Dom in a suit is a post which follows on from When it’s complicated, and gives a little more detail about one of the main ways that our dynamic was affected by the shift caused by the work situation that we found ourselves in. It marks the return of HL to full-time employment; prior to this he was self-employed and then was working part-time. I suppose I feel ready to write this now as I see a change in him which has brought about a change in me. His return to a suit is not just metaphorical, it seems to have been part of a mind-set change.
I remember when I was first part of an online submissive chat community, there being a discussion about whose Dom actually wore a suit. Despite suit wearing forming part of the sexy stereotype of a Dominant male, it seemed very few were actually in this situation. Did this affect their Dominance or their ability to be a good Dominant at all? Of course not. But the stereotype remains, and I was able to say in all honesty that my Dom did wear a suit, not just occasionally, but every day to work, and I loved it. What I didn’t realise then, was the significance.
The change in work situation meant the end of a lot of things, and everyday suit wearing was one of them. Now I am not foolish enough to think that because HL stopped wearing his suit he became less Dominant, or indeed that his Dominant mindset will instantly return now that he is back in one, but the two did come at the same time. Perhaps it makes more sense to see the suit as the symptom rather than the cause; it seems like an outward expression of how he is feeling about himself, so although I fancy him as much in his shorts and T shirt, the suit seems to being with it an additional sense of who he is.
So back to Dom in a suit, or rather Dom out of a suit. Our dynamic had always been pretty traditional in terms of the way that our D/s worked. We both had full-time jobs but he was the larger earner. We both helped out with things around the home, but I took the lead in seeing the home as my responsibility. HL has always been really good about pulling his weight in terms of domestics and enjoys to cook. He is great with the kids when they are unwell and loves to do things to help other people. He enjoys DIY and will take responsibility for the maintenance aspects of the home and things which would have typically been classed as ‘man’s work.’ I rarely have to fill my car with fuel, for example, or put the bins out.
It isn’t that I can’t or won’t do these things, more that he always has. And in the same way, it isn’t that he couldn’t take responsibility for planning the meals, cooking and cleaning and the way that things work around the home on a domestic level, more that I prefer to do these things myself. So when we found ourselves in a situation where things were shifting, it challenged what we had always done, as well as the roles that we had agreed worked for our dynamic. In the end, it challenged who we felt we were, not who we had been, but more who we had become.
I was resistant to allowing the circumstances to change me at first, but that became hard to sustain. It came in two parts really: letting go of the household concerns was one part, and me being the breadwinner was the other. While neither of these things should have been an issue in themselves, the way that I came to feel about them emotionally affected me and the way that I perceived things. Perception is everything I find. The circumstances themselves don’t really matter a jot, it is the way that you see them that is important. So for a while I fought this, but when I couldn’t shift his perception, I gave in and allowed my own to follow.
Theoretically, we still had everything we needed. I had always worked so there was nothing new and my income was enough to sustain us. He had always helped around the house, so that was nothing new. We talked about the things that he had lost in terms of the job situation and listed the losses. We then looked at how those could be replicated within what we had. So loss of control, loss of friendships, loss of respect etc etc. A D/s relationship where you have the Dominant role is the ideal place to regain these things. What we actually found was that most of what he perceived as losses could be found within our home and our family and our relationship. As a submissive, I am after all, a sure thing, so there should be no challenge to Dominance there. Yes Sir was still the name of our game.
We agreed areas where he would take control in a more obvious way than he had done before. One of these was the running of the home. This was hard for me because I liked things done how I liked them done, so it took some shuffling around and some deep thinking before I realised that going along behind him, moving the glass dishes back to where they were meant to be kept was going to have to stop. I had to see it as his kitchen and go with his systems, and not care that he didn’t cook his bolognaise in the oven for three hours, blah blah blah! I would like to say that this worked and that I was comfortable with the changes, but that is not the truth at all.
I think that I wrestled with the change in the way that we often do with enforced change. It is not welcome. I did not choose it and I was not ready for it, and along with all the rest of the emotional shit which was going on at the time, I resented it. This came over in irritation at the way that things were being done and, if his Dominance had not been affected and the kids had not stopped going to their dads at the same time so that we were never actually alone, he might have spanked it the hell out of me, but that was not the way it went.
What happened was that I realised what I was doing, and how destructive it was for him, and I disconnected myself from it emotionally. I stopped caring about the house and the way things were done. I took a back seat. And I didn’t do it in a way which was submissive, because it didn’t fuel my submission; I did it in a way which was passive and it fuelled my low mood and negative thinking. It made me tired to be in the house. My energy seemed to be zapped and I seemed to achieve very little. I remember the first summer in this situation, I had 7 weeks off and went back to work feeling tired and like I had done nothing.
I felt shocked and disgusted at my own inactivity, but instead of being able to use that to turn things around, it seemed to continue and I only feel it being different the past week. I said in the When it’s complicated that I saw him slipping away slowly, from me, from himself, from the person he was, but I see now that I did the same. In giving up things that mattered to me, I also gave up a bit of myself. And so when it didn’t work, it hurt and frustrated me. Although HL was a good homemaker, he didn’t want to be in that position. He didn’t see the value in it to him and took no pride in the standards he set in the way I had always done. I worked hard to encourage it, but it didn’t happen. I can see in some ways how Domestic Discipline can work, and I think if our D/s roles had been reversed then that might have helped, but there was no interest from either of us in switching roles further than we had already had to do.
This piece, really, is a tiny scratch on the surface of what went on and the way things changed. As I said, in the other post, it was complicated. So the complexities cannot be outlined here, or indeed simplified into something as slight as HL being a Dom in a suit again, although that does sort of represent the fact that things are moving back to how we both would like them to be. I am in no way saying that it couldn’t have worked and I know D/s couples where they either both work from home, or the male is the homemaker, or where the female is the main breadwinner, and these other couples make it work well. What it didn’t do, was work well for us at the time we found ourselves doing it.
Is he more of a Dom because he is in a suit or is he in a suit because he feels more of a Dom? I don’t know and am not sure that I ever will. What I do know is that things are changing and my kitchen cupboards are back in order again, so YAY. I am enjoying this time at home to get back in touch with who I want to be, and to have the freedom to do that without treading on his toes. He is enjoying going off to work and coming home to the way things used to be. I am not naive enough to think that things will ever be like the way they were, and I am not sure that that would be a good thing anyway. What I am pleased about is that the current set up feels more like a pair of comfortable slippers, and less like the ill fitting wellies that we have been wearing.
Change is an important part of growth and whether you wanted it or looked for it or not, the experience can benefit you in ways that you can’t always see at the time. It has changed us as individuals and as a couple and I think that we are stronger and more resilient as a result. I know that there are far worse things to be thrown at people than this, and the chances are that we are nowhere done with the challenges we will be required to face. However, to know that we can work through things and come out the other side together is a real bonus, and gives me hope for our future as we grow old together.