or, “Why I’m Alone on Christmas”
I’ve always enjoyed hosting misfit holidays for friends and acquaintances. This area of the country is ‘home’ to transplants and transients — most of us are hundreds of miles away from our families and the friends we grew up with. I like the idea of forming our own (temporary) ‘families’ out of want for connection and community rather than obligation.
But after a trip to the doctor on the day before Christmas Eve, I returned home with a diagnosis (a ‘touch’ of pneumonia and a wicked case of laryngitis), a small collection of antibiotics and steroids, and the sad realization that I wouldn’t be able to host Misfit Christmas this year — I wasn’t feeling well enough to entertain, and I certainly didn’t want to risk passing on the plague to my friends and loved ones.
That evening, I wrote emails and texted friends (laryngitis means no productive phone calls) to cancel, but there was still the issue what to do with J.
With Misfit Christmas canceled, it would have been just the two of us. With the exception of it being our last Christmas together, my being sick, and the possibility of making him sick, holing up together watching old stand-up specials, documentaries, and whole seasons of Darkwing Duck sounded kind of nice.
But then it occurred to me that in the absence of good friends, good food, and a good cheer, having J spend the holiday with me wouldn’t be the best use of his time.
It wasn’t just our last Christmas together, but it was also J’s last Christmas on the east coast and his last chance to spend the holidays with his family. They’re easy to visit now; they’re only a couple of hours drive north of here. But after J leaves for the west coast, he’s not likely to fly across the country to come home for the holidays.
As he was packing some things to come here on Monday night, I texted him to get on chat (again, stupid laryngitis means I can’t have conversations over the phone). I told him what happened at the doctor’s, explained my thinking about his ‘last Christmas,’ and told him to drive to his mother’s house instead.
Of course, he protested a bit. He would have rather spent the time with me, but he did see the logic in going home for the holiday.
Regardless of how often he his family after he moves, they will be a part of his life forever. I won’t be. Sure, we’ll be friends, but neither one of us is deluded about the future — after he’s gone, we’ll talk less frequently, we’ll fall out of touch, and we won’t be close anymore. I’m absolutely sure that he’ll be there if I need him (and I for him), but eventually, we won’t be part of each other’s lives. In the long run, he won’t regret not spending a last holiday with me, but he might regret not spending a some extra time with his mother, his sisters, and his small army of nieces and nephews.
For those reasons, I sent J to be with his family for Christmas. It wasn’t necessarily what I wanted, nor a decision that was in my best interest, but it was one that was best for J.
Since then, I’ve been thinking about it and trying to analyze my motivations. In the end, I think it’s more altruism than martyrdom — I really do want what’s best for J, even when it isn’t what’s best for me.
Those situations — where partners’ wants or best interests conflict — happen in all relationships, whether kinky or vanilla. But in my experience, being in a D/s relationship puts a more complicated twist on it. It’s not one I anticipated, nor is it something I ever really wanted — it just happened.
As the dominant partner in my D/s relationship, I find that I feel more responsible for knowing what’s best for J and more responsible for acting in his best interests than I might if we were in a vanilla relationship.
If we were in a more traditional, egalitarian, vanilla arrangement, I’d be less motivated to put his best interest above my own. I might feel more room to be selfish when it comes to ‘important’ matters (life issues as opposed to what we want for dinner or what happens in the bedroom) because I wouldn’t feel responsible for acting in his best interest. If there was more room for discussion and more precedent for dissent, he might feel more freedom to disagree with me in ways that put my interests above his own. (does that make sense?)
It’s not that I want any back and forth — I don’t — precisely because I’m not so firmly decisive or singularly minded as to be immune to persuasion. I can be talked into things, especially if it’s something I already want.
But we’re not in a relationship where there’s room to talk me into things; it’s unequal in that way. Whether I like it or not, I’m responsible for deciding what’s in his best interest and acting accordingly. He’s not in a position to decide what’s best for me, for him, or for us, and he’s not encouraged to voice dissent. I make the decisions; he accepts them.
I say “Go see your family,” and he does. Simple as that.
And I’m glad. I’m happy he went to his mother’s (I think he is, too). But the whole thing is a bit ironic — if we weren’t in a D/s dynamic, if I weren’t the dominant partner and didn’t have the “power,” I might have been more selfish and had J spend Christmas with me. It wouldn’t have been the best thing for him, but it would have been more pleasant for me.
If we were in a vanilla relationship, I might not have been alone on Christmas.