Dominants Coming Through on Their Word

@Xinergy said on Fetlife:

The Dominant failing to come through with what they say they are going to do is devastating to the submissive. The submissive is in this lifestyle because they need that comfort and safety. They need to believe that if the Dominant says something, it will happen. Without that certainty and trust, how can he or she sink into subspace while chained to something being beaten?

It is indeed completely devastating, particularly when the promises broken are as fundamental as repeatedly violating limits, not respecting her health and safety above his own needs and desires, etc.

It doesn’t matter what else the dominant does in the rest of life, how good he is about his word in other matters both in the relationship and elsewhere, no matter how many other wonderful qualities he has. If he does not scrupulously respect his sub’s limits and boundaries, and remember and honor both the letter and the spirit of relationship-level agreements, he will lose both the trust and the respect of his submissive.

While I don’t think that “need [for] that comfort and safety” is necessarily the reason we are in this (certainly not for everyone), we do in fact absolutely need it to be present, or there’s no possibility of being able to submit to the dominant at any level, whether in play or every day life.

If the dominant then blames the submissive for “making” him not feel domly when she insists on having her limits respected (as any healthy submissive both will and should), then he has indeed completely lost the game, because all that does is hand his own power over completely to her. How can you possibly submit in any way at all to someone who has just put all of his own power and even control of his own sense of himself into your own hands? Alas, it is absolutely impossible, because there’s nothing there to submit to at that point.

If you don’t feel like your submissive trusts you or isn’t being as submissive as you would like (or less so than she was originally), take a good hard look first at your own behavior and how you yourself have likely set that up, because I promise you, that’s where it starts. We are not usually the ones to start that ball in motion, because that’s not at all where we want to be.

We go into this wanting to trust, expecting to be able to trust and have that trust we place in you held sacred, indeed already trusting up front that you will take care of us in these most fundamental of ways. If you behave in ways that reinforce that trust, it will grow and the relationship will deepen. If, however, your behavior undermines it instead, you will lose it, especially if it turns out to be a pattern.

Oh, and subs, if you see a pattern like this developing, don’t waste your own time hoping it will change. It won’t. It will only get worse over time. Believe your own eyes and feelings; don’t try to make excuses for him and justify it. Bite the bullet and pull the plug on the relationship yourself before it gets out of hand, no matter how many other good qualities the guy has, no matter how good it seems otherwise.

Because a man who will not respect your most fundamental limits and your needs for safety in the way that you need it to be shown, is not the good person he would like to be seen as, and it simply will not change, at least not in time to make a difference in your relationship with him.

I know. I spent years making excuses for one of my exes, both to myself and to others, working my ass off to accommodate him and to find excuses for his bad behavior, while he violated my limits repeatedly, throughout the whole relationship. If it wasn’t one thing, it was another, or a variation on yet a different theme.

It would look like it would get better for a while, but then we’d be back into the same old cycle, and it just kept getting worse. At first, I thought I was the luckiest girl in the world, and had found the world’s best guy. We could have had it all – if he had just been willing to respect my limits, and not behave like a petulant child when he didn’t get what he wanted because I got sick, had an asthma attack, couldn’t physically or emotionally handle something he dished out, etc., and then worse still, blame it all on me. For a long time, I thought he was a great guy in spite of all of this kind of crap, in spite of my growing unhappiness.

Alas, those “ifs” are too big to ignore…<sigh>.

The reality is that a really good guy (especially a dominant) won’t take care of you in some areas of life and then completely destroy you repeatedly in another, particularly in one in which you are the most vulnerable, and the most in need of being able to be certain that he holds your safety as sacred.  He will absolutely keep his word to take care of you.

The sad truth is that this same cycle of absolutely wonderful periods alternating with things going to hell in a handbasket is pathognomic of abusive relationships – one of the most common signs.  The good periods are referred to as the “honeymoon” periods – and they are what keep abused people hooked into these relationships.  There is a lot of good in those periods – but the repetitive cycle is very destructive overall.

@Master_Defiant said:

…a dom who is not “capable or willing” to admit to their mistakes. Those guys are not doms, they are wannabe domasses, and there are a lot of them around.

All too many of them, I’m afraid. They give the whole lot a bad name, hurt a lot of people, and turn a lot off to BDSM altogether…

The really sad part is that nothing will actually build trust faster than a dom who both can and will admit to his mistakes – and learn from them, making sure to not repeat them again.

And nothing will destroy it faster than refusing to do so…

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One thought on “Dominants Coming Through on Their Word

  1. (continuing on):

    > If a dominant makes promises, whether it is with the DS or MS relationship, but fails to carry those out, even early on during the building stages of the relationship, but expects his submissive or his slave to keep doing so. Now where is the trust in that dynamic. There will be none, other than a restless energy to question said dominant’s morals, ethics and beliefs.

    Spot on, V. Don’t even get me started on doms expecting subs to still honor our agreements even while they blithely ignore their own, especially when theirs endanger us physically and emotionally…

    And doms? Your agreement to honor limits *is* a promise – the biggest and most important one you will ever make in a D/s relationship. If you don’t do so, then you *have* broken promises of the very most important and fundamental sort. And it doesn’t matter what else you do that’s wonderful in the relationship when that happens.

    It’s actually even more important to respect limits scrupulously in the early stages of a relationship, because that’s where the foundation will be laid, the patterns and expectations set. If you already have a foundation of trust laid, and an established history of respecting limits, there will be more fabric to hold the relationship together, and to maintain and if necessary rebuild the trust, if you err later.

    And we do *all* make mistakes; yes, even dominants. We submissives know that very well, and we pretty much always make allowances for them – but we can also easily tell an honest mistake or accident from blatant and deliberate violations, particularly when they are repeated.

    Your own reaction to the problem, once you are aware of it, is a dead giveaway, for starters.

    For that matter, there are times in which even your very awareness that there *is* a problem to start with can tell us a lot about what’s really going on, whether this really is an accident or something more deliberate, or even just uncaring.

    > i think the bottom line of the OP is this… Do you stay with someone who is breaking their word or not following through with what they say…to vague to answer. if it was a one shot thing…..i would have to say life got in the road, it happens. If its all the time. i’d be having doubts.

    I agree, and that’s a hard one to answer sometimes. Sometimes you don’t really recognize the pattern until somewhere down the road. Sometimes there may be mitigating circumstances even for patterns. Sometimes, you’re at a point where the good still outweighs the bad and you don’t want to throw away the baby with the bathwater. Sometimes it depends upon exactly what the broken promises are, and a whole lot of other possibilities.

    The more fundamental the promises are to the basic dynamic and especially to preserving your own health and safety (both emotional and physical), the more important it may be to bail sooner rather than later. And the harder it probably will be, especially if you really care about the dom.

    But ultimately, if it keeps on happening, you will probably have a choice to make that won’t be pleasant, if you value your own self.

    My only regret is that there have been times that I’ve not left someone first (or stayed gone, when I have left), that I’ve stayed way too long in the end than I knew was good for either of us. I kept hoping things would change, seeing some signs but ignoring others, believing in him much too much more than I probably should have…

    > One who is making an effort to improve is one I can work with, one who simply apologizes or makes excuses and those and does the same crap they did yesterday?

    Exactly.

    I’d add that if I were the dominant in particular, and the sub was the one making the excuses, I would take other issues into consideration, including looking at what role *I* might be playing in their repeating the same thing.

    The reality is that no one is willing to always honor their agreements with someone who frequently violates his own, and I for one tend not to feel much obligation (or desire) to cater to the pleasures of someone who isn’t even looking out for my own basic safety *all* of the time.

    Promises and agreements also have hierarchies, IMO, and I don’t feel that that sort of broken promise to cater to someone’s pleasure, even in a D/s context, is anywhere near as important as his obligation to honor limits and to keep his sub safe, for example. If he’s going to violate my limits and endanger me, then as far as I’m concerned, all other bets are off, at least until that situation is *fully* rectified.

    I’d also say that there are limits to my being willing to work with someone who is making the effort to improve. It’s got to continue, for one thing – not stop at some point and have them then expect me to think they’ve done all they are obligated to do, that having made X change absolves them from having to also do Y, if that’s something I find necessary, especially if it’s in the same vein as X.

    Some changes take a lot longer to happen, though, particularly with those long-ingrained behavior patterns, so I try to look at what progress they are making as well as the end result. Are they noticing the error sooner, even if they still commit it? Are they trying to rectify it faster, once they do realize it’s happened again? Are they apologetic about it, or just seeking excuses and to justify what they are doing? Do they talk about ways they see that they might be able to do better next time, and actually seek out other assistance *on their own* to try to speed up the process? Do they ask me for help and feedback if I see the issue starting to develop again, to help them learn to catch themselves faster? And do they actually accept that input, or smack my hand away when I offer it?

    I’ll work with someone I love until the end of time, go to the ends of the earth with him, if I know and believe that he’s really making an honest effort, if he’s really working *with* me, that he’s equally committed to me and to *us*.

    > The only sincere apology is not doing the behavior one is apologizing for again.

    And that includes not doing very similar things as well, in my book.

    This is where understanding both the spirit as well as the actual letter of agreements comes into play. If you are uncertain as to whether or not the new thing you want to do will be perceived the same as the previous violation, it’s better to ask first – and to maintain a high index of awareness of the sorts of things that *might* be considered to be similar enough to cause a problem.

    Negotiation is an ongoing thing in any good D/s relationship, and there is almost never anything so important to do right at a particular moment that’s worth the risk of overstepping boundaries and breaking those most fundamental relationship promises. If it’s important to you, and worth doing, then another chance will always present itself, especially in an ongoing relationship.

    One of the earliest bits of advice I was given is that if it’s worth doing, it’s worth waiting for, precisely because of the need to ensure that you don’t overstep your partner’s limits.

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