I have been spellbound by your relationship with your first. One because you have talked about it so b’fully and secondly because despite being deeply submissive I can be the the kind of person who would not give his mistress the shirt he was about to throw away.
Having aspergers I have considerable difficulty understanding people’s intentions and having been emotionally manipulated and bullied as a child I can be quite suspicious. I am also at that age when I can tell when something is wrong but not the experience or understanding to do something about it. So I thought perhaps I could borrow yours :) .
I wonder how your first changed post his relationship. How he feels about his younger self now. And how would you have handled the situation if you had the advantage of knowing the things you do now.
Thanks so much for your note. I’m really glad you have found the retrospective interesting (it is to me also *smile*).
A few things I wanted to clarify first.
I think that when you are dealing with a mental or cognitive condition that impacts how you relate to someone (either in how you receive input or how you react to it), everything changes because the ‘why’ changes. And if you are open with your partners about your issues, then it creates an environment where they will hopefully take the time to understand your motivation, whereas when you are talking about neuro-typical folks who know each other well, most of the time an assumption about their motivation is going to be the right one.
Secondly, the sweatshirt incident wasn’t the act that made me think he was selfish: by itself it was an irrelevant moment. It was just the first time that I had a definitive example of behaviour that clearly demonstrated what I already felt but couldn’t put into concrete terms. That is, it validated a feeling that I already had.
“I wonder how your first changed post his relationship. How he feels about his younger self now.”
He talked about this quite a bit in his post and his comments as ‘Her First’ (I can’t create a link to those as a set). If you missed them, go and have a look. They are really thoughtful and revealing. I don’t think I have much to add.
“And how would you have handled the situation if you had the advantage of knowing the things you do now.”
It’s a good question and I want to answer it because while I have touched on the superficialities in other posts (creating a safe space, making communication part of D/s etc), there is something fundamental underneath that I haven’t yet talked about.
I can talk about handling the relationship differently, but the truth is that with the experience I have now, I think I would have seen early on that he wasn’t a good fit for me, and I suspect I wouldn’t have entered into a relationship with him. But I didn’t have that experience yet, and he was so many things that I wanted that I flew past all of my usual caution. And I don’t care what anyone says, finding a quality submissive man is HARD, so I wasn’t willing to let this one pass by without grabbing him.
The issue I had with him was the same issue that I had with vanilla men before him, and that was that he was scared of me. I don’t mean ‘quaking in his boots’ kind of afraid. I mean that he was a natural pleaser (which is exactly what I wanted), but some men are not just pleasers, they are *scared* of not pleasing. Scared that I will like them less, that I will be angry, that I will withdraw love, affection, all that. When you couple a man who is afraid of not pleasing with a woman like me, he loses himself in a never-ending spiral of contortionist-level manoeuvring to try and fit into the mould that he thinks I want, and still he will never feel good enough because that underlying fear is not what I want. In the face of it, I get frustrated and angry. Which makes it all worse. Cue never-ending cycle.
In my vanilla life, striking this kind of man over and over made me so frustrated I didn’t even know what to do with it: I was attracted to men who would do what I wanted, and they were attracted to me, and yet it failed over and over and I didn’t quite understand why. In hindsight, I can see that the problem was that they were scared to displease me, which meant they were doing those contortions to fit into the ‘perfect man’ box until they were jello, and there was nothing left of the man I liked in the beginning.
What I want is a man who is firm in the shape of himself, who has a strong sense of who he is and what he believes, who is opinionated and wilful, who is confident, knows his worth, and who *keeps* that even while he lays it all down at my feet and offers it up for me to do with as I please. He may hate and loathe displeasing me (as he should!), but it doesn’t make him *afraid*. I need him to be emotionally fearless.
There’s a big difference between the latter kind of man and the former.
From my side, I realise now that there is a chasm between ‘who I think I am’ and ‘who I really am’. I imagine myself to be easy-going, approachable, a good person. At the same time, I recognise that I am selfish and demanding and reserved. Men who get involved with me will feel a lot of the latter if it’s not working, and that can be a cold place. When I talk about wanting a man who is emotionally fearless, it’s because I need him to hammer down those walls and throw himself into the fray over and over and take whatever hits are coming. When I get that, I melt and we will mould ourselves to each other. He gets into the soft inner core, and I will hold him there with a level of care you can hardly imagine. But without that emotional fearlessness, I get colder and colder, more and more detached, and the walls do not shift. And that makes me impatient and frustrated and often unkind.
I’ve said before that I am difficult. That encompasses a lot of things, but of all things, I am difficult emotionally. I know this now. I didn’t then, I just figured I was a bitch. I expected too much and was frustrated when I didn’t get it because I didn’t understand why. And instead of caring for those who crossed my path and fell under the steamroller, I blamed them for not being what I wanted, for not getting out of the way. It was unfair.
Now, if I see someone standing in front of the steamroller, and I don’t think they have the ability to deal with it, I will simply turn the wheel and go around them.