5 Bad Tapes That Can Interfere In Your D/s Relationship
We use the term “bad tapes” a lot. This is our way of saying all the old memories, feelings, emotions, and junk from previous relationships that’s not good. It’s the stuff that makes us overreact to a perceived slight. Bad tapes are the reason we can’t handle a partner who drinks or gambles. They make us cringe when a voice gets too loud or a late night text message comes in.
Having bad tapes is almost inevitable. No one goes through life without at least one bad or not-so-great relationship. Understanding what your bad tapes are and how they’re triggered can help you communicate with your partner. It’s also a good way to give a partner a reality check. I can’t help that I have bad tapes, but I can remember to treat John Brownstone like the man he is instead of like a partner from a long time ago.
Anything can be a bad tape – anything. But to give you a starting point to think about the concept of bad tapes, here are five types that can interfere with your D/s relationship.
Tone of Voice
We all have that one person in our life who uses a “tone” with us. When it happens in a bad relationship (any kind of relationship), hearing it later can trigger an emotional reaction. I can’t stand a too loud, too sharp tone of voice. It reminds me of my father who yelled more than he spoke, and it causes an immediate and angry reaction from me. Poor John Brownstone has been on the receiving end of a “bad tapes” reaction more than once.
Money is a sensitive topic for most people. Not enough money. Spending too much money. Not earning enough money. Anything that smells of how a previous relationship handled money can set people off. For John Brownstone, it hits him when he perceives I’m about to spend money we don’t have on something we don’t need. I’ve learned that his reaction isn’t about me (I’m practically a damn miser, y’all) and about his previous relationship. I look at him and calmly say, “My name isn’t [his wife’s name]” and that usually gets him out of the moment.
Most (but not all) bad tapes come down to trust issues. When you see behavior you recognize being repeated in a new relationship, you’re on guard for the worst. Staying out late? Not calling? Talking to someone attractive? If another partner fucked you over with untrustworthy behavior, it’s normal to be sensitive to it. The only way to get through those feelings is to talk about them. If you push them down, they’ll fester, and your partner won’t understand where your anger is coming from. And “they should know” isn’t an excuse.
In my previous marriage, I learned to shut down my feelings and not talk about what bothered me. Talking didn’t change anything so why bother? My relationship with John Brownstone isn’t the same, and I can’t treat it the same way. Not talking would kill our D/s dynamic and make everything else harder. If the problem is an uncommunicative partner, you need to let them know it’s not okay. You also need to be someone who responds well to whatever they say – even if you don’t like hearing it. Being afraid to say what you feel doesn’t go away over night. Trust is required.
You or your partner might have gotten away from an abusive relationship, but the scars never completely go away. Mental, physical, or emotional abuse all produce their own bad tapes. Sights, smells, sounds, words, and memories can trigger a reaction. If you’re the one with bad tapes, talk to your partner as much as you can. Trust can be difficult to build even in the best circumstances, and it’s harder now, for sure. But if your partner doesn’t understand what’s causing your reaction, they can’t help you – or avoid the triggering behavior. If you’re that partner, be as understanding as possible. Treat your partner with kindness when the bad tapes hit. You can’t erase those bad tapes for them, but maybe you can record over them a little.
Absolutely anything can become a bad tape. Something as small as how your partner chews to as big as leading a double life with another family. You can’t avoid recording bad tapes in your head. If you try, you might as well live in a cardboard box, and then you’ll dislike the smell of cardboard (See? Bad tapes are everywhere). What we can do, though, is acknowledge they exist and that sometimes, what makes us angry is our memory and our fears – not the person in front of us.
In episode 101 of the Loving BDSM podcast, we discuss the concept of bad tapes in great detail.
Now it’s your turn. Do you know what your bad tapes are? How do you deal with them in your relationship? Share in the comments below!