In my early 20s I stuffed my belongings into a backpack, got on a plane and took off for adventure. One of the first things I learned along the way was that “culture” meant much more than what language you spoke. There are cultural differences that we don’t recognise at all until we are in a situation where they surface.
Having a long distance relationship has taught me that “communication” is an equally tricky word. We think of it in terms of quantity, so for example you’ll see lots of advice in forums along the lines of “you guys need to communicate more”. But along with the quantity there’s also a quality component. Not only do you need to communicate “enough”, but you need to communicate in appropriate ways. This is where it gets a lot more complex than it first seems.
The catch-phrase in forums is usually “openness”. Be open (with your feelings, actions, intentions, whatever) and everything will be OK. Obviously that’s good advice in general. The more openness and sharing you can work into a relationship the less misunderstanding and potential for hurt there is going to be. Assuming that you’re an ethical and honest person who’s trying to keep life in a happy and harmonious balance, why would you not be open?
Your mileage is going to vary on this, everyone communicates in their own unique way and I can only talk about myself, but I’ve discovered that as Master in my relationships I don’t always want to be “open”.
I’m not trying to say that I want to do anything underhanded, or even keep big secrets. But, there are times when I want to control the pace that information is revealed. It’s a tool for dominance that I enjoy using.
I’ll give a recent personal example. I’ve just flown back to visit my parents for a week, and I know that with my usual routine interrupted and a lot of time and social energy needing to be spent on my surroundings, my boy will feel that as a withdrawal of my presence in his life. It’s not that I’m not still thinking of him, but communication patterns will become a little erratic and that can easily feel like I’m paying less attention or my focus is elsewhere.
The day before I was due to leave, I had the time and space to amplify the connection with my boy over the 400km that separates us. At the moment he’s in chastity, so I started the day by removing the cage but forbidding him from touching for pleasure, as a form of tease and denial.
In the spirit of openness, I could have (and perhaps should have) said “this is a form of tease and denial”, but explaining the motivation takes some of the joy from it for me. I know what I’m doing and why I’m doing it, my relationship is structured in a way where I am well within our agreement to ask for something to be done without going into the “why”, and it feeds my dominant energy to take control when it pleases me to do so.
I’m aware that that’s not necessarily wise. My boy’s emotional well-being is very important to me, and our interaction plays a big part in that. I’ve made many mistakes in the past where there’s been negative outcomes caused by me wanting what I want when I want it. But, in this particular case I felt like I’d thought it through and I was in good circumstances to control the “tease” throughout the day and bring it to a pleasing ending in the evening.
That’s not what happened. We started with some cross-wired communication about chastity and me needing to (I felt) over-explain what I was doing. As the day went on there were various other communication mishaps, and ultimately at the end of the day we hadn’t connected in the way I was hoping and my actions had created more negative than positive results. We’d spent the day on two entirely different wavelengths. I went to bed early and got a good night’s sleep.
It’s not the first time that this has happened for me, and I do recognise that it’s caused by my communication and how much I conceal or am willing to reveal about my intentions.
One solution would obviously be to ramp up the openness, yet there are many situations where I’m reluctant to do that. Mystery, uncertainty and anticipation are strong emotional tools to play with, and trust is an aphrodisiac I enjoy. To reduce things to “this is what I am doing and this is why I am doing it” takes away some of that romance. It removes a lot of the potential for misunderstanding, but at the expense of draining some actions of their power.
A little like the word “culture” includes not only language but a whole life history, from family upbringing to socio-economics and politics, “communication” is a deliberate tango of thought and word between two people, and distance does render it fragile and easy to get wrong.