Part 2

Starting Out by Michael

We all have to start somewhere. We are searching for that relationship that will fulfill those D/s desires. How do you start?

  • Honesty
Honesty is the basis of every relationship. We are not talking about just honesty with each other, but honesty with yourself. We need to be honest with what we are looking for in a potential partner as well as our individual needs and wants. In addition to that list of needs and wants, it’s essential to figure out the things that you’re willing to compromise on and to list those things that won’t budge for anyone one, anytime soon. Honesty is needed when a date or meeting or even a start of a relationship does not feel right. Honesty is needed about vanilla compatibility’s as well as BDSM desires.There can be that phase of meeting someone and everything seems so great, but really, it was the endorphins surging through that makes our feet float off the ground. So, make sure you come down and keep grounded so that you can keep focused on your needs and desires for a long-term relationship and not just in those beginning moments of pleasure and sweet anticipation.

  • Compatibility

Compatibility to us is crucial in making a relationship work. Before getting into a M/s or D/s relationship, think about if you are compatible without the S&M and sex. We say that because we have seen so many relationships fizzle when life gets in the way (flu, bills, work, and kids). You need to be able to get along and want more then the S&M and sex. So we don’t mean that you should just make sure you are compatible via BDSM checklists and essays out there. Measuring compatibility should not stop at just those things….it should be taken into all areas of life. Do you like the same movies? What are you political views? Do you want kids?

How do they handle crises? Such as when a submissive is gagged and tied to the bed when something unexpected or planned happens? (i.e. asthma attack, unexpected parental visit, landlord barges in to let the maintenance people in) Are they going to freak out? What if one partner is in a car accident, what arrangements are there? How does your prospective mate handle the domestic responsibilities like when the hot water heater breaks? These questions are not exclusive for just submissives or for just Dominants. These are issues that will affect both parties if they are not already considering them.

Then there are the long term considerations that need to be discussed. What arrangements are there for life insurance? What will be the medical and financial responsibilities of both people? What about career goals or kids from previous relationships? Just as we would in a vanilla setting, all these issues need to be discussed before entering a D/s or M/s relationship.

  • Planning and Structuring

Now you have found out you are compatible it does not stop there. Then comes the planning and structuring of your life together long term. Do you want marriage down the road or would you prefer to be single but in a committed relationship? Do you want kids? Who is responsible for debts when you enter this relationship? Will money be merged? Do new wills and life insurance policies need to be taken out? Who is responsible for laundry? Who is responsible for mowing the lawn? Who is responsible for making sure Aunt Millie gets a birthday card? What happens if there is a long-term illness?

Whether these things are just discussed or negotiated out in a contract they are important to the relationships long-term health. While these are all real-life issues that come up despite any bdsm, D/s or M/s involvement – they need to be addressed early on in the relationship to ensure that both people are in agreement with the potential direction the relationship is heading.

  • Expectations

When entering a relationship, expectations should be realistic. As much as we’d all love to live life according to some book we’ve read, or some online scene – we also have to take the expectation and make it reality. Exactly how much of our fantasies can be converted to our realities largely depends on our individual situations. While some of us may be able to wear fetish wear on a daily basis, those that stay at home with kids could not. When things are not going exactly as we hoped we talk about it, we look at where we think we can improve and do our utmost to make it happen.

Whenever you read the story online or in a book, it’s important to remind yourself that it’s not really healthy to attempt to become the person on the typewriter or computer. Just as it’s really not healthy to attempt to become “just like Superman,” the same belief applies here: Do not measure your relationship against others – online or in everyday life. We have found the majority of people you find fall into the wishful-thinking category. And trying to hold up your relationship to someone else’s fantasy could be the death toll to what could be the start of a good relationship.

Transition

Starting slow by danae

Timing means everything and based on our experiences, we believe the best policy is to start out going slow. I sometimes get frustrated because we go so slowly in our relationship. I want everything now, but also see that how we are building a relationship with a strong foundation. Michael took the drivers seat and does what he wants when he wishes. And sometimes of course, bills and work come before play. And sometimes sending me to go clean the bathroom comes before having sex with him. As a submissive, I need to just sit back and quietly allow him to be in the driver’s seat. I am more experienced in the world of D/s and BDSM than my Master. But ultimately that really does not matter. What matters is that I hand control over to him and submit to him in all the ways he wants. And just submitting and letting go can be hard but if you can do it, your relationship will start to grow. If you don’t let go, your relationship will be a fight, or get stagnate.

Relationships grow and evolve, new relationship energy fades and you get into the stage were you need to work a little harder to keep things working how you want them to. In the beginning of a D/s or M/s relationship play is a big focus, you both want to experience it all and right away. It can be like having a shopping list and desperately trying to get everything on the list as often as possible. As the relationship progresses and you get more shared experiences life tends to join the mix and the D/s side can become less focused. But if you put D/s into the foundation of your relationship and life mixes then you will have fewer problems getting back on track. For me play is not as important as the control aspects. The play can slide and wane a little as long as the control is there because that helps me remember my place and my desires to serve and please.

Conflict Resolution by Michael

Conflict resolution is another tough area that all of us tackle. The integration of our lifestyle relationships does not minimize the opportunity for having normal, relationship conflicts. While there are entire sessions devoted just to conflict resolution in the lifestyle, the big thing to remember is that we’re still dealing with reality. Feelings get hurt, angry words get said, tempers flare and that’s just the usual things.

The main thing we want to get across is even when the temper comes out, and the emotions are frayed – in the end, both the Dominant and submissive will at some point realize that things need to be brought to a conclusion so that the relationship can continue to go forward. Keeping ill feelings, or rehashing old fights do not promote progress. If an issue remains unresolved, then it becomes the responsibility of both people to figure out how to work on it and move forward.

It’s not all about the Dominant makes the rules, and they can never wrong. No matter how experienced, how knowledgeable, or worldly a submissive or a Dominant is, the bottom line is that we’re all human. We’re all equally capable of making mistakes regardless of what end of the lifestyle spectrum we happen to be on. Does this mean that the submissive should not submit when they know that their Dominant is wrong? That answer falls to the nature of your relationship. Some Dominants believe that it’s “their way, no matter what” which is just as valid as the Dominant who sees it differently and believes that “the compilation of wrongs never make a right.”

Humanity dictates that we all can be wrong so therefore it’s okay to be wrong. As long as both of you want the same thing from each other, then ego should not matter. Resolving the conflict for the sake of the health of the relationship is far more important than taking an ego bruise.

Considerations

There are some major areas of consideration that should be given during the lifespan of D/s relationships to keep things grounded in reality:

  • Consider how each person will enhance the others life.

Using your submissive in areas that enhance your life and make it better – such as if she is better with financial matters then use her in that area. Danae is very good at organization and keeping a good house. She likes doing it – and she’s awesome at it. It only made sense for me to use her expertise and let her organize things – that way it is more efficient and she knows where everything can be found. Also, on the other hand submissives if you have an area you think you are good at speak up. Or if there is an area you have been handed and it is not doing well – talk it through maybe your Dominant can teach you the “new” task.

  • Consider taking care of each other – in all areas such as health, finances, careers, and children

One of the examples we keep hearing about is when a submissive is sick or ill. What will happen if your submissive/slave has a cold, will making them go out and shovel your driveway really going to help them get better so they can serve you more efficiently long term?

  • Consider looking and thinking ahead to your long term goals for the relationships often.

Will having your submissive dress slutty and then come into your office be appropriate for your career goals? What will making your submissive dress slutty do to her career goals? Could she lose her job? Think of the long-term effects of things such as this will have…no job means less money to pay bills.

  • Consider that both Dominant and submissive acting responsibly in the relationship to each other.

Do you have children in the house…what is acceptable amount of D/s integrated into your life and the life of your children? Waiting kneeling, naked by the front door for the arrival of your Master probably is not going to be acceptable in your household if you have kids. But taking his coat, briefcase, anything he comes home with from work and going the bedroom in private, kneeling before him to help him take off his shoes probably is an acceptable level with children in the house. Take things you read and like and bend them to work in your lifestyle.

Creating a Long Term relationship

Lastly, important considerations to the health of the relationship need to be thought about as well. Is there a great deal of expectation and is it realistic? Are we still living life in reality – or are we focused too much in the fantasy driven mindset? Is your submissive burned out? How do you know they aren’t? Is the Dominant getting burnt out? What is causing that? Are you looking for the immediate gratification or the long-term gains?

It takes a lot of creativity and decisions to work through these considerations. But when we are talking about Power Exchange, there are a lot of ways to seamlessly integrate it in any D/s, M/s relationship. Finding the appropriate means to carry it out is the challenge we are undertaking here today. Making the obvious, invisible and transparent to the vanilla world is what we have based in our relationship.

© within Reality: Michael and danae 2004 – all rights reserved