May 042012

Me: “Don’t ask me for ______ again. I hate it when you ask.”

In the two weeks that followed, J asked for ______ three times. The other night, he asked again.

J: “If you don’t mind, can I have some ______?”

Me: “Do you remember I told you not to ask for ______ again?”

J: “Yes, but I thought you meant something else.”

Me: What part of ‘Don’t ask me for ______ again’ didn’t you understand? What did you think I meant?”

J: “I thought it meant that I shouldn’t ask for ______ in a particular context. Clearly, I misunderstood.”

Me: “Then help me, boy, help me understand what I should have said to communicate what I wanted in a way that was clear to you?”

J: “It was clear. It won’t happen again.”

Me: “Obviously, it wasn’t clear. And you haven’t answered my question.”

J: “You were clear. I should have understood. It won’t happen again.”

  18 Responses to “(un)clear communication”

  1. What does the first person with the correct answer to what blank is get? Steak Knives? Sham Wow? Silver Polisher?

  2. @submichael: "Sham Wow?" *laugh*

    I can see why he'd ask for a ShamWow. They really are absorbent. :)

  3. I just read this to Iris, as THIS IS SO US.

    I feel slightly better knowing it's not just us.

  4. Next time he does it, tell him playtime's over and get dressed. If he realizes that bad behavior not only means not getting that specific thing, but not getting ANYTHING AT ALL, he'll probably wise up pretty quick.

  5. @Lily: "Next time he does it, tell him playtime's over and get dressed."

    That's what I would do if I saw him more often, but I don't. I'm lucky if we get to spend one night a week together. Sometimes, it's two weeks or more.

    If I call off playtime, then I don't get any play and I might not have another opportunity for a week or more. Most of the time, we don't have the luxury of a do-over the next night because there is no next night.

    So, I'm not willing to punish myself in order to punish him. I've let a lot of things go because of my unwillingness to do what I probably should do, and would do, if it didn't suck so fucking bad to do it.

    Herein lies one of the problems of being in a driving distance relationship… one of many problems.

    But, meh. :)

  6. @deviantlyromantic: Nope, not just you. Hope things are going well for you and Iris this weekend. From what I saw on your Twitter feed, things are going well enough. :)

  7. You don't have to STAY dressed ;-)

  8. Also, throw a ShamWow at him.

  9. Not staying dressed would defeat the purpose of getting dressed as "punishment," no?

    ShamWow to the face? Perhaps… I shall think on this. If we're going for "as seen on TV" products, I'm going to go for the ChiaPet. It's got a little more heft to it.

    And it's really kind of irrelevant, since all things lead to play, but the "______" in question was unrelated to play/sex. But honestly, stuff like that has happened enough in both the realms of play and not-play that it doesn't matter all that much. Sometimes the boy is nekkid, sometimes he is clothed… but the problem is the same.


  10. Chilli peppers. The tiny dried ones sold as Asian groceries.
    Give him enough that it hurts (you'd be able to tell with faces going red, sweats, lips swelling, even tears) whenever he says things like that. How much it hurts scales with how pissed you are with him.

  11. @Anon: "Chilli peppers."

    Not a bad idea. I read some article on parents hot saucing their children as punishment. While I know nothing about children, I had thought that sort of thing might be a good idea for a sub-boy.

    I'd prefer my punishments to be useful (as in doing something productive), but with the distance between us and limited contact, this sort of thing might be a good alternative. Thanks for the tip!

  12. It might be helpful to approach this from a different direction.

    It is clear that he understood. What has happened, I believe, is that You asked for a reason and he said the first thing that came to mind. Once that was out, he had to stick with it or look like he was lying. So he stuck with it, even though it made him look stupid.

    If it were me, I think it would be one of two things that had happened. One, I had forgotten that I was not supposed to ask – which then leads to the question of what needs to happen for him to remember (writing it a thousand times?). Two, he really really really wanted ______ and was hoping if he badgered You that he would get it. This leads to questioning him about what it means to be submissive and if it is a game that is hot during sexy times or if it is a way of living that has no escape.

  13. @Tomio: "It is clear that he understood. [. . .] Once that was out, he had to stick with it or look like he was lying."

    More than look like he was lying, I think he did lie. My gut feeling is that he either didn't take my request seriously or chose to ignore me. Either way, I'm sure he lied in saying he didn't understand.

    He didn't misunderstand and he didn't forget. I think what you wrote is probably true: "he really really really wanted ______ and was hoping if he badgered You that he would get it."

    If he had just come out and said that he really wanted it and was hoping to get it (instead of lying), I could deal with that. However, because he lied and said he misunderstood, there's no way for me to correct these "misunderstandings" in the future. Any "correction" would be based on a lie about what went wrong.

    If he was telling the truth, then I believe it would be my responsibility to be clearer. But because he lied, it doesn't matter if I find a way to be clearer or not because that wasn't the problem in the first place.

    Do you have any ideas on what I should do in this situation? I'm sure he lied, but I'm not sure how to handle it.

  14. If You go at it head-on; then he is likely to dig in. No one likes to be caught in a lie, and it's hard to admit – especially to someone who is important – that we have lied.

    I'd start with having a conversation on _____ (I'm going to use "cheeseburger" because it's easier for me if I use an actual word). I'd start with, "Do you know why I hate to be asked about cheeseburgers?" If he can answer; then let him. If he can't; then talk about it until he does. Once he understands; then You can finish that part of the discussion by saying, "So do you understand now why I do not ever want you to ask me about cheeseburgers?"

    Then move on to, "So why do cheeseburgers mean so much to you?" Yes, they are yummy and they are filling, but if it was just food; then he could simply stick something else on the menu and be fine with it. The fact that he keeps asking for it, and that he's willing to lie to be able to keep asking for it still, means that it is important. It is more than just a cheeseburger.

    Once he understands You and You understand him; then You can go on to say, "So now I understand why you disobeyed me and asked for cheeseburgers. But, even though these cheeseburgers mean so much to you, it was disobedient to ask for them. Instead of badgering me, you should have asked to discuss it. That isn't the kind of relationship we have, is it?"

    When he can admit that; then You can move on to: "Our relationship means a lot to you, doesn't it? It means so much that when I yanked your leash, you pretended that you weren't being disobedient, didn't you?"

    Then, of course, there is the discussion about the lying.

    Just as a way of tying it up (pun intended), I'd say that there needs to be clear consequences for both transgressions – and that they should not overlap. For instance, don't say, "You sleep on the couch for one night for lying and another for asking for cheeseburgers." Maybe sleep on the couch for lying and scrub the toilet for asking for cheeseburgers. I don't know what punishments to offer, those are highly individualized. For me, the greatest punishment is to be deprived of Her contact. After that, it's being made to look into Her eyes and see the pain that I've caused.

    I'm sorry if this ran a bit too long. It's hard to be pithy sometimes.

  15. @Tomio: Thank you, sincerely. I appreciate the advice you've given me.

    It sounds to me like you're advising that I should give him some space to explain himself out of the hole he's dug. Perhaps, that I should suggest to him I already understand his position–that I understand this means enough to him that he would lie to get out of an uncomfortable situation: "when I yanked your leash, you pretended that you weren't being disobedient".

    I'm fairly sure I already know what cheeseburgers mean to him, but I think you're right that when I called him on it, I gave him no room to figure out an appropriate and truthful response. I've been cornered before, so I understand what that feels like, the motivation to lie, and I do want to give him the time and space he needs to tell me the truth (this time, over this minor an issue, at least).

    As for the punishments, I may have to think on that. The whole driving-distance relationship thing means I can't punish him (with things like sleeping on the couch or scrubbing the toilet) without punishing myself. I have (finally!) demanded a list of appropriate punishments for minor infractions. My hope is that we can talk about the issue (as you suggested), and then, I'll determine whether or non any of the punishments he's come up with fit the situation (and don't punish me too).

    Again, Tomio, thank you for your advice and for your friendship. :)

  16. My pleasure – and I understand the driving distance issues, too. Three hours never seemed like so far to drive before…

  17. My advice is a nicely powered stun gun or a shock collar…. “You said what _____?” Bzzzzzzt

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