Don’t Let Your Relationship Get Stuck in a Rut.

Today’s piece is something everyone occasionally needs to be reminded about when it comes to relationships. It’s easy when you’ve been with someone for a while to let things slip into routine and that can cause trouble, particularly for D/s partnerships which tend to require a certain level of excitement to thrive.

When you have been together long enough to know each other well, it’s natural for some of the excitement to die down. That unknown adventure is replaced with stability and the reassurance of knowing your partner, which can be a wonderful thing. It’s necessary though, to balance that stable relationship with the excited anticipation you need to keep things moving in a D/s partnership.

Even if you’re someone who needs daily schedules and routine like I do, you still need to keep a level of mystery and surprise in the D/s part.

So G said to me a little while back, “Remind me, we need to talk about the monthly punishment.” Now, as some of you know “We need to talk,” Is a terrible thing to do to someone with anxiety, but in this case, it couldn’t be helped. So, I fretted over that for a few days as we tried to find the time to have a serious conversation and the only hint G would give was, “I was thinking we should switch things up and make some changes.”

To say I fear change is like saying the ocean is moist. I like stability and change, well, is not that, even though it’s often for the best. Of course, I immediately assumed it was going to be bad, because that’s me, but it wasn’t and talking really helped a lot. I think what was going through my head is “I don’t have time for our long once a month scenes anymore, so we should cut those out for now,” and since time has been a struggle for all of us lately I panicked at the thought of losing that.

But first, let me give you a little background on how things have been working in our dynamic for the past year. We settled on a once a month punishment scene to clear things up because we had a habit of putting off the small things for a while. See, generally speaking big things that pop up are taken care of immediately, but they don’t come up that often. Sometimes multiple months go by without having anything that needs an instant correction.

There are other kinds of play and other kinds of scenes, of course, but I seem to have a need for punishment specifically and we’ve noticed that if I don’t get it after six weeks or so I start getting frustrated and snippy. There are a lot of small things that occur, like being an hour short on sleep, or missing something on my daily to-do list but those don’t really warrant a whole scene on their own even if we all had the time to manage one for each thing.

So, we would sometimes go for a while without dealing with punishment but that just led to a bigger chance of a major thing popping up. After discussing it we settled on a once a month thing and I would keep track of all my little infractions in a log so that we could deal with it at the end of the month. It worked really well for a while, but after most of a year it started to get a bit stagnant.

I could tell it wasn’t having the same effect. It was harder to get my head into it and I would push off dealing with things when I could. More importantly I didn’t have that feeling of catharsis afterwards that I need from punishment scenes. As I said I prefer structure, and stability is big with me and so G assumed that doing things the same way every month would be the best thing, but it turns out, when it comes to punishments, that’s not the case. I should have mentioned it of course, and I realized as soon as we started the discussion.

There are two ways to go with punishment. Some people prefer an almost ritualistic approach. I’ve noticed people who like to be caned, for instance, tend to like some ritual to the punishment. Things follow a specific format each time. Others have a need to be surprised by what happens. They don’t want to know what’s coming each time because a big part of the mind games for them is the fear, which tends to go away when you know exactly what will happen.

So, I’m in the second category when it comes to punishments. I need the element of surprise, and the worry before the punishment comes. This isn’t something I’ve ever articulated to him or really put a lot of thought into. I just realized when he started to talk, and it came up that he’d noticed I didn’t seem to be getting as much out of it, so he thought it was time for a change.

There was an instant sense of relief. Almost overpowering, which is common when my Doms make the jump and show how well they know me by bringing up something long before I get to the point of mentioning it. So when we finally got around to having the talk that was something I was able to realize and explain once he’d started, but it turned out he had a lot of changes in mind.

Saving up all the small infractions for the end of the month wasn’t really having much of an encouraging effect because I wasn’t connecting them with the specific things after so much time had passed. None of these things is a major deal and honestly, I could probably argue my way out of most of them. I have ‘get out of trouble’ things and *goose days that I never use anyway, but the truth is I mostly like to be held accountable for stuff.

(*Geese aren’t very obedient, and they don’t like to follow the rules. I have one day a month I can blow off most of my rules except the basic health and safety ones, but I’ve never actually used it. I do like the idea of having it though—everyone needs a day off sometimes!)

And I’m going to admit that sometimes waiting until the end was actually having the opposite effect. I like to be perfect and I try for no infractions, which is problematic because I also need punishment, but that’s another topic. Once I get some infractions on my list and I’m no longer perfect then there is actually less incentive for me to work hard for the rest of the month. I already ruined it why bother, right?

So, that needed fixing too. Now we’re working on a new system that started with me making a long list of possible punishments for small infractions. Since time is often a factor for all of us when it comes to punishments these needed to be things that would take half hour or less. A quick sample list would be:

  • Lines 5-25
  • Corner time 5min-20min.
  • Half hour of chores that weren’t already on my list for the day.
  • Extra words (I’m required to write 1000 words a day when I’m actively working on a book, which is most of the time.)

Of course, my list was much longer and G wanted some out-of-the-box suggestions which meant dredging up memories of things that I’ve done in the past. Now we have things on the list that we’ve never done together.

I’m not sure how I feel about that since now I’ll be worrying that I might trigger one of those new punishments—but it also adds a bit to the nervousness of being in trouble which is a plus. Now if I don’t hit my target on water or forget my vitamins, I will get a small punishment immediately which will make it easier to connect and also remind me more often that I’m owned and loved.

But…what about the punishment scenes I need? Won’t that just encourage me to make bigger mistakes to get that? I had to think about that, because while excitement in a relationship is important, the real goal here is to keep my life on target—which means not actively encouraging me to make huge mistakes because I have a need that’s not being filled.

What we’ve worked out is that I will still get a long scene at least once a month, and we’ll be more creative with it. So, while it might not technically be punishment, we might still manage the punishment vibe. I think it has a lot of possibilities so we’re going to give it a try and see how it works. Either way some of the other changes we’re making should help.

Switching things up so we have less of a ritual and more surprises should definitely get my head engaged and I find, this time, I’m actually looking forward to the changes.

You wouldn’t think this would be such a constant struggle with all my experience, and with knowing how important communication is, but it really is difficult for a lot of submissives. There’s this ingrained need to not be a bother that often can keep you from expressing needs and problems that might take up more of a Dominant’s time. Especially when they are already really busy.

Knowing something is necessary doesn’t always make it easier to do it, and I think sometimes it has to come from the Top. Which doesn’t mean that submissives shouldn’t constantly be trying to be better communicators. It’s important to make the effort and work on it because it does get better over time. If I can improve, with all my baggage then trust me, you can too.

G and L used to have to chase me for days to get me to talk to them when something was obviously wrong. We had to use work-arounds that would allow me to show them something was wrong, so they knew to ask, just so I could be forced to speak up. Those are rare things now and a sign of how tight our bond is. That kind of stability comes from being together a while and learning to trust and it doesn’t happen overnight.

I think people will probably get various things from this article, but there are some important points I want to emphasize.

Communication means more than chatting about your day, or lecturing your submissive. It means listening, and sometimes it means watching for silent cues. And for the subs out there, it’s not on the Tops to do all the work.

If they aren’t noticing the signs, and hinting doesn’t work then try writing a letter and leaving it for them to read when you aren’t there. I’ve done that many times when I needed to say something and couldn’t get it out face to face.

Don’t hesitate to rip up your structure and rebuild when necessary. Comfortable is not the same as healthy and productive.

Every now and then it’s essential to go back through things and re-evaluate, even if it all seems fine on the surface. Haven’t looked over the rules list in a while? Go back through them and clear out the junk that no longer applies; add new rules as needed.

People grow and change over time and that means your structure has to do the same unless you want to be trapped in a framework that’s too small. And sometimes looking at one part of your relationship and making changes will lead you to realize there are problems in another area too, remember it’s all connected.

And please, finally, remember that needing to change things in your relationship doesn’t mean it’s failing. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, which is why I have no problem sharing these things with you. Growth is normal and to be expected and the relationships who fail are the ones who refuse to adapt.

People who fear change, like me, may need to take things a little slower sometimes and with more emotional care, but growth should always be encouraged in a healthy relationship.

Of course, all members of the relationship need to accept this and be willing to move forward. And I won’t lie, when one person is holding back it can be difficult. So, if you have a recalcitrant partner who digs their heels in when it comes to making changes, all you can really do is keep nudging them forward carefully.  Obviously, that’s easier when you’re the Top in the relationship, but emphasize that you have needs that aren’t being met if you have to.

Try to approach things calmly if possible, but don’t accept being miserable. I guarantee that won’t last unless you just give up on the idea of being happy completely. I’ve seen people who do this, especially submissives, but that’s not healthy and not an ideal dynamic. Whether you’re a Top or a bottom you deserve to have your needs met by a partner who cares enough to do so.

As always Stay healthy, Stay same, and stay home if you can.

2 Replies to “Don’t Let Your Relationship Get Stuck in a Rut.”

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