Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Working the Ground

Last night we had a long car ride. I can't tell you the number of these car rides over the years that have passed in tortured silence as I thought over what I really wanted to say, about how I wanted whatever the fantasy of the moment was. THe vast majority of the time, unless we were in one of our handful of episodes of trying to work something out, those car rides passed in silence.

Last night was headed in the same direction, since I'm very sensitive to the argument, "All you ever talk about is this stuff." But thinking about "this stuff" got me started thinking about how couples deal with conflict, and whether we argue more or less than other couples in long relationships. So we talked about that, but then moved on to how couples handle conflict, and whether we argue less because we're both conflict averse.

At which point there was a silence and I *had* to bring this up in the context of a power exchange relationship, which is what I think this is. I suggested that having a very structured way of dealing with disagreement would allow us, as two conflict averse people, to deal with disagreements rather than push them under the surface, since they would imply conflict. I really hadn't intended to go there, but in all honesty, if we're actually doing this, felt that I had to.

And it was a great discussion. My beloved said things like
  • I don't want to just decide things, I want to hear what you have to say around them.
  • I don't want to ask for your opinion if it doesn't count
I said things like
  • I give you my best input; you take it in to account; you decide

She brought up a large house-hold task that hasn't been done because there are about three different solutions to the problem. "I want it to happen this way," she said. We didn't nail that down (although I internally acquiesed) as we set about dinner and other reasons for our trip.

Arriving at the restaurant, she looked at the specials and said, "You could have that..." Feeling uninhibited, I said that one of my long term fantasies was for her to order meals for me. I don't know why. I don't even really "care" about it the way I care about the big dynamics of our relationship. I just think it would be fun.

She just laughed and looked at me and said, "I just think you're a woman incarnated in the wrong body." I just said that it was nice to able to say this stuff even if it wasn't important.

During our nightly talk, she asked, "So what about that large house-hold task." I said, "As you wish" and that I just hadn't fit that into the conversation earlier. After she was done with our conversation and invited me to bed, I pointed out that I haven't been offering back rubs or foot rubs because the offering seemed to annoy her. But I had made that observation before she's come to enjoy the foot rubs.

She "interviewed her feet" and allowed me to rub them until she turned out the light. That was very fun. My beloved is very good to me.

Over the course of the evening, I had wondered, "What could she do that would make me really believe this is happening?" Then I realized that the right question was, "What could I do to make her believe this is really happening." A question I thought I might ask her. And then I realized that the right answer to that question was to do the little things, over and over, and to let her know how much I enjoy doing them, and to acknowledge and thank her for the things she does for me. Less dramatic, longer, harder, but in the end I suspect, more effective. I got a little taste of that reward today:

The IM conversation went like this:
  • Her: I prepped food X for dinner. Can you cook them or will that take to long?
  • Me: I think it will work
  • Her: Good, let's do that. And you'll get milk.
  • Me: As you wish
Life's small pleasures.

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