For a D/s relationship to survive long term, couples need a solid foundation of vanilla (yes, I did write vanilla) love; it will carry them through the hard times all couples experience. For D/s isn’t constant and unchanging, it ebbs and flows in the way of all relationships. Stronger one day, weaker the next.
So many factors play into how intense the D/s dynamic is day to day: physical health, depression, work, family, separation, to name just a few, can take their toll. In other words, life gets in the way. And if we demand our Dom/Domme or sub to always, no matter what, fulfill their agreed-upon roll, it can harm the basic underpinnings of the relationship. Wants and needs of both can fluctuate, and the dynamic has to be adjusted accordingly.
Sometimes, amping up the D/s gets you through; but at other times, taking off the pressure by stepping back is the way to go. Each situation is different, and must be handled using your best judgement. There can even be times when extreme circumstances cause the relationship to have a distinct vanilla flavor, but that’s okay. It will not last. Not if the relationship was first built on unconditional love. (And not just lip service claiming unconditional love.)
Unconditional love accepts who you are, including the person you were before D/s. It says, “I love you, and will accept and stick by you irregardless of D/s.” It says, “If all we have from this point forward is vanilla, I am still here, will always be here.” That tells your partner you are safe with them, that you never have to pretend to be something you are not; love and commitment should not be contingent on playing a certain role.
When each person is given the freedom to just be who they are (or need to be) at any given time, without fear of consequences, they feel validated, and it enables them to meet in the middle and get the relationship, whether D/s or vanilla, back on track. Sometimes the track veers off in a slightly different direction afterward, but that’s okay. Nothing that grows stays static…it’s always in a constant state of change.
Most couples implement the D/s dynamic because one—only one—desires it. And though the one who is led to it may not need it, they recognize the other’s need, and out of love, agree. And here’s the slippery slope: if the one wanting D/s cannot compromise, if to them it’s all or nothing (the me-me-me mentality), their love is not unconditional, and the relationship will eventually fall apart. Unconditional love sees what the other needs. Unconditional love is not selfish. And unconditional love compromises.
Compromises—so much of our relationships are built upon them. Give me this, I’ll give you that. I’ll take this, you take that. And we can’t resent our partner if they aren’t playing the game exactly like we want them to. After all, are we playing exactly like they would like us to? Think about it…look at it from their side. And then meet in the middle.