Saturday, December 22, 2012

When Roles Change

This post has been on my mind for a while. I've been putting it off, and you will soon understand why; but now that the situation has passed, it's a little bit easier to write about it.

A short while ago, Husband got laid off. It was sudden, yet expected; shocking, but by no means a surprise. We had been preparing ourselves for the moment, anticipating it as best we could, but there was no real way we could have been ready when it arrived.

A few days after he was laid off, we were lying in bed together, clinging to one another as if we were in the midst of a wailing wind storm, desperately trying to hold on. He turned to me in the dark, his cheek touching mine. As his lips grazed my cheek, he asked me, "Are we going to be okay?"
"Yeah, we'll be okay," I said.
But this failed to mollify him. "If I don't get another job soon," he asked, his voice high and full of buried fear, "are you going to take the kids and leave me?"
The question flummoxed me. "Why would even think that?"
"Because it's my job to make money for the family. If I'm not...." He couldn't finish the sentence.

Dear readers, that moment was one of the lowest points of our marriage. It's hard to write about it. It's hard to think about it.
I reassured him as best I could, shocked he would even entertain such an idea...but maybe I shouldn't have been.

In a 1950's D/s household, roles are clearly defined. I am the homemaker; I take care of the house and children. Husband is the breadwinner.
His layoff turned our world on its axis. For the first time since I've known him, Husband was no longer earning a salary. In his mind, his role had been not just been damaged, it had been corrupted. I was fulfilling my role, but he was not doing his part, not anymore.

Many people mistakenly believe in a D/s relationship, the sub does most of the "work." She must complete any menial tasks her Dom puts forth. She must follow orders, and obey the rules. She must conform to his wishes. She must do as told.
The Dom barks orders, and the sub tows the line.
But this is so far beyond the truth, it's ridiculous. Being the head of a 1950's household is like being the captain of a ship: yes, you give orders...but the responsibility of the entire craft and crew is on your shoulders. The onus is on you to make sure everything goes right, because if you shirk, or if you blunder, the entire ship may sink.
It's a heavy burden to carry. Not many can do it.
Husband does it, and does it well--but for the first time ever, I got a glimpse into how closely he identifies himself with his role.
If he wasn't acting as captain of the ship, if his authority was compromised...what good was he?

I'm happy to report Husband has already landed another job. A better job, in fact; he's excited about his work again, and he's optimistic about the future. I am so, so glad.
But I have some work to do now, too. I need my husband to understand my love for him transcends any role he may fulfill or title he holds. Someday, if we're lucky, we will grow old together, and he may not be able to maintain his duties as my Dom and Master. It does not mean I will love him any less.

Having him as my Dom is amazing. It enriches my life in ways I can't describe. But he will always be my Husband, no matter what happens, and that has nothing to do with any kind of kink or BDSM dynamic. I love him, pure and simple. Nothing will ever change that.

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