Assignments and Headspace Problems


Response to a query about how to maintain a sub’s headspace with assignments when not living together:

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It’s hard to maintain any kind of an actual headspace on an ongoing, day to day basis, particularly when you are not with your partner nearly every day, and especially when the assignments in question are, as C. put it, in that in-between space between play and sex – or have nothing at all to do with sex or play.

It’s also very hard if something about the particular assignment irks the sub, or just doesn’t sit right for some reason. I had an assignment once that I was supposed to say something in particular every day that really wasn’t any big deal, except that the particular wording I was supposed to use just didn’t ring right for me for some reason, although I certainly felt the sentiments and facts I was supposed to reiterate.

We spent about half or a little more of our time together, but didn’t actually live together, and the assignment only applied to the days on which we were apart, so that definitely contributed to my forgetting it frequently, because there wasn’t a solid enough pattern (as I’m only just realizing, as I write about it now).

Something about the process of doing that particular assignment just simply never worked at all for me, though, just simply never did trigger any kind of headspace at all. I gave it my very best, knowing that sometimes you grow into these things with practice, but it just simply never happened.

So, as a result, nothing would have preserved any kind of headspace for me around that assignment short of changing it to something different that did trip that wire in my own brain, and his being more consistent with following up on it. I became increasingly forgetful (and resentful) about doing it for a variety of reasons, because it became more of an annoyance instead of the reminder it was supposed to have been, because it just didn’t fit me [sigh].

If you want to push particular buttons with assignments, like triggering some kind of headspace, you need to find out what will do that for your particular sub – and that may vary at different times in his life.

When I was in a 24/7 live-in relationship, it was actually much easier to do regular assignments on a daily basis that were actually much more difficult and demanding, in part because I knew I had to physically face him every single day, but also because he never let things slide if I forgot. He was very consistent about checking that I’d done them, etc. I didn’t always appreciate that, or how he did it, but it worked – and it gave me a tremendous sense of security, and very much helped anchor our dynamic.

They were also things that did actually feed my headspace, too (like assigning me a particular bedtime, setting limits on how much time I could spend online each day, etc.), so even when we were apart, and before we actually lived together, they just clicked for me. I suppose that part of the difference was that these assignments required a much more active and deliberate effort, as well as knowing he would hold me accountable for them. He also worked with me fairly patiently as I struggled to figure out how to actually do some of these kinds of assignments, until I was able to get it running smoothly on my own. He helped give me ideas of ways I could implement the assignment and still get my own needs met when I couldn’t think of how to do it myself. He didn’t expect me to figure it all out by myself, particularly when it was so difficult that my brain literally went on tilt trying to figure out how I could possibly do it.

The efficacy of this entire approach became even more evident when I was the relationship where there was no such followup, and I desperately missed that hand of control always on the back of my neck…

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