Beset on All Sides.

Travel is draining.

Traveling with an injury is very draining.

Traveling with an injury and then having to manage your beloved’s struggles is…really…very…draining.

I consider it a miracle that I’m in a relationship where, on average, 85% of our time is spent together and the overwhelming majority of THAT time is a delight.

What that DOES mean, in contrast, is that the bumps in the road feel exponentially bumpier than they have in past relationships, where struggles and clashes were a quotidian reality. Der Spousemeister and I rarely conflict. Much of that is down to me, and my commitment to our dynamic. That’s one of the pillars of my service: staying Zen af as much as possible. This is, of course, a selfish act: I do not feel safe or clear when I am in a state of rage or bitterness. So, I breathe. I let go. I address my higher power and find peaceful-ass warrior ways to cope when he’s having a bad moment. And the couplefew times a year where I truly feel the veil of control thinning dangerously, I am compelled to work very hard to maintain the balance between expressing my own issues while respecting our dynamic AND insuring that I’m taking damn good care of myself at the same time.

Last night, after a day of stress triggers, Der Spousemeister broke down and became highly agitated just as we arrived home. I stopped everything and refused to enter our home – our sanctuary – with this deeply troubling energy. It had also been a difficult day for me…very much so…but for the sake of sanity, I worked to keep the flow in “release it” mode so I avoided losing it entirely. And yet, after all that Finish line literally before us? It all fell apart. But I was going to be damned if I walked into our home, closest thing to safe space on earth, with that much seething.

So we hashed it out in the hallway, luggage and a dozen packages tetrised onto a luggage cart, the neighbor’s dog making sure we knew he was on guard duty. We had it out while I strove to keep my own demon at bay while getting some facetime with his.

This is…challenging. absolutely life-and-death necessary, but so difficult on some days.

Power exchange relationships aren’t unique in the need for one person to bear the weight of an uneven distribution of particular responsibilities. All relationships have this. As Mom used to say, “Life isn’t ‘fair.'” Still, I strive for a balance where we all live up to our own abilities. I’m brilliant at finding, flipping and airing out unpleasant demons in others. My Spousemeister is truly adept at accepting, acclimating, and releasing his own issues. And most of the time, when conflict arises, this turns out to be a good balance.

And then, some days, I feel like I’m not just dropping the balls I’m juggling, the balls are actually rocks coming down on my head. And in those times I remember this is a human problem. I’m not special here. We ALL struggle with interpersonal relationships. We ALL feel “beset on all sides by the
Inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men” now and then. Such is the human condition and treating yourself and others with real empathy helps. A lot.

No, realizing that someone flailing around at you is actually not really trying to hurt you won’t stop the blow from landing and stinging. However, it can move your response from vengeance to compassion, where you can stop and sit with that person in that scary and dark place, hear what they’re REALLY saying, share your own pain too, and make sure you can walk together through that door in peace.

Which we eventually did.

And I pray will do for many years to come.

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