The Keys

Everyone in the lifestyle does things differently. And the D/s and M/s relationships that work have a strong foundation using key elements and traits to keep their relationship solid. But there are times when we look out onto the sea of D/s relationships and see the same mistakes being repeated. Dominants have responsibilities in the relationship that are often dismissed or excused by the “everyone does it their own way.” Thus at times deeming that a Dominants behavior as acceptable, even when the relationship is clearly failing due to mistakes by the Dominant. It seems that most of the time the dominants that are in the crumbling relationships are not even aware that they are missing important keys and traits that go into a healthy relationship.

If we, as dominants, ignore these keys or dismiss them as “it is the way I handle my relationships” then I encourage you to come back to this essay six months from now when you are either: a.) You’re single again, b.) You’ve fucked up another relationship, c.) You are incorrectly blaming the submissive or slave for fucking up the relationship or d.) In a huge relationship mess.

For those that continue to read on, let us remember that there are a lot of keys in relationships. Although many of these keys are similar to our vanilla counterparts, realistically they are different in many ways. Some Dominants are missing valuable keys that can better their relationships, improve their outlook, and continue to build upon a foundation that fosters the fundamentals that we all come to rely on.

Communicate — A basic necessity in all relationships – somehow gets forgotten about the most. Submissives and slaves are not mind readers, although they do their best to anticipate our needs and wants at any given moment. We have to be open with our thoughts, wishes, and ideas even if it may lead to some sort of disagreement. Encouraging this line of communication is not just desirable, but it is absolutely necessary for the health of the relationship.

Assume Nothing — Assumptions are the dangerous errors any Dominant can make in their relationship. It is a recipe for disaster just waiting to happen. If something is not known, query it. Simple. Just because a Dominant has it in their mindset that “oh she will bring me that cup of coffee” doesn’t mean it is going to end up that way. If a task is not performed correctly and the submissive was not properly explained what that process was, is not the fault of the submissive. Your submissive is not a mind reader. You need to be clear in his/her tasks, duties and communicate what is important and necessary information for them to serve and please you. So get clarification, ensure the submissive knows that you do want coffee.

Consistency — how can we expect our slaves and submissives to serve us well if we keep changing the way we want things, don’t communicate what we want from them, or don’t follow-through with the administration of discipline. If one wants to burnout a submissive, keep the relationship inconsistent. While it may be seen as a “good mindfuck,” it really is not one. It causes the relationship to be very unbalanced. And can lead to questioning and doubt.

Discipline — It can involve a paddle, cane or whip, but the type of discipline that I mean is a system of guidelines to help strengthen the foundation of the relationship. To understand discipline, you can apply it in our social structure in life: there are rules, there are those that enforce the rules, there are punishments for violating those rules, and there are those that sanction those punishments. Without rules, you lack structure, you lack cohesiveness, and there is no understanding or basis for the relationship. Discipline exists so that the relationship strengthens its structure and foundation.

Responsibility — Dominants bear the responsibility in almost every aspect of the relationship. Why? Because we are in control of it. When it comes down to it, I am the one who is ultimately responsible for what happens to danae, my house, my cats, myself — anything that is under my control including my actions and reactions. Example: Your submissive is acting up. Is she responsible? Yes, but ultimately the reason why she is acting up is the Dominants responsibility. Maybe you were not being consistent and it is throwing her out of balance. Maybe your relationship has gone on a lull for so long that it needs maintenance. Most submissive do not want to act up. Most submissive are not even aware they are, but most submissive do act up because the world you created for them was thrown out of balance thus making you ultimately responsible for their behavior.

Maintenance — is a prerequisite in any relationship, but in M/s and D/s relationships – it is vital. It’s no different than changing the oil in your car every 3,000 miles and expect your car to drive forever. There are little tweaks and adjustments that need to happen over time to keep the car running. The same thing can be held true in a lifestyle relationship. But what is maintenance? It could be just the basics: providing needs and support. Things like: food, shelter, water. It could also be defined as changing the way the relationship functions because a submissive is overwhelmed with a work project, or a Dominant is going to be out of town for several weeks. Contingencies are reached, but not before anticipating what potential needs and adjustments may need to occur in the next time frame before the next maintenance check. It is about taking control of the relationship and making sure all of the needs and support is met.

Follow Up — A product can only be as good as the person putting it together. An old adage, but clearly applies here because Dominants are ultimately responsible if a submissive or a slave does not perform correctly. Instead of beating her ass, making her feel like she can’t do anything right why not show her what she is done wrong, show her what she’s supposed to do, and then follow-up with what happened? That is administering positive discipline. It’s positive because it positive reinforces how a Dominant wants their submissive to act, respond, and behave — yet it fosters the strong structure and foundation that is a prerequisite for a healthy relationship.

Clearly Understanding Causality — Don’t know what causality is? It is the relationship between cause and effect. Things happen for a reason – there are reasons why things happen — why dismiss an issue because “it must be PMS,” or “it must’ve been a bad day at work?” Why not do some Sherlock Holmes and investigate the REASONS why an issue is *there* to begin with. Understanding these reasons is a definitive form of maintenance. We have to learn why things happen so that proper adjustments can be made when appropriate. Causality is also deeply rooted in what decisions we impose on our submissives. Dominants must carry the foresight and understanding into what possible ramifications of a given issue might be. Understanding the causality and the complex entanglement of what your submissive is going through will the Dominant gain valuable insight into the relationship and how to address problems as they arise. By dismissing the principles of causality only increases the splinters in a relationship. They will eventually manifest themselves into something much larger.

Ignoring/Avoiding or Generally Skirting Around The Topic — At times there are issues that arise that we to avoid or gingerly skirt around so that we don’t have to deal with or discuss the issue. That will not help the matter. Just because we don’t talk about the elephant in the room does not mean it is not there. The issue if avoided will not go away and often grown. It can lead to resentment and distrust. Also and issue at times can’t just be solved by saying “because I said so.” That also can cause resentments and distrust. It is better to clearly discuss the issue and find a way to resolve it.

Foresight — It is such an important concept, it bears repeating: simply put – if Dominants can’t see what is happening down the road – they shouldn’t be driving the car. Can’t look ahead, focused too much on one thing alone, can’t predict the actions — slow…. down… or stop to find your path.

“I Was Wrong” — Three words that Dominants do not like to utter. Whether it is because we think we are infallible, or we somehow think we are incapable of error, for some reason Dominants have a hard time saying “I fucked up” – “I was wrong, I apologize.” I think part of it comes from the fact that Dominants need to assert themselves as being right all the time, but it does not bode well for the life of the relationship if the responsibility cannot be demonstrated and shared. Let us face it, Dominants are perfectly capable of being boneheads, but it takes a strong mature person to admit when they are wrong. Dismissing problems or issues, having an excuse for everything, blaming others, or chalking it up to “it is my way so there” only serves to demonstrate how incredibly idiotic they are trying to be. Plus, anyone who believes they don’t have to say they are wrong just because “I am the Dominant, I don’t have to,” will end up in and out of relationships. So drag your ass from your fantasy-based mindset and take responsibility. We are not gods, and if one has read anything in this article, then it is quite apparent that we are just as capable if not more able to make mistakes than those who serve and trust us to the depths of their being.

You have the Keys. Locks need keys. There is no need to beat a door when you have a key that works on the door.

There is no point of getting upset when the door doesn’t open; there is no need to break down the door because it wouldn’t open. It is not the door’s fault. It is not the lock’s fault. And sometimes, it is not even the key’s fault. But if a key doesn’t work then we need to try a different key to open the door on our submissives and slaves.

Banging the door, breaking it in half, ripping it from the doorframe only serves to scare the slave or submissive. Our response to the door makes them question their approach, question what they are doing, making a seemingly stable environment — become unstable. If you have your keys, respect them, know them, and be cognizant when they fail, when they are in need of repair, or when they work well. Breaking a key inside of a lock causes more grief and exasperation.

Dominants hold the keys to the success or failure of their relationship.

It is all about the keys.

© within Reality: Michael 2005 – all rights reserved