Dec 272013
 

or, “Why I’m Alone on Christmas”

misfit christmasI’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.

darkwing duckBut 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.

 


Post Script: I’m not all that into Christmas, but I would have liked to spend more time with J. I’ll take all the time I can get, whenever, wherever. With that said, I spent the day unplugged, and even spent a couple of hours at the beach. The humid, salty air and sunshine did me good — my voice is back (though I sound like Kathleen Turner or a 70 year old smoker) and I’m feeling a bit better now that the antibiotics and steroids are working their magic. J will return in a few days and we’ll spend New Years together — it’s a tradition. :)

 

  15 Responses to “putting my sub’s interests above my own”

  1. You should have had him for one more (and last) Christmas. His family will always be there for him. You won’t. I fear You will regret Your decision in time to come.

  2. A few thoughts:

    I really like the whole concept of misfit holidays. As a frequent visitor, as well as a sometimes resident of the Island of misfit toys, I can really appreciate the idea of having a place to gather, to enjoy a social connection at what could be a lonely time. As more people live outside the bounds the traditional family, I think that more of the “misfit holiday” type things will become more important.

    ”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”

    Interesting that you framed it that way. I don’t think it was done out of martyrdom at all. To me, martyrdom means habitually suffering through self inflicted victim-hood scenarios without trying to solve them. I think you were just trying to do what’s best for J. Since you are not much for Christmas anyway, it was a good move to have him spend his “last” one with his family while you still get to keep your more traditional New Years together.

    ”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.”

    I love the way you tied this in to your dominance. Speaking from a submissive point of view, I’d be hard pressed to trust someone who did NOT think that way. The relationships that we form with others are important and if I were ever to be in a D/s one, I would like to think that my dominant would be as caring and fair minded.

    ”… they will be a part of his life forever. I won’t be.”

    This makes me a little sad. Perhaps I am being a bit unrealistic here but I do hope that some of what you’ve built together stays with you a long time. You have made an indelible mark on each other and in irrespective of time and distance, I would like to think that a part of that will remain a part of you.

    • I agree with slapshot on basically all counts. I know it’s unrealistic, but I really hope you and J don’t drift completely apart.

      p.s. Great choice with Darkwing Duck.

      • p.s. Great choice with Darkwing Duck.

        I know, right? It’s awesome! I didn’t appreciate it nearly enough when I was a kid… but I’m loving the heck out of it now!

        Let’s… get…. dangerous…

    • As a frequent visitor, as well as a sometimes resident of the Island of misfit toys, I can really appreciate the idea of having a place to gather, to enjoy a social connection at what could be a lonely time.

      Misfit holidays are great. :) There’s none of the pressure of family, and there’s always new people who don’t know each other, so getting together and making new friends over good food and good wine is fun.

      Interesting that you framed it that way. I don’t think it was done out of martyrdom at all.

      Thanks, Slapshot. My mother has a conspiratory-theorist-martyr syndrome thing going on, so I’m super-concerned about being the same way she is. It’s something I’m extra sensitive to, and always on the lookout for.

      I do hope that some of what you’ve built together stays with you a long time [. . .] irrespective of time and distance, I would like to think that a part of that will remain a part of you.

      I certainly think so. :) I think we’ll hold a special place in each others hearts, but I’m also realistic about growing apart and falling out of touch. It happens with most people (friends, family, ex-loves), so it will probably happen to us, too. That won’t make our time together any less special, of course.

  3. I just recently told a lover to fly across the coast to see me for the holidays, even though I’d be alone for a week.
    Immediately regretted it, but glad he didn’t spend the money, when money is already tight for him.
    So even in vanilla relationships, you may have done what’s in his best interest, rather than yours, but I understand how you are more obligated to consider him when he has a lack of say with you.

    • Yes to this! I can recall so many situations where this has happened to be in vanilla relationships, but I didn’t get it too much thought at the time. The added D/s “twist” makes it all feel a little strange, though.

      Also, good on you for sparing the boy and his pocketbook. I’m sure you would have loved to see him (and he would have loved to see you), but sometimes, it just isn’t the best thing to do.

  4. > “If we were in a more traditional, egalitarian, vanilla arrangement, I’d be less motivated to put his best interest above my own.”

    > “If we were in a vanilla relationship, I might not have been alone on Christmas.”

    But would either of these things necessarily be true?

    I think you may be underestimating the degree to which partners in a vanilla relationship can act against their own immediate selfish desires in order to ‘do right’ by their partner. Maybe this isn’t to do with you being a ‘Domme’, but to do with you being a good and trustworthy and decent partner for someone to spend part of their life with?

    I don’t think everything needs to be interpreted in terms of D/s.

    Another thing to consider is that being the person you are might not have caused you to lose your last Christmas with J, but that it’s possibly the reason you spent any time at all with him. Some people have have high standards and expectations, and perhaps it’s being a ‘worthy partner’ that allowed this particular relationship to exist in the first place.

    Sorry if that’s a little heavy and rhetorical. I just don’t think there’s any reason to explain your core ‘decency’ as being part of being a ‘Domme’. A ‘vanilla’ or ‘submissive’ person might be just as likely to put their partners long term needs above their short term comfort.

    It doesn’t seem that “putting my sub’s interests above my own” should be any more unusual than “putting my partner’s interests above my own”.

    P.S. I probably preferred Talespin to Darkwing Duck, although I do have a fondness for both …

    • I think you may be underestimating the degree to which partners in a vanilla relationship [. . .]

      I don’t mean to estimate people in vanilla relationships at all — I mean to estimate me. :) I’m not comparing my relationship to other people’s relationships (kinky, vanilla, or otherwise) — I’m comparing my current relationship to my past relationships (my current behaviors to my past behaviors).

      I don’t think everything needs to be interpreted in terms of D/s.

      No, of course not. But, I think D/s makes me so much more cognizant of the choices I make and their consequences. If my partner says “I defer to you,” then I’m more conscious of how my decisions affect him than if there was some precedent for discussion about such things.

      Sorry if that’s a little heavy and rhetorical. I just don’t think there’s any reason to explain your core ‘decency’ as being part of being a ‘Domme’.

      I like heavy and rhetorical. :)

      And you’re right — I’m not explaining my decency with D/s — that wasn’t my intent. I’m just Monday morning quarterbacking my own actions.

      P.S. I probably preferred Talespin to Darkwing Duck, although I do have a fondness for both …

      No way! You’re wrong on this one (and that has nothing to do with domm-i-ness either, it has everything to do with the quality of the writing. :) (ha!)

      • > “I don’t mean to estimate people in vanilla relationships at all — I mean to estimate me. :)”

        And there I was being all general! Oops. I will certainly defer to your much greater knowledge of you.

        > “I think D/s makes me so much more cognizant of the choices I make and their consequences. If my partner says “I defer to you,” then I’m more conscious of how my decisions affect him than if there was some precedent for discussion about such things”

        I find this idea very compelling. It’s wonderful to think that being dominant in your relationship is making you more considerate and ultimately less self-serving. To your submssive, this must make you worthy of even greater trust and even greater submission.

        > “I’m just Monday morning quarterbacking my own actions.”

        And now I’m over analysing your Monday morning quarterbacking. Hooray for blog comments! :)

        > “No way! You’re wrong on this one (and that has nothing to do with domm-i-ness either, it has everything to do with the quality of the writing. :) (ha!)”

        It’s many years since I’ve watched either! And no doubt Darkwing was better written, but in Talespin, Baloo had a seaplane. Plus he was a bear, and bears > ducks. I’m sorry but that’s just the way it is. :P (haha!)

        • I find this idea very compelling. It’s wonderful to think that being dominant in your relationship is making you more considerate and ultimately less self-serving. To your submssive, this must make you worthy of even greater trust and even greater submission.

          Begrudgingly more considerate and less self-serving. :) I already go to far in considering others, and unfortunately, D/s seems to have made it worse. As the dominant, the irony is not lost on me.

          And now I’m over analysing your Monday morning quarterbacking

          You do realize this could go on forever… right? :D Three cheers for Monday mornings. :)

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