*I know this is a bit messy, but I’m on a deadline so I’ll tidy it up another time*
We all know how important communication is in D/s. Or at least we should. It’s vital for immediate safety, and for the long-term well being and happiness of practitioners, on both ends of the whip. A Dominant or submissive, or anyone on that spectrum, shouldn’t feel confident in their role until they have confidence in their partner; to engage in honest discussions about all aspects of the relationship, to voice concerns and (equally important) to listen in their turn. It isn’t just about pain thresholds, limits and safewords. The honesty that is necessary in a D/s relationship must leach over into all aspects of the relationship, romantic or otherwise.
I have mentioned this before, so please forgive me for repeating myself. This element is one of the things I found most attractive about a D/s relationship. As I went through relationship counselling towards to the end of my marriage, I discovered that I didn’t actually expect my concerns or opinions to be listened to. I expected them to be disregarded. I was still voicing them, but I knew even as I did so they would be overridden and ignored. The resentment that this caused festered and I became someone I didn’t like. Every decision became a battleground, with winners and losers and point-scoring. I hated it, but it was either that or total capitulation.
As I embarked on finding a new relationship, I promised myself that this time I would find somebody who would listen. Someone who didn’t see compromising as losing, or that giving the slightest bit of ground was letting me have everything my own way. It is no reflection on Him, but even after 18 months together, I still find myself surprised when my Bear listens to me, and willingly finds a compromise. Even better, we often find ways that don’t even feel like compromises; it’s just the perfect way for us to do things, together. I know that he understands the importance of communication and negotiation, and that gives me the confidence to bring these things up.
There is a line from the movie Meet Joe Black that I think is an interesting way to describe love. I think it’s an underrated film that was mis-sold by the studio to an audience that largely missed the point. For those who are unfamiliar with it, a personification of Death borrows the body of a recently deceased Brad Pitt to find out what life is all about. His only guide on this journey is Al. No, sorry, it’s a communications billionaire played by Anthony Hopkins. There is naturally a love interest, but the line I am referring to comes from the love interest’s brother-in-law during the preparations for the billionaires big birthday bash.
Joe Black: …But Allison loves you?
Joe Black: How do you know?
Quince: Because she knows the worst thing about me and it’s okay.
Joe Black: What is it?
Quince: No, it’s not one thing. It’s just an idea, Joe. It’s like… you know each other’s secrets. Your deepest, darkest secrets.
Joe Black: Deepest darkest secrets?
Quince: Yeah. And then you’re free.
Joe Black: Free?
Quince: You’re free! You’re free to l – love each other completely, totally. Just no fear. So there’s nothing you don’t know about each other, and it’s okay.
There are many comments that could be made about this idea within a D/s dynamic. As my Bear and I met on Twitter, the kinky cat was out of the bag before we’d even shared a conversation, and that was very liberating as our relationship developed. The idea of no secrets has certainly informed my approach to things. I know I can share all my fantasies with him, all the kinks I am intrigued by but maybe a little scared of, and the things in my head that I would never want to actually happen are all things I feel comfortable sharing with him. It has given me freedom.
I do not know what the worst thing about me would be. I know what I consider to be the worst thing about myself, but I don’t know if he would agree. I wonder if this is a conversation we should have the next time we are together. But as a concept, I have to trust that whatever he knows about me, whatever he might find out about me in future, whatever he considers to be the best things about me or the worst things about me, that won’t change his love for me.