Honoring Agreements and Keeping Promises

(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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