I was talking to a friend the other day about relationships (no surprise). I brought up my feelings about keeping score and my friend wanted me to clarify.
My example: “well you did _______ so I can do _______”. Or “I did _________ and you don’t ever do things like that for me.”
I see that sort of thing a lot. I don’t even think some people realize they do it. My ex husband did. I’m sure I’ve done it.
One of the things I found beautiful entering into a D/s relationship is that we don’t keep score. I don’t know if other people still do within that type of framework, but we don’t, and that’s what works for us.
When we began, we used punishment as a way to wipe the slate clean. When I didn’t live up to expectations, I did penance and the thing was gone. It was wiped away as if it never had been. It wasn’t discussed or used as leverage later. Erased.
But punishment tends to begin a downward spiral of shame for me, so we phased it out.
That doesn’t mean it was gone entirely. I still mess up. We just don’t have a framework of punishment to account for it. If I feel I need atonement, I request it.
But the thing is, it can’t ever be about anger or hurt for us. That’s where darkness lives. As humans, we all have the capacity for retaliation and vengeance when we hurt. Child rearing books often advise not to punish in anger, but for correction. That’s how we approach it. For us, talking always happens first, the working out part. The correction happens later, as catharsis once the healing has begun.
Once we have discussed something and / or sought corrective action, we let it go. It exists as a tool of learning, but never leverage, never as a reference backwards in a discussion, such as “you always _______,” or “you never _______.”
As hard as it is, once we let something go, it is gone. Discussion about it must be productive or informative only, never accusatory or negative. We’ve both had relationships that kept score, and we are determined to keep that out of ours.
Rather than tallying my partner’s mistakes, or even just things which didn’t go my way, I prefer to rely on communication. Situations don’t improve when the particpants remain passive, unwilling to do work to make them better. The only way to truly progress and grow is with action.
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