“So describe your relationship. What makes your relationship unique?”
I remember being asked that question a few years ago. I’d love to tell you that I had a wonderful answer, which encompassed the beauty and passion of our lives together, but truth be told, I mumbled and stumbled my way to an answer. It wasn’t pretty and I knew it. Slave angie was in the same boat with her answer. Some titleholders we were going to be… can’t even really break down our M/s relationships. Well, we spent the next four years getting to that answer, and discovering a lot along the way. One of the greatest gifts and joys in this adventure has been the growth in our relationship, amazing growth that I am grateful for.
The question, though, to describe one’s relationship … that’s quite a broad question – where do we begin?
Lady Elsa, part of the International Power Exchange Couple 2012, asked a series of questions last month for potential contest/title candidates to ask of themselves. They are great questions to ask of a Power Dynamic relationship in general, whether you are running for a title, or considering how you want your relationship to develop, or you’ve come to a place where you feel stuck, or unsure of what you’re doing. I wish I could find them on Facebook or a more public venue, but she posted them on our favorite KinkyNet (my nickname for Fetlife – from Laura Atoniou’s book “The Killer Wore Leather”).
They are a set of 8 questions and this is what she had to say about them:
So, here’s my first draft in describing the levels. I invite you to try them out as relationship communication work or as a journaling exercise, thinking about your current relationship, or if you are currently single, about your ideal relationship. Note that “It depends,” or “We both do,” or “This isn’t really applicable to us” are all acceptable answers at any level. Note also that the order of the levels is not terribly significant; I generally tried to move from most life-altering to least, but each level could be argued for a different position.
So here’s the first two questions and the answer for our relationship. Over the coming days, as we might have slow days, I’ll answer the rest.
Level 1: How You Live. Who steers the overall course of your lives? Who decides where each of you will live, how each of you will be educated, and what each of you will do for a living? Who has decision-making authority over money, major purchases (house, car, boat), and vacations?
The overall course of our relationship is a collaborative effort, but at the end of the day, I steer the car and she helps to navigate. I say it’s a collaborative effort because I ask for her input, her thoughts and her personal goals and interests. They change, as we often do. Life often also provides challenges and opportunities that we take, usually related to family. Grandkids and kids affect the course of life, no matter how much I might want to be able to retire now. 🙂
I decide on where we’ll live, although I have an EXTREMELY helpful real-estate aware slave who loves to
give me heart attacks show me the latest values and opportunities in the market. I decide on our education, again with input from angie, or I grant permission when she comes to me with requests and suggestions. I made the decision for her to quit her jobs and stay home when she came down with lupus and it was obvious she couldn’t work anymore. I have the authority over our financial decisions, although I’ve granted her a fair amount of leeway on daily things and on purchases under a certain dollar amount.
It wasn’t easy to get to this point. Over the course of eleven years, angie has surrendered more and more to my authority to be where we are today. That’s come from trust and my actions as a responsible, ethical man. It’s also come from a collaborative effort because we work best as a team when we are both actively engaged, involved and aligned. It’s a constant back and forth, communicating and keeping in touch with where we’re at. I trust that she will follow, that there will not be backstabbing, or efforts to undermine me and my decisions because she doesn’t agree with them. A phrase she has used for those times, one she learned from Pony – International Ms. Bootblack 2009 – was “Even a wrong King is still the King.”
Level 2: Your Relationship. Who decides how much time you will spend together and what you will do with that time? Who assigns the labels, if any? Who decides when you will move to the next level of commitment? Who decides when the current dynamic isn’t working and needs tweaking?
My first answer was “the kids, grandkids and dog” but that’s only part of the truth. If by “decides”, you mean who has the final say-so, that would again be me. However, on a day to day basis, I don’t micromanage (with varying degrees of success on the “don’t” part) unless there’s something specific that I feel very strongly about. Since we live together, our time is pretty much divided up by our responsibilities and the (little) free time we have.
Assigning labels – that’s an interesting question. Labels are such a personal decision. This comes into an interesting area about “alignment” – if angie were to see “slave” in far different terms than I do, an M/s relationship would not work. Her own sexual orientation and gender identity is something that I can and have influenced, but at the end of the day, I’m working with what she already is. That is a far deeper discussion, about how my decisions and beliefs have opened doors for her to have the opportunity to discover new things about herself.
And then the changes to the dynamic part… well, I’ve previously posted about how I feel when/how a slave can say “no”, so ultimately we both decide, and it’s up to me to give the final OK on where we go. If she decides this relationship isn’t working, I’m 99.99% certain I would have seen it coming and we would have either been working on it or had one helluva falling out.
The next level part is not straightforward either, because I think we each grow in leaps and bounds. M/s is a journey and it’s not something static where I can look at angie and into “THOU SHALT NOW MOVE ON TO LEVEL 23 OF SLAVEHOOD. BEGIN.” Hehe. What I can say is that when I believe we have opportunities, I will move her/us towards them. We’re talking about things like that right now, as I figure once this titleholding year is done, we will have more time and more focus on ourselves. The question of deepening surrender is one angie’s been chewing on for a couple of weeks.
What do you think? How would you answer for your relationship?
This week, we are crowdsourcing for presentation ideas! We want to know what you want to learn. For more information, or to make a suggestion, please go here: https://ourmasterslavejourney.info/2014/11/10/tell-us-what-is-needed-crowdsourcing-new-presentations/