Well, this week love is in the air and with the approach of Valentines Day, romance is on the agenda. For many there is a focus on gifts, and on the sexy and spicy aspects of relationships, but without feeling supported on an emotional level, many of the grander gestures will fall flat. Being in a relationship is about much more than the one day, so we thought it would be a good time to think about the sort of things we do all year around to meet each other’s emotional needs.
Much of being successful is about being attuned to the other person. Watching their body language and listening to what they say will be a big part of picking up on how they are feeling. Being able to respond to them in a way which shows your own feelings is also important. Using touch, making eye contact, allowing those little signs to pass between you so that you both maintain the connection that you have, is key. Knowing the sorts of things they like, being able to anticipate when that is required, and finding ways to implement it that meet your role within the relationship, will mean they feel connected to you. Encouraging self-care is something that will demonstrate how attuned you are to your partner, and will allow them to feel closer and more understood by you.
Keeping in Mind
Showing your partner that you have them in mind is also an important part of making them feel valued by you. This can be done in ways such as planning thoughtful gestures and things you would like to do for them, leaving them notes or sending messages and pictures that will help you to connect throughout the day. There is no substitute for time alone together but life can get in the way, so making sure you have a plan for this and can maximise the time that you do have will ensure that you both remain at the centre of your world. Energising someone else through your own positive energy can often be a great intervention so thinking about ways that you can do this for them, will often enhace the feeling of closeness.
Despite how attentive our partner is, we all have a responsibility to communicate how we are actually feeling. Setting a time for a regular catch up with each other will help you to gauge this and therefore meet their needs. Perhaps this is the time to ask questions about what you have noticed and listen carefully to try to identify what they may be thinking and feeling? Some people struggle to work out how they feel so listening well will allow you to summarise for them and identify some of the trickier emotions. Once that is done, you can work together to look at how you address whatever it is that is going on. Communication of emotional needs can also be built in to the rules and rituals you have. Perhaps there is something you agree to do to let the other know how you are feeling, or to be able to instigate discussion, if that is something that you find hard? Perhaps keeping a journal is something that would be helpful?
Avoid the Pitfalls
Despite the fact that we may seem to know each other better than we know ourselves at times, we are not mind readers. Try to avoid jumping to conclusions or making assumptions about how the other person feels. If you are anticipating something and want to address that, try to communicate with them about why you are doing what you are doing. Ask them how they are feeling. If you think that they unable to express it, then try to help them through questioning and give them the time and the space that they need. Working things out together means that the way we experience them becomes a shared thing rather than an individual response.
Daring greatly means the courage to BE VULNERABLE. It means to show up and be seen. to ask for what you need. To talk about how you are feeling. To have the hard conversations. – Brene Brown
Vulnerability is a huge part of D/s both for the sub and for the Dom. In order to achieve the sort of connection that we desire, we have to put ourselves out there, to make ourselves vulnerable to the other, in order to become stronger together. This is not an easy thing to do but to have the aspiration to endeavour to do it yourself, and to encourage your partner to be open with you, will be a step that will allow you remain emotionally connected on the deepest of levels. Sometimes this may work through the physical play that you engage in, but it will also form part of the emotional and spiritual elements that you share.
While large showy gestures are often what is being modelled as the emotional ‘must haves’ of relationships, often these material signs are hollow on their own. Don’t overlook the power of the small things you can do on an every day basis. With D/s there can be a tendency to judge and measure against others who seem to be engaging in the full ‘bells and whistles’ type play. This view, perpetuated by fiction, is no more realistic that the one that would have us all whipping each other in a dingy basement (chance would be a fine thing!) To be feeling uncertain and have someone reach to take your hand and give it a squeeze can actually provide the same feeling of safety as the aftercare from an intense scene, if that is what you need at the time, so remembering the small things is often key.