Some say that it’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission. Maybe that’s true in some cases, but not in all.
A while ago my girlfriend and I made a deal. She would do at task before a certain time. We discussed the task and the point in time until we agreed, so the task wasn’t too big or too small and there was enough time for her to do it.
A couple of days before the time was up I got a call from a stressed out girlfriend. She is generally a very busy woman and she had too much on her plate to be able to do the task I had set. So she asked for a postponement for the task. Because I know how busy she is, I also knew that there was a chance she wouldn’t be able to do the task in time. I hadn’t considered exactly how we should deal with this. It was the first task – of that kind – I had ever given her, and maybe I hadn’t thought it well enough through. (I know, bad dominant, but hopefully I learned from it.)
Either she already knew that it’s a good idea to ask for permission to postpone a task or she just went with the flow. The result was that phone call where she told me she was too busy and that she needed a postponement. We talked a bit and came up with a new time for the task to be done and then talked a bit more before hanging up.
My first thought after hanging up was:
“Huh, that was weird.”
I had never had anyone asking me permission to postpone anything before. I have never been in that kind of situation, so yes, it was a bit weird. After thinking about it a bit I realized that I was relived she had called and asked permission, because in doing so she had helped both of us avoid some less than fun stuff.
Like the fact that she had had to admit to an undone task.
Like the fact that I had had to acknowledge that the task or the timeline (or both) had been wrong and she hadn’t felt comfortable enough to tell me until it was too late.
Like the fact that I would had had to find a fitting consequence.
We don’t have a punishing dynamic in our relationship, not in the most usual way the term is used, anyway. For example, she never gets spanked if she breaks a deal. There are consequences if deals are broken, but they are there to help make it harder to break that deal again; at least, that is my intention.
Personally I have a much divided view on consequences. On one hand I dislike it when deals are broken and I have to find a fitting consequence. One the other hand, I like to watch my girlfriend accept the consequence without reluctance. She does what she is told and that is the end of it.
The first time I gave her an assignment that was the consequence of a broken deal, I could hardly believe that she did it. Not that it was a difficult assignment, but she is a grown and independent woman, and she did what I told her. (Yes, I’m new.) I had trouble believing my own reactions to it too. There were a lot of silent wows and she’s really doing it! and she is so cute when she looks concentrated. It was a rush and I had a hard time keeping my eyes of her. (Yes, very new indeed.)
That pleasure of an assignment well done doesn’t mean that I really like having to give her penalties. I don’t. I’m much happier when I don’t have to, because she doesn’t break deals of any kind.
So, I was pleased when she asked for a postponement. I would rather give permission for a postponement than forgiveness for a broken deal or task undone, any day. It’s so much easier to give. Not that I think it should be too easy to get postponements, either. There is a balance to everything.