I've been a long time follower of your advice site, and have asked a couple of questions a couple of times. This time I have a little bit of a problem with my current mate. You see both of us are into kink and we've indulged in some things a couple of times, but breakdown in trust and communication on her part made me feel uncomfortable about bringing up things that are part of me.
Example, I was and still am questioning my gender and when I brought it up to her (a trans woman herself) she met it with disinterest and a small trace of hostility.
Example 2, both of us are into gaming, it was something we bonded over. But when I was getting into Warhammer 40K and learning the lore, of course I wanted to share it with her so we could share this too. I was met with a roll of her eyes and sigh with an exasperated "Oh god." Also try to share MtG (Magic the gathering) card game with her but when I'm playing online I'm cut short when I talk strategy to myself, it's the way my brain works.
There's so many more examples of why I don't bring anything up to her anymore or even try to share interests. So you can see my hesitancy to bring up the subject of something so personal as a kink. Just to put it out in the open, I'm into leather and pup play. I think of it as a big part of who I am and I want to explore that side of myself. I was thinking of just buying a pup hood and tail plug just to get it out in the open, like ripping off a band-aid. There would be no hiding it and it would bring up my kink, but there's also the risk of her throwing it away or me having to return it.
Now please don't have a negative view of her, we get along just fine otherwise. I love her and she loves me. We're friendly with each other, game with each other, joke, play around and everything that comes with a relationship. It's just my trust in bringing up things to her is a bit wounded.
What can I do? She's a sub too so I think that would be a problem, but we're poly so I think she would approve of me finding a handler/trainer, in theory.
* * *
Many people believe that when you have a mate you should share all your interests together and do everything together. This is not true. It is okay for a couple to have different interests and explore different sides of themselves while also sharing other things. To be compatible does not mean you have to be clones of each other. In fact, it is better if you are not. Imagine doing everything together and having the exact same interests and activities. What would you talk about at the end of the day? "Hey, this morning I...." "Yeah, I was there, remember? I'm ALWAYS there!"
When I was married to Janet, she was way into crafts, including cross-stitch and quilting. I was never into that stuff myself, but I supported her in her interests, sometimes going shopping with her, but never to a quilting convention (yawn). It was great that she loved that stuff and would go on a trip by herself or with a friend and have some fun outside the marriage. Later, when I was with Jim, his passion was radio broadcasting and sound editing. I learned some of this myself and even, briefly, hosted a radio show on his station. But I was not passionate about it. I supported his love for the radio and did what I could to help. Now I am with Michael. He is into playing the organ and piano. Here, we have a little more in common as I am learning the piano, but really am not all that interested in the organ. I am having his mother's piano refurbished as a present this year.
In return, my spouses and mates have also supported me in my interests. One year, long ago, my wife paid to send me to a writers' conference in Maui. Later, with Jim, he was very supportive of my being a furry, as is Michael. Michael is helping me start my publishing business, even though he is not a publisher or writer himself.
And so, you see? Partnership is about complementing one another, supporting each other in the things that you love and do as hobbies or for a living. You don't have to do everything together. So, let's take your interest in pup play and leather kink. Does your girlfriend have to do these with you for you to enjoy them? No, she does not. Now, that said, she shouldn't be rolling her eyes and being dismissive of you. She might not like such things herself, but if she loves you she should be supportive and encourage you to explore this side of yourself.
You sound like you two have a pretty good relationship. I think, though, that you should talk to her about this and say something to the effect of what I have said above: she doesn't have to like EVERYTHING that you are into, but it hurts you when she looks down at you or judges you for liking things she doesn't like herself. (Is there stuff she likes that you don't? You can use that as an example of what she should do for you).
With patience, love, and understanding, I'm sure you two can work it out, and this whole experience can help you grow closer as a couple.
A note on comments: Comments on letters to Papabear are welcome, especially those that offer extra helpful advice and add something to the conversation that is of use to the letter writer and those reading this column. Also welcome are constructive criticisms and opposing views. What is NOT welcome are hateful, hurtful comments, flaming, and trolling. Such comments will be deleted from this site. Thank you.