“I loved my husband, I wanted my husband, but I never wanted to NEED him. I didn’t want to have to rely on him, to not be able to live without him. This sounds crazy even as I write it, but truly needing him felt weak, dependent, like my mom, like that girl who was overpowered by that guy in college.” I wrote this in my story at the start of all this. It took me a ridiculous number of years to even admit I needed him. To say it out loud and to tell him.
I realize now, that needing him also made me have to admit some things about myself I haven’t been willing to face, until recently. Our talks have helped to pinpoint what I believe is the real issue, the core of all the uneasiness and unsettled feelings I seem to always cycle into, even spiral into, every couple of weeks.
I believe the issue to be this: Not only do I need him, but I need to feel and hear his acceptance, assurance, and attention at a level I’ve been unwilling to face or accept. I need to feel his pride, praise and protection at a level I’ve been unwilling to ask for. I’m not sure I know how to feel good about myself without it. I have a certain amount of intellectual self-love, but emotionally, I seek my worth externally. I have never admitted that. Slowly, I’ve been putting it all together and accepting that – it’s been a process.
All my life, I strove for excellence, perfection, to be better, to do more in hopes someone would notice. I wanted someone to be pleased, proud, and happy. I needed to know and feel those things, for someone to express those things to me. Desperately. When I didn’t receive it, I learned to hide under a mask of control in order for it to appear as if I could manage on my own. I pushed others away, afraid they might realize I needed their acceptance or love, or fearful of their rejection. I would continuously try to fill that void in other ways. I’d shop, eat, immerse myself obsessively in a hobby, read, or learn about something. I tried and tried to find that worth or feeling of value somewhere outside of myself. I never found it.
Then, we began living D/s and I thought, without a doubt, after doing so much soul searching, I would feel that merit from within, having stripped away all those old barriers and masks, cutting to what I thought was the core of my issues. Yet, still I would feel this uneasiness, like something was missing. We’ve tried more sex, different sex, more control, different control, changing or adding rules and still I cycle back to the same uneasiness.
All this time, I immersed myself in learning, reading, and information gathering about D/s. And, again, I avoided facing the fact that I need him more than I ever expected or wanted to. I’m afraid to be burdensome, needy, or weak. I’ve been afraid to tell him or ask for what I need and feared his rejection of the actual amount of attention I might require. The one person on this earth I care most about pleasing, making proud and making happy is M. Most things I do, I do because I think it will please him in some way. He is the only one who can provide the affirmation I need to feel value and to learn to love myself. And, as difficult as it is to admit, I need to hear and feel that affirmation a lot, so much more than I’ve been comfortable facing or asking for. Sadly, I think I’ve been blind to some of the ways he tells and shows me. I’ll be paying much more attention. I know he needs some of the same things from me. He’s struggled so much with feelings of brokenness due to his body and I’ve been happy to provide what he needs; I will continue to do so.
I think one of the best things about D/s for us, is that we’ve been able to communicate and learn what we both need and to strive to meet these needs that were not being met before. It makes me hopeful and optimistic in a way I haven’t ever been – in a way that seems real and attainable, and not just wishful thinking.