Communication has been the key in helping us to build and maintain our D/s dynamic. For us, the foundations are love, trust, respect, honesty and open communication, but really we have found that the communication is the glue that holds the rest together. When we stop communicating well, or openly, the other elements seem to be affected. In addition, if something challenges one of the other foundations, it is only through truly open communication that we can resolve it. As a couple we had always talked a lot and there were no topics really off limits so we could just have said that we were fine in that area. However, the formality of a D/s dynamic meant that there had to be some changes.
Once we were trying to live as Dominant and submissive, beyond life in the bedroom, I found that there were things that I wanted to say but knew that I shouldn’t. In the past I had spoken my mind and what was on it was not always helpful to verbalise at that particular time. The vocabulary I chose was often loaded and I would fire it straight at anyone who got in the way. In my mind, this was my way of resolving things – I would let my husband know what it was which upset me or made me angry etc and then we could work at fixing it. In practice this was not helpful as it often left him feeling attacked and criticised and, wanting anything for a quiet life, he just let it bounce off him and waited until I calmed down. I felt that he had ignored what I’d said and didn’t care so it became a vicious circle where we both drifted further from each other and it created distance.
These sorts of power struggles can be common in relationships; we respond to a perceived threat in kind, one incident or comment provoking a response which feeds another comment or action and on and on it goes. The beauty of our dynamic now is that these power struggles have more or less become obsolete. Only if we have slipped back into our old vanilla ways for some reason, do they show face now and over time we have become much better at identifying this and moving swiftly to correct it. As we have both grown in confidence, he as a Dom and me as a sub, we are able to help each other if one of us does slip up and we are able to work much more as a team – one feeding the other as it were.
Waiting to talk to HisLordship about whatever is bothering me means that I have a chance to calm down, think about what I want to say, and express it in a constructive way. Instead of firing something at him when his mind may be elsewhere, I have his full and complete attention. Prior to this he had complained of feeling one step behind me as I would move so quickly from one idea to the next, that he sometimes just switched off. Filtering what I want to tell him, from a stream of consciousness to what is important has been much better for him. Suddenly he was engaged and offering an opinion and I no longer felt like the constant nag that I had begun to become. Discussing these things in a respectful and constructive way meant that he could then make a decision which met both of our needs. He became an essential and integral part of what we were doing, and my contribution to the planning and thought surrounding it was valued.
As a minimum we will talk like this one of the mornings at the weekend (usually a Saturday) and also once during the week – usually on a Wednesday before our weekly cane session. During this time we talk about things like what is working well, what isn’t working so well, things that we would like to do and sometimes we also talk about where we want to see our relationship go. It is sort of a dealing with issues session and also a chance to reflect back on where we have come from and to look forward to where we want to go. Clearly we don’t do all of this all every time we talk but we will combine these elements, depending on what is most relevant and significant at the time. While I make offers and suggestions, the final decision always lies with him. At the end of the discussion, he will conclude what decisions have been made. Making the decisions does not mean that he has full responsibility for everything as he had once feared he would. He will give me instructions or tasks which will include me being responsible for arranging or organising certain things.
Although I will always try to remain respectful in the way that I speak to HisLordship during this discussion, it will be a time that I will speak much more freely and openly than I might other times. This has worked well as, rather than blurting things out as they come to mind, it will be a calmer more considered discussion than one that we might have had before so I will have thought about what I want to say and how I want to say it before we begin. He does the same and will often have some things written down that he wishes to address. Although we can be interrupted (such is life), there is a clear beginning, middle and end and Sir will take the lead and sum up the main points, especially those for action. This has led to us working much better together as we are both much clearer about the outcomes, decisions and responsibilities than we used to be.
We will use these structured times to reflect, evaluate and plan, but either of us can and will also ask for this type of discussion as and when the need arises. As with anything, it will not fit neatly into an exact package all the time as life is not always predictable, nor would we want it to be. Although I think that good, open communication is essential to the success of any relationship, how you achieve that will be a personal thing so I am not suggesting our way should be your way, I am merely offering food for thought and an insight into how we have made it work for us. We have found that communicating in a much more structured and open way has helped to keep us on track, especially at the early stage, and it has been vital to us in building the trust that allows us to enjoy the intimacy and intensity that we want to have.