The whole purpose of having a blog for me is to write down stuff I think up so I can remember it later. Here's one of those insights:
It just doesn't work if she doesn't expect me to do stuff.
Here's what I mean: My beloved is a do-er, not a complainer. So it can be my "responsibility" to do the laundry or pay the bills, and if I don't do it (which I don't, or I do it sporadically), she picks up the slack. It's true that the more of these things I do, the less she has to do. I thought that was OK - not in the sense that the slacking was OK, but our relationship has always been cooperative. So if I'm doing as much as I can, it's natural for us, as has been for the last 25 years, for the other person to pick up the slack.
I realize now that this totally doesn't work because it doesn't create any reduction in what she's "responsible" for. In the sense that we're both responsible for keeping the household running. So if I do more stuff, she may do less stuff (or she may find other stuff to do), but the psychological weight of being responsible for getting all the business of running the household done is not reduced.
Let me also say that it's not a matter of my just doing more. It really needs to be an attitudinal shift on her part. Because she works at home. So no matter how much laundry I try to put through the system, she's going to be home when the stuff on the line gets dry, and she's going to be able to fold and put that away and start the next load. Nothing wrong with that per se, except that it means that she's still responsible for the laundry.
[It occurs to me that we could get to a place, once the expectations were right, that her doing the obvious practical thing like the laundry wouldn't do violence to the arrangement. But that depends on where we are and what our attitudes and expectations are. We could get there, but we're not there now.]
The other part of expectations is that it provides a standard by which to judge how good a job I'm doing. I'll make no secret of the fact that I want to be held to account by her and have her exercise her authority over me by assessing how I'm doing and providing or withholding privileges based on that, whether it's something "fun" like orgasm denial, or something un-fun like sleeping on the floor, or something mundane like no desserts or wine, or what. It really doesn't matter. What matters is a connection between what I'm responsible for doing to make her life easier, how well I do those things, and any other mudane part of life where she chooses to exercise her authority.
There are two stages to making this process "real" in my mind: doing something I'd rather not be doing, like being tired and working on the home business or the bills or a chore she's set out. And her assessment of the outcome of my work at some point - good enough or not good enough. It's not so much the reward and the punishment as her ability/authority to provide the reward or punishment. It's not even anything she has to do - just saying that I'm free to have an orgasm or not free to drink or have sweets until such-and-such a time. Those really do fall into the mode of Ms. Rika's quick reenforcements - the positive and the negatives. She need only take the time involved to assess the work and determine the outcome. I'm happy to do all the executing of the reward or punishment. It's the "she cares" part that I crave.
we'll have a long drive (to which she alluded) this weekend perhaps during which we can talk about this stuff. I'm also strongly inclined to show her this blog, because I really don't want there to be any secrets, and this is the last one.
Should be interesting.
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