Great expectations

I know full well that people’s expectations differ, of course I know that! But I have recently seen a discussion on a BDSM forum that makes me wonder how something that is a fundamental expectation in my relationships, so fundamental that I would not think I would have to stress it, is actually no big deal to others.

Here’s all of the pertinent information from the original post from a submissive:

I was supposed to go to a party with my dom and backed out at the last minute. i fucked up and i know i did. what do i do?

There was no reason given, no further information was available. I was shocked (gosh, am I really so easily shocked?!) that every single respondent who replied before I did ALL thought that it was no big deal.

Now note that the poster gave no *reason* for backing out and nobody seemed to care what the reason was… A selection of the responses looked like this:

20F kinkster: just explain to him that you freaked out apologize. if he’s a good dom he will understand.

 

19F sadomasochist: I wouldn’t see it as THAT serious.

 

38M switch: that is not fucking up in my opion [sic]

 

39M switch: Explain that you had apprehensions and got cold feet. It’s understandable.

 

32F submissive: I can’t imagine it’s a punishable offense…there are times I don’t follow through on something for no other reason than because I simply don’t feel like it.

 

39M dominant: open honest communication and acceptance of the consequences, even if you had backed out for no apparent reason, other then gut feeling. just be honest. and stop beating yourself up. that is the Doms job

 

25M switch: I don’t see the big deal. Bailing on someone isn’t especially considerate, but it doesn’t sound like you bailed out of laziness or flakiness. It sounds like you bailed because you didn’t want to go.

WTF?!! *laugh*

I was the only female dominant who had responded to the thread at the time of writing this, and I was the *only* person who had a problem with it. *

My response:

As a dominant woman, if my submissive backed out of a commitment at the last minute for no good reason, I would be angry and disappointed.

For those who say it’s no big deal, I’m sorry, but a commitment is a commitment, and if I can’t believe someone when they say they will do something, then we have a pretty fundamental trust issue.

@OP:

If you had a valid reason, ok. If you didn’t then you need to examine what your issues are and figure out how YOU are going to deal with them and go to your dominant with a sincere apology, some self awareness and some solution as to how you will avoid this issue next time. That, to me, is the best you can do. Then you need to earn trust back that you will do what you say you will do.

Best of luck.

To me, that is completely unacceptable behaviour. I would be annoyed with friends who did that, I would be incredulous if my submissive did it. It’s not about going to a party, it’s about me being able to trust that he will do what he says he will. It’s that simple.

I am older than most respondents and I was the only person who identified as a female dominant who had responded to date. Relevant? Maybe. I found it quite funny that I truly was very shocked that *all these people* consider that a submissive not honouring a commitment to their dominant was just “Meh, so what?”.

Wow, just… wow!

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23 Comments

  1. I too would be livid whether as a D/s thing or a simple matter of manners it would not be trivial to me. It must be because we are old Ferns :)

    Coug

  2. I agree with you on the substance, Miss.

    I think the discussion dynamic you saw was not necessarily representative of the majority opinion. While the internet is famous for controversy, I've often seen a herd mentality, too, where the first person who posts a reaction draws out similar reactions. Maybe because their friends follow them to the discussion, and want to support them, I dunno.

  3. “No one can make you responsible, nor can you impose responsibility on another. It is a grace you give yourself – an empowering context that leaves you with a say in the matter of life.” – Werner Erhardt

    My response to this guy would be, you already did it, now own it. Do I take my own advice? Always, cept when I don't.

    rumiboy

  4. It depends on the reason, honestly Ferns.

    A child sick, someone died? No problem, just better communication next time.

    Anything else?

    Yeah, do better next time. You owe it others to live up to your word, esp. to a Domme, wife, or other important person in your life.
    Someone who constantly flakes can't be trusted, and can only lead to hurt and disappointment for others.

    I was stood up by a Domme on more than one occasion. One retained my respect for she apologized and made it up to me.

    Another merely flaked out and never responded back so I never found out why I wasted a whole day of my time.

    Clarence

  5. I'm surprised you're making such a big deal out of something that really isn't…It's not like they promised to go to the doms mothers funeral then backed out last second because they didn't feel like going out. They just didn't want to go to the party.

    Even if we just say the reason was they simply did not feel like going, why is this such a big deal? Do you want to be at a party with someone who doesn't want to be there? If you said you've never had a time where you wanted to do something but then when the time came, you weren't feeling up to it anymore, you'd be lying. For someone to then get pissed off at you for it just seems…well, for a lack of better words, really stupid.

  6. Brids:

    I think our lady is thinking more in terms of a date: something that requires her to give up time or money or both to prepare for.

    So long as decent reasons exist for a flake it's ok, but one should not be expected to put up with someone who made a habit of it. I am mostly with Ms. Ferns on this.

    Clarence

  7. Coug: “I too would be livid whether as a D/s thing or a simple matter of manners it would not be trivial to me. It must be because we are old”

    I do think that was a factor, yes. I also wondered (and in fact started a discussion on it) whether it was a female dominant trait, that we are stricter about obedience, have higher expectations of behaviour from our submissives than male dominants.

    There are also, of course, the sub-groups (mistress (master)/slave) who have particular expectations.

    Maybe it was just an anomoly, and I was as much shocked at my own reaction (going 'WTF?!' at me going 'WTF?!' *laugh*) as the thread itself.

    Ferns

  8. Étienne: “…I've often seen a herd mentality, too, where the first person who posts a reaction draws out similar reactions.”

    This is very true, yes… the first few responsese can set the tone and draw out a lot of 'me too' nodding and agreement.

    Ferns

  9. rumiboy: “My response to this guy would be, you already did it, now own it.”

    I agree, and I do wonder if the responses would have been different if the OP had been a male submissive (it was a female submissive). I also wonder if the responses would have been different if she had not been loudly wailing and calling herself a fuck up, which draws a lot of sympathy.

    “Do I take my own advice? Always, cept when I don't.”

    Ha! Don't we all!?

    Ferns

  10. Clarence: “It depends on the reason, honestly Ferns.”

    Of course it does, but in the thread, the OP gave no reason and no-one asked “Why did you do that?”. They all seemed to be perfectly happy to go “Meh, no biggie” without caring what the reason was.

    “Someone who constantly flakes can't be trusted, and can only lead to hurt and disappointment for others.”

    This, exactly. To me it is a question of being able to trust that my submissive will do what he says he will do. I say, he does. IF there is a problem, then we talk about it, he doesn't get to just go “Yeah, don't wanna”.

    “I was stood up by a Domme on more than one occasion.”

    *nod* Bad as this is, it's a different issue. She was not *your* Domme, right? And 'standing someone up' is a completely different level of unacceptable.

    Ferns

  11. Brids: “I'm surprised you're making such a big deal out of something that really isn't…”

    Thank you Brids, I am glad there is someone with a differing opinion piping up.

    “It's not like they promised to go to the doms mothers funeral then backed out last second because they didn't feel like going out. They just didn't want to go to the party.”

    I actually think this is a key difference in attitude and it's a good point that I think is probably reflected in the responses.

    But to me, the *what* doesn't matter… my submissive's word isn't dependent on “how important the thing is”. I don't say “It's ok not do what I want and it's ok not to what you say you will do if the 'thing' is kind of frivolous, oh, and you can make a call on which ones they are, sweetie”. That's not obedience and it's not submission. It's him doing whatever he feels like doing (or not).

    “Even if we just say the reason was they simply did not feel like going, why is this such a big deal?”

    The big deal is that they made a commitment, and then they backed out at the last minute. Let's pretend this is NOT D/s, that this is a vanilla relationship. You've agreed to a date with someone, you get in the mood, get ready, get dressed, are excited, then your date rings you up 10 minutes before and says “Yeah, I don't feel like it now, I'm not coming”. You might be disappointed, but you go “Ok” and let it be.

    How many times does this have to happen before you go “What the hell?! You are unreliable, I can't trust what you say and I am not going to bother with you anymore!” Twice? Three times? Ten times?

    For me, once is enough to no longer trust that they will stand by their word. The second time we set up a date, I would be ringing up the day before (“We still ok for tomorrow, right?”), an hour before (“We're still going, right?”), then ten minutes before (“I'm on my way, you are still coming, right?”). They have shown me that they will cancel on a whim, I can no longer trust what they say, and personally, I won't deal with it.

    Now add the fact that he is my submissive, and the issue is highlighted tenfold. Yes, I absolutely expect my submissive to do things he doesn't want to do unless it hits some hard limit (“going to a party that I changed my mind about going to” as a hard limit is unlikely).

    “Do you want to be at a party with someone who doesn't want to be there?”

    That's a whole other issue. If my submissive is going to be a pouty whiny child every time I have him do something that he doesn't want to do, then we have a completely different problem to deal with.

    “If you said you've never had a time where you wanted to do something but then when the time came, you weren't feeling up to it anymore, you'd be lying.”

    Here's the difference: I would go anyway if I made a commitment to a friend or partner to go with them because a commitment is a commitment and keeping my word (even if it's not a 'pinkie promise, cross my heart hope to die' promise) is important to me. “I don't feel like going” doesn't trump “I agreed that I would go with you”.

    “For someone to then get pissed off at you for it just seems…well, for a lack of better words, really stupid.”

    It is about expectations, which is my point. You would not be compatible with someone who expected you to keep to a commitment that you made. As the responses to the thread showed, there are plenty of people who don't care about it, so you are not the lone ranger here, but to call it 'stupid' is missing the point.

    Ferns

  12. I wonder if it's more of a female dom thing than an age thing. I'm only 27, and I'd be very unhappy with a sub who suddenly backed out of coming to a party, especially at the last minute.

    If it was supposed to be a first meeting, I'd almost certainly give up on him. If it was an established relationship, we'd end up having a long talk about what submitting to me means to him. At that point he'd have to come up with some extremely good reasons if he wanted to keep being *my* submissive.

  13. “But to me, the *what* doesn't matter… my submissive's word isn't dependent on “how important the thing is”.”

    I'm aware of that. I don't mean that they should necessarily be canceling left, right and center every time something that doesn't seem very important comes up. But if you don't want to go on a date or to a party or whatever with someone, as long as you're not doing it constantly I don't see the problem.

    I don't know how you're loss of trust works but if you can instantly lose a bunch of trust in someone for canceling last minute just once, it sounds like you never had much trust in them to begin with.

    “How many times does this have to happen before you go “What the hell?! You are unreliable, I can't trust what you say and I am not going to bother with you anymore!” Twice? Three times? Ten times?”

    Two or three times but that's my point. As long as it's only done once, it's really not a big deal.

    “They have shown me that they will cancel on a whim, I can no longer trust what they say, and personally, I won't deal with it.”

    Just so it's clear, whom do you do this with? A guy whose suppose to go on their first date with you or the boyfriend you've had for two years?

    “Here's the difference: I would go anyway”

    Every single time? I go to things I don't want to as well but I certainly don't go to *everything* that I don't want to. Sometimes I get really sad and often all it takes is a phrase in a youtube video or a word in a book to make me feel that way. Other times I'm just in the mood or be a alone or don't feel very social. If people can't accept that, well…I don't know if I want to be around such intolerant people in the first place. Again though, this is provided it's a rare thing, which in my case and likely many others, it is.

    Also, are we talking about a 24/7 dynamic here? Cause that would change things a bit, though the loss in trust would still strike me as an issue that existed before the date was canceled.

    “You would not be compatible with someone who expected you to keep to a commitment that you made.”

    I don't think it was meant to come across this way but this comment struck me as extremely judgmental given that all you have to go off of is the two paragraphs above. I think I could be compatible with someone who expected me to follow through on my commitments.

    What I wouldn't be compatible with is people who would actually lose a large chunk of trust or even end the relationship over one instance where I didn't want to go do something.

  14. “loudly wailing and calling herself a fuck up, which draws a lot of sympathy.”

    It would just draw a bloody good slap from me!

    Coug

  15. PART I (tl;dr!)

    Brids: “But if you don't want to go on a date or to a party or whatever with someone, as long as you're not doing it constantly I don't see the problem.”

    Doing it once, when it's an anomaly, is not a deal breaker, but to me, it *is* a problem. I explained in my blog post how I would handle it and how I would expect *them* to handle it. If my submissive argued with me that it was no big deal, even the first time, then we have a fundamental mismatch in expectations, which is my point.

    Mismatched expectations cause a hellish number of problems in relationships.

    “I don't know how you're loss of trust works but if you can instantly lose a bunch of trust in someone for canceling last minute just once, it sounds like you never had much trust in them to begin with.”

    To me, trust grows with time where the other person shows that they are consistent, reliable, truthful, honest, well intentioned, have integrity etc etc as my interactions with them progress.

    It can be broken, though, in an instant (I am speaking broadly here, extremes… cheating, stealing etc)… The type and level of break obviously depends on what type of breach of trust it is.

    It actually doesn't take much for someone to breach my trust, but I absolutely agree with you that it's not an on/off switch or an 'all or nothing' proposition, they can chip away at the edges of trust with their behaviour.

    If they did not follow up on a commitment to me because they didn't feel like it, then yes, that's a big dent for me (my trust that they will follow through on what they said is shaken) and I would want to handle it THEN *before* there was a second time. One instance, handled well, and then the time to repair it is fine, but there is a big difference between that approach and the idea that 'meh, it doesn't matter'.

    “Two or three times but that's my point. As long as it's only done once, it's really not a big deal.”

    Ok, so we don't disagree on the principle, just on the degree. You have a higher tolerance than I do, and there is nothing wrong with that. I will happily admit that my tolerance for a lot of things is very low, I communicate my expectations and not meeting those has consequences.

    This one threw me because I would not have thought that I would have to spell out that bailing on a commitment at the last minute without a good reason would be a problem. Live and learn!

    Ferns

  16. PART II (really really tl;dr!!!!)

    Brids: “”Just so it's clear, whom do you do this with? A guy whose suppose to go on their first date with you or the boyfriend you've had for two years?”

    Going by the example, I made an assumption that the relationship had developed to a point where they agreed that they were “dominant and submissive” with each other. So in that sense, for me, I am considering the protagonist “my submissive”.

    Me: “Here's the difference: I would go anyway”
    Brids: “Every single time?”

    Yes, unless I had a valid reason, I would go. “I don't feel like it” isn't a valid reason for me. I am terribly antisocial and honestly, if I bailed every time I didn't feel like going to something, I would never go anywhere.

    “Also, are we talking about a 24/7 dynamic here?”

    All of the pertinent information was given in the OP, I made no assumptions in my response other than that there *was* a D/s relationship, and for my interpretation, I of course used 'what that means to me'.

    Me: “You would not be compatible with someone who expected you to keep to a commitment that you made.”
    Brids: “…this comment struck me as extremely judgmental given that all you have to go off of is the two paragraphs above.”

    It is not judgemental (though I don't at all shy away from being judgemental, I totally am), it was an observation based on the fact that you didn't think it was a big deal to back out of a commitment at the last minute. It simply follows that you would not be compatible with someone who thought that *was* a big deal.

    It's no more judgemental than me saying that I would not be compatible with someone who *didn't* think it was a big deal.

    “I think I could be compatible with someone who expected me to follow through on my commitments.”

    Now we are getting to something slightly different, which is the likelihood that you and I have very different ideas about what that means, and that is what negotiation is for, to uncover those things and deal with them, hopefully well before something comes up that reveals a mismatch in expectations. It does illustrate an addendum to my point, though, that expectations can still be very different even when you both use the same words to explain something.

    “What I wouldn't be compatible with is people who would actually lose a large chunk of trust or even end the relationship over one instance where I didn't want to go do something.”

    True, yes.

    Ferns

  17. Stabbity: “I wonder if it's more of a female dom thing than an age thing. I'm only 27, and I'd be very unhappy with a sub who suddenly backed out of coming to a party, especially at the last minute.”

    I did wonder that also, and started another discussion to ask the question. There was no overwhelming consensus on it in general, but it was pretty clear that most women absolutely saw it as an issue.

    “If it was an established relationship, we'd end up having a long talk about what submitting to me means to him.”

    *nod* I didn't really touch on this, but it is absolutely a question in terms of expectations. “I thought submitting meant x, but you obviously thought it meant y… [much discussion and flailing of arms ensues…]”…

    Ferns

  18. Coug: “It would just draw a bloody good slap from me!”

    *chuckle*

    I would be very curious to know how the exact same post would be taken if it was made by a male sub, even with the wailing and 'I'm such a fuck up'edness…

    Ferns

  19. Perhaps Mistress has trained me well… but i wouldn't *dare* to back out of a commitment i've made to Her. I know i'm just chiming in at this point to the general consensus, but as a sub i like to know my Domme will call on me and rely on me to follow through.

    As to the female Top/male Top comparison, in my experience my female Tops aren't exactly more strict in their requests, but they are more consistent and precise in their follow through.

    thanks for getting my wheels turning this morning Miss!

    xo Mina

  20. Mina: “…as a sub i like to know my Domme will call on me and rely on me to follow through.”

    *smile* This wasn't discussed here, but it's a great point. I have that kind of relationship also, where my submissive would think there was something wrong if I *didn't* call him out on it. That's a really good sign of compatibility.

    “…in my experience my female Tops aren't exactly more strict in their requests, but they are more consistent and precise in their follow through.”

    Ahhh…ok, now that's interesting! Thank you!

    “thanks for getting my wheels turning this morning”

    You're very welcome!

    Ferns

  21. I'd just like to reiterate here it's not a D/s thing with me but manners I would never expect anybody to just not bother to turn up to anything I had arranged no matter what it was.

    Coug

  22. Coug: “I'd just like to reiterate here it's not a D/s thing with me but manners I would never expect anybody to just not bother to turn up to anything I had arranged no matter what it was.”

    To be fair she didn't stand him up, she backed out at the last minute, but I completely understand your point and agree. I would be pissed off if a friend did it to me and consider it pretty rude, but agog if my submissive did it…

    Ferns

  23. Brids: “What I wouldn't be compatible with is people who would actually lose a large chunk of trust or even end the relationship over one instance where I didn't want to go do something.”

    This is exactly the thing I'm being charged of with a dear friend of mine. I obsess about it here. I don't see this is as a d/s question at all, I see it as caring and sticking to your commitments. My friend, I guess, just doesn't understand how it can be, and has therefore lost her trust in me (like described above) when I lost my trust in her *just because of a one time fuckup*. Just like you said, Ferns, mismatched expectations make for poor grounds for a relationship of any kind. I see it for the first time clearly.

    **

    I'm just wondering, how people's moderately bad feelings (not feeling like it) overthrow the relationship, commitment and most importantly the feelings of the other one, who trusts them and is waiting for them. I think that's incredibly selfish, and I wouldn't really want to associate myself with people like that. Don't make commitments, if it's impossible for you to keep them. What does the commitment mean, then, if it can be canceled by anything at all?

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