Monday, October 22, 2012

Interesting Observation

Tommio wrote about how he seems to have an easier time managing his clinical depression when his with his dominant partner.

I found his observations interesting because my Knight also deals with depression. My Knight is not on standard medication for his depression. He prefers to use natural medicine, including diet changes, supplements and herbs to manage his depression symptoms. (for those who don't know - my degree is in Natural Healing, and I am a Master Herbalist, Natural Health Consultant, and Reiki Master as well as a technical writer.)   My Knight doesn't take herbs for the depression regularly. He hates taking medication of any kind, including herbs he sees as "medicine" so, if I sense my Knight has fallen to far in to "his pit of hell" I tell him to start taking the herbs we use, and to make sure he continues to take it  past the first time, I tell him exactly when and for how long to take it. Or.. I might tell him to take it until I say he can stop.

My Knight is a submissive guy... even if he does hate that word..... so he does what he's told.

But.. I have noticed how and IF I lead has an affect on my Knight's depression. When I solidly lead, I see less depression symptoms. I can help stop the anxiety and the dark thought spirals with a few well chosen, and firmly spoken words.  On more than one occasion, I have intentionally pushed his submissive buttons (again, I use that word my Knight dislikes so much...) to help him pullout of a round of anxiety or keep him from spiraling into the pit of hell.  Sometimes all it takes is a firm reminder that whatever it is that has him anxious is  not his job. I remind him that his job is to do what I ask of him without fail, and without question. That usually works against the anxiety and some of the moodiness.  For the full on depression it takes a little more structure.. a little more firmness, on my part. But being subjected to my dominant nature goes a long way to help him pull out of a full depression.

Before we started the FLR  my Knight's depressions lasted for months sometimes. Before FLR I would suggest he take a helpful herb, or I suggested he go to his doctor etc. I tried every "mainstream" way of helping him deal with these depressions. They just got worse. What would usually happen that I would hit the end of my patience and we would have a huge heated argument over the way he'd been acting. Those arguments would, more often than not, end with me telling him "either fix it or get the hell out."
He would come to me within hours to apologize and ask for my suggestions as to how to deal with the feeling of never ending doom hanging over him.

At those times I told him (my Knight uses the term "ordered") what herbs to take, when to see his doctor, what to every day and when to do it.  In other words, I was dominant.

Now.... we skip the asking, suggesting part.  He manages the depression MUCH better. We don't argue anymore and we have a MUCH better relationship.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

What I Enjoy About Our FLR

I started writing this in response to a comment someone left on the blog, but then I realized it should be a post of its own.

When I started our flr  12...maybe 15 months ago.. I did it out of desperation to save our marriage. I looked through an on-line journal my Knight and I used to discuss sensitive emotional topics and I found that one thing remained constant over the previous 5 years or so: He was always asking me to tell him what I wanted from him. He wanted me to write lists, to define his role in my life.  A few times the topic of D/s came up, and he completely denied that was what he wanted. At the same time, he would repeat the request that I manage his time, tasks and activities.  I went looking for a way to bring up the D/s dynamic with him one last time...I spent several hours researching, reading, learning about FLR, personality types and many other things in one last ditch effort to end the constant bickering, resentment and anger without filing for divorce.

I did it out of necessity - I never expected to enjoy it.

But.. I do enjoy it.

It's not the submission that I enjoy.. not exactly. What I love is the person he becomes when I actively lead.

When I don't actively lead him, my Knight is unsure of himself, easily rattled and moody.  He never seems to know what to do at any given moment. He has 10 projects going around the house, and none of them EVER get done. (no. I am not exaggerating here.)   He's scatterbrained, anxious and underfoot. LOL.. Underfoot because he is trying so hard to "please me" every single moment that he gets in the way... like a puppy following my every move, I end up tripping over him.  Don't get me wrong.. I appreciate that he is simply trying to do what he thinks I want done, but... most of the time he has no real  clue. When I don't lead sex is .... Okay..... but not great. I always feel like there's something missing... like he's only half there.

When I actively lead my Knight his whole outlook seems to change - he becomes more confident in everything he does. That confidence even carries over to his work and his writing.  He stresses and worries less, he is less moody, and almost nothing rattles him. When I lead him, my Knight is much less forgetful. His projects get finished.  When I lead, my Knight knows exactly what he can do to "please me" and so he doesn't follow me around like a lost pup.  My Knight is always attentive to me, whether I'm leading or not. But, when I lead those attentions are more focused.. more.. purposeful. He doesn't sit in front of me waiting for me to reach for a cup, start a chore, or move something.  When I actively lead, my Knight knows I will ask him to do that chore, make that tea or ..whatever. He doesn't have to wait for the chance to jump in and do it for me. I will find tasks for him to do for me. When I lead,, sex with my Knight changes. He is totally and completely focused on whatever we are doing. He cuddles more, he seems less hesitant to make his wants known. We are closer.

Doing things for me makes my Knight happy. Somehow.. doing things for me gives him focus and purpose. I don't understand it.. but that seems to be the way he works. When I don't actively lead him, my Knight becomes preoccupied with figuring out what he can do for me next.. so preoccupied, in fact that he can barely concentrate on anything else.  The lack of directions seems to send him into a depression.

When I give all that energy some direction my Knight is a totally different guy.  I love how confident he becomes when I lead him.  I love that all it takes is a couple words from me for him to stop stressing let go of the worry. It doesn't matter what he's worried about... just a simple reminder that I have it.. and that I want him to do X, Y or Z is enough for him to let go and relax. When I lead my Knight, he becomes my rock when things around us are hectic. His calm confidence is a source of strength for me. When I lead him, my Knight seems confident and secure in my love, and in his place in my life.

When I lead him, I love the intimacy of knowing I have caused these changes in my Knight.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Talking, talking and MORE Talking

My Knight and I use a written set of rules to remind us each what is expected in terms of our flr. When I suspended the agreement back it....July - was it?..... I deleted our only copy of our old rules. Think of it as the equivalent of tearing up a contract.  So.. now I'm rewriting our rules.

As part of the at process I am asking my Knight (again) about motivations, reasons, wants, needs, ect.  I  remember why I was so frustrated with him, and questioning all this before.  

My Knight is using phrases like "it's better than the alternative", "I don't know that I do enjoy being controlled", "no, I don't have an underlying need or desire to be controlled. What I have is an underlying need to see you happy" , "sometimes it's okay, and sometimes it reminds me of my ex" ,   "I am happy and content with the flr",  "It works for us",   "How can I not enjoy it, we're not fighting all the time",  "I don't feel controlled, babe". 

Not a very convincing argument in favor of flr. Of course, his behavior is, as it's always been, very positive toward flr. 

During the conversation my Knight said to me something along the lines of,  "of course I enjoy it, it's better than the alternative, isn't it? You'd do the same thing" .....

And there's the issue... I would NOT do the same. If I were in his shoes and my choices were:
     1. Hand over almost total control to my partner           or
     2. Go back to the way things were  between us 18 months ago

I would choose neither. I would end the relationship. Divorce would be better than door number one, and door number two was miserable and unhappy. 

So.. when my Knight says to me "it's better than the alternative" what I'm hearing is .. "eh.. it's better/easier than a divorce."

Which is seriously NOT the same as liking the arrangement, or enjoying the flr dynamic. 

And that's my hang up. I'm not sure how to get around it, either.  I care very deeply about my Knight's happiness.  If he's not getting anything from flr except a lack of fighting and less stress... then I don't understand why he wanted to reinstate it.  I'm not going to suspend the flr again... I promised him I would leave it intact unless he said the states "I don't want the flr anymore." But, at the same time I need to understand his motivations here.. for my own peace of mind. I have no problem being the dominant partner and managing/controlling things. Over the last 18 months, I have found that I enjoy it most of the time. .... BUT ... I don't want it at the expense of his happiness or contentedness. 

At the same time... my Knight SEEMS happier, more secure, more confident, less stressed, more content, more open emotionally, when I am the dominant partner. There is a clear difference in him between when we do active flr, and when we don't. Even before I suspended the agreement.. when I occasionally and accidentally dropped it by no exerting my control, my Knight started slipping back to old ways. He  became lost. When I made the effort to regain that control, he was happier and more himself again. 

When I point that out to him, my Knight always says he doesn't see it.  But.. I see it.. heck the KIDS see the difference in him 

There is a part of me that wants... no..needs to know that my Knight wants the flr.. that he enjoys the arrangement and that it makes him happy and content. Yes, I have behavioral evidence. I'm not denying that. But...... if flr is only "better than the alternative"  then.. who is to say the positive changes I see in my Knight are not simply from lack of conflict and not directly flr related?  

Many readers will probably think I'm over-analyzing this... and maybe I am. But that's how my mind works. There is a reason for everything... every action.. every behavior. And in writing our new rules knowing the reasons why he wants this... knowing that he does want this... leads to different rules than simply agreeing to keep the peace. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

I Had Forgotten....

..... How wonderful daily lists are.  This morning I sent my Knight an email at work entitled, "Your list for Monday."  On that list were 10 or 12 things that I wanted him to accomplish before 1030 tonight. It's only 720pm, and everything on that list is done except four things... and three of those things are bedtime routine stuff for the kids.  It's not time for them yet. Number 4 is dinner dishes, but no everyone is done eating yet, so he has some time there, too.

No arguing, no excuses.. just "Here's your list. Get it done before 1030pm" And it's getting done... simply beautiful.

We had something come up earlier today that, while not any sort of emergency, is something that needs dealt with. No big deal. I have it under control.. but my Knight stresses. He often decides that the weight of the entire universe- my universe-  is resting on his shoulders.  I reminded him that this new thing was not his problem.. nor was it his concern.  His *only* concern for the day was to finish the items on his list on-time. Everything else was my job.

It seemed to have helped.  My Knight settled back down to his work project and followed up on something I had asked him to do.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

Since we've reinstated our FLR, I've been trying to be very attentive to the whole "taking control thing." I think I've mentioned before that while I am a naturally dominant woman, it's difficult for me to allow that dominance to come through. Like a lot of woman I grew up hearing, "nice girls don't do that", and "oh.. honey, you can't tell a man what to do, he'll resent it." And of course there is an overwhelming amount of tv, literature and what-have-you that shows women to be either submissive to their man, or manipulating him to get what she wants. Rarely do you see a dominant woman who is straightforward and open about what she wants or expecting her man to submit to her,

Even at urm.. um..... 40something.... I still struggle with this early "programming."  But... I Like being in control. I always have. It's sexy to see a guy submit to his lady for no other reason than he is her man.

During our FLR break we were both miserable. My Knight was depressed. He felt like I no longer wanted him around at all. I was grumpy and unhappy because I felt like I was stuck doing everything for everybody again, with no help. We have a big family. There is a LOT of work to be done around here, and without guidance and instruction my Knight has a difficult time figuring out what needs his attention first. Now that we're back to FLR, I think we're both finding our equilibrium again.

Early last week I told my Knight that he was doing a good job getting back into the swing of FLR, and that I was happy with his efforts. I told him he'd earned some time with the mint massage oil. I make my own massage oils in various scents depending on purpose. My Knight enjoys being on the giving and receiving end of all of them, but he particularly likes the mint.  I don't use it often, but when I do he knows he's being rewarded for something.  I planned the mint massage for Thursday evening..... the same night we took our dog to the animal emergency room. So, obviously our time had to be postponed.  Things finally calmed down enough last night that I felt up to giving my Knight a bit of focused minty attention. It was awkward, and my Knight seemed a little withdrawn and hesitant- not at all as focused and responsive as he usually is during such massage times. Probably because it's been a couple months since we've had anything but simple vanilla sex. But, even so I enjoyed teasing and playing, both of us knowing full well that I was not going to let him release. As I was getting ready to end the massage and tell him it was time to sleep, my Knight hesitantly turned the tables, bringing me to  several strong  orgasms. We fell asleep feeling closer than we have since I suspended the FLR a few months ago. Today, he's done everything I expected of him, even completing the list I texted to him before I went on-stage for my orchestra concert.  I've missed this... and I hope it doesn't take us long to get fully back into the swing of things.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Things We Do for Our Pets

On Sunday, my Knight and I were out visiting his mentally ill daughter. Long story short- she has several serious mental illnesses and experiences total breaks with reality several times a year. She became consistently violent and we finally had to have her placed in therapeutic care for the safety of everyone involved. Kiddo is 10 and I love her to pieces. We visit her once a week, and do family therapy with her once a week. So... on Sunday we off visiting my Knight's daughter. I got a text message from my 17 yr old, "The dog just threw up a huge amount of black-purple stringy stuff. It smells horrible."

This dog is known for eating socks. We all have to be extra careful not to leave socks on the floor. My daughter and I talked about what the dog had eaten, and I decided it was probably yarn. So.. I went looking though my yarn stash to see what might be missing. Sure enough I found I was missing a skein of flat, brown yarn. The last time I saw that skein it was on a night table in our room, and now it was gone. My daughter said the dog vomited up a LOT of yarn, and it was a small skein, so we assumed it all came up and I kept a close eye on her. The dog was fine all night Sunday, and Monday, I made a new batch of dog food (yes.. I make all our dogs' food). The dog loved it.. no problems there. Then, on Tuesday she vomited once, then she was fine. Tuesday night she vomited every 20 -45 min all night long. I went into basic doggie first aid for vomiting. By sun up,(Weds morning, now) our dog had stopped vomiting, but was not eating or drinking much, but she was acting like her typical self. I called our regular vet and he took a "wait and see" attitude.  But, around 8pm it became very obvious that something was seriously wrong with my dog. She was still not drinking or eating. She was shaking and just not acting like herself. Our regular vet was closed, so we took her to the emergency vet clinic in a neighboring town.  X-rays revealed several pockets of air in the dog's intestines. The vet said that meant the yarn was bunched up inside her intestines, and that they would need to operate to remove the yarn. They quoted $2200 plus medications to do the surgery. The vet said we had about 12 hours to get the yarn out before it started cutting though dog's intestines.  $2200 is way more than we could afford... especially when you consider they wanted 75% to start the surgery, and the balance when she was discharged. We weren't ready to consider the alternative, so we took her home and called around. Of course, it was 2am, so most places were closed. At 730 am we called a handful more vets and got about the same price quote. Finally, we thought to call the little, one-vet, office one mile from our house.  Price quote - $500 plus meds and hospital time. We asked about breaking it up into payments and the vet assistant's answer was, "we're wasting time - get her in here and we'll work it out." So... off we went. They saw us right away. The vet looked at the x-rays from the night before, and told us the risks involved in the surgery, and what he thought was going on inside my dog. The vet was great. He was upfront and honest about what he could and could NOT do to save my dog. After all that he said.. "now.. this is the part I hate talking about. I only take payments if you've been here 3 times."  I thought for a minute.. "wait..we've had three different cats spayed here. Does that count?"   Doc didn't miss a beat, "Yep. that will work then. Let's get her in surgery." He didn't even have his staff check to see if we really had three cats spayed there.   That was Thursday morning.

Dog went into surgery at 10 Thursday morning. The dr found the yarn had been wrapped around my dog's tongue. It went from her tongue down her esophagus, into her stomach in down into her intestines. Since the yarn was wrapped around her tongue, it could not go through her, and since it was already in the intestines, it could not come back up, either. It was a pretty serious surgery, and she's lucky to be alive. But.. she is!

After surgery the vet said my dog would be awake about 230pm and we could some visit her for a few minutes anytime after that. So, around 4 my Knight and I went over to the vet's office. My dog was still groggy from the anesthesia, but otherwise she seemed as okay as she could be. She was happy to see us, and didn't want to leave my side. The vet suggested we take her for a short walk around the yard, and so we did.  He told us she could probably come home on Saturday.

This morning I called to check on her, and the the vet assistant said she was doing okay. She was on a special diet, and they had to give her small amounts of water every hour or two, but she as okay. I told the vet assistant that my Knight and I would be over to see her when he got home from work.. around 430 or so.

When my Knight got home I asked him to call the vet to see if the dog was well enough, and if wouldn't be too big a disruption to the office to bring our kids over to see her for a few minutes. The vet assistant told him that we could... but that our dog was ready to come home!!

So.. my girlie is home where she belongs. She's on a special gel food diet that I have to feed her from a syringe every hour, and she can have no more than 2 oz of water at a time. That's for the first 24 hrs after she comes home. Then she graduates to 3 oz of water at a time, the gel food, every hour, and 2 oz of special bland diet dog food thinned to a milkshake consistency twice a day. We keep this up for the  next 5 days or so..then increase her food intake a little at time. This is all to give the esophagus, stomach and intestines time to heal from the yarn damage and the surgery.  The dog is still not in the clear. We're not sure how much internal damage was done, and we have to feed her in tiny amounts to keep the stomach from expanding because of the stitches (he had to cut her stomach open to get the yarn out). There is still a chance she won't survive this.... but she has a MUCH better chance now than she did on Thursday night.

Yes, it was expensive, and yes the next couple weeks will be tough. But I love the little,dumb furball, and she's worth it.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

We Are Back.

I screwed up. Majorly.  I'm  not talking about your run of the mill "oops I forgot to pick up the kids" I'm talking about a huge, complete and absolute .... almost destroyed my marriage" kind of screw up.

What did I do? I "suspended" our flr arrangement and tried to go back to "typical."  After several talks with my Knight I started to believe that he was really just going along with flr to keep the peace. I believed that flr wasn't something the he really *wanted* .... that he was just going along so we wouldn't fight.  The clincher for me was when he said said orgasm control was "just like being with my ex."  I know how miserable he was with his ex, I know how badly her hang ups about sex screwed up my Knight's perceptions and ideas.  If  *anything* I do or say brings back those painful memories or feels like anything she did to him, I am TOTALLY on the wrong track.  After we had that conversation, there was little he could say to convince me that he was okay with the changes we'd made to our marriage. That one comparison was enough to completely convince me that I was being bossy, and manipulative... and not in a good way.

So.. I sat him down and told him I thought we should suspend the flr arrangement and go back to him being responsible for himself. I told him there would be on more lists.. no more more demands. That he was still expected to do his part..... but that I would no longer define "his part" for him. Toward the end of that conversation I told him that if I was wrong.. if he really didn't want to dissolve the flr he could prove that to me by sticking to the flr, and keeping the current daily requirements. That if he did that, I would reconsider.

But.. he didn't.  Almost immediately he started dropping the ball on things I asked of him.

I thought I was doing him a favor. I thought I was giving my Knight what he wanted.

I was WRONG. Very... VERY.. Wrong.

My Knight felt like he was being punished for something. He got angry, passive aggressive,  depressed, and distant. He says he felt like I "pulled the rug out from under him" and that he felt "like you didn't want me around anymore."

Never again.

A few weeks ago, I asked him why he had been so damned distant with me and the kids.. What the heck was going on with him. I'm not sure why he finally told me.... because it was not the first time I'd asked what was wrong.. but THIS time he told me exactly how unhappy and depressed he has been since I suspended our flr agreement. I learned exactly how he felt about it.

And I'm glad he finally talked to me.

We have reinstated our flr. And.. I have promised him that I will never.... NEVER suspend it for any reason whatsoever.. unless he actually says the words  "I don't want the flr anymore"


Knight has a thing for body piercings. I have a couple piercings that he gets to play with and take photos of when he's been really good...