The other day, N, a classmate and friend of my oldest son, called my house very angry, demanding to talk to him immediately. Oldest son took the phone downstairs, and while I couldn't make out any of the conversation, I could hear the unmistakable tone of my son's voice: first surprised, then defensive. When he came back upstairs, I asked him what had happened.
"I took N's book, and N was mad," he said.
"How did you get N's book? And why?" I asked.
"I took it from the classroom. I couldn't find mine, and N wasn't there, so M [another mutual classmate and friend] told me to take N's book and he would let N know I had it."
"Wait, let me get this straight. You were in the classroom, and you couldn't find your book."
"So M told you to take N's."
"And you did."
"Yes. I don't know why N is so mad. M told him I had his book; it's not like I stole it."
"Well, see, you kinda did steal it. Just because M told you it would be okay to take it doesn't make it okay."
He seemed very confused by this, and frankly, I was taken aback by his confusion. "Listen kiddo, if M told you it would be okay to hit N in the face, kick him in the balls, would that make it okay?"
"And if M told you it would be okay to poison N's food with bleach, would that make it okay then?"
"Of course not," he laughed nervously.
"M told you to take someone else's book without asking. Tell me, is taking something that doesn't belong to you usually okay?"
"So why was it okay after M told you it would be okay? How did M giving you permission to do it make it okay? Guess what: it didn't. You owe N an apology, and I'll drive you over there to give him his book back."
My son was embarrassed, and felt humiliated by having to apologize (all teenage boys hate to admit they're wrong, I think), but he learned the lesson.
When Husband and I began to understand years ago what we had was a BDSM relationship, a D/D lifestyle, we started using the terminology--words like boundaries and limits, soft and hard. And what I realized is that, for us, a hard limit can be defined as anything that you would not do because to you, it is simply not okay. It would not matter how many times someone else told you it would be okay, or under what circumstances it might be made okay; you would not do it, period. THE END.
One of our boundaries is, obviously, cheating. I would never cheat on Husband. This is not because I don't think I could get away with it, and not because I know how much it would hurt him; it is because I would not be able to live in my own skin if I did that. And it wouldn't matter if Husband asked me to have a threesome with him, or have sex with another man (or woman) while he watched; it wouldn't matter how much he wanted me to cheat. I would not do it. Period. (In this regard, our boundaries are completely compatible, because I know this is a hard limit for him, too.)
Another one of my hard limits is needles. When I was a little girl, I was run over by a drunk driver, and in the hospital for months. I had to regain the use of my leg; I had to learn how to walk again. I came away from that whole trauma with a severe phobia of needles. This has had a severely negative effect on my life; I went through natural childbirth twice, not because I have anything against medicine during birth, but because I didn't want any needles. Husband knows if I ever become diabetic, I might let myself die rather than face the prospect of sticking myself with needles everyday. It is a problem.
So (needless to say...pun intended) it wouldn't matter how many times he begged me to let him stick me with needles, or let someone else stick me while he watched; I would not let him do it. It's a hard limit for me. End of story.
The way I see it is, anything that can be discussed, anything that can be negotiated, is a soft limit. Sometimes it can be worked through, and sometimes not; sometimes it's a matter of finding the right person to stretch or break the limit with. And sometimes, these things just take time, and a chance to work things out with the right person.
But hard limits cannot be negotiated, or bargained, or most of time, even "tested." And it doesn't really matter if the Dom/Top understands the reasons behind the hard limit, or accepts it as reasonable. He has to take it as is, respect it, and hold to it. And if he doesn't think he can do that, the only other choice he has is to walk away.
Posts might be sporadic for a while. I'm trying to finish up a Bentmoore story, and need to devote my time and energy to that. I'll do the best I can juggling both the story and the blog.