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Hi Ben,

  I am wondering if in your experience have there ever been times where communication has broken down in one of your D/s or M/s relationships?

  My Master and I have been living in a power exchange relationship for the past 3 years. We have been married for 16 years. We had a vanilla relationship until about 3 1/2 years ago when I realized that I am submissive and really wanted a power dynamic in our lives. I approached my husband with this (very scary, by the way) but after much research he agreed to try. So, we felt our way around and we finally got to a place where we were both comfortable and happy with our relationship. Lately, Master has been under a tremendous amount of stress and pressure at work. I have been working harder than ever to help make his time at home relaxing. The house is in order, the kids taken care of, dinner on the table, and allowing him quiet time at night to decompress. It seems however, that the power exchange is slipping away. It is not a sex/play thing to me though those area suffer when he is stressed, but it is more a relationship area. I find he is snapping at me for no reason when I ask a simple question. I try to wait until he is in a good frame of mind, by the way, before asking. The first couple of times I would just let it go and give him space, but after a few times I find I cannot help myself and snap back. Which of course leads to the "you are challenging me" conversation. I feel like a failure and guilty for standing up to him in this manner, but at the same time I feel that his initial response of snapping at me was uncalled for. I feel confused and frustrated. I know life happens and no person, even the Dominant partner in a power exchange dynamic is immune to the pressure of life.

 The last time this happened, after the dust cleared, he reassured me the power exchange was what he wanted but that as rewarding as it is, it is also a very hard way to live. I know this to be true. It is a lot of responsibility on both parts, but so much for the Dominant.

  I guess what I am trying to ask is has this ever happened to you, and is there any advice you can give to me to respond better? I feel that maybe my submission may be lacking in some way when I feel hurt and snap back at him which makes me very sad because I really pride myself on my obedience.

Thanks,
JJ

Answer
JJ -

many people experience stress and challenges - in both vanilla and power-based relationships.  What matters is how we handle those situations.

It's good that you recognize he is under stress.  Taking steps to relieve the burden and keeping things moving smoothly is one important step you can take - and an appropriate response as his slave.  But that doesn't mean there won't be times that are stressful for you. The best recommendation I can offer is to think about how you address these issues.  First, resist the urge to respond immediately (unless failure to do so leads you to internalize it and leave things unspoken).  Better if you can wait for a time where he is less agitated and you are less sensitive.  Second, don't accuse him or otherwise put him on the defensive (e.g., "you were mean to me!").  Rather, make a factual observation ("it seems like  you're really stress and you're not quite acting like yourself") then explore how you can be of service ("is there anything I can do to help reduce your stress or better manage the issue?").  Think of yourself as the junior partner in a team, and you're trying to help the team leader succeed.  As part of that, realize that it is his prerogative to reject your offer of assistance.

Hopefully, he is also open to working on his issues as well.  Rather than thinking of your dynamic as work, he (hopefully) sees it as a path towards easing his life.  It certainly takes effort on his part, but that effort should be rewarded exponentially.  He has an assistant to handle the things he finds annoying or distasteful or simply low priority.  He has someone to sooth him (a relaxing bath or massage might help).  And depending on your dynamic, he even has someone to take out his frustrations on

Best of luck,

Ben

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Ben Martin

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Questions related to power-based relationships in which decision-making authority is intentionally and consensually transferred -- and the resulting imbalance celebrated. I am able to assist those trying to understand where they fit in, and those seeking to structure and thrive in a power based relationships. Specific topics I am able to discuss include: setting and achieving personal and relationship goals, responsible Mastery, the use of protocols and rituals, communication techniques, and conflict resolution. In addition, I am knowledgable and experienced in polyamory, long-distance relationships, bisexuality and a variety of kinky activities ranging from mind games to sadistic play.

Experience

I have chosen to have a power-based structure in my relationships over the past 18 years. This has included a 16-year M/s relationship, several shorter term D/s relationships and various play partners. I am an active participant in various online forums and seek to provide support and advice to those interested in the Lifestyle.

Organizations
Black Rose

Publications
My writings, insights and discussion contributions are available on Alt.com and FetLife.com. On both websites, my user name is BenMartin

Education/Credentials
I do not hold any credentials specific to BDSM, relying instead on knowledge gained from life experiences, reading and conversing with others in the Lifestyle.

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