navigating bumps and getting back on track

Navigating Bumps: communication and getting back on track

I often write about how great a D/s lifestyle is. I write about the closeness and the intimacy. And I write about what an amazing connection it allows us to have. But what about when it doesn’t work? What about when things go wrong? What about when the great connection turns into a missed connection. What do we do then? Well I started to write a post about exactly that and then remembered, I had one already. So I have edited and updated, and hopefully improved this older post.

You Can’t Have a Rainbow Without a Little Rain

You can’t have a rainbow without a little rain and we all know that D/s is one big and beautiful rainbow. It is magical, it is beautiful and there is always that little crock of gold waiting there at the end of it.The excitement, the passion, the intimacy, the closeness, the kink; it’s all there when things are good and we are consumed by how amazing and how wonderful it truly is.

But the rain can be hard. It can challenge us and we can struggle to see our way back to the brilliance and colour. Things become a little grey and we stare out of the window with longing, wondering where it is and how to find it. We all experience bumps and hurdles in our D/s. It might be that something challenging has come along for one or both of us. Maybe we have had an argument? Or perhap,s things have just slipped a little and are starting to feel a bit vanilla.

The Circle

I have found that if something has gone wrong and we have argued or slipped into vanilla, the old power struggles can return. It becomes ‘tit-for-tat’ and we echo the behaviour we see from our partner. This leads to a stale-mate and the situation worsens. It is a vicious circle and one of you needs to break it. The circle that makes the power exchange work is the same as the one which makes the power struggle continue. Something needs to happen to break that circle.

Thinking, Feeling and Reacting

When something happens it triggers a series of thoughts. These thoughts then trigger feelings. The feelings then trigger behaviour. Simple! Now, if the thoughts are positive then the feelings will be positive and we will likely behave in a way which is positive. However, if the thoughts have not been positive then the feelings won’t be positive and neither will the behaviour be. It really makes sense when you think of it like that. What happens in a relationship is that our partner picks up on the behaviour, thinks, feels and responds, and the whole thing continues in an endless cycle.

For example: HL does not arrange our talk time as he has said that he will. Then he does not initiate play even though he told me earlier that he would. I think that maybe he is annoyed with me or that maybe he is losing interest in the dynamic or that maybe he is not as committed as me. I feel hurt, and disappointed, and a little rejected. So because I feel like this I become a little withdrawn and put a little distance between us.

He then wonders what is wrong with me. Am I unhappy, am I upset, am I annoyed with him? This affects his confidence in his role and he feels less Dominant. He begins to withdraw as well and suddenly, instead of telling each other everything and leaning on each other for support, we can find ourselves in a tricky spot. Even worse, we endure that tricky spot alone, rather than reaching out.

Communication – Reach out!

The only way to fix this is to go to your partner and communicate with them. You will have to tell them in a respectful way what is going on inside your head, and how you are feeling about it. What did you think? What did you feel? What did you do as a result? I always make sure to ask HL this too. If he has behaved in a certain way then it is important that I understand why. Was it based on a misunderstanding or is there something more important that I need to be aware of? If I don’t ask him what he was thinking and feeling, we may struggle to change things.

Usually we discover that the whole thing has been based on a misunderstanding. THOUGHTS ARE NOT TRUTHS. Just because we think something doesn’t make it true, although if we listen to these thoughts then the feelings which they cause are very real. After we have sorted out what happened then we always talk about what we both need to repair the situation. This could be reassurance, or understanding, or forgiveness. Whatever the needs are they will need to be met so that you can move on.

Navigating the Bumps

After navigating a bump we will often seek a physical re-connection too so that a line is drawn and our dynamic can be reset. It will take a little while to re-build the trust and really meet those needs and we have found that it is more successful if we do this by being really committed to our Dom/sub roles. We can both feel a little shaky but doing this means that very quickly we are back to feeding each other again which helps the grey of uncertainty to clear so that we can see the colour again.

We try also to think about what we can put in place to try to prevent a similar situation re-occurring. Obviously this is very dependent on what has happened. If it was an argument, then maybe there are certain triggers that could be avoided. If it was to do with lack of communication, then perhaps time to talk can be built in more often. And if it was to do with not feeling the dynamic as strongly as we would like, then maybe there are rituals we could use to help to reduce that.

Our D/s is a work in progress and we are learning more about each other, ourselves and our relationship every day, so we tend to look at our bumps as being a positive in that navigating them successfully strengthens us and our dynamic. I really don’t think it does any good at all to beat yourselves up and assume that you are not suited to this sort of lifestyle. I think particularity at the start you have to push yourselves past this and keep on trying. Having a good group of D/s friends to chat to can also help with this.

Prevention is Better than Cure

Obviously if things have gone wrong then they will need to be sorted out, but often we can stop the circle from turning from a power exchange to a power struggle by changing our behaviour. We can try to ignore the thoughts that tell us that something is wrong. We can seek advice from a friend who may be able to help us to see things in a different way before we react. We can ask for clarification from each other so that we are not ‘mind reading’ and ‘catastrophizing’. We can also avert a bump quite often by remaining in role.

Sometimes I have to be more actively submissive and if HL is not taking the power from me, I have to hand it to him, reassure him and remind him that his Dominance is what I need and crave. Sometimes when we feel a bit down and seem to see the rain and not the sun we can hide away; this is another mistake that I have made in the past. We decide we are no fun and avoid talking to people who may actually be able to offer some support. You can hear rain even when you are inside, but you have to look out of the window to see the rainbow again

So if you are finding things tough then try not to get bogged down in feeling negative and thinking the worst. Use all of the submissive tools you have, talk to others and seek advice and more importantly be open with your partner about how you are feeling and why. Don’t wait for them to come to you – go to them and try to fix what is going on. You can’t have a rainbow without a little rain and nothing this good will come without a little work, so think like a submissive, use what you have learnt, and it will work.

Wicked Wednesday
Posted in Building a D/s Dynamic and tagged , , , , .


  1. Pingback: Control, Communication and Consent – submissy

  2. I get the example you give very well. It has happened to me in relationships but recently also, I first have all these thoughts in my head and in this case don’t feel disappointed or hurt but like I should deal with feelings on my own. But then I realise that the only way to deal with it is by communicating with the other person, and by that point the ‘thoughts are not truths’ thing becomes really true.

    • Thanks ML. I would think it works differently for everyone in terms of what they feel as a result. Being able to pinpoint that is so important though as it does influence how your response. Because they are often things which make us feel strong emotions, we can act impulsively and not stop to ask why 😊

  3. I have found myself getting lost in my own thoughts and that the feelings I have shift away from the truth. A bit of perspective and communication goes a long way and it takes both of you to set things in the right direction again. Another great read missy 😊

    • Thank you PS. Dealing with things like that is part of restorative practice really and it helps to resolve things in a positive way. I think it is hard when you aren’t sure what your feelings are but sometimes to break it down can help. 😊

  4. If there is a problem or misunderstanding, then it is better to talk about it. But the moment is important here. If you just took offense, then you hardly want to talk about something right away. Or, if you speak, it will not be the words that are needed to solve the problem. And perhaps even those that will aggravate it.

  5. I always love reading your work (although I read this one years ago). You’re right about the rainbows needing a little rain, those showers help establish boundaries and limits and are just as important as being in the right headspace. Sometimes we can’t truly define our needs until we’re in a situation where we’re not getting it.
    Great post!

    • Thank you Mrs K. I never know with updating older posts. There weren’t many comments so I wasn’t sure who had seen it and or was from 2016 as I first wrote it for somewhere else before I started blogging. I am glad that it made sense though 😊

      • I didn’t read it as a blogger , just a curious mind. It’s funny because I remember reading something along the same lines, maybe it wasn’t your post, but it was alarmingly similar. I have read so much over the years sometimes it’s is hard to remember where. I do remember reading your stuff way before I started my blog though 😃

  6. I totally get the wondering why something has not happened making u disconnect – I do that. I should just ask but like you I over think about it, causing my elf unnecessary anxiety.
    May xx

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