Missy at submissy.com recently published an interesting and thought provoking post on expectations in a D/s relationship. While she feels expectations are “a great thing” that allow you “to set standards and to measure where you are in terms of meeting your targets,” she equally speaks of “experiencing the downs of D/s” as a result of unmet expectations. And she is correct in assuming that she is “not alone” in the confusion that periodically accompanies unmet expectations due to the complexities of life and the varying wants and needs of two individuals trying to fulfill each other’s expectations while achieving their own. And she was interested in hearing from others on this issue.
Expectations on the D/s Journey
Expectations are like travel plans on the D/s journey. Dom and sub brainstorm their wants and needs, and then convey their expectations for each partner’s role based on the agreed upon goals for the relationship.
Similar to a couple planning a vacation, if both partners have a clear grasp on what each want to see, do, and achieve on the journey, what resources are available to use, and which areas each partner is better equipped to handle, they have a better than average chance of planning a successful trip. And if the couple truly communicate well together their chances of a successful outcome increases substantially. However, many couples overlook the need for contingencies.
Couples that only include D/s in the proverbial bedroom may only need contingencies dealing with possible problems that arise between each other within the sessions, guarding their intimacy, or in making sure they have enough bedroom time to maintain a satisfactory sex-life. However, it can often be harder for couples that have chosen to make D/s their lifestyle, living it 24/7, and include it in all areas of their relationship.
Couples living a D/s lifestyle continuously often need contingencies for maintaining the power exchange they’ve chosen while maintaining a family image and atmosphere for children and relations. They need contingencies for maintaining their chosen dynamic while interacting outside the comfort of their home, in public. And most of these couples need contingencies for maintaining the status quo if both have careers, or if one or both travel, or if they find themselves in a position where the sub has to be the bread-winner for a while. All of these situations, and many others, may sap time, energy, and resources from the D/s relationship. And while they create an obstacle course to overcome, the couple needs to remember that none of them are insurmountable.
Communication is a key factor in all relationships, especially a D/s relationship that involves a power exchange between the couple. And couples that communicate well, and often, can overcome any obstacle: some quicker than others, but all of them in time.
Communication needs to be a constant in the relationship. I’ve seen too many couples succumb to communication breakdown within their relationships, and always with negative results. Some couples think physical attraction and passion are all that is needed to begin and maintain a relationship. Other couples start off communicating, but once the original plan for their relationship is set in motion they act as if it doesn’t need to be maintained, or they think communicating once in a great while is enough.
Unfortunately, life can be messy and unpredictable, even for couples that know communication needs to be a constant within the relationship. But couples that constantly communicate increase their odds of overcoming every obstacle; in fact, their odds of a successful relationship are exponentially higher than couples that succumb to any type of communication breakdown.
Setting realistic expectations
When a couple begins their D/s journey they need to set realistic expectations. Some couples act like kids in a candy store, and that may be enjoyable for a dream session, but it’s detrimental to conceiving an attainable plan.
It’s okay to voice every need, desire, fantasy, and dream, but when you make the plan separate it into four categories: what can be instituted now, plus short, medium, and long range goals. And try to keep your expectations in line with the schedule and limitations of the plan. And don’t forget to consider the contingencies for life’s unexpected twists. And make sure all of it is understood by both partners.
Before the couple sets their plan in motion and they begin their D/s journey they need to take the time to review it and clarify every agreed upon stipulation to make sure they are both on the same page. Far too often expectations are unmet because one or both partners do not know what is expected of them, often because their expectations are misunderstood by their partner, or they’ve misinterpreted their partner’s expectations. And clarification needs to be done continuously to counter the obstacles that life throws their way.
Attitudes regarding relationship and expectations
It is healthy to remember that no one can be all things to all people. Try to keep your attitude toward the relationship and expectations as realistic as the expectations you’ve set. A healthy and positive attitude will help when the obstacles appear.
For instance, if something happens and you feel the D/s dynamic changing in one direction or another, attempting to self-adjust and continue with your chosen role may be helpful if it is only going to be temporary—but not for extended periods. The longer you are outside of your agreed upon role the more the unmet expectations will grate on you, and doubts and questions will continue to surface.
Be positive, but be realistic. The couple needs to be in constant communication when their journey has taken an unplanned path. They need to draw closer, gain strength from each other, and work out the solution together.
The unavoidable detour and unconditional love
Unfortunately, for all long-term relationships, life has a way of placing obstacles in the path that will require a lengthy detour. This could be from a prolonged illness or injury, work or financial obligations, difficult family situations, educational requirements, or any number of other reasons.
The couple still needs to communicate while enduring this challenge, because expectations have gone awry, and they need each other more than ever. And the best way to do that is to take their focus off the expectations and remember the foundation of unconditional love their relationship needs to be built on. In fact, if they do not have a foundation of unconditional love, the relationship was doomed to fail from the beginning. Even in today’s fast-paced society a foundation of unconditional love can overcome every unmet expectation, and keep the couple grounded until they can get back on the right path for their journey. Sure, they still have to deal with the obstacle, but it helps keep everything in proper perspective.
[**See “A love foundation” here.]