It’s important to learn the lessons of experience. No experience is truly bad unless there is no lesson you can learn from it. Learning that lesson will make things better in the future, next time.
But it’s not just about yourself. It’s good to learn lessons not just as they apply to others and what you need from them, but about how you treat other people. If something has bothered you in the past, it’s a fair bet that it’ll bother someone else if you do it.
Some time ago I gave a second chance to a girl who had let go of me to be involved with someone else. Someone she would later tell me she would “regret for the rest of her life” (for many reasons, and if you think I’m being indiscreet, remember I haven’t told you the reasons!).
In truth it was a challenge for me, too. Despite drawing a line under it to give her a second chance after the way I’d been betrayed, that relationship cast a long shadow over us that reared its head in practical ways for several months.
I’d felt safe giving that second chance because I believed she’d learned lessons from the mistake. Sadly, she wasn’t able to learn some of the lessons of it, which eventually became very damaging.
One was to trust me. It had taken her six weeks to discover that what I’d warned her at the start of her involvement with him had been right. She’d needed to learn it for herself, so it was a valuable experience in that sense. But she forgot that my judgement was good, and I could be trusted to act in her best interests even when she couldn’t see my reasons.
Another time, she told me her feelings about something he had done and contrasted it with how I had acted in a similar situation.
She had a problem with someone that I chatted to on the twitter TL. She thought a girl was trying to come between us, wanted me for herself and so, naturally, disliked her. I can’t remember who it was although I remember I couldn’t see the problem – I didn’t think this other girl was trying to come between us. But as soon as she told me her concern, they were gone. No questions. Her feelings and her comfort were paramount. By contrast she’d said to him…
You have interest in people I wouldn’t give the time of day to and in particular people you know have directly hurt me. It’s perplexing but it’s your right.
Just doesn’t really demonstrate any respect or care in my view. [sub account x] and [sub account y] are dangerous & spiteful. But you value their interaction. More than my feelings it would seem.
She was that upset about just twitter timeline chat.
After about five months of her second chance she couldn’t see how I felt the same about a friendship she developed that was much more than just timeline chat, with someone who quite certainly was trying to come between us and did want her for himself. She couldn’t see how it didn’t demonstrate respect or care to allow him to stay around, or how it seemed she valued that interaction more than my feelings. But that was, in her words, how I felt about her friendship with him, and for the very same reason.
I had done such a good job of healing her, that she hadn’t remembered how hurtful, disrespectful and uncaring it is to be friends with someone in that way, even encouraging his attentions and defending him when I expressed my hurt.
Despite that, I’m not in the business of telling a sub who she can and can’t be friends with. So I had offered the occasional olive branch to him, and in the face of his hostility we made some progress.
I’d made that effort to overcome his attitude toward me specifically because I didn’t want her to feel uncomfortable being friends with someone at such odds with me.
My effort, my bridge building. Against his considerable resistance and my own preference. For her to feel comfortable about something she objected to when she’d been on the receiving end.
I believe it is important not to try to control who your sub can be friends with, or manipulate her into not being friends with him. A sub has a right to be friends with whoever she likes. But there is a corresponding responsibility of loyalty to each other and the bond to ensure that friendships don’t harm the connection between Dom and sub.
Neither should put another ahead of each other.
Learn from your history, or you condemn yourself to repeat it. Worse, you might inflict the same lack of respect and care that upset you so much before.
But in case you think I’m saying “She had only herself to blame“, in truth, I learned an important lesson during those weeks, too. And like her I promptly forgot it because she was more important to me than a silly personal rule that would’ve prevented me giving her that second chance. I even blogged about it last August.
But lessons learned, lessons forgotten, nothing is truly bad unless there’s nothing to learn from it at all.
What’s important when there’s a lesson to learn is to be humble when someone who cares for your happiness has the temerity to show you the lesson. Remember their concern comes from somewhere positive. They’re not bullying, you shouldn’t hate them just because they have the audacity to be right, and to not let you off the hook.
© Charles Rochester 2016