Being in a kinky, poly M/s relationship, arguing with my partner presents some rather unique challenges as compared to past relationships of mine. Namely, that yelling, “fuck you and your taste in salad dressing!” and slamming the door will earn you immediate punishment instead of hours of pointless passive aggressive debate.
Now on the outset the idea that arguments could be solved with a simple Master-is-right-slave-is wrong-unless-it-pleases-Master-for-slave-to-be-right mentality was really refreshing, because it meant that it often wasn’t worth it to get into dumb petty arguments about shit like toilet paper, or what to have for dinner. So we never did. Honestly, I thought I’d stumbled on the magical solution for those petty relationship squabbles. I would walk through the grocery store listening to couples fight over steak or chicken and think “I am so above that shit. We are so above that shit. Isn’t it wonderful that a power dynamic solved all my past relationship problems?”
For those petty stupid problems an M/s dynamic actually does work quite well for resolving conflict, I’ll get behind that. Because if one partner is given unilateral power to make those little decisions that breed ridiculous resentment and discontent, and for the other partner acquiescing to those demands is sexy… well, I see no problem there.
There is, however, a problem when that attitude bleeds over into major life things. When, in my own head I began to internalize the idea that arguing with my Master was not only pointless and unslave-like, it might de-stabilize our dynamic. My desire to serve might be called into question. My role in his life might be a little less convenient. It was compounded by my Master’s tendency, when called into question, to get aggressively defensive.
So rather than argue with my Master about major life issues, I began instead to
To make arguing even more challenging for me, I had such positive re-enforcement given when I simply caved to his every whim, because when he’s pleased with me, its like being face raped by the brightest fucking rays of sunshine. So to call him out, see him upset, and know that you’re just going to end up feeling like the one wrong anyways, plus now he’s going to be pissed…Well, that’s like being ass raped by the Queen of England wearing cactus for a strapon. Its uncomfortable- hell it fucking hurts, but it’s the goddamn queen of England and you should accept her displeasure.
Now, to my Master’s credit, we’re much better now. But it took a third party to point out that I was letting the triple threat of my desire to please, his aggressive defense tactics, and my overarching belief that he truly, always knew best, get in the way of my voice in the relationship. I let these things get in the way, too, of something of value I bring to relationships, an astonishing capacity for analyzing the past, determining patterns, and applying them to potential future outcome. Long-term foresight- I’m really great at it.
I should have seen the damage that going along with everything my Master said would do, and I failed to see it. He now owns his mistakes, and has done everything in his power to set them right, giving up quite a few of the conveniences of having a girlfriend with no real say in the direction a relationship takes. Yet even now that this serious flaw in our M/s dynamic has been pointed out, arguing with someone I’m in a power dynamic with continues to be a challenge, because its always a struggle to determine whether what I’m upset about is of consequence, or not. When you throw in decisions revolving around non-hierarchical poly into the mix, its even more confusing.
The awesomely kick ass thing about poly though, is that I now have this loving third party, with investment in my partner and understanding of my Master’s unique whims and ways to bounce things off of when I’m unsure. A person to say, “Hey, so this thing, I’m not sure if it’s a PROBLEM problem, or just a problem.” Often times, its this other voice that tells me when its time to swallow my slave-y pride and say “with all due respect Sir, I think you may need to think about it this way instead.”
This isn’t to say that having another invested individual around makes arguing within a power dynamic suddenly simple. Quite the opposite in fact, as now there are three relationships in play, two power exchanges, one delicate dance of metamours, and three very different ways of dealing with criticism all attempting to deflect each other. When my Master’s puffer fish-esque defense tactics run into my black hole of suck and negativity, its bad enough. Throw a word vomiting over-analyzer into the mix and all of a sudden you’re feeding each other’s bad conflict resolution habits. It’s like Poly survivor with people making allegiances and voting each other’s understanding of their relationship realities off the Poly island.
Ultimately, when it comes to arguing in a power dynamic, I guess I’ve settled on this weird grey area where I just try to keep this one idea I’ve had on my mind lately in the forefront of my decision making. The very best way I can serve is to strive to help my Master be the best fucking human being he can be. Sometimes that means making sure his house is spotless, his dishes and laundry done, and his back rubbed, so he can focus on himself. Sometimes that means supporting him, holding him, having his back when he’s going through times of uncomfortable personal growth. But sometimes- sometimes the very best way I can serve is to provide alternative insight and perspectives into the things he’s struggling with. Insight and perspectives that he’s overlooked, or isn’t seeing.
Sometimes that means pinning him down and bashing him in the face with his mistakes and shortcomings. That sucks for everyone involved, and temporarily shifting the balance of power in our relationship is sometimes the fallout of one of those Come to Jesus talks. More often then not all three of us get involved, and while early on these talks were full weekend State of the Union affairs, lately, they seem to be going easier. Fewer tears, better resolutions, and fewer “wait, you guys are doing/did what/ did who? Regardless too, of the outcome of these talks, they always end up bringing me back around to stand at his side, rather than over him with his issues wielded like a club. And it’s at his side where I feel I really belong. Sometimes falling in step, sometimes trailing behind picking up the pieces, and sometimes, dragging him kicking and screaming down a new, better scary path, knowing all the while that as long as I’m in the front, I’ll be able to head off the pitfalls and thorns.
It’s been worth it every time I’ve done this, taken the lead and a face full off thorns for it. Its worth it, because more often than not on the other side there is a better, stronger Master, supporting me in turn, caring for me, and quietly sweeping aside the thorns on my own path that my super duper awesome powers of uber foresight failed to see.