A very common complaint in the dd community is finding the balance between playfulness and disrespect.
Around here it might go something like this.
I swat SC with the kitchen rag. He turns around and swats me harder. I giggle swat him back, stick my tongue out at him... and before you know it I am bent over a counter getting more than I ever intended for crossing that imaginary (always moving) line.
I have a very "sanguine" personality. I like to laugh, and play, and push limits. I push limits not because I want to disrespect or make my husband angry, but because I find it fun.
SC has quite the opposite personality. He is very "melancholy" -- very orderly and serious. (It's amazing he married me! Or that I don't regularly drive him batty!) He will often "play" around with me, but his line in the sand is often in what I would consider weird places...as in, I would have never thought (or realized) that it would be considered disrespect.
Now there are some things that I have learned in the last 17 or so months will make him mad enough to at least give "serious" as in not playful swats-- sticking my tongue out at him (I still don't know why I do that...), pinching him, rolling my eyes...those are just a few.
Swatting him is minimally tolerated. As in, he doesn't like it but will just swat back harder every time. I play the game. It makes me laugh even though I know I am getting much much worse than I am giving. There is a point that crosses the line with this...or with playing around in other areas as well.
I am pretty sensitive, and this caused a problem or awhile. I would play hard and he would play back and then all of a sudden he was angry and I was in trouble. I am sure it wasn't all of a sudden for him, but I was totally missing the warning signs. You know, it's all fun and games until someone gets spanked!
And because I am sensitive I would get my feelings hurt. I didn't intend or want to make him angry or to cross the line into disrespect, but sometimes the line isn't so obvious to me.
In the beginning it was even worse. Whenever I would play around and he would "let it go" I was thinking he was being inconsistent. Then when he would be consistent and punish every time, I would think, wait! I miss being playful! I don't want to change who I am!
And then sometimes I would play to get a rise out of him...to test the limits on purpose to be sure he was being consistent-- bratting.
Needless to say, it was a mess!
One thing that helped initially was that he would swat every time. Playing or not. Okay or not. This established that even in messing around or being playful, he was still the HoH.
Bartting is not allowed. At all. I am expected to communicate with him any need for R/A or maintenance, or any need I may have. Bratting gets me spanked...way harder than anything I would have initially needed to be set straight.
A few months ago we came up with a new plan to add to this. Something so silly, but it has made all the difference. I can play and be silly (he swats back hard still!) but when he has had enough or I have crossed the line he simply says my name. That is an all stop. It keeps me from having my feelings hurt since it is gentle and discrete, but it also keeps it from going to far.
It has made a huge difference for us. I need to be able to play, and I need to have that sassy part of my personality be a part in our relationship, but I really don't want to disrespect him or make him angry...this has helped establish the line. Since the line moves, at least he can tell me now without me getting hurt or upset!