Hi guys, I'm sorry it has taken me a little while to respond - I wanted to take the time and come back, because every single one of you put in some greatly appreciated effort here for me.
Just a little update, for anyone who's interested. Things have been going remarkably well. Between acting on some of the advice here and some situations that have happened, it's like a huge wall has come down. She is being more communicative about her feelings, calmer when I talk to her about an issue, saying sorry when it's needed, showing great appreciation for my support and understanding... I'm just amazed at how she has been over the past couple of weeks and really feel thrilled.
We came up with a useful phrase... "I know something is wrong, but the reason hasn't clicked yet". This has helped us not to push each other to talk; but also not to avoid talking altogether. We also came up with a mantra: 'experience: analyse: communicate: conquer" which, to my surprise, she really loved. She said it helps her to keep focused three steps, instead of either bottling thing up or yelling them out.
So, a great big thank you to everyone!!
I have written individual replies below for each of you - but no response is necessary!
What you said about volume really got me thinking and I appreciate that a lot a lot; thank you as always!
Your response really comforted me. What you said about ensuring we communicate the positive thoughts reminded me to do that and it has helped - we've become a lot more conscious of praise over the past few weeks and this has helped on the tricky-communication side too. I agree that she wasn't playing fair and healthy - she was expecting her way to be the best way. Counselling is something I've always been interested in, because she went through marriage counselling with her husband and the therapist said to her, in front of him, "he has a really good wife here and should remember that". She has held onto that and has sometimes been guilty of taking that to mean that she almost has a therapist's approval for everything she says and does in a relationship. Thank you for your response - it genuinely really helped me a great deal.
Your therapy truism made me laugh, because I completely agree with it. There is certainly a control dynamic in our relationship that I have noticed and have tried not to let myself fall into. The 'referring to someone else as complex' struck a chord in me, because this is exactly how I'd been feeling - that she felt her views were superior. I actually brought this up to her and said that we have to stop this unspoken idea that because she is a decade older than me, she knows more about everything. She was shocked to hear this, having not realised that she came across that way, and I've noticed her being very conscious of it since.
I do agree with open, non-violent communication and honesty.
Your post was extremely helpful, also. We have talked a great deal over the past two weeks about communication and even managed to put some guidelines in place about how we communicate (i.e. don't avoid and don't blow up). We have been trying to meet in the middle, reach a communication compromise and this has helped a lot. Thank you very, very much for your post.
Your reply was really sweet - I loved it. You were insightful to pick up on the power exhange dynamic. Whilst *we* do not have a D/s relationship together, I do think that since we are both Dommes, we most likely both have some power issues. I tend to be unwittingly forceful when I am suggesting things that might help us to improve our relationship. She tends to be unknowingly right-all-the-time.
I am trying to ensure that the dynamic between us does not become a power struggle - because, for me, control is only healthy in the bedroom. I like your idea of "what do you need from me right now?" I used this and added "to listen quietly? to explain myself?" This seemed to help. I did take the 5 Love Languages quiz a while back and I think the answer was touch. Which is amusing since we are in a long-distance relationship. Hahaha. I never knew about the apology section though - that is amazingly helpful, thank you!