Hello, readers. I have some more questions I was asked, so I took some time answering them.
Now that you and Jason have established rituals and routine, how do either of you keep it from getting mundane, having the same impact?
I think to understand why we enjoy routines and such, it helps to maybe understand how Jason and I work. We're both eldest children in our family, and I think that impacts personality, at least to some extent. We're both fairly goal-oriented. We like to work hard, and play hard (heh heh). But when we do things, we both enjoy the comfort of familiarity. For example, when we go on a date, we don't really enjoy “new” places. We have a handful of date night places, and the “variation” of the night is whatever we choose for that night. Maybe tonight will be Mexican, and next date night tapas, but we likely aren't going to be hunting for something new and exciting. We like the same types of vacations. I shop at the same stores. We're not stubbornly married to habit, and try to be accommodating. After all, it can be disruptive to others if we dig our heels in. But, we really enjoy forming habits, and traditions. So the fact that every day before Jason leaves for work I go over my daily list and then over his knee doesn't make it mundane. It makes it familiar, comfortable, and reassuring. When we go out to eat, I don't like perusing the menu for something new. I like knowing exactly what I like to order, and enjoying that.
By knowing what to expect, it frees up mental energy for other things. I know on Monday morning when I get up, I'll write and then hit the track. There's no hemming and hawing. I get up and do it, and I like it. This is how we are. Our lives are structured, and because of that, things are at a fairly even keel. Today is Sunday. On Sunday, we go to church, mostly stay home, I blog, and tonight I'll prepare for the week ahead. It's not boring. It's relaxing. And how does this apply to our lifestyle?
A working D/s relationship takes time. This is the blog post I'm drafting for next week. It takes time to reach the level of communication where you know how to meet each others needs, and by that I mean it can't be done in a weekend, but with much trial and error and experience. But it also takes actual time to implement on a day to day basis. When we get “busy,” and I'm outside running a lot of errands, and he's working at home for extra hours in the evenings during the week – all things that do happen sometimes – our relationship hits a bit of a blip. We need a lot of time to talk. We connect daily so he can keep track of my emotional state, my goals, and how things are coming along. We spend a lot of time being intimate.
In no way at all is this meant to be a blueprint of how others should run their lives. Jason and I are introverted individuals with simple tastes. We dislike socializing and love being home. Others would be bored out of their minds. But, I can testify to the fact that in my observation, it's much harder to maintain a D/s dynamic with a busy lifestyle. It just is. The level of communication, dedication to one another, and time commitment is a necessary component of a working D/s relationship.
So, how do we keep it from being mundane? At the risk of sounding flippant, I'll say that more sex helps. Really. Even if that means getting up earlier, or going to bed earlier, or whatever.
Also, I'm always working toward another goal during our morning check-in's and it's nice to tell him I've achieved certain things (by the way a big THANK YOU to those who shared my recent release – it helped me and Maisy hit the Amazon bestseller list!). The change of season and our busy family keep us going. There's always another birthday, or holiday, and we vacation a few times a year. Our kids are growing, and changing. Those things help avoid the mundane. But when things come up, I'm honestly very happy to return to our traditions and rituals.
2) At different points you talk about being high need and so this works for you.
a) How/when did you give up the feeling of guilt or concern that asking so much of Jason was a burden or too much work for him given everything else in your lives (if this was ever a concern for you)
Oh yes, for sure. I think it's a fairly common concern of most submissives. We like to have our needs met but we hate feeling “needy.” I don't really struggle much with this anymore, and I'll explain how that shifted. I gave up the guilt and concern over being needy or asking too much of him in a few ways.
- I make self care a high priority. I get enough rest, maintain solid friendships, exercise regularly, take down time when I need it. This means that because I have good friends, or I run out a frustrating day on the track, or take a nap on a lazy afternoon when I'm tired, I'm not taking every single bit of what I need to Jason. I do my very best to make self-care a huge priority, because it's my firm belief that a happy, well-rested mama whose needs are met is someone who's better able to take care of the many demands of her family, and the same is true for my relationship with him.
- He tells me regularly that I'm not a burden to him. When I feel needy or dependent, I simply tell him, and he does assure me. He's blunt. He's a straight-shooter. He would tell me if he thought I was being immature about something. If he thinks it's sleep I need, he'll send me to bed, etc.
- I'm well aware of the fact that he devotes himself to me quite regularly, and I try to give what I can back to him. I give him what he needs, too. I ask him all the time, “Are you getting enough down time? Are you happy with ::fill in the blank::. Is there anything you need from me?” He likes down time. I give that to him. He would rather sleep in on weekends, so I give him that space, and bring him his coffee when he wants me to. I serve him regularly. It gives me great pleasure to do his laundry, bake for him, or, you know, naughty things. I try to anticipate what he needs from me, and I do my best to meet those needs.Just this very morning, I was climbing out of bed to get my coffee and laptop, as I do most mornings. He snagged me around the waist and said, “Where do you think you're going? You're cute.” (Ha!). So I came back to bed and snuggled up on him, and he was still half asleep but said, “I needed this.” He wanted me with him. I wanted to go take my writing time, but he wanted me with him, so I was more than happy to put my own needs on hold (not that I didn't enjoy a good snuggle.)
I think a lot of being happily married means dedicating ourselves to meeting the needs of the other, but also being very honest with our own needs. Our D/s lifestyle isn't a one-way street. He meets my needs in so many ways every single day, and I meet his.
b) Was there ever a point where it felt like too much as being asked of Jason, from his point of view, and if so when and how did he start to feel the pay off was worth it?
Yes. I asked him about this. Jason said early on, when he didn't really understand my need to be disciplined to the extent that I want, he made this decision: “I decided it was the most loving thing to give you what you need.” He was still a bit uncomfortable with disciplining me, so decided he would, his words, “Get over my own discomfort and meet your needs first.” Then, he found it came quite naturally to him. Also, he said that “When I take the time to meet your needs, it takes only a short amount of time. Sometimes I'd rather have my down time, but if I put what I want down and focus on your needs first, I'm able to still have what I need, knowing that your needs are met.” This was about six months in that he felt the pay-off was worth it.
3) When you first started focusing on your schedule what were you looking for by having him involved in that? How far do you feel you have come and what are you making happen and with what level of productivity that you weren't seeing prior to having his leadership here? I guess it's more the compare and contrast from where you started to where you are now?
I was looking for the accountability and focus, that little extra “oomph” I needed. Personally, I feel I've made great progress in just about every area I wanted to. Now that he holds me to a bedtime, I'm far more rested. I get way more accomplished, because I get enough sleep. It's easy not to spend time on the computer, or chatting, or reading, when I know “go past your bedtime and get spanked.” I'm able to give myself that freedom to just climb into bed and rest when I need to. On days when I simply don't want to go to the gym, knowing I'll answer to Jason gets me there. When I want to stress eat a whole bar of chocolate because I'm upset about something, knowing I'll land belly-down over Jason's lap helps me make better choices.
He's reasonable, though, and not a drill sergeant. If I'm just exhausted and want to take a gym day off, he'll let me, but those are exceptions to the rules. I used to have days when I'd have so much to do that I wouldn't even know where to begin. I used to have days when I was stressed, so I'd focus on things I shouldn't have been doing (like wasting time online) instead of things that needed doing (like laundry). Those days are rare now. And I don't always get spanked for it. Recently I spent time chatting for too long with a friend, and didn't get to my slotted writing time. Jason was none too pleased. He knows my writing is important. So, I got grounded for it. What can I say. It works.
- It sounds like perhaps you were naturally schedule oriented prior to focusing on it in your dynamic. Did you ever struggle with things seemingly, constantly changing outside your control.Yes. I am a very scheduly oriented person. I'm “type A,” I guess you could say. I like order, and structure, and thrive when that's in place. Yes, I do struggle when things are outside of my control, to a certain extent, but I also try not to make things “so” important that I don't keep my priorities in check. For example, Jason wanted me with him instead of writing this morning. Jason is a higher priority than my writing, so I was easily able to let that go. Although I'm a big fan of systems in place to get things done, I'm also a big advocate of not being a slave to routine. How does that work? It means when things don't go the way I plan, I do my best to let that go. It means that if today my friend needs someone to listen to, instead of me having my walk, or nap, I will put my needs down and be a good friend. It means that if the chicken I planned for dinner isn't thawed, I'm happy to order pizza. I'm a big believer in looking at the positive in any given situation. I feel like being a slave to routine means losing my mind when things don't go my way, and it's better to keep priorities in check. Jason and my kids come above all. But I'm also realistic about what I need myself and making sure those needs are met.
And this is where the communication comes into play. Recently, I had to tell Jason that my gym schedule was not jiving with my work schedule. We talked it out, and reevaluated my plans. He wants to know how I'm spending my time, and then we decide things together. Of course he gets the final say, but he is always looking for my input.
I really hope the answers to these questions helped. I was going to post them early this morning, but, you know...my routine got thrown off! ;)