How do you handle conflict now?
Conflict is extremely difficult for me. I go back to my always wanting to make everyone happy and never wanting people to struggle, and feeling bad if I can’t fix things. So, conflict with me as a participant in the conflict is extremely difficult. I struggle. I will typically back down and just give in, even on things I feel passionate about. I have major guilt for certain things that happened with my daughter and her step parental figures where I should have stepped in and didn’t. I’d like to think I have learned from this, but sadly, I feel like it is still something I’m working on. In all of my relationships, I hesitate to express when I am not happy because I don’t want to lose the good parts that I have. I don’t know why I connect the two, but I do.
How do you imagine handling it in D/s?
Again, my D/s relationship is not full-time and the situation is unique. We are friends to the world. Our D/s relationship and our romantic relationship is undercover. This is hard. It is also really difficult when there is conflict because much of the conflict is on my end based on the situation. The conflicts I identify are;
- needing more time
- getting information from others that I wish he had told me himself
- not knowing what is going on, and
- distance and silence.
As friends, none of this should matter to me other than he is my friend. As his lover, this is troublesome and difficult. As his sub, these things are devastating. (His primary knows he has others, we don’t flaunt it because she is sensitive to it. As a secondary, it is hard to always be last on the list of getting time and attention). He is very good at communicating when he communicates. He is the type that holds things back and thinks things through before discussing it. I am not. I typically want to talk about things. We both know the situation is awkward and we make promises to get better but then life happens, or work happens or family happens and we become just friends on the surface. This has me harboring all kinds of disappointment and feelings of neglect and not being enough to keep his attention, etc. But as a whole, we handle things with discussion and do it calmly. I am not one to rant and rave, unless I’ve harbored it too long, so in a regular situation, I would need to learn to speak up when things bother me and try to work it out early on. I think the conflict in any relationship is difficult and in a D/s relationship I think it should be handled in the best way possible. I am not sure if it would make sense to have rules surrounding the expression of discontent. Maybe this would help some of the anxiety around not knowing when to express my concerns. I do feel hesitant to express when I am upset, but this goes back to me not wanting to add stress and aggravation to him. I know I have a right to express my concerns as well, but his primary is constantly bringing up things that aren’t right with them, so it is touchy for me. He told me once, I am his calm place. Where he feels at peace and relaxed. I like that and want to keep it that way, so I rarely ask for time or let him know when I am struggling. There have been two times when I did and he has said that perhaps we should just stop the D/s relationship because I seem unhappy with it all. This devastates me and makes me think it is easy for him to walk away. So I always say no that I don’t want that, but feel we need to talk about things. We usually do and things are back on track. He isn’t one to have lingering three-day conversations. We typically talk about it, find a common ground and move on. I like this because my other relationship would bring back things from the past all the time, clearly showing nothing has been resolved. I think we all handle conflict differently and there may be some differences in the D/s relationship, but I don’t think that being a Dom or sub means you handle it completely differently. I think the roles may play a part but the need for resolution is still there and those needs should be met regardless of the situation.
Do you think you will need to do things differently in a D/s relationship?
I feel I will need to get over my fear of addressing things when I am upset. Right now it is fine because it isn’t full-time, and when we are together it is usually fun and light-hearted. A more full-time D/s relationship may need more attention and time to resolve conflicts as they arise. It is hard for me to imagine what a different D/s relationship is going to look like. This is the only one I have known and it isn’t typical from what I can tell. This is sad, but where I am right now. I hope I get the opportunity to have a more full-time D/s relationship. I know I will need to speak up for myself more than I do now. My conflict resolution skills depend heavily on knowing upfront what life and circumstance will look like. If the expectation is set in the beginning there is a foundation to go back to when things start to feel uncomfortable. I am also very emotional and empathetic. If I express my concerns and feelings and someone else does the same, I instantly feel guilty for not understanding how the other person felt. I will need to be able to put this aside and not back down on my own feelings because someone else is telling me theirs.
Thoughts provoked by Loving BDSM