Mar 062012

I am far from perfect. At times, I’m indecisive, inarticulate, and I’m fairly manic in terms of my emotions (although I’m quite proud of the degree to which I manage them, or at least, the appearance of them).

But I also have a host of terrific qualities. Among other things, I am kind, patient, understanding, and forgiving–too much, perhaps, and to such a degree I understand that I might be a “bad” Domme, or perhaps, it means I’m not a Domme at all. While I don’t want to be a “bad” anything, in my more settled moments, I’m at peace with the fact I might not be what I thought I was, or perhaps, with my not being the textbook definition of “dominant” (as if there is one).

But I am human.

Like most humans–dominant, submissive, partnered, single, or otherwise–I have certain expectations of people I allow in my life. I have “rules,” or expectations, for all of the people I consider friends, and moreso for that person who I might consider as a potential partner. One of the rules is this:

“Do what you say you will do, even if it seems minor. If you offer or agree to do something, I expect you to follow through.”

I’ve forgiven, dismissed, and blown off a few of J’s mistakes, in large part because 1) I understand that life gets in the way of D/s, particularly in a driving distance relationship, and 2) because I love J more than I love the idea of having a submissive. I loved him first, and submission is just part of the package. J’s submission is part of who he is, not the other way around.

But for fuck’s sake, don’t say you’re going to do something and then fail to follow through.

It’s only little things, small kindnesses, promised notes or responses. They’re little things that really shouldn’t matter at all. But because we’re in a driving distance relationship, all we have are little things, and so those little things really are big things… because they’re the only things. (At least, they’re the only things outside of play and sex.)

“I would like to respond to this when I’m not on work overload”
–You didn’t.

 “More to follow after this bullshit project! :)”
–Nothing followed.

“Will drop a better note later.”
–That note never came.

I know, I know. A “good” Domme would demand what she was offered, what she was told to expect. But maybe I’m just not that type. I don’t want the sort of sub — or the sort of man — who needs to be asked for what I’ve been told to expect.

I refuse to remind you to give me what you offered. It feels too much like begging and I will not beg.

I refuse to be angry or annoyed at this sort of thing–I won’t stamp my feet and act like a petulant child when I’m not given what I’ve been offered, what I expected. I have more important things to do.

I refuse to punish you for silliness because I’m not playing games.

(There’s a terrifically easy solution here: stop offering.)

  11 Responses to “follow through”

  1. You know, I think a lot of people make comments about things they're going to do thoughtlessly, the same way you might say "Good, thanks," when a cashier asks how your day is, even if earlier that day your dog died.

    I used to be aware of that and ignore it, but when I started getting into kinky relationships, it very quickly became VERY important to me that people did what they say they're going to do, even if it's small.

    But what did being kinky have to do with it? I'm not really sure, but I have two competing theories:

    1. Kinky sex deliberately pushes both parties to a place of greater vulnerability in the service of greater intensity. When you're vulnerable to other people, thoughtless behavior that you might have shrugged off before is now much harder to tolerate.
    2. Kinky sex requires a different level of truthfulness to work and be safe. I don't want someone bottoming to me to say they're okay with something when they're not, or conceal something from me that I should know. If I know that they routinely say things they don't mean, that's a pretty unsettling prospect if I'm holding a flogger over them when they're tied up. What if they don't safeword? What if they say, "I'm okay with it" when they're really not?

  2. Lily: As usual, your comments are insightful and helpful.

    I actually feel silly being hurt by such little things–cast off comments that I know I've heard (and made) in previous relationships. Being mildly hurt by them in this relationship has been puzzling, and both of your theories make a *ton* of sense.

    1. Vulnerability: I do know I've been more vulnerable in this relationship than in others. It's a new type of relationship entirely, one that I'm still trying to figure out my place in.

    2. Truthfulness: I've been guilty of not telling the truth (outright lying) on more occasions that I'd like to admit. Perhaps that's part of the reason I have trouble believing him. But since I'm in the "blame him" mode… I guess it feels as if since I can't believe him to do little things (and honestly, I've stopped expecting those sorts of things), why should I believe (or care about) anything else?

    And of course, I'm in mild "pity me" mode. I'm going to snap out of that asap. :)

    Thank you, Lily. You make sense where I cannot. :)

  3. Awwwww shucks.

    The thing I remember about the transition — from not really giving a crap whether people did things they said, provided it was a small thing — to REALLY giving a crap, about everything — is that I felt really hurt and upset in a way I can't remember feeling since I was a child. I felt like I'd lost or broken a favorite toy.

    It was a weird reaction, and I recognized that the emotional intensity of the reaction was way over the top. And that's why I wanted to figure it out.

    I think it's totally true that the vulnerability runs both ways in D/s: a top is often as vulnerable or more vulnerable than the bottom in a scene. What if we do all these terrible things you asked for, and you turn around and hate us for it afterward? I felt like I had this big blinking sign that said You Better Mean What You Say! in my head for a couple of months.

    I'm switchable, so I asked Bryce (who tops me) just to be a little more circumspect in his off the cuff remarks. As a top, I got much more circumspect about my own speech — I tried really hard not to talk about stuff that I wasn't really sure would come to pass, and if for some reason it didn't, I didn't just hope she'd forget it — I acknowledged it and said that I was sorry that I didn't make it happen. I think the acknowledgement is particularly important; how can she trust me to do really radical things to her if I not only make promises I don't keep, but don't even care enough to address how she feels about it? I mean, at some level, there's gotta be a little voice back there that says "Will she just say "Whatever" about my limits and then blow it off when she breaks them?"

  4. Wait a minute. I'm confused.

    "I'm indecisive, inarticulate, and I'm fairly manic in terms of my emotions…"

    I thought THOSE were your terrific qualities…

  5. I am *so* with you on this.

    And it's not about D/s (as you said, you expect this of 'people in your life').

    As a partner, and as a dominant, I *will* make a big issue out of those little things because they make me feel resentful, and it does boil down to "Do what you say you will".

    I actually hate it even more *when he offers* and doesn't do it, because, well, then he is just being completely thoughtless, but you kind of feel like you can't call him on it because then you are being petty. You aren't.

    It's not a big ask, but it requires him to be *mindful* of what he says.

    Let enough little things build up and he quickly becomes some guy who you can't trust to do what he says he will, as Lily said, this can then bleed into things that actually *are* significant.

    I completely agree with you about not chasing *those individual things* because that's not the point. But the "Do what you say you will" conversation (haha… I SO know you won't have one!) is worth having because he needs to know what your expectations are, and you *know* he isn't even aware that he is doing this and that it is an issue.


  6. They are qualities of being, but I'm not sure they're quality qualities. :)

  7. "is that I felt really hurt and upset in a way I can't remember feeling since I was a child. I felt like I'd lost or broken a favorite toy."

    I think that's what hurts me the most–my own reaction to it. I hate that someone can hurt my feelings with such little things. And I do feel like a child–I want to stamp my feet, throw a fit, and walk away. I have done something like that, only to realize it made me feel even more immature and out of control, and then pull it back.

    And you're 100% right about acknowledgement. Things aren't going to happen sometimes, and even if they can't be "fixed," I do think it's important to acknowledge the infraction, voice the hurt feelings, and notice the event rather than blow it off.

    My problem is finding a way to do that without devolving into a child throwing a tantrum.

  8. I did think of the the post you linked, and I have in the past. This is a sort of on-going, in the back of my mind issue that hasn't been fixed.

    You're both right, that these things can bleed into more significant issues–as they have (see my response to Lily about throwing tantrums). This post ("reconsider") was in the midst of a situation where he said a small thing, I called it quits, and realized within 24 hours that I had overreacted. We both apologized, but I still left the situation feeling like I had apologized more than he did, more than my share. Not as if it's a competition, but because I ended up taking drastic action and having to explain/apologize for that, I didn't end up feeling as if my emotions were recognized, even though he apologized.

    "the 'Do what you say you will' conversation (haha… I SO know you won't have one!) is worth having"

    Actually, we have had this conversation, a couple of times. But, perhaps it's time to have it again.

  9. "It's not a big ask, but it requires him to be *mindful* of what he says."

    I wonder if this is a common issue. My boy has the same issues that we've been dealing with. It is rather annoying when a ball gets dropped, that he promised to deal with and I'm the one stuck picking up the pieces.

  10. I actually think it *is* pretty common, yes, because we (general 'we') are not generally held accountable for the small things *especially* when we utter throwaway lines out into the void without thought.

    I don't think it's 'thoughtless' in the sense of 'inconsiderate', but in the sense of 'not mindful'. Like anything else, I think it takes practice and vigilance to remove that sort of thing from our exchanges because we (all of us at times) figure 'it really doesn't matter/they won't remember/it's not important' etc, and once you let *one* instance go, that 'meh, whatever' mindset is validated, so it continues.

    That's why I tend to make a big deal out of something so small, and I also find that if he goes 'why the hell are you making such a big deal out of this, it's nothing!', then we have a much bigger problem.


  11. "I know, I know. A "good" Domme would demand what she was offered, what she was told to expect."

    Says who? Honestly. There's no right way to do this except what is right for you. Be authentic. Anything else is a game.

    I have to admit that I have sometimes been guilty of doing such things as what you talk about – and I've been on the receiving end of them as well (not with Mistress Delila though – She is VERY careful about what She offers).

    It is hurtful because it is dismissive. If I am busy at work and I get a text, "Thinking of you…" and I send back, "I'm thinking of you, too…sorry I can't talk now, but I will be right back with you" and then DON'T get back to you…then the logical assumption is that I didn't MEAN that I'd get back to you, but that I was saying something that I knew would placate you – kind of like telling a child, "Maybe Santa will get you that toy…"

    I don't generally agree with Ayn Rand, but I do agree with her statement that a lie is the worst insult because it says, "I know you are too weak to deal with the truth, and also too stupid to know that reality exists independent of what I will tell you, so I will simply say something that is untrue, but makes you happy."

    What if the text came to me, "I'm thinking of you…" and I responded, "Sorry, I'm so busy that I can't think of anything else right now. But thank you for taking time to remind me of what we mean to each other. This is one reason why I love what we have. I'd love to talk about this with you later."?

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