It might seem that focussing on the needs and desires of your partner would leave you open to being taken advantage of and not able to fully have your own needs met. I think that this can be a common misconception of those who do not have a full understanding of how a D/s dynamic actually works. The stereotype of a very controlling Dom who sets rules and tasks so that his own selfish needs are met should be far from the truth and while this can happen, these sorts of relationships are not healthy and not loving. When D/s works properly, each partner is focussed on the other, so each person’s needs are met.
What has been interesting for me is having someone else to prioritise my needs and look after me. While I see myself and being strong and capable, I am much better at looking after others than at looking after myself. I will push myself to the maximum to help other people. I will put their needs before my own and not create the boundaries which I should to prevent myself from being taken advantage of. I will also set myself high standards which are very hard to meet and beat myself up metaphorically if I don’t manage to meet them. So all in all, I am not very good at taking care of myself.
I will eventually draw a line but usually this is at the very last minute. I won’t put the brakes on and pull back until I am pushed right to the maximum, rather than heeding the warning signs and stopping sooner. My mindset tends to be just-a-little-bit-more as I squeeze the last bit of energy out of myself instead of stopping sooner in order to re-charge. The effects of this are not harmful but neither are they positive. Feeling emotionally wrung out can be one, suffering with regular migraines is another, and neither of these are things which pass by unnoticed in a relationship. In fact, they impact upon it.
The people who are close to me tend to be the ones who suffer, well perhaps suffer is too strong but certainly they are the ones who end up making allowances for me when I have pushed myself too far for other people. I think that this is often the way but it doesn’t make it right. D/s has helped this in two ways: it has meant that I am told when I have to pull back or stop and it has also meant that I there are things in place which help me to take time for myself and make me stronger and more able to cope with the challenges that come my way.
This flip side of this is that there is more quality Me for those who I really care about. I have more left to give than if I was left to my own devices. I suppose in that sense I can meet HL’s needs more effectively because I have more energy to anticipate and prioritise them. Rather than him deciding there is no play because I am exhausted, he can decide that there is, and have me right where he wants me. He looks after me and makes sure I look after myself which means I am better able to look after him, so it makes a lot of sense for us.
The fact that he loves me more than I love me means that he takes better care of me than I would. He will make me stop and take a break. I will have to be home by a certain time and not work beyond a certain point. He will ask me about my day and make sure that I offload any difficult emotional baggage that I am carrying. I will have to be in bed by a certain time so that I get enough sleep and will also have to drink enough water to be properly hydrated throughout the day. Psychologically I can struggle with body image so he will make sure that I am sticking to the right amount of exercise and making good dietary choices.
Being given instructions and directions also helps because it means that I stop without feeling guilty like I might do otherwise. I might be told to go and take a bath, or sit and write a blog post, or catch up on my social media and because that is what he wants me to do, it makes it much easier to enjoy it. It stops me from thinking and trying to micro manage which actually tires and stresses me more. I can just go with the me time I have been given and that is an important part of my self-care. In a lot of ways my me time has become submissive time and I slip into the headspace that goes along with that; it allows me to be a better version of myself.
F4TFriday #67 – In Your Own Space