Sunday, June 22, 2014

When He Screws Up, A Dominant's Mistake

This post is not meant to be mean. It was not written to criticize anyone in particular, or anyone who's views on submission do not match my own. It is written with my own past experiences in mind. The last eight or so years have given me a perspective that I did not always have. And sometimes, it's difficult and ridiculous to censor one's perspective.

I think it is also important to note that I am coming at this from the perspective of a committed 24/7 D/s relationship, which I believe necessitates this particular view.

The first time in D/s when he well and truly screws up, your faith is shaken, you think that maybe he doesn't really have it in him, and you're sure that he's just gone and done it so bad that you couldn't possibly surrender completely anymore.

Ooh, look at the bird! Think I'll follow it for a minute...

The only reason you think that you can't surrender completely, "Any more" is because you hadn't really surrendered completely in the first place. Dominants, for all that they are, also must exist as humans with all of the shortcomings inherent in our species.

So this road is new and wonderful, it offers you new heights and experiences that fantasies are made of. You find a faith in your Dominant that you previously never knew existed.

Then one day he screws up. You know it. He knows it. Your faith is shaken, how can you go on knowing that he did something wrong?
Simple really--you agreed to submit, you agreed to be his. And you do just that.

He screwed up, so what? Shit happens. It's not an excuse to push for your way, or something you lord over him to challenge his leadership.

This is not an arrangement of convenience, this is not a relationship of "If you do this then I'll...", this is not something you walk away from simply because your faith has been challenged. It is a commitment to a way of life, a person, a relationship, a state of being. You are either in, or you are out.

I feel like I see a lot of new subs holding mistakes over their Dominants heads. As if those mistakes automatically give them the right to challenge his leadership because, well, after all--he did screw up. I find that to be one of the most irritating forms of topping from the bottom.

I'm not saying that just because he's Dominant means it's okay for him to run around being a dickhead, but mistakes are an inevitable aspect of being human. If you use every falter in his stride against him, you're not actually in a D/s relationship--you are existing on your own terms, not his.
It's a hell of a lot easier for a Dominant to make decisions if he knows that those decisions aren't going to be challenged at every turn.

Submission isn't about what you like, it's not about doing what you want, getting your way, or even always being happy with the choices he makes--it's about relinquishing control to another person. And you aren't always going to be delighted with the choices that person makes. They aren't even always going to be the right choices. But the point is that those decisions are theirs to make.

A submissive simply cannot live a D/s relationship on their own terms. Such an approach is contrary to the very concept of power exchange. If you want to explore Dominance and submission on your own terms, call it what it is--a kink. And while there is nothing at all wrong with that, it is quite different than living as a submissive.

The first comment on this post (thank you mc kitten) brought to my attention the fact that I had overlooked a very important aspect of this whole "He screwed up" thing.
What happens afterwards. Taking responsibility for one's actions is important, especially as a Dominant. And such things as apologies are not a somehow mystical and impossible occurence like finding gold at the end of the rainbow.
How he handles his mistakes matters, and admitting that they happened is important. No one is always right.


  1. oh I hear you.

    I'm ok now with him making mistakes. That's not as important to me as what he does after a mistake... although that attitude can be as bad as the whole obsessing over mistakes one.

    I'm still working on it!

    1. mc kitten,
      thank you for pointing out the importance of how he deals with his mistakes! I added an addendum, lol.

      I think this is one that most of us work on for some time. I'm a work in progress in all areas. Sigh.

  2. I had that moment also, about a year into being his slave. There was a major problem. For a whole day I thought that maybe becoming his slave was a mistake, that I needed some of my power back. But then I decided to continue submitting the way I always had, and the world did not end. Now I'm very happy we made it past that bump. Of course we all make mistakes- I do, he does. He happens to be a very good leader though, and his mistakes are rare.

    1. ksst,
      I think that we all have a version of that experience, and while it sucks, I think that how we come out the other side of it is what really matters.
      Odd how the world doesn't end when we really think it should!

      I think it helps a lot and makes all the difference when those mistakes are rare.

  3. having lived the past 5 and half months long distance on military standards with my Sir, it's been extremely difficult and our relationship has suffered from it.
    there have been a lot of mistakes on both ends and there have certainly been the days where i wondered if we would ever find our niche again.
    A few times I have caught myself even questioning his ability to maintain the role of my Dominant...
    reading this opened my eyes to how foolish and silly these thoughts have been.
    Rather than letting insecurities run rampant and take over my faith in him, sometimes its best to take a step back and remember exactly why i chose him as my Dominant and he chose me as his submissive.
    Those reasons are still there, he is still the same man with the same skills and attributes. He is still the man i fell in love with and who made me feel safe all those times and would continue to if I completely allowed him to again. Something i desperately need to do.

    1. Ali cat,
      it can be really difficult not to let those insecurities run rampant, especially when physical distance is a factor!

      I am glad that you found something useful in this post.
      Thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts.

  4. For some reason, that whole, "Oh my god! He is human" moments can be hard to take. For me, I what happened when he screwed up before we were M/s? Did I pack my bags and leave? Call it quits? Did I hold it over his head from that day on?
    No, of course not. We worked through it. I think the ones who are new, often forget that D/s...TTWD/etc are a relationship.

    Nice post, lil.

    1. Bleueme,
      Oh you are so right--when their humanity confronts you front and center, it can be a bit hard to swallow!

      You make a great point thinking on what happened when he screwed up before M/s. So true.

      Thank you.

  5. WOW...well written and expressed...should be required reading. Yes. He is in charge but there is a give and take....and forgive.
    hugs abby

    1. abby,
      aww, thank you! Really, I appreciate it.

  6. I'd have to respectfully disagree with a few parts of this beautiful post. Perhaps the distinction between "slave" and "submissive" is something that needs to be made, because when I hear someone identify as "slave", then I am more understanding of the whole, "it isn't about what you like, or doing what you want, or getting your way or being happy with what your partner does" thing.

    Though, to be honest, I think even someone who identifies as a slave should be doing what they like and want, and be happy with what their partner is doing- to do otherwise sounds like a miserable experience. If someone doesn't want to be or enjoy being a slave and dislikes what their partner is doing...then isn't something wrong there? I think to say otherwise encourages people to settle for a less than healthy relationship, where someone's unhappy and unfulfilled with their relationship, but they stick with it because they are trying to be the perfect "sub/slave", and in the worst case scenario- they end up wasting years of their life on a relationship that left them unhappy and dissatisfied, and end up blaming themselves for the relationship's failure ("well, I just wasn't tough enough to be a real sub/slave").

    I also have to disagree with the statement "A submissive simply cannot live a D/s relationship on their own terms" as well- I think it's absolutely necessary for a sub to live a D/s relationship on their own terms, even if they have consented to a 24/7 total power exchange relationship- they still need to know that they have that consent and they can revoke it at any time, regardless of whatever 'contract' or agreement they enter into. It may 'kill the fantasy' to openly admit that, but they need to know and keep that in mind.

    And to make the distinction between living as a sub and kink is confusing. Technically speaking- isn't D/s a kink? How can you separate out living as a sub from kink? Even if it's a 24/7 total power exchange, it's still generally considered to be a kink, falling under the umbrella term of BDSM, isn't it? I know you don't mean to make it sound like anyone not living in a 24/7 TPE is somehow "less" of a sub, but unfortunately, that is the vibe this post gives off.

    Forgive me for pointing these things out- I am a fan of your blog and you do write beautifully, always- and of course, this is all just my own opinion and perspective of things based on my own experiences, just as I know your writing is your own opinion and based on your experiences. I just wanted to offer a different perspective, I guess.

    1. Huh, I don't feel like lil was saying a sub is less than a slave, just that it's different, like a married couple vs a dating couple (though some dating couples are in just as a comment relationship as married ones, but you get my point right?). I also don't feel like she was saying a sub shouldn't be happy with their relationship, just that it is not always rainbows and unicorns, and we need to learn to forgive when the time arises (because our Dom is deserving of that forgiveness). I guess what I'm trying to say is that she isn't talking to people in unhealthy relationships...however I think you made some valid points.

      And that's my two cents :)

    2. Tamar,
      I appreciate your efforts at polite disagreement. Of course, I am inclined to disagree, but one of the neat things about blogging is the opportunity to see many differing views on things.

      As always, there are challenges when one expresses themselves in a public forum, especially in such a personal manner as we all do in this part of Blogland.

      Perhaps these thoughts were slightly more applicable for slaves than submissives, but I still believe that they hold true for both.
      Nowhere did I say that I felt submission was about being miserable, but I do think one can explore more when one is not coming from a place of what they can get, instead of what they can give.

      He does plenty of thing I dislike that I would otherwise object to were our arrangement different. That doesn't mean that my relationship is unhealthy, it just means that ttwd isn't about me getting my way and what I want. My needs are fulfilled. Wants are an unnecessary bonus.
      I think that if people feel encouraged to stay in unhealthy relationships because of their interpretation of my words, their issues go far beyond the crappy relationship.

      In my opinion, it is necessary to enter a D/s relationship on your own terms, but living it in such a way is not really submitting. Knowing that you could walk away is not the same as actually being able to do so, but that thought is a bit besides the point.
      If it was all on my terms, then he wouldn't be the one in control, and that runs contrary to my beliefs about ttwd.
      Saying that I could revoke my consent at any time and am therefor living D/s on my own terms would, to me, be like holding it over his head--if you don't do as I want, then I'll call it quits. It's relationship blackmail, in my opinion only, of course. That is not how our D/s works.
      A large part of this perspective, for me, is the fact that I was in a committed relationship before we ever began exploring D/s. Our terms were set long before power exchange, so I accept that the terms I live now are his because that is how it works for us.

      As a sub, I have kinky experiences. Submission isn't a kink for me, it's a way of life. It exists with or without kinky activities. In my mind, our D/s is in place even if it is as simple and boring as making his lunch in the morning. Kink comes and goes with the ebb and flow of daily life. Our exchange of power is like the core that all the other stuff revolves around.

      I am sorry that you got the vibe that I was saying anyone who doesn't live a TPE is somehow less of a sub. I am not a fan of the competitive "slaves are better, subs are better, there is one twue way" approach. Such implications are not something that I wish to portray. But I do think that if one wants to submit on any level, they are going to have to accept that they won't always like it. Whether someone is "Less" or "More" of a sub, is about their approach to submission, not the level they take it to. For me, depth is important, and the perspectives I share here reflect that.

      I feel that it is important to be in relationships that make us happy. For anyone. Making good relationship choices is the basis of that--the whole fetlife chainsaw argument (not that you made one, just as an example) holds no water because we should choose Dominants who wouldn't go around chopping things off in the first place. Staying out of unhealthy relationships in the first place removes the need to live them on our own terms.

      Thank you for sharing your perspective.

    3. Misty,
      thank you for your two cents. They are spot-on, and much appreciated.

  7. As a newer sub that is possibly headed for that 24/7 thing soon, this is a great read. Things really to keep in mind when you don't want, or you want to brat, or you feel his decision(s) were wrong, or shit happens and gets fucked up.

    We know intellectually that they are human, but it is harder to live it. Accept, love, and move on together. <3

    1. Thank you, Lea. I'm glad that you liked the post.

      It really can be so much harder to live! Intellectual understanding doesn't make it as easy as one might hope!

  8. Great post Lil and well said! Thank you for posting this, you got me thinking.

    Mistakes do happen, we are all human. I think it's easy to forget that our Dom isn't infallible sometimes. I like your addendum, how the mistake is handled is what counts. Love, forgiveness and moving forward. I agree it's especially important for a Dom to acknowledge his mistakes.


    1. Roz,
      Thank you!
      it is easy to forget sometimes, especially when they are generally so together.

      mc kitten's comment inspired me to go back and ad the addendum. It was an important thought, and I'm glad she mentioned it!


Play nice.