January/February 2002
by Screamer

Well, itís happened. The honeymoon is over. Something has come up that has your stomach in knots and your throat feels choked.

Your dominant has done something thatís upset you. Could it be that he said ďnoĒ when you wanted (needed) to play? Could it be that heís talking about polyamory or playing with other submissives? Maybe he forgot your birthday, or made a comment about your appearance.

Now, as youíre sitting there, lost in the pieces of nirvana that are falling down around you, donít crumble with it.

Stop.

Think.

And please. Breathe.

Donít go running to your friends. Donít start writing nasty email youíll regret later. Donít start packing your bags. Donít scream or yell or curse or threaten. Youíll find in life that these things, when at the height of emotion, are counter-productive and almost always end up doing more harm than good in the long run. You know from vanilla relationships that any kind of intimacy is work. D/s is no different. And maybe - just maybe - itís easier to be honest in a D/s setting than a vanilla one!

Are you breathing? Good. Then letís try to come up with a plan of action.

First of all, if youíre in the heat of the moment, ask for some time to think. Most rational adults, be they submissive, dominant or vanilla will recognize that asking for time is usually a good sign, and will allow it. Even if your dominant doesnít know why youíre upset, most likely, heíll recognize a respectful request for time to hash things out in your head.

Go somewhere quiet. The bedroom. The garage. The kidís tree house. The front seat of your car (donít take the keys!)

Itís time to get some perspective.

It might seem a little contrary, for a submissive to be up in arms about something a dominant wants to do, or is doing, but in reality (and you know Auntie Screamer thrives on dealing in reality!) D/s relationships are just like any other relationship; they must be fed from both sides, or one side will end up in starvation mode and end up scarfing up anything they can find! As a submissive, you have as much right to your feelings as any other human being (unless you have negotiated otherwise up front) and you have a right to feel them and express themÖ

R E S P E C T F U L L Y.

Clarity is of the utmost importance, when you are dealing with the complexities of D/s. Knowing where you stand is paramount to being able to fulfill your role to the best of your abilities. To be able to express yourself clearly to him, and let him know why youíre upset, you need to get to the root of it - on your own - before you take it to him.

The old saying about catching more flies with honey than vinegar rings very true. Remember that.

Sit.

Think.

What is it about the incident/discussion/event that has you upset? Did he really do something horrible? Or, is it something that scares you? Or, is it somehow related to your security in the relationship? Are you dealing with dishonesty? Changes in negotiated relationship rules? A blow to your inner child or your self-esteem?

Whatís the ROOT of it?

You have to find that root. You have to dig out all the dirt around it, and wash it clean. Examine it. It could be, that when you set the emotional anguish aside for just a moment, that you see what really may be lurking underneath.

And itís that root that you have to be prepared to deal with, so that you can show it to him, and he can understand it.

Weíll use the polyamory example here, because it seems to be one that comes up quite often for folks in the D/s community.

Heís come to you and said that he wants to explore having another submissive.

What is your root worry? That youíre not enough for him? That he wants to change a rule that you two had from the beginning? That itís unfair for him to get another submissive and you donít get another dominant? That heíll love her more than you and youíll lose him? Are you thinking that maybe heís already found one, and that heís been cheating on you?

Whatever the root cause is, get it out - at least initially to yourself. Find it. Clean it off. And sit with it for awhile. Cry, carry on, rant to yourself. Let it all come rushing out, and then find that *one piece that is the basis for your anguish.

Chances are, once you have that piece of clarity in your fist, youíll feel better already. Youíll begin to calm down. You may not like what you came up with, but youíll like that you did it rationally, and without screaming his ears off.

Now that you have it, look at it for awhile.

Is it valid? Have you spent enough time with this person to know who he really *is? Do you trust him? Is it meaningful? Have you had this issue with him before? Is this a recurring theme in your relationship? Is it more about you than it is about him?

Weíre almost ready to go back and talk to him - but not quite. Donít rush this. Itís too important.

Now take that root in your hand, and decide if this is a D/s issue or a relationship issue. I realize that sometimes, the two are hard to separate, but I have faith in you. You can do it.

If itís a relationship issue, you need to present it in that way. Sit down at the table with him and discuss it like two grown adults. Explain to him that his doing or saying ďAĒ made you feel ďBĒ.

If itís a D/s issue, youíll need to find a way to express it to him respectfully, which may not be all that easy, but will end up making your point more clearly and will let him know that you respect him as your dominant and that you are trusting him to bring the issue to him in that way.

In either case, once you have calmed completely down, itís time to take this new bout of clarity to your dominant, and share it with him. Start off by telling him how you feel about him. Tell him that youíre trusting him to understand, and that if he doesnít understand, you want him to ask questions.

If this is about *you, tell him that. If this is about *him, tell him that, too. But do it so that unless you intend to walk away from the relationship, you donít undermine his dominance.

Thereís a very fine balance there. Donít fall off.

Make your words comprehensible and lucid. Try to keep emotions off to the side for the time being, and just let the words come out naturally and reasonably.

Clarity. See? He canít be clear about what youíre feeling, if your words and expressions arenít unmistakable. To have clarity, be clear.

And then give him his turn to speak. Listen, donít judge. Nod, but donít interrupt.

Regardless of whether or not there is a resolution to the issue then and there, chances are good that youíll feel better, having expressed yourself, and heíll feel better understanding your feelings.