In my last blog, I posted a conversation that touched on the subject of obedience vs. respect, as in relates to a D/s relationship. I may well be in the minority when I say that I would rather have someone show respect and consideration for my preferences when making their own decisions, rather than someone be outright obediant just because I said so.
I rarely *put my foot down*, so to speak. I don't impress limits or rules or strict commands. Very very few times have I ever said *absolutely not* to something, and in those times it was more for protection and ONLY because I know we BOTH feel the same way.
For those of you who are familar with Kohlberg's theory of moral development, I'm referring to at least conventional - preferably post-conventional - morality verses pre-conventional. Obedience models would have one making decisions based on what they are told as absolutes, without thought of theirself or of the greater good - merely of black and white RULES. My preference is always for making decisions based on factors relative to you and with the goal of achieving an outcome that benefits an entity greater than the self (ie - the relationship).
[McLeod, S. A. (2011). Kohlberg. Retrieved from http://www.simplypsychology.org/kohlberg.html]
I was referred to - in jest (I think) - as an "uppity Daddy" last night, and it made me think - hence the blog. I think best when writing. An issue with Sass arose the other day that related to this discussion. In a relationship, mutual respect is paramount. Communication, trust, love, loyalty - its all built on a solid foundation of respect. If you lose any component of that, the relationship suffers. In an effort to strengthen the relationship, priorities shift. They become less about *I* and more about *WE*...less about our individual goals and desires, and more about what is good for *us* as a couple. That is a natural progression. Its a moral elevation. We learn, through our (healthy) relationships how to navigate the waters of moral relativism. We learn to see beyond immediate gratification or strictly selfish needs, and to consider what is best for the collective *us*. We take our partners feelings, wishes, desires, preferences, into consideration, and we make decisions about our own behaviors with that in mind, as well as our own, and come up with what would be best for *us*.
For instance - in my own relationship...something came up whereby Sass was challenged to make a decision on how to act in a given situation. We had talked beforehand about things such as this, and she knew my preferences. When she made her decision, she made on it on the basis of being *obediant* to me, and making it known that *Daddy said so*. This, while flattering and meaningful, also sort of pissed me off.
In that moral relativism is a certain lesser known ambiguity between what goes on in your own head in your decision making process - and how others interpret it. In a relationship, its difficult - but necessary - to present yourself and your partner in such a way that others can see the respect and loyalty and love that you have for one another. That your relationship not only IS strong, but appears strong to anyone on the outside looking in. That is where loyalty comes into play. Its not just about faithfulness...its about presenting yourself in such a way that your faithfulness, your devotion, your respect for your partner - and yourself - is never called into question by any onlooker. In short - its about how you behave when your partner isn't by your side.
In our situation, Sass made a decision that I respect and appreciate. She explained her thought process to me, and it was beyond reproach. It was loyal and respectful and considerate and took into account both of our wants and what was best for US. Her presentation, however, left something to be desired. I don't fault her for this, because I understand why she presented her decision as she did. I get it, completely, and it was good, in the moment - and for the given situation, it worked rather well. What it didn't take into account, however, was something I pointed out later.
The reasoning she gave for her declaration of a *rule* was "Daddy said so". Now...my ego is big enough to get a certain thrill out of that, seriously - its cool as hell. Makes me go all *GRRRR* and ****..which makes her go all *purrrrrrrrr* and ****...and makes me...well, nevermind, that's neither here nor there. What I wanted her to think about was how such reasoning would be perceived in general. It relates back to obedience vs. respect. Consider this situation, all too common in SL:
girl is out a club, without her partner, and boy sees yumminess and hits on it. Mild banter and flirting ensues. Boy makes a pass at girl, propositions her, either not bothering to read her profile, or not giving a **** that she is involved. Girl's response options:
a) I can't play with you. My Daddy says no / won't let me.
b) I don't want to play with you. I am in a relationship, and we don't sleep around.
Put yourself in boy's shoes. If a girl you have a hard on for responds to your advances with response option A - wouldn't you keep pushing? I mean, she never said she didnt *want* to...you can surely tempt her..even with your noobish avatar and subpar emoting skills and heavy reliance on pose ball action and unmatched ridiculously massive pixel genitals...you got it goin' ON!
Its all about presentation and perception. How you present yourself and your relationship to others. Do you showcase the respect you have for your partner and your relationship? Or do you merely obey because they said so?
In our situation, it was a non-issue, really, but it could have been different. I think the point was made, and our discussion about it highlighted the important points of loyalty and respect. Knowing that Sass takes my feelings and preferences into consideration, but also considers her own, and ultimately arrives at what is best for US - helps built trust. I KNOW I can trust her to put *us* first. She kNOWS she can trust me to do the same. I don't question her loyalty, and I won't have to doubt in the future that she will represent herself and *us* as strong and solid. In this way, we maintain that strength - together - and continue to grow stronger everyday.