatigue – both his and mine – helped me realise that what I’ve been doing is not sustainable. And I was no longer willing to do this by myself. So, that day, I really felt like quitting, although I couldn’t and can’t imagine our marriage entirely without D/s now.
There are a few things I know deep in my bones. One: I do love him, and I want to make his life good, not miserable. Two: I know that in my closest personal relationship, I am and always have been submissive by nature, so I couldn’t not be submissive to him if I tried. It’s not in me. And three, this whole “submission brings out dominance” thing clearly wasn’t working for us, at least not the way we both had hoped. For a day or two, I thought “my brand of submission brings about complacency,” but now I know that isn’t so. (More on that later.) So, quitting entirely wasn’t going to happen.
But I knew I couldn’t go on in the same way. I’d have to find a sustainable way to be true to the submissive part of me, one that didn’t rely on him feeding his dominance back to me. So, I took off my collar, cried hard for a few minutes and then texted him: “You were right, this is probably more my thing than yours. And I’m the only one I can control. So I will stop giving you submission in areas you don’t want anyway and in areas I can’t give freely without hoping for your dominance in return. I am still your wife, and I still love you, and I’m still submissive by nature. And I agree it would be smart for us to start over on the D/s. No more little slave girl for now. I’m sorry I put so much pressure on you. Please forgive me.”
He got this wrong and told me not to flip flop between extremes, we’d talk later. And we did, briefly. I explained to him that I wasn’t flip-flopping. I wasn’t playing hard to get so he’d up his game. I’d simply stopped doing what I began to realise was not good for either of us. I’d grown resentful over giving in areas where he hadn’t asked me to give and keep giving. I realised that the behaviour I thought to be submissive had been fueled increasingly by how I wanted our relationship to go, not necessarily his wishes. And last but not least, I hadn’t been communicating honestly with him either. My man spanks really well, but the whole lecture or expressing his feelings or expectations in words are not his forte. (Yet.) So, while his spankings without the lecture do smart and release endorphins, they don’t do all that much to get me into a different headspace or heartspace, and because I wanted it so much and thought I needed it, I’d simply supplied my own dialogue in my head, never telling him I did. So of course he assumed that his spankings as they were were “doing it” for me, when the secret ingredient hadn’t been his implement on my butt so much as what was happening in my head – but not between us. I finally realised that wasn’t much different from fantasising about someone else while having sex, so I sheepishly told Xander what I had been doing and stopped doing it.
And he did not object to any of it. He said we’d figure it out, but as he was massively exhausted, we postponed proper talks about where we would go from here to the Christmas break. And until those talks started, I felt in limbo – I had no idea where we were at nor how much I could even do about it. I did not like that one bit, and not in a sexy way. And I had no idea if we’d ever get back what we had, if Xander even wanted any of it.
We did talk. And because that leads much more to where we are now, that goes in the next post.