I have learnt, the hard way, that a D/s relationship is very susceptible to change. I know that all relationships require adjustments and tweaks in order to accommodate change, but I think, for us at least, the tight sense of structure and routine that supports a D/s lifestyle is easily shaken by its ripples. This is not an issue in itself, as long as we remember to address it and make any necessary changes, but sometimes we don’t. This has been one of those times.
Why do the ripples become waves?
So, if change is normal, why do the ripples become waves? One of the things that we love about D/s is the fact that there is an intensity there. This comes from being the focus of another person’s needs and desires, and having them as your focus too. We try to keep ourselves at the centre as a couple and allow everything else to revolve around us. We will step out of our circle to turn our attention something else – focus diverted, and then step back in – focus back in place. If we do this, it works.
Sometimes, however, the things that happen are big. Rather than one of us focussing on them and returning, that person keeps their new focus. This can be ok for a short while, but if it continues for a longer time then we can find that the connection between us starts to fade. When the little things that usually happen each day to make each of us feel noticed and desired and important don’t happen in quite the same way, it can throw things off for us. We don’t end up back in the power struggles of old, but the lack of focus on elements of our power exchange is noticeable.
What happened when we talked?
We talk regularly about things and during one of these discussions we spoke about how the changes had affected us. I had found it difficult to adapt initially, but had also found a new balance which allowed me to prioritise things at home. I think that whole situation in the world right now has given be a renewed perspective on what is actually important and, although work is important to me, family and friends matter so I have accepted that I am not going to be able to meet the usual expectation of me in terms of what I can provide for my students.
For HL things have been different. He has been available to his team whenever required and this has led to difficulties in switching from work to home. We talked about this and about what we could do to try to prioritise each other and keep that connection between us. I would like this post to have been about all of the new things that we tried and the new opportunities that were created, but with both working full-time from home, just keeping the basics going was really our priority.
We talked about some new rules and rituals. We talked about the things that we could do to keep the sexual charge between us. We also talked about ways that we could use the opportunities for additional areas of control during the day. So it felt quite positive once we had identified these things. In the past when our connection dipped, there was a tendency to think that we were not able to sustain the dynamic and doubt ourselves. After a while we came to find more of a sort of bread and butter D/s, where, at points, we survived on the minimum needed to sustain it, rather than all of the frills.
Why didn’t it work?
I think, perhaps, it didn’t work because there was another change. After two weeks of lockdown and working from home, the term ended and I was ‘on holiday’. While the holidays were very different this year, I did switch off my laptop and, apart from the odd email to a pupil or query from a work colleague, I was ‘out of the office’. During this time HL continued to work full-time and I took on much of the responsibility for the routine of the day. This felt ok for a while but it didn’t address the loss of connection as he was still absorbed in his work and in trying to provide exactly the same service, in a vastly changed set of circumstances.
It has been frustrating to watch and at points I have felt exasperated at the loss of feeling the control he has over me. Although my middle side can have bratty tendencies, for the most part, I don’t act out. What I do, is to retreat. I get on with my own thing and I get lost in my own projects and ideas, becoming more independent, and less needy. This means that things get done, but it doesn’t feed the dynamic in any way. It ends up being circular and we both drift further from each other and from the selves we want to be.
I don’t mean this in a large or dangerous way at all. Like I said at the start, very tiny ripples appear as waves, so to all intents and purposes everything looks and feels fine. There is a little less intimacy, a little less connection and a little less intensity, but it is still good. We are still D/s, but just not as D/s as we are sometimes, if that makes sense. I expect that those who are also in a lifestyle dynamic will understand though, so I felt that it would be good to try to put into words.
What do we need to do next?
Well I guess, what we need to do, it to try again. The conversation, that is always the starting point, took place this morning when I spoke about what I was going to say in this post. Sometimes, despite knowing the theory, the practice takes a couple of goes until it falls into place in that way that you want it to. I don’t see this as a failure, and although they can be difficult conversations, practice, as they say, makes perfect, so usually they end on a positive note. We love each other and despite the difficulties of lockdown and the way it has shaped our living arrangements, we love our dynamic and are committed to making it working.
Change is part of life and the changes we are dealing with now, are such minor imperfections to the tragedies which are going outside our own four walls and that is a sobering fact. While we may feel the internal ripples, which push us closer or farther as we tackle the demands on us, we have held together well in managing the stress and anxiety that has hit nearly everyone around us. We have clung, not just to each other, but to the routine and the safety of home and of family, and that has allowed us to feel stronger.
We have taken on volunteering together which has helped us to focus on what is happening outside, and has allowed us to feel we have a use and a purpose by contributing to a community which has to rely in others far more now than ever before. This has helped us to feel less powerless in the current unknown situation, and given us perspective on our own issues. We have been fortunate in having a great online network so we have had friends who we can connect with and spend time with in the same ways we would usually do and this, again, has given us a constant.
So really what we need to do next is to keep on trying, to keep on working, and to keep on talking. We will continue to focus and prioritise what is important to us, and to shift and change as life requires us to do so. I feel positive and hopeful that, even within what has been lost, there will be gains in terms of what we have learnt and the shift that, for me, has allowed me to take stock of what actually matters and is important in this world.