A great introduction to understanding how I work in a relationship...and how to explain it to others
I lived with a boyfriend for three years. I was married to someone else for ten years. I had several long term relationships as well. Nearly all of them ended up with me leaving because my needs were not being met.
No, I don't mean my sexual needs. I mean my needs in the relationship dynamic. You see, I am a giver of support: I like to help others succeed because I fixed their resume, I prepared dinner on time so they could go to a meeting, or I followed through on a task list that was given to me. I don't want to be ordered to do things; rather, I want to be asked to do things that would help my partner and our relationship, and in return, I want to be thanked -- genuinely thanked.
In reading Leading and Supportive Love, I found myself identifying with the Supportive-type. It matched my giver-nature from all my years volunteering with charities and donating time and talent. I wanted to have a defined role where I could know my position and know that my partner was going to step up, make decisions, and stand by them as well as recognize my efforts towards our joint-success. I wanted someone else to take charge and make sure that we were making progress as a team.
As a volunteer as well as an employee, when I am asked to be in charge I slip into a Type-A dynamic that is rather hard-edged and intense. It doesn't really present me with a supportive side. And I want that supportive side to show through.
In reviewing my past partners, I found that very few of them were Leaders in my relationship with them. Those that have the traits, I am still good friends with...and we work well together on projects to this day. Then there are others who just don't fit in either role -- and that's fine, it just means I did not get my needs met in our relationships. Then there were a few who were very much Supportive-types like me...and I could see how we spiraled into a "waiting for the other to decide/take action" vortex. Those relationships were very unhealthy for me.
This book is not a primer on the BDSM concepts of Domination and submission in the sense that one partner must over-power the other, and the other relinquishing their independent thoughts or actions. A closer description would be to compare the L/S-relationship to how the 1950's era households worked: and yes, there were some of those households where the wife stayed home but was in charge of the house and it's decisions. It wasn't all The Man's decision regarding how the house operated or plans for vacations.
The types defined are not gender-specific...they are type-specific. One should read the whole book before passing judgement on either type. Both of them are strong in their convictions and how they interact in a relationship. Who knows, if it's not for you...you just may see a friend in one of these types, and then better understand how their life works.