No - not that kind of engaged - we're already married - since forever it seems like. But - engaged with each other, with our relationship, engaged in our lives....
Part of my problem was that i was becoming less and less engaged with him, and less engaged in our life. And, honestly, I felt like he was less and less engaged in us, less engaged with me. I'm sure some of that was perception, skewed by emotions. Some of my perceptions were also the truth - he knew i was off and struggling - but not how to respond.
We also each misunderstood the other on some really fundamental things, things like consent and what it affords each of us: he needs to know that i ultimately have an out - that there is never a question of non-consent or abuse; i need to know i have room in the whole thing to have doubts and to kick at it and that it will remain firmly in place. This sounds so basic, so black and white, no room for interpretation. I suppose not for us. We've worked to straighten this out - to explain ourselves better to each other, to set a plan. But - you can never know what you don't know.
There were also paradoxes i couldn't reconcile mentally or learn to live with gracefully. I'm learning - maybe not graceful, but starting to accept.
It's hard for me to hold both in my head - to do my own work, to be responsible for and control myself - and to let go and trust him to take care of me. For some reason, for me, these are mutually exclusive things.
My concept of active submission, taking care of myself, controlling myself, being responsible for myself - competed with the idea of learning to rely on him, to defer to him when necessary, to allow him in and to allow myself to be open and to accept his intrusion, physically and mentally - esp to accept that he is so easily able to influence and even manipulate my mental and emotional state.
There was the selfish, but very strong feeling that if he wants me to be open and vulnerable, and submissive, then he needs to take responsibility for maintaining my mental and emotional balance. He should see when i'm off or struggling and he should step in and fix it - fix me. I became angry, then despondent when he didn't. I wasn't able to see how to be me, how to be the strong, capable, self reliant person i am, and who he loves, and at the same time submit to him, to be his girl. I am starting to feel how it works. I can't explain it, but the paradox is becoming less important.
And there is active dominance also (thanks mouse). I don't need him to step in and fix me, i don't want to lose my own strength, i don't want him to force me into submission; I do however need to know that he wants and values my submission, i need some input about how he wants that submission to look, i need him to be engaged. And he has been. And the dominance and the submission really do feed each other and build us both up.