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We are three adults living in a polyamorous triad family. The content here is intended for an adult audience. If you are not an adult, please leave now.


When a Bomb Goes Off in Your Relationship

It's been a good weekend for us.  We played yesterday.  Pretty intensely.  More intensely than we have for a long while.  I dropped into subspace about midway through it all, and floated along on the endorphin cloud for the rest of the session.  Took me some time to come back up out of the fog, but when I did surface, I was feeling all warm and fuzzy -- and thrilled to be in that space.  It was warm here today (for February), and the sun was out in a gloriously blue sky day.  We took advantage and went for a bike ride.  Fun.  It is also my birthday.  I got new bike shorts, and they were duly and officially broken in (in conjunction with my birthday spanking) before we took off this afternoon.  Two good spankings in two days.  My butt is tender, but my head is easier than it has been for a very, very long time.  Too, in the spirit of His new found "switchiness,” I managed to give Him a pretty good spanking as well – because He actively campaigned for it.  LOL.

For many in this lifestyle community, that probably all seems pretty ho-hum, but for us, the interactions of this weekend are signposts along the road to healing and wellness.  We've been a mess.  There's no hiding the ugliness we've struggled with this year.  Our catastrophic crash into the legal and interpersonal traumas of alcohol addiction and recovery has been drawn starkly here for all to see.  We were not graceful, grateful, or gentle about any of it.  Some, but far from all, of what has transpired inside of our family this year has been written here -- and I am sure it has been uncomfortable and difficult reading.

What has been truly remarkable, as we've stumbled our way forward, is how many of our readers have been willing to sit with us in our pain and our anger and our confusion.  The strength and skill and gentleness poured out here for us have been breathtaking.  Of course, not everyone comes by to cheer us on.  We get the occasional negative and judgmental comment, like these from anonymous readers in Louisville, Kentucky and Raleigh, North Carolina:

 … Is this the meaning of "dominant"? It sounds a little more like "domineering" to me. …
…I too went through a year of this kind of crap…eventually I just felt annoyed…we have to be responsible for ourselves. And that is true for him as well as for you (though he doesn't, in my view, seem very willing to accept that.)

It is easy enough to understand how people can come to see things in that bitter and superior way.  After all, if you have been following the saga here, you have been witness to a bomb going off right in the middle of our decade-long relationship.  The very carefully constructed power exchange dynamic we had built together broke apart and the power flew out in every direction – hurting everyone.  You could argue about who built that bomb.  You could wonder about who lit the fuse.  The potential for blaming under these circumstances is almost endless.   It is also, in all practical terms, a waste of time.  It proves nothing; teaches nothing; changes nothing; and fixes nothing.  Those negative commenters?  They are concerned with figuring out who is to blame.  They desperately want to designate who was right and who was wrong.  They want to be able to point to the character flaws, the personal faults, the failures.  That makes it way easier to cope emotionally and intellectually, with this kind of horrible relational messiness.  It gives you a sense that you, yourself are immune to the same maladies.
We often see that in the lifestyle.  Over the years, I’ve seen plenty of seemingly good, solid relationships hit the rocks.  Something goes wrong and the power dynamic falls apart.  And what happens in that event?  Often, maybe too often, the parties throw up their hands, throw in the collar, and give it up.  People who, in the beginnings of creating their relationship, may have negotiated for months and drawn up formal contracts and ironed out every single niggling detail, fold up their tents and head for the hills at the first rumblings of trouble.  And, we who observe from the outside, rush to judgment, choose up sides, and cheer the dissolution.  How very sad.

I will admit that I have a (slightly – or maybe not even slightly immodest) vision of us, healing and growing through this awful time, and leaving here in this place, a trail that others might someday follow.  I really think that there should be some kind of structure or mechanism for finding your way through the really hard places in our power-based relationships.  Our unusual family dynamics make it nearly impossible for us to take advantage of the typical supports available to mainline marriages – there isn’t a “marriage counselor” option for many of us in D/s relationships -- we don't always fit into the traditional view of couples or families.  Like so much of what we do in this realm, we have to create it for ourselves.  And that is a tall order, especially when you are in the midst of an intimate relational crisis; especially when the person you normally rely on to hold you up and keep you safe is desperately trying to stay alive themselves – and cannot help you.  I don’t propose to advise others, and I am not in any way qualified to act as counselor to those in distress, but I do think that our story (and the stories of others brave enough to speak truthfully of these things) might be a source of hope and solace to others – you can survive, you can heal, you can thrive again, you can LOVE again, do not give up.

We aren't all the way into safe territory yet.  We have tough times still.  But we also have some times that are better -- even good.  There are more good moments all the time; many more than there were a year ago, or six months ago.  Tonight feels hopeful.  That's all we ever get anyway.



  1. I have to agree with your last lines...
    "Tonight feels hopeful. That's all we ever get anyway."

    You all have had such a crazy year. To have found some good moments is such a blessing.
    While I'm sure there are hard times there, I'm happy to read about this very happy moment.
    I hope there are many many more happy times.

  2. Ordalie12:02 AM

    And that's a very cheering post today, Sue!
    BTW I laughed out loud when I read "dominant sounds like domineering"!

  3. A wonderful read to start off my Monday. Real life is not always neat or is real. Happy late birthday...glad it was a good day. abby

  4. Anonymous7:49 AM

    Finally some joyful news from the Heron clan! What a wonderful birthday present for you. Happy belated birthday, Sue.

  5. Belated Happy B'day from us as well! Also glad to read of such a nice time in sub space and gaining an even keel.

    Warms hugs to all,

  6. Hi Sue,

    You said lots here - lots of food for thought. And I might write about the balance in power relationships once I've had a chance to think it through. Thanks for sparking me.

    And happy birthday - it does sound like it was one!


  7. Yes, I am the one from Louisville, and I do apologize for my snarky tone. That was uncalled for and had no place on your blog, which is your space, not mine. But I am trying to understand what it means to be truly dominant and the words I quoted seem to me to suggest something different from that I thought dominant was. Here is the whole passage, so I can't be accused of taking something out of context:

    "Once my/our assumption was that my status was a major factor in our family status. After all, I was Dominant, and that meant my happiness, health, choices, were all important. They were the independent variables around which the rest of the family constellation orbited. Now they are of some significant interest, but only that....not really of importance, but certainly concerns. My status is not unlike the relative importance of a troubled child. If I am "good" then there is affection and deference for me. If I am not happy, then I am either ignored, told they hope I feel better someday, and/or sometimes castigated and our relationship's end is threatened."

    Is it generally true that in an extended relationship, such as a polyamorous marriage, that the dominant's happiness, health, choices are "all important"? When I read other blogs of people who seem to be in long-term committed relationships, it is generally phrased that the well-being of the family or the group, both dominant and submissives, are all important.

    Obviously I have no understanding of who you or your family is aside from the words I read here. And I should (and will) just shut up after this. But if you can explain to me what, in your view, it means to be dominant and what role the happiness, health and choices of non-dominants should play in a polyamorous marriage, I would be grateful.


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