For the full story:
My First and I have been gently exploring our past relationship, and in doing so we have been exposing the fact that we never really understood each other. And when I say ‘never really understood’, I mean ‘had wildly different experiences in the same relationship’.
There was the ‘big misunderstanding‘ that underscored a lot of it, but it’s clear in hindsight that we didn’t have the vocabulary or the communication skills to navigate the complexities of our relationship.
I was a new Domme, experimenting with my power, pushing hard, possibly more dictator than compassionate partner.
He was a more experienced bottom, but had never before submitted, was younger, emotionally immature, he fell in love.
The result wasn’t good.
I was flexing some serious dominant muscle for the first time, exercising choices that worked for me, that were my right in the relationship. I don’t at all remember how (or if) I communicated those decisions, or what sort of voice he had in it, if any. On the vanilla-side, I obviously really liked him, we lived together for goodness’ sakes, but I never took him seriously as a partner: it just never felt quite right.
On his part, even though he was an experienced bottom, he had never truly submitted before. He desperately wanted to feel my desire, to bring me pleasure, to gain my approval, but felt the entire time that he was failing. Still, he fell in love. And at the bottom of all of that he harboured feelings of betrayal from quite early on in our time living together.
It was a messy mix that we didn’t have the skills to bring out into the open and discuss. So we each went forward oblivious of each others feelings and struggles.
From my side, our relationship wasn’t a grand love affair, but it was full of warmth, shared exploration, sweetness. I didn’t feel as if he was failing me, and I don’t remember ever expressing that (of course, I called out things if I was correcting him, but I don’t ever remember being frustrated or disappointed by any failure to please me).
From his side, our relationship was a mire of unhappiness with him struggling to keep his head above water. When I asked him recently if he had any happy memories, he talked about moments that were important to him, but even those he didn’t describe as ‘happy’.
He has never submitted to anyone since me: he has worked hard to avoid making himself that vulnerable ever again.
The realisation that we had such disparate experiences of our relationship is both fascinating and disturbing for me. I know I keep harping on about it, but my lack of awareness is shocking to me and over these past months, I have tried to understand how on earth it happened and to reassure myself that it couldn’t possibly have happened since.
On the one hand, I am selfishly pleased that he has never submitted to anyone after me (I’m not proud that I feel that way given it was born of hurt and terribleness, but I still feel it). It’s ego, pure and simple. I was his first, I own that part of him, I marked him: Mine. I’d feel that even if he went on to submit to others, but it is *more* mine because he didn’t.
On the other hand, his reasons for never submitting again are not because I was so awesome that he could never hope to reach that pinnacle again (which is what I *want* to hear of course), but because I damaged him so badly that he didn’t want to put himself in a position to go through that again.
I said once that I wasn’t his relationship from hell.
I was wrong.