There is a line between defensiveness and trust that oddly often feels ugly to me.
I don’t expect a stranger to trust me. That’s ludicrous. But I expect a potential partner to come to me with an open heart and willingness to speak to me without the expectation that I want to do him harm in some way.
I have spoken to some men who are constantly defensive about me ‘taking too much’ or ‘crossing their boundaries’ from the very beginning, suspiciously weighing every exchange, every request, every conversation and seemingly looking for some way that I am trying to fuck them over. They build walls from the very beginning and in it is an unspoken demand that I capitulate over and over to ‘prove’ that I’m not going to be one of ‘those Dommes’.
In that kind of attitude, he is always measuring the ‘cost’ of things, or the ‘fairness’ (whatever that means to him) of it, and he is likely to then balk at stuff because it’s ‘gone too far’ and now he doesn’t like it any more.
It’s hard to explain, but to me, this leads to an idea of submission that comes across as hugely conditional, not in the sense of limits, but in the sense that he will bring me a glass of water any time I want, but if I ask him 6 times, on the 7th, he will go “Hey, this isn’t fair! You are totally taking the piss!!” or “Okay, but then I get *this* in return because now I feel taken advantage of.”
When I feel that suspicion, that need to protect himself from me before we have even started, I pretty much know that I am never going to be able to get what I want from him. That might be unfair because there could be a million and one reasons that he is like that and maybe he will ‘get over it’ with time, or with me, but if he is a mature, grown up man, I don’t think that he *will* get over it. I think he is displaying a pretty fundamental part of who he is, and my ego isn’t big enough to believe that he will ‘change for me’.
The men I like are the exact opposite. They come into conversations with curiosity, interest, openness. If anything, they are perhaps too open because I am drawn to that potential for vulnerability. Their level of trust is generally appropriate for where we are in the process. And when we hit a point where it seems promising, they tend towards seeking out things that they can do for me, they lean heavily into “Here take it, take it, please, please!” and I’m the one going “Woah, hold on.” They trust me not to be looking for ways to harm them, and later, they will trust me to draw the lines for us.
It’s a little tricky because of course everyone has defensive walls, it is sensible to have them. I think the line is crossed for me when they are suspicious that *I* (me personally) am trying to find a way to do them harm when we are speaking as potential partners instead of coming into the dialogue relatively neutral. Dealing with it makes me exhausted, and there’s no way in hell that it’s going to be something that I am willing to bring into a relationship.