It’s like pocket money for grown-ups.
Do you include financial submission within the definition of your own submission and if yes, how does it manifest itself? If no, is there a particular reason why? Are you familiar with the concepts of financial submission? Do you have an opinion about financial submission in general?
For us, financial submission happened more acceidentally than it did intentionally, and it’s something that, even if I don’t particularly like it, I accept as a part of the conditions of my relationship.
So it goes, Matt and I have our own personal bank accounts, plus a shared one for any savings. We both contribute to our savings whenever we’ve got a bit to spare, and really it doesn’t matter who adds what or when, because as we see it, “it all comes from the same pot”. Our savings don’t just cover anything though – the savings only cover the big things, like our (hopefully!) new conservatory, or renewing our vows.
For everything else, Matt and I have our own bank accounts. I handle paying the bills, but Matt transfers housekeeping to my account and then I pay the bills accordingly from our combined contributions. I use one of my welfare payments to do a fortnightly grocery shop, and my other money covers anything else we might need. Even if the money can be used for personal assistance, after a bad recruiting experience, we have never hired a cleaner – we get around a large chunk of our cleaning by proudly owning two robot vacuums instead!
For the longest time, I was always very determined that I would pay my own way in life. I’m a modern woman, and whenever I went on a date, I would always foot my share of the bill. I don’t mind picking up the tab or paying for a taxi. As far as I was concerned, all that mattered was the company.
Financial submission crept in almost immediately after we watched Fifty Shades Of Grey. It was a stupid, small, trivial matter – I insisted on taking the bus back home, and Matt insisted on booking us a taxi. I tried to take a stand and argue that it was excessive and unneccessary, and he warned me against making a public demonstration in the middle of a very busy cinema. In the end, I conceded.
Since then, I’m used to taxis turning up when I have places to be. I’m used to Deliveroo turning up with ingredients to cook breakfast in lockdown and I’m used to sometimes lavish and thoughtful gifts. I’ve tried to argue my case that money doesn’t buy happiness, but he argues that I deserve it.
And to a certain degree, some might say he’s right.
When I first met Matt, his situation at home was dire. He had very little in his cupboards to eat and his home was often without heat or electricity. His father had a heavy tobacco habit, and his rental arrears were so high that he was at risk of losing his home. Even in spite of paying for his keep, Matt wasn’t on the rent book. If his father was taken to court, Matt too could have been homeless.
I fought life and limb to prevent that from happening. I spent money every few days on powering the home and more to keep them both fed. I cooked, cleaned and wrote letters highlighting the needs of this family. For their part, they gave me a place of attention and acceptance, somewhere else that I could call home.
Over time, Matt began to prosper. We won at court, and Matt’s father was able to pay off his arrears in monthly payments. The home had electricity and heating again, and Matt was finally able to hold down a job without worrying about what he’d be returning home to. Our relationship blossomed and we became more of a team.
At no time was I ever after any kind of repayment. Even if nothing else, Matt was a friend, and I hate to see my friends suffer. I helped him because it was in my nature to help him. Something about him also told me that it wasn’t in my interests to walk away.
As Matt’s situation recovered, he began to spend more and more on me. I’d try and argue against it, and he’d casually tell me that I deserved it. It might not even be anything huge or expensive, perhaps some flowers or chocolates, just because. Still though, his insistence was the same – I deserved it.
Of course I’d argue that I didn’t, of course I would. To me, nobody deserves anything, we either work for our successes of we are the tragic victims of fate or circumstance. I’d try to argue, and he wouldn’t move. If I argued my case, he’d have a counter-argument ready. In the end, I realised I was losing far more often than I was winning.
Pick your battles.
One of the best things my father taught me was the importance of picking your battles, of not sweating the small stuff. Is it really a big deal if my husband wants to pay for breakfast? No, of course not. Even if nothing else, I could just amuse myself later by engaging him in a lengthy dinnertime battle of why Donald Trump wasn’t quite as bad as he thinks instead. Sure, it’s quite a task even for me, but if I’m going down, then at least I’m going down swinging!
None of this sounds very submissive, and yet one of the things Matt loves about me is my stubborn, tempestuous nature. I push him, I challenge him, and that’s why he keeps me around. I push him to do better and be better, even by his own admission. I challenge him everyday, and yet with one look, one word or one command and I know exactly where I stand. I have freedom, but even my freedom has its boundaries.
How do I feel about financial submission on the whole? I think really, the same way I feel about any other kink or thing that I don’t do. Giving my Dominant control of my money is not for me but it might be for someone else, and I respect that. In BDSM, you have to learn quite early on that nothing consensual is “wrong”. It might not be for you, and that’s okay.
When I first started out in the BDSM community, or even a few years later, I admittedly did used to frown upon pro Dominatrixes with “wishlists” – lists of items or gifts which they want that the submissives they engage with can buy for them, sometimes in return for a session or even just their attention. At the time, I found the idea preposterous and I thought that these women should kindly get off of their asses and earn these things properly, but then I came to understand that in a way, being a professional Dominatrix is a job, people really do pay to be whipped and tortured professionally and if such is the case, then who am I to say that their paying play partners can’t buy them lavish gifts along the way? It’s not for me to judge!
What I can say as time has gone on is that, now I personally know a handful of professional Dominatrixes, I have never met a bunch of more warm, genuine and kind people. Mistress Anita, who heads one of the most popular BDSM clubs here in Bristol, now even has me on her personal Facebook. She added me after a kitchen fire in our old home because she recognised us and wanted to make sure we were okay- You can’t get a better community than this!
Financial submission is not a kink of mine personally, and that’s A-okay. If it’s for you, then that’s great. If it’s not, that’s cool, too. As my “What’s Your Kink?” series develops, you’ll come to realise that even if buying lavish gifts for my partner isn’t a kink for me, I’m not as innocent as I may first seem. Where we’re going next time though? You’ll have to wait and see!