Anyone living in a Dominance and submission (D/s) lifestyle will tell you it's not always perfect. We'll tell you that what you see in pictures or even in the snippets we post of our lives online isn't the whole picture. Real life intervenes. The vanilla world and worries intrude. We disagree. We don't communicate well. It's not all sunshine and roses. God, I wish it was.
I'm luckier than most. My relationship with Daddy began with D/s. We're not working to deal with years of hang-ups or small hurts with one another. We met as Dominant and submissive, and we've committed to one another knowing exactly who we are and what we want. That doesn't mean it's always wonderful.
I'm a people-watcher, an expression-reader, an inbetween-the-lines-reader, and a worrier. Part of my nature is to intuit what people mean, not just based on their words, but also by tone of voice, body language, facial expression, the whole thing. I see a lot when I look at people (which is why I choose not to pay attention to everyone because it's a lot to take in - and can be mentally draining).
I've been very much in-tune with Daddy since we first met. The longer we're together, the more in sync we are. I know when he's worried or upset even before he does sometimes. I internalize that worry because I want to bring him comfort and make his life better. If I think I'm the cause of the stress, I mentally melt-down. I redouble efforts to alleviate the stress. I take on the worry. I make myself crazy, basically.
I don't earn nearly as much money as I used to - although in three months of working for myself, I've tripled my income from the first month to the third month. I should be proud of that, but instead I see the crease in his forehead when he talks about paying the bills. I feel the stress emanate from him after the bills are paid. I hear the determination in his voice to find a better paying job. And I've dissuaded him from seeking out a second job.
To say that I'm sensitive to his feelings would be a bit of an understatement. Add to that my feelings of responsibility for his stress and worry and to help him relax, and you can see where problems will arise.
They aren't issues, really. It's the rebuilding of a future with an understanding of the past. To say that he's been able to trust people in his past with money would be a lie. He learned early to take control of finances and keep control. He lives within his means and is willing to sacrifice "luxuries" if he has to.
It's also been a long time since he was responsible for a family with small children. I often think he's surprised to find himself here again after so many years away from it.
To top it all off, when he's hit with something unexpected (that he wishes he wasn't), he sighs. A deep sigh. It's something I really don't like.
Lately, as we've combined finances, streamlined our budget, and taken a hard look at what we need to do to build our future, we've both been very conscientious of money. I've never relied on a man to provide for me. He hasn't trusted someone else with money in a long time.
Those two facts have made for some serious discussions, a few tears, and a lot of soul-searching.
When a question came up about a small (and very necessary) purchase I made one day, I finally asked him the question that had been on my mind for a while.
"How is it that you can trust me with everything, everything but not this? You do know that I've taken care of my family for years, and while we were broke, I tried to always be responsible and not frivolous."
He was rocked back a little. I don't think he'd thought of it that way.
I continued. "Every time we discuss spending money - for basic things like gas in the car, groceries, whatever - you sigh at me. Every. Time."
He hadn't realized he did it. I let him know how it made me feel. I shared my feelings of inadequacies. We worked through it. We have a long way to go, but we were fine.
Fast forward a few days...
I'd been rejected by a writing company. A twerp of an editor at a different company (they aren't all bad, but this one ticked me off) rejected a piece I'd written and assigned it to another writer - meaning, I did the work, but I didn't get paid. I was desperately trying to earn money.
Daddy got sick. Then I got sick. I didn't have the sinus infection he had, but I was so low-energy, I could barely move. I huddled underneath a blanket for most of the day, relying on the boys to take care of themselves just a little.
Daddy's mom and sister were in a car accident. Ultimately, they were fine, but we didn't know that when Daddy got the call. He called me as he rushed out of the office, letting me know the barest details (all he knew) with a promise to call later.
I worried. I prayed. I felt worse and worse. Guilt set in that I wasn't cooking or cleaning or even working and earning money. I sank deeper into the cozy recliner, feeling miserable.
A few hours later, a call from Daddy. Everything was as fine as it could be. He was on his way home for the second time (he stopped by earlier to get the car and a peanut butter sandwich).
"I'm starving, babygirl. I'm gonna run through drive-thru and get myself something."
"Would you get me something, too, Daddy? I've had some leftover rice but that's about it. I'll take anything, I don't care what."
And then it happened.
He sighed. A heavy sigh that I knew meant he felt burdened, he didn't want to spend the money. I quickly reversed myself.
"You know, don't worry about it. I'm fine. It's fine. Really."
Had he been fully awake, completely healthy, and a lot less stressed, he would have recognized the bullshit for what it was. I was clearly not fine, but I wasn't going to have him sigh at me anymore. I couldn't handle it.
Typical babygirl that I am, by the time he got home with his burger from the drive-thru, I was worked up. Tears filled my eyes. We barely spoke. He was too tired and too focused on his hamburger. I was too far in my head, determined not to let him see me so miserable.
I mentally berated myself while I made his coffee (twice, because I screwed it up the first time). Tears streamed down my face when I slammed my finger, bumped my head, and finally managed to get down on my knees to present his coffee to him. I was miserable, and while I knew he was more so, I almost didn't care. I felt so sorry for myself.
I realized later that I'd barely eaten all day. I hadn't even had water since 3pm, and it was nearly 9 o'clock at night. I was feeling sick, a byproduct of cohabitating with a sick man. I was also worried about the added strain and stress he was feeling.
Basically, I was combustible.
He never said a word. In my crazy state of mind, I took it as a lack of feeling or caring for me. In retrospect, he was dead on his feet after a horrible day - I know that now. I should have known it then.
He knew something was up but for whatever reason, he wasn't asking me to talk to him. I tried to keep quiet. I felt like a fool for being upset over a sigh.
But I also felt forgotten, like a burden, unimportant, and a million other things that I know I'm not. Things I know he doesn't think I am.
Finally, I exploded in sobs and recriminations.
"You sighed at me!"
I knew I sounded insane. I quickly explained myself, apologizing over and over again for being stupid, for saying anything, for putting this on him after such a hard day. The more I talked, the worse I felt, and the more I apologized.
In the end, we held each other. We went to bed and wrapped ourselves in each other's arms. Nothing was resolved that night. Hell, not even the next day. There just wasn't time.
We're fine now. We've talked. We've worked through it. It was a lot of misunderstanding and heightened emotions in a shitty day and a rough week.
My point is that it isn't always perfect. We have misunderstandings. We get annoyed with one another. We don't always communicate the way we should (although, it always comes out eventually). I wished I lived an erotic fairy tale, but the reality is that we're two people who are navigating our life together. Sometimes we get it right, and sometimes we don't.