I’m on an involuntary BDSM relationship…

Well, not really, of course!

By definition, BDSM relationships are by mutual consent; they cannot be “involuntary”! Also, most have some sort of physical element, where there can be the notion of physical pleasure and “restraint”, even though I admit that I’m not that familiar with the BDSM community — I’m aware that in some cases, the restraint is purely in the mind of the participants, and not in the physical sensations. And to be more specific, I’m addressing the Dominant/Submissive aspect, and not the others.

You see, in recent days, I realised that, in many aspects, my wife plays a dominant role in our relationship, while I play a submissive role. This has to be understood in a context which does not strictly follow “common” D/s relationships. We don’t engage in any sexual activity of any kind. In fact, neither of us derives any pleasure from it — far from it, we both suffer under it. In a sense, this almost sounds like a double-masochist relationship, where both partners are made to suffer because one of them (myself!) wants to engage in activities that the other dislikes (going out crossdressed), while that same partner (i.e. me again) suffers for being forbidden to do so.

This came to my mind when one day I had to send an email explaining somehow why I couldn’t attend a meeting: my wife needed that I did something for her (I don’t remember what it was). At that point, I thought: “someone who reads this will not understand why I’m constantly at my wife’s whim”. To be sure, my own wife thinks I’m actually “too independent” and “too complaining” when she “demands” something from me: she expects me to jump at any request of hers, instantly and with energy and good will, without a moment’s regret. And every time I flinch or mumble a word of complain — or even something as simple as “let me at least save the document I’m working on” is met with contempt, and often with a nasty comment — at the very least, I get sarcasm.

Well, of course she’s not aware of that. In her own mind, she views me as an unruly kid of 6 years (she tells that often, even to friends and family) who has to be admonished all the time, and this even tires her — the constant yelling “do this now, stop doing this immediately“. In fact, she even complained to my own mother about that, saying that I still behave like a child all the time. This baffled me for a long time, until I understood that I cannot change other people’s perceptions, not even my wife’s. What she means is that I should anticipate her wishes. I should be constantly vigilant and read her mind to know what she wants and when she wants it — and respond immediately. Of course, after so many years living together (mostly 24h/day), I consider myself relatively good at doing just that, but I’m not really inside her mind, so often I might just be “too slow” (in her opinion) in my reaction.

So this is the first aspect. It’s not different from many (most?) relationships where one of the partners is known for their temper, and the best way to avoid long-winded discussions that end in yelling and tears is just to practice patience. Fortunately, I have lots of patience, and being scolded at is just second nature to me. Most of the time I don’t even get angry or frustrated; I just view it as being part of my own training to be even more attentive to my wife’s whims, in order to anticipate them more. The worse her mood, the earlier I have to jump at her demands, and that just requires me to be always paying attention.

As part of a long-lasting relationship, this also has more implications. “Whims”, as the name implies, occur spontaneously, unpredictably, and might be either very simple to fulfill (e.g. getting a glass of water) or take a long time (“I wish to go out and have some coffee”) and require some preparation. In my own experience, the longer the time my wife used to work, the less “whims” she had, so we could organise our lives better: there were “working hours” and “whim hours”. During the “working hours” I could focus on my own work and get things done, and subject myself to whatever would happen during the “whim hours”.

Now that she stopped working due to her many chronic diseases, things are a bit more complicated. First, she doesn’t know in advance how she’ll feel in a particular day, so she won’t plan anything and rarely commit to any appointments she might have: it will depend only on how she feels. If she feels better, then any activity has to be immediately suspended in order for me to take her out on her whims — instantly, without a moment’s hesitation, because every moment “wasted” in “delaying” might bring one of her many illnesses back, and prevent her from doing whatever she wants/needs to do in that moment. In a sense, any crossdresser can actually relate to my wife’s illnesses: she spends most of time waiting until she happens to feel well enough to be able to go out; and when that happens, she seizes the opportunity as quickly as possible. We tend to be the same way about our crossdressing; it’s not so different!

The second aspect has wider consequences: it’s unlikely that she will get better. In fact, although some of her conditions are still undiagnosed, because auto-immune illnesses are very hard to pin down. Some might never be correctly identified, and, as such, it means that if they’re treatable (most aren’t), it might be too late for her anyway, and she’ll have to suffer until her bitter end — which can go on for decades upon decades. So the best she can hope for now is to remain “stable” (whatever that means in medical terms) and hope for the best. But the undiagnosed issue is another problem. Undiagnosed, she has no hope for an early retirement and a small stipend from the Social Security, like any other chronic disease in my country; but she is also unable to work, since there is hardly any activity that she can do for over two hours at a stretch (not even sitting down in front of a computer). So what this means is that she’s on some sort of an “interlude” in her life: waiting until some doctor hits on the correct identification of her disease, and either hope for some treatment, or at least for some early retirement (at 37 years!). But until that happens, it’s just waiting and waiting.

So what does someone do who has nothing to do in her life but wait? As part of her psychological makeup, she also a very anxious person — in fact, and perhaps not by coincidence, the first symptoms of her chronic auto-immune disease coincided somehow with a panic attack she had, four years ago (we both thought it was a heart attack; they’re very hard to separate from each other, and both can be fatal). This was mostly related to her anxiety about lack of money to survive. Being now forced to a life of doing nothing, and having no way to earn a living, this increased her anxiety levels. Fortunately, she’s been treating herself with a most excellent therapist, and that, plus her own meditation practice, has done wonders to keep her anxiety levels down at a tolerable level. But the truth is that she has nothing else to do.

What does she do, then? Easy: pester me. It’s only natural: as we live together 24h/7, and my cat doesn’t talk back, there is just me to become the focus of her frustration, anxiety, worry, and anger. Also, being relatively averse to social life, she has few friends, whom she sees perhaps once per year. That means that I’m right in the middle of her blast radius. Naturally enough, everything that happens wrongly in her life is my fault. If there is not enough money for us to survive, it means I have to work harder until I get exhausted (a year ago I was working full-time at three different companies). As it often happens in these cases, I’m not allowed to complain, because any kind of illness I might have pales into comparison to whatever she might have or feel. So I’m not “allowed” to sneeze or cough; if I hurt somewhere, I’m being a weenie (because she hurts so much more all the time). If I’m bleeding from a wound, she yells at me because I’m always cutting myself or doing it on purpose — and exaggerating my tiny complaints all the time. In fact, the only time in the past four years where she took me seriously was when I fainted twice at her mother’s place, right in the middle of dinner — because I certainly couldn’t fake that. Also, she realised at that moment that I might have some condition preventing me to work for a time, and thus slash our meagre income even further. So she took that seriously, until (fortunately) the extensive medical exams I took showed that it was nothing really serious, just some minor adjustments to my blood tension medicine, some rest, and I ought to be fine.

Now we all have our own problems. Most people have far bigger problems than me — my wife is a constant reminder of that. So I’ve learned, over the years, to forget all about my own problems, and focus on other people’s issues. The constant reminder of how so much worse my wife is makes me neglect things. How can I refuse to go out whenever she snaps her fingers, when I’m fully aware that she has few opportunities when she feels good enough to go out — no matter how tired or ill I might feel, or how delayed my work is? How can I refuse to carry loads or do severe exertions — being strictly forbidden by most of my doctors to do that; even physical exercise is to be kept to a minimum — if I know that it’s a pain for her to do some ironing once in a while? Obviously I cannot refuse her anything, because she’s so ill and I’m theoretically healthy enough.

So that’s the major reason why I don’t crossdress as much as I wish, or don’t go out when I’ve planned to do so. In fact, that’s why I cannot plan my own life ahead. I’m totally dependent on my wife’s whims, and have next-to-zero freedom of choice. The best laid-out plans almost inevitably fail, just because I rely on expectations of what is going to happen to give me some free time for myself, but that rarely happens. And sometimes I’m simply too exhausted to do anything but sleep when I have the opportunity.

My apologies in advance for everybody who often expects me to come online and is patient enough to wait hours for me. But there is so little control I have over my own time that it’s really, really hard to compromise on a certain date or hour.

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