I’ve made vows before, legally binding ones. They were vows I never imagined I would walk away from. When I got married I was 22, I was marrying the man I considered my best friend and as I said my vows I was 100% convinced we would spend the rest of lives together. In a way we will, the child we have together means we won’t stray far from the others path and I am also exceptionally grateful that our friendship has withstood our divorce and I suspect that is for keeps.
However, I am not someone who can imagine ever getting married again. My compatibility with my ex-husband changed because life dealt us some unbelievably shit hands and the only way I could cope was to morph into another person. No one ever seems to grasp how until that moment when I became someone new, things were absolutely grand, therefore in my heart, I think I married the right person and I cannot imagine marrying anyone else ever again.
Which then usually has people assuming, never asking, that I wish I were still married and that Bakji is some kind of rebound guy. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, before I met Bakji I wasn’t interested in a commitment or relationship of any kind. Given the fact I’ve now been with him for four years, I think it’s safe to say I softened on that outlook. All this is to highlight the fact that the chances of my ever making any vows again are slim to none. I’m a big believer in never say never, but time doesn’t seem to be having an effect on this particular feeling.
My desire to not make vows also extends to things like collaring ceremonies. As regular readers will know mine and Bakji’s D/s is fairly casual and there is no formal collaring in place. I’ve often wondered if that might one day be the next step for us, but honestly, I cannot imagine us standing up in front of people and making declarations of love and commitment to each, whether it is for marriage or collaring.
We also don’t live together or have any intentions of doing so. We don’t mingle our families together and apart from our kinky lives, which are very much intertwined, we live totally independent lives and I think this often leaves people wondering what one earth our deal is, especially when they’ve seen us interact, because I think we definitely give off a ‘romantic couple’ vibe.
I tend to feel that commitment only means one thing to most people and usually, that meaning is based around monogamy, finances, shared friends, shared family and moving along the relationship escalator. So when people realise we don’t want those things, not only with each other but with anyone, they then make the assumption that we are not committed to each other in any ways at all.
Commitment is a word I use sparingly in front of Bakji, and often with disclaimers and air quotes to soften the blow, but I do think there are many ways in which we are committed to each other and I think they are just as important as any other kind. I also think that in some ways we have our own set of vows that we live by, they just don’t look how other people might expect them too, but they’re important to us and they are the reason that four years down the line we are still doing our thing and I think perhaps why neither of us has bolted despite both being anti-relationship when we met.
The thing we find most strange when we discuss things like this is that the things we are most committed to offering each other are things we think should be commonplace, but actually, in our experience, many relationships seem to be lacking in them.
We are kind to each other, we don’t lie to each other and we offer our support and encouragement at all times. I would say those are three main promises we’ve made to each other over the last four years. We’ve both had times in previous relationships where those things we expect to be natural parts of good relationships just weren’t present.
Neither of us is a fan of arguing either, so we also have a bit of a vow not to shout at or get cross with each other. This doesn’t mean serious things go unsaid, but it means we can start discussions without fear of being screamed at. Again in previous relationships, a simple difference of opinion could have resulted in a fight and the cruelty wielded during an argument would be hard to bounce back from. With previous partners stating ‘well you hurt the ones you love’. I think that phrase has a much deeper meaning than some people realise and slinging it about as a way to be nasty to your partner during an argument is a shitty thing to do.
All this before we even get to kink or sex, which is interesting because our relationship definitely started out as a kinky friendship. The romance and longevity just sort of happened. Or it happened because we both went into our friendship with the same values on how you should treat people. Bakji has an embargo on girlfriends, doesn’t want one, ever again. At first, I thought this was his not so subtle way of making sure I didn’t think I was in with a chance, but as he shared his past experiences I understood his viewpoint and realised it wasn’t about me at all. It was about navigating away from the poor experiences and creating something that he saw as better and more valuable than the status quo.
When it comes to kink my vow has always been to create a safe space for Bakji to share all his desires. Regardless of whether I am on board with them or not. It’s much easier to welcome a kink or fantasy you have yourself, but I always wanted him to able to tell me anything even if it was a kink he may need to explore with someone else. In the early days of our dynamic, this meant being curious about his submissive side. In those days he identified as a switch (and still does) and I was identifying as a submissive/bottom (not so much of that these days) but despite my declaration that I wouldn’t ever be likely to top him, I wanted to know about his interesting as a sub. As it turns out I think this was a data collecting mission all along, but finding out those interests without the pressure of one day having to utilise them was a genius move on my part!
Bakji also has his own vow for the time we spend together and that is to keep me entertained and always be in a good mood when he sees me. Honestly, in the four years I’ve known him I’ve never been bored in his presence and I can only think of one time when he turned up feeling less happy than normal and his reasons were entirely valid and I was happy to see him so I could perhaps cheer him up and offer him some support.
So between us, we probably have less than ten things that we continually promise to each other. None of which are all that fancy and some of which probably seem so straightforward that it’s odd to include them. All of them are promises made without any formality or declaration of exclusivity and they do not extend to ‘death do us part’, unless that is how long the natural life of our time together is.
We are not bound to each other by law or by ceremony, we don’t share any of the things that are common markers for a life partnership, primary relationship and as such, I think many folks would and do assume that one of us is the cause of all this and the other is secretly hoping for things to change one day. The truth is we are both genuinely happy with our set up and we don’t need those ‘next steps’ to validate our time together.
I think my past has shown me that all promises can be broken, not only that but there’s a good chance I will be the one breaking them, more on that in On The Other Side of Hurt should you be curious as to what I mean. Which doesn’t mean I won’t make promises to people, but it does mean I far more cautious about making them. I only offer what I know I can honestly give and that’s why I won’t get married again, or make a public declaration of commitment. I suspect I would feel differently if my marriage had ended due to the other person’s wrong-doings, or had simply been their decision. That isn’t my truth though. My truth is that I know the pain of breaking big and important promises and to this day it hurts my heart that I had to do that. I never want to be in that position again.
People often say I might change my mind one day, or they try and minimise the decisions I made in order to steer me back towards a more common relationship model. I don’t want to minimise my actions though and I don’t want to go back to those kinds of relationships. Vows, promises, commitments, whatever you call them, they mean something and I think breaking them should mean something too. For me, that means being mindful of who I am and making promises I believe in even if they seem lacking to the outside world.