By Sarah Sloane
My partner (who I have been with for years) is coming to terms with the fact that he’s no longer feeling submissive – but now feels very dominant. As a dominant woman who has no desire to switch, I’m really confused. I love him, of course, but I feel really angry and really sad. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do – am I supposed to now share a submissive with him, or train him, or what? Do we break up? We’ve had four years of a wonderful D/s relationship, but I have no idea now what will happen.
-The Other Half
Dear Other Half,
Changes in relationships can be really scary. In our society, we are often led to believe that if it’s the “right” relationship, it’ll all end up with us riding off into the sunset or being happy together ever after. The reality is that a relationship made up of healthy, dynamic individuals is bound to change, because change is a part of being a thriving, mature person. Sounds great, and easy, and of course we should be totally supportive of our lovers, thinking only of their well being, right?
Wrong. Change affects everyone involved; we have connections to those we love that are going to tug or relax, thin or thicken, as we (and they) develop. His change – his decision to explore being the dominant person in relationships – is going to affect you in more than just shaking up your dynamic. And there is amazing potential for positive change, as well! His growing understanding of his identity may bring about more amazing aspects of his personality, as he finds different skill sets and talents that he may never have explored. That, alone, may strengthen the relationship that you have – if you’re open to the change.
It sounds like, if he’s talking with you about coming to terms with his dominant feelings, he’s open to more conversation. I suggest strongly that you take advantage of that; talking through the changes and looking for common ground as you move forward may help you both to better co-create the next phase of your relationship. There are a few things you might want to bring up as conversation starters: what will your own rules & protocols be with each other, what will your rules and protocols be as a couple with your social circle, and what will you need to ensure as far as potential play / D/s experiences with other people. You may both decide that you will seek out & work with submissives as a pair; many people who are in multiple-dominant relationships opt to share ownership or direction of submissives. You may also decide that you’d prefer to have separate D/s relationships with different people (especially if you dislike the idea of sharing, or are not attracted to the same gender expressions).
It may take a while to sort things out. In the meantime, remember to be gentle and compassionate with each other – you are both going through a big change, which can bring a lot of stress both internally and externally. Focus on your care and love for each other. And of course, don’t be afraid to re-evaluate the content of your relationship. I’ve been in power exchange relationships in the past that evolved into a much different – and yet quite satisfying – relationship as we all changed. Sometimes, when we hold on to one thing too hard, and don’t allow for it to transform, we smother the relationship and lose the joy and love that we have with each other.
I wish you much luck and love, and trust that by being honest with each other about your needs, wants, and limits, you will be able to find a solid foundation for the next stage of your relationship.