Being able to communicate well plays a major role in any successful relationship, and it is crucial in D/s relationships where there is a power exchange between partners. And do not make the mistake of thinking that the importance of communication is less important to either partner. It is true that the Dom has the responsibility to lead, and being able to communicate well with the sub alleviates the possibility of mistakes and misunderstandings that can easily sabotage the best laid plans, no matter how honorable the intentions. It is also the Dom’s responsibility to fulfill the wants and needs of the sub, while keeping them protected and safe physically, mentally, and emotionally. But the Dom can only fulfill his responsibilities when the sub openly communicates.
Every individual is different. The likes and dislikes will never be precisely the same, nor will the physical tolerances regarding pain and pleasure. This makes communication imperative in these areas. And while many D/s couples strive to do this concerning the physical, they fail to put the same importance on the mental and emotional make-up of the sub. A mistake that many couples make that inevitably creates situations where the sub often experiences traumatic triggers over unspoken past issues in their lives. Or, when the Dom fails to communicate approval and administer the necessary rewards after the sub fulfills a difficult task or endures a lengthy and stressful session, they succumb to what is commonly referred to as sub-drop (discussed in an earlier post): where the sub reaches an emotional, almost euphoric high, only to crash to a depressive low. And it is sad when any of these negatives occur, because they can all be prevented with proper communication between the partners.
Mastery of Oneself:
Several incidents occurred early in my life that created a lot of anger issues that I realized must be dealt with before I could move forward to maturity, because you cannot become fully mature until you can master yourself, especially your emotions. So I spent a good deal of my young adult life in introspection, along with gaining a well-rounded education that included literary, health, spiritual, philosophical, and psychological studies. And it became evident that one of the contrary steps to mature adulthood is the mastery of one’s emotions. I say contrary because it is not complex, and yet, so many people never seem capable of mastering their emotions. All you have to do is watch any news broadcast, or recall our recent presidential campaign to know how few people can control themselves. When humanity’s so-called leaders cannot communicate without slinging mud, airing dirty laundry, and flying into fits of rage, we may wonder if there is any real hope for our species.
Relationships have fared no better. We have all heard how approximately one out of every two marriages in the U.S. fail. And although a certain faction in America claims the biggest cause of break-ups has to do with finances, I believe there are several more obvious problems: the inability to distinguish true love from other forms of attraction, selfish pride, the inability to control one’s emotions, and lack of communication skills.
In the D/s lifestyle, where a power exchange takes place between partners, each partner should, at the very least, have good communication skills. But it is imperative for Doms to have a high level of mastery of themselves. It is not good for either partner to have a tendency to lose their tempers on a regular basis, but a mature Dom should never lose their temper when dealing with their sub. It is the Dom’s responsibility to not only fulfill their sub’s wants and needs, but to do so in a way that allows them to always feel protected and safe.
At this point, because of different life experiences, some of you may be asking, “Is that even humanly possible?” Well, I assure you that it is. And kat, my cherished and adored sub, will verify that I have never lost my temper with her, nor have I ever raised my voice to her. Even when I must be firm I will always treat her with the utmost respect and love.
Early in Alpha’s and my relationship, I had a tendency to sink into black moods, a coping mechanism I developed as a child. My mind would latch onto an unpleasant experience from a past relationship, and though He had done nothing to warrant it, I would doubt my Alpha’s devotion, thinking He would mistreat me like others from my past. And sadness would overwhelm me. Often, I shut completely down, and couldn’t talk, would just sink farther and farther into the black where I didn’t think or feel. But no matter how long it took to call me back, Alpha never got angry with me, would instead profess His love and devotion, remind me that He had not done anything, and encourage me to fight the darkness. His calm, reasonable tone soothed my spirit, made me feel loved, protected, and safe, and always brought me back into the light.
Stop Fueling Fires:
Too many people have bought into the foolish notion that all relationships need to vent by arguing every now and then to maintain a healthy relationship. I would be willing to bet that theory was created by individuals who failed to master their emotions and had sub-standard communication skills.
Loving couples do not have to argue to maintain a healthy relationship. They need to make open communication a priority in their relationship. Set aside time daily to de-stress from your day and talk things out with your mate. Kat and I prefer what we call cuddle time—after sex, but before going to sleep—where we deal with all issues that have arisen that day. We also have a 24/7 open communication policy on any topic of concern.
Have we had to deal with issues? Of course! In fact, we’ve had a wide variety of situations that we call, “bumps in the road.” And I can honestly say that not one has ever developed into a problem. We simply talk it out calmly and rationally, and every situation has been solved with a simple conversation.
Sure, there will be many negative sparks in a relationship over time, but there is no rule that says we have to add fuel to the fire. Kat and I simply refuse to add fuel to any possible problems, because we don’t want them to ever become problems. It’s much easier to snuff them out at the sparking stage then waiting and needing to subdue a full-blown raging inferno.
I’ve always been one of those people that others bring their problems to. Family, friends, and even strangers have vented to me about their problems, which often includes their relationships. And you’d be surprised how many of them do not even recognize that they keep fanning the flames of discontent by going back and forth accusing each other.
Let me assure you that when you speak to your mate in an accusing manner they will predominantly get defensive. Very few people have mastered their emotions enough to let accusations slide off them without responding in kind. And yet, allowing them to slide off you is exactly what you should do.
All it takes is one partner in the relationship to maintain the high ground of maturity in order to stifle arguments and keep them on a calm, rational conversation level. This is done it two basic ways: do not allow the irate partner to provoke you into losing your emotions and always respond calmly, which will more often than not calm them down; and if they continue in an angry manner simply let them know you will be ready to communicate with them when they are willing to act like an adult, and depart the room (or house if necessary) until they are ready to communicate calmly and rationally, because you cannot have any constructive communication with angry emotions flying back and forth.
I fell in love with Alpha before I knew He wanted a D/s relationship. I knew He was an alpha male, and liked me to be submissive in the bedroom, but at that time, I didn’t know he wanted our relationship to be 24/7 D/s; in fact, I didn’t know there was a D/s “lifestyle” (yes, I’m somewhat naive). After our love was established, Alpha slowly began feeding me information about D/s, gently plumbing my thoughts on the subject and answering the questions I had. And the subject of discipline spanking came up. I was not at all calm when I learned He meant real spankings that hurt, not the play kind for increasing desire. Alpha never lost his cool with me, remained calm and controlled though I wasn’t. He asked if I had a better solution than using spanking when I let the dark moods latch onto me, causing me to spiral downward into a depressive state that could last for days, when a simple spanking could provide the cathartic release needed to snap me out of it. We went back and forth on this for some time until I realized I couldn’t think of another way to quickly bring me out of the darkness. He was right–sometimes a little fleeting physical pain is much preferable to days of emotional pain. But He never got angry with me when I argued against it, just used logic to combat my illogical fear of Him really hurting me.
Too many people hate to lose arguments. They will do and say anything to prove themselves “right,” even at the expense of their mate’s feelings. They even fail to consider the cost to their relationship while they verbally zing each other in arguments. And we all know that nobody knows your emotional triggers better than your intimate partner.
Stop it! The person you claim to be the love of your life should rate more than that. If you constantly treat each other with disrespect during arguments, how can you claim to love each other? You cannot have love without respect. In fact, so-called love without respect is merely physical attraction.
Love, respect, and trust:
Love, respect, and trust are essential foundations that every intimate relationship should be built upon. Without any one of them the relationship will eventually fail. And only by having these three crucial elements as a solid foundation can the couple honestly and openly communicate in a mature manner necessary for maintaining a long-term relationship.
Kat knows that she holds the number one spot in my heart and life. And she knows that my love for her is unconditional. Therefore, she has the confidence to know that no situation will ever take priority over her. So when a possible problem arises she knows she can approach me with it, and we will settle it in a mature fashion. She knows I will never yell at her, nor accuse her or belittle her in any way, because I love and respect her too much. In my eyes she completes me, and I do not want to cause her any emotional pain, so I refuse to do it. It is my choice to control my emotions, they do not control me.
The longer we are together, and the more she sees how I consistently respond in a mature fashion, and the more we communicate with such ease, the more trust is built between us. And, while a small amount of trust can be given in the beginning of relationships, only time and consistent acts of love, respect, and communication between loving partners can earn the level of trust necessary to maintain a life-long relationship; especially one in the D/s lifestyle.
A while back during a conversation between us, mention was made of a cat o nine tails (and I don’t recall if it was Alpha or me who brought it up). Alpha began talking about how it could be used in a session; and although what He described was almost vanilla, I grew agitated. I don’t know what was going on in my mind … maybe I was afraid Alpha would really hurt me with it–though I should have known better–and when He realized I was upset, it didn’t ruffle Him in the slightest. No anger whatsoever. He told me that since I wasn’t comfortable with it, He would never bring it into our home. His casual dismissal of the cat o nine tails made me love Him even more. And because of His placid reaction to my emotional reaction, my trust level increased, and made me rethink using the cat o nine tails in the bedroom.
Basic Communication Skills:
Many people act like they’re listening, but they really aren’t. Some zone out completely. Some sigh and roll their eyes, as if they’ve heard it all before and don’t care to hear it again. Others use the time their partner is talking to figure out a “real zinger of a comeback” to respond with, instead of truly listening to what is being said. And there are numerous other poor listening habits that individuals utilize which hinder their ability to communicate properly.
Each partner needs to be an active participant in the conversation, which means being an active listener as well. They need to focus on each other and the words that are being said (so turn off the damn TV, even if it is the Super Bowl or the latest episode of The Walking Dead). They need to give each other time to comment and respond (never shouting their partner down or hogging the conversation). And they need to ask questions and get clarification, through rephrasing if necessary, so they completely understand what is being communicated.
You do not need to be a professionally trained interrogator with the FBI to understand many of the basic non-verbal communication cues we witness on a daily basis. Body language, eye contact or lack of it, hand gestures, and speech characteristics all play a part in how people communicate. Are they relaxed with an open stance? Or are they rigid, with arms tightly crossed, and leaning away from their partner? Are they friendly and cordial with an approachable expression? Or are they fidgety, tight-lipped, and constantly refusing to make eye contact?
If you want to communicate well with your partner always utilize positive non-verbal cues during your conversations. And if your partner is exhibiting negative non-verbal cues you need to take the time to find out why, address the situation, and restore a comfortable atmosphere before continuing.
Friendly and respectful:
Always communicate with a friendly and respectful manner so that nobody gets their feelings hurt.
Communication is not about winning. It’s about coming up with the best solution for both partners individually and the relationship collectively. So empathize with your partner. Try to understand the issue from their perspective. What’s it doing to them?
Never assume that you already know exactly what your partner is feeling or thinking about the topic in question. Keep an open-mind. Be focused and listen to everything they say. You might be surprised at what the real issue is. Perhaps there is an underlying current that creates traumatic triggers in them because of past experiences. So remind yourself to remain open-minded, because winning an argument is not worth hurting the one you love.
Brief and clear:
Keep your comments to each other brief and clear. Too many people ramble on in a disorganized fashion that makes it tough to follow, creating confusion that obstructs communication. So keep responses short and to the point.
Both partners need to be willing to accept and give feedback during communication. But it needs to be constructive feedback explaining both the positive and negative points as they see it, and why.
Putting it all together:
Establishing communication guidelines early in a relationship is one of the best decisions a couple can do. Remind yourselves that all communication should be done with love and respect. Put aside a regular time to talk about daily issues that arise, and have an open policy for anything serious at anytime. Make sure you communicate privately with each other; the more people who know about your problems the more complex the problem will be, because they inevitably choose sides and offer unwarranted advice. And always utilize positive communication skills when communicating with each other. The more you do it the easier it becomes.
Always remember that the way you communicate with each other can hurt or heal, can tear down your relationship foundation or build it solid enough to withstand any obstacle.