In the previous post Wishful said he was glad I had seen the light. I started to reply, but it was a long reply, and I decided it would be better as a stand-alone post:
It's not really a matter of "seeing the light." Intellectually, I've known for years that the more dominant I am, the happier, more secure, and less stressed my knight is. He's a better husband, a better father, and we are as a couple.
The problems come in when I let myself be influenced by my own doubts, or my 20 yr old daughter.
As for my own doubts, when my knight starts to test the limits I usually back off and allow him to make more decisions, and start asking his opinion more. Then I start feeling like it's "unfair" for me to always do what I want to, and I start doing things with his wants primarily in mind. After a few weeks of this, knight turns into a brat. We start arguing and things just go down hill fast. I start doubting because he is testing limits. In my head, if he really *wanted* me to be in charge of everything then he wouldn't push and test limits. That's something kids and teenagers do.. but when an almost 50 year old man agrees to submit to his wife in all things, I expect him to do just that I do not expect him to act like a teenager and push and test every freaking thing. He agreed to the terms, and I expect him to be an adult and keep his word. Period.
So, when he doesn't, I start to question things and back off. Intellectually, I mostly understand that's the wrong way to handle it. But, emotionally, I wonder if he is not so much testing limit's as trying to break through them, or trying to get me to stop controlling everything.
Sure, I've talked to him about it. He usually tell me he's fine, and that he doesn't understand why he did whatever it is that he did. Or, he explains why he did what he did. Then, I point out that I asked him to do X, and I had a solid reason for that request, and he's now screwed it up. Sometimes he apologizes (until next time), and sometimes he continues trying to explain himself until I finally tell him I've had enough.
This scenario has played itself out hundreds of times over the last several years. And, because it continues to happen, it makes me wonder if flr is really what he wants, or if he's humoring me to keep the peace, but secretly resents the whole thing.
Then there is my 20 yr old daughter. She is "kind of" aware of our arrangement. Both my adult daughters were still living at home when knight and I implemented the flr lifestyle. We tried to be discrete, but both girls noticed the change in the way we interacted with us. For one, there was significantly less arguing. My oldest girl asked me about it and I told her we'd come to the understanding that her step-dad functions better when he doesn't have to make decisions about what to do. I give him instructions. He follows them. End of discussion. My oldest was able to accept this, mainly because knight and I were getting along a lot better, and he seemed happy.
My second born, however (the current 20 yr old), was furious. She has very strong opinions about what is "fair." She's an "everybody should be treated exactly the same" kind of person. She doesn't believe people need different things. She accused me of being an over-controlling, abusive mega-bitch. Okay, so she didn't use those exact words, but she did say I was being super-controlling, unfair and mildly abusive to knight. Every time she heard me tell him to do something, she would answer with "He doesn't have to, if he doesn't want to." When knight got up to get my tea or make me a plate unasked, she told him, "You should make Mom do that herself." She told me that she thought I was taking advantage of knight and being completely unfair. Once when knight wanted to go out with some guys from work, I privately told him he couldn't go because we already had family plans for the same day. When my second born realized that knight wasn't going, she made a snide remark. Knight came to my defense and told her that he didn't go because we already had plans, and those plans were more important than a work party. He was careful not to mention that I had told him not to go, but she gave me a hard time about it anyway. The flr aspect of my marriage become a sore spot between my daughter and I-- one that is still there, all these years later.
Now, really, my relationship with my husband is none of my daughter's business. The only exception to that would be if there was any *real* abuse going on. But, in her mind our arrangement is "unfair," and therefore "abusive." So, she makes it her business. As recently as a week ago, she commented that I was being unfair to my knight. We were talking on video chat, and after awhile, knight got up from the couch and went into the kitchen to wash dinner dishes. Sundays are his night for dinner clean up, and he knows he has to have it done before I'm ready to go to bed. My knight continued to talk to my daughter while he did dishes. My son turned the laptop around to make it easier for knight to hear what DD2 was saying. While they were talking, DD2 sent me a text saying that I was being unfair for "making" knight do dishes while we were on the phone. I answered her text and told her that, actually he had planned on doing dishes while she talked to the kids and I because it was his night. She answered with "whatever, Mom. We all know he only does what you tell him because he's afraid of what will happen if he doesn't."
Now.. she's said that exact thing to me several times before. She's even gone so far to tell me that knight is afraid of me Once, she went as far as to compare me to knight's ex-wife.. When I told him she said that, he was very upset, and insisted that was not true.
But, still it's always in the back of my mind I always question. Before we started the flr lifestyle, my second daughter and I were very close. When she started noticing the outward signs of flr between knight and I, she decided I was being unfair, and mean to him, and became angry with me.
Again, she lives on the other side of the country. She's engaged, and planning to be married next summer. Personally, I don't think it will last. She refers to him as "lazy" and "unmotivated." She is always complaining that he won't help with housework, and works as little as possible. My daughter works 10+ hours a day and is attending college. She tells me that he insists on splitting bills down the middle. Recently she needed a co-signer for a student loan, and she asked her boyfriend to co-sign. He refused saying that he didn't think she needed to go to college. According to my daughter, he told her she has "the best job she's ever going to get" and that going to college was a complete waste of her time. She wants to be a pediatritian, and is currently in a pre-med program. When I asked her about all this in relation to their relationship she answered that she's not like me, she is not going to tell him what to do, or "make" him do anything he doesn't want to. If he doesn't want to wash dishes, clean up after himself, or fold laundry, she's not going make him. She says she's perfectly happy with their relationship, and is looking forward tot he wedding.
So, she doesn't see the need to have any kind of authority in her marriage. She has based her opinions of how a marriage should look on her bio-fathers marriage. Her bio-father and his 2nd wife are Mormon, and live a very male dominated life. Frankly, as her mom, it makes me sad, and a bit afraid for her future. But, I've tried talking to her, and she has no desire to listen When knight or I have tried to point out that HE is happier when I arrange his schedule, and tell him which chores and tasks to complete (which is, of course, really the only parts of our arrangement she can see), she tells us both that she doesn't believe it. She even went so far as to tell my knight that he "just thinks" he's happier, but that she doesn't believe he actually is. Interestingly enough, she can't see that her dad and step-mom have exactly the same arrangement, but in reverse. Her dad makes all the decisions. For some reason, my daughter sees that as "okay" but sees it as "abusive" that I make all the decisions within my marriage.
She's my daughter. I love her to pieces, and I respect her opinions. I raised her to form her own opinions, to have an open mind, and do her own research, but to voice her opinions and stick by her values. And, that is exactly what she is doing. I'm proud of her for that.
But, her insistence that I'm being somehow abusive by controlling my knight's actions, and guiding him in the way I want him to be makes me question myself. It makes me wonder if knight secretly resents the arrangement and is simply going along with it in order to keep the peace.
When I think about that logically, it seems stupid. What person would go along with being told what to do; with having most of his/her daily decisions made for him/her if they didn't want to live that kind of life? But, of course the answer to that is a person unable to get out of an abusive relationship.
Which of, course makes me pause, and again, question myself. Which is why I continually get caught in this circle.
Am I over thinking things? Probably. But, I've seen abusive relationships. My father was an alcoholic when I was a child, and he was physically abusive toward my mother. He controlled everything. My parents divorced when I was 15-- my mother had no idea how to balance a checkbook. I had to teach her. She didn't know how to pay bills, or stick to a budget. My father gave her a set amount for grocery shopping each week, and that's what she had to spend. She had no say in how much money was spent, nor what it was spent on. She had no say in what went on in our house. Was it that way by her choice? The short answer to that is I don't know.
I do know that my father is a violent drunk, and he would come home sometime every Saturday, destroy the house, and beat the living fuck out of my mother while I hid in my room.
Trust me. This was NOT consensual.
So.. was his absolute control over my childhood home due to his abusive nature, or was it something my mother agreed to and wanted?
I'll never know.
They eventually remarried, and he STILL controls her actions. Hell, my mother had a full blown panic attack in my driveway because we had trouble getting a ball off of a trailer hitch. She was afraid of how he would react if she went home without the ball-thingy. I had to order my mother into my car and get her away from the situation to get her to calm down. My adult daughter was able to fix whatever was stuck while I handled my mother. My father and I quit talking years ago.. and it wasn't until he got sick that she started talking to me again. When I stopped speaking to my father (because of his attempts to dictate how I raise my kids), he forbade her from speaking to me at all.
She's still not allowed to talk to me, but when he got sick she decided that he could no longer stop her. She calls me from the parking lot up the street, and sends me emails from the computer room in her apartment complex. She mails me letters when she's running errands. Because of her current actions, fears, and comments, I firmly believe my father has been abusive toward my mother for at least 45 years.
So.. for me.. the line between abuse and not abuse is a very important one. I have no desire to cause that kind of stress and anxiety in my knight. So when my daughter says she thinks my telling knight what to do is abusive, I listen.
And, my past makes it difficult for me to believe my knight when he tells me he wants me to be in control of everything. Even with solid, visible evidence that he is happier this way, I always wonder.