Everybody Needs A Break Sometimes
As I mentioned in my 6-month Anniversary post the other day, I took a brief sabbatical from the blog due to a continuous 11 days of work and the need to recuperate afterward. I’m noticing this is a growing trend among many of my fellow bloggers; if I work from the top down through my blogroll I can find at least 3 examples before I hit the midway point of people who are taking a break in one form or another. Between burnouts, changes in lifestyle, work requirements, or what have you’s these fine people need to step back, catch a breath, and recover. Recognizing when to do so is, I think, one of the keys to living a long and happy life.
Here in the United States, taking a break is not encouraged. It is not mandatory. To some of my international readers, this may come as a shock, but there is no mandatory vacation/holiday time in the United States. Employers have no requirement to provide paid time off, for any reason. For recent parents, the Family Medical Leave Act assures that a mother may take up to 12 weeks off from work to care for her newborn child, but those 12 weeks are not required to be paid time off. Yes, you read that correctly; a mother may take unpaid time off from work for up to 12 weeks to care for her newborn before she must return to work or lose her job. In my current job I am offered no paid time off for any reason; not sickness, not for a death in the family, and certainly not for a vacation/holiday.
Yet sometimes it is not simply work or blogging or video games or bad habit from which we need a break. Sometimes we on the fringe need a break from aspects of our non-vanilla lifestyles. Something may need to be put on hold, be it swinging or BDSM play or seeking an extra romantic partner. Perhaps only one specific aspects need be paused, such as only playing soft swap or eschewing impact play and heavy bondage. The needs for these breaks are as varied as our styles of play, and all equally important.
One reason for taking a break I often see cited is the need to reconnect with a partner. I do not think the importance of maintaining a good connection can be stressed enough; no good relationship builds itself, but instead requires commitment and dedication from both parties to engage and maintain that connection. This loss of commitment can happy in any relationship, but I believe the warning signs of it can be magnified when the couple is engaged in non-monogamy. Whether it’s realizing that all of your play lately has been only with another person or in a swinging environment or realizing that your conversations have slowed or stalled unless talking about going on a date with somebody new, the evidence becomes apparent faster when somebody from outside the relationship is involved. Taking the time to talk, evaluate how things stand, and make a concentrated effort to rediscover what each person loves and adores and appreciates about the other is an appropriate and sometimes necessary step toward maintaining that relationship.
Another reason is everyday stress. As much as we on the fringe revel in our “outsider” status, we still have the daily trappings of life with which we must deal. Work does not stop during the week just because we like to tie each other up and flog each other at night. Children do not stop needing help with homework after school just because we go out to clubs on the weekends to strip and beat or fuck each other in front of others. Cars still require maintenance, family still needs attention, clothes still need washing, and groceries still need purchasing. Unless you’re living a BDSM lifestyle full-time that incorporates these elements than engaging in the non-vanilla requires additional work, which means scheduling additional time. Some weeks that time just may not feel available. Sometimes it well and truly isn’t there at all. Putting things on pause until the schedule lightens up is always acceptable if everybody involved agrees to it.
Finances can also be a big reason by the non-vanilla needs to be put on hold. Maintaining an alternative lifestyle brings certain expenditures. Whether going to a swinger club, dungeon event, a munch, or on a date with a new prospective partner the outings cost money, and sometimes that money isn’t there. This ties in with the stress of everyday life, wherein unforeseen expenses or simply seasonal expenses mean that the funds needed for a night out exploring all things fringe just aren’t available. This as well is a perfectly acceptable, and sometimes unavoidable reason, to take a break from engaging in alternative lifestyle activities.
This is not to say that every break should be permanent. Making changes to one’s lifestyle, whether temporary or permanent, should always be a decision made after careful consideration of priorities and personal needs. Some people simply cannot return to vanilla life after having tasted the more varied flavors of life. Other people need only to sample the darker flavors from time to time before returning to a more vanilla way of life as the de facto standard. Every approach is different and personal, and provided nobody is harmed in the process every unique approach is perfectly valid.
It all comes down to staying happy and well-adjusted in the end, however that picture develops.
Stay SINful, friends.