Even though we’re going to be discussing Doms for the most part, there is really more to this question. Basically, what it’s asking is: If I need something I can’t get in my marriage, is it okay to find it elsewhere.
This stemmed from an email I received last week with the question in the title, but as I started thinking about it, I realized that is a small part of a much bigger conversation. And there’s a lot there that I’m not going to get into because it’s out of my focus.
It does make this more complicated though, so it’s going to be a two-parter. Part one will discuss my own experiences and how we deal with it as poly people. Part two will discuss relationships in general where one partner is vanilla and the other has to reach outside of the relationship to have needs met.
The short answer to that question is yes, you can absolutely have a Dom outside of your marriage. Many people do. I am married and I have two Doms, neither of them is my husband. My first husband was vanilla. My current husband (R) isn’t vanilla.
With both of these marriages I’ve had Dominants outside. In fact, pretty much the entire time I’ve been married I’ve had D/s partners outside of the marriage. I’ve never hidden it. It was always discussed and open.
It does add complications to my life. There are moments when it’s almost a tug-of-war between what my partner wants and what my Doms want.
It becomes a bit of a balancing act. As poly people we all understand this, and work to make things run smoothly. Sometimes there are speedbumps that have to be talked through, but my situation is more complicated than most because I have two Doms.
The more people you add to your life the more problems you’ll have. But in general things go pretty well and most conflicts are easily resolved around here. My husband and I are both kinky people and we do play together, but my preference is not to submit to a romantic partner.
In my marriage I need to feel at least equal in all decisions and many times I need to be the one making the decisions because I have more life experience. That doesn’t leave room for the kind of submission I need, which is based around rules and punishment more than bedroom fun.
My husband and I have been together for about thirteen years. We were free to legally marry five years ago when I divorced from my first husband. Prior to that we’d all lived together for several years. I considered them both my husbands at that time.
In the beginning with R we had a D/s relationship, but things quickly grew more romantic. He wanted dates and sappy sweet moments. I explained to him that I didn’t think managing both would work but that he could choose which he preferred.
He decided that he wanted to be my romantic partner. I honestly think was the best choice. We were meant to be partners and this relationship with him is much more fulfilling than a D/s one would have been. He is the most important person in my life.
I don’t actually talk about him much here because he’s also a private person and doesn’t really feel comfortable with being a star on my blog. (Which is understandable) And of course, since so much of what I write here is about D/s and submission it tends to not really involve him—though he can be extremely toppy when his protective instincts engage.
The key to making it all work is communication. I’ve said that on here a million times for a million reasons and it’s still true. I don’t believe in keeping secrets from anyone I’m in a relationship—unless they want me to.
Which means sometimes your partner may want to know about your other relationships and what kind they are. But they may not want to hear all of the details of what you do together. This can be especially true if your partner is vanilla.
They might understand that you have these needs they can’t fill, but that doesn’t mean they want to hear about you being tied up, gagged, and paddled until you sob. Having good communication skills means setting limits for what you need/want to know as well as what you don’t.
When I married my vanilla husband, I was young and new to the scene. Most of my experience was online through roleplay and a couple of short long-distance relationships. I thought that I wanted a dominant husband.
My vanilla husband tried to be the Dom I wanted, but he was apathetic about it. It was half-hearted at best because it wasn’t his thing. He was willing to do the bare minimum, but when I expressed frustration and asked him to do things different, he just wasn’t interested.
We had discussed and agreed to an open relationship before we married. There were rules to ensure we put each other first. For instance, we needed to meet the people each of us was seeing with a kind of veto power. So, I began to look outside my marriage, with his full knowledge, for someone who suited my needs better.
For my part I was always very open and communicative. He met, whenever possible, anyone I was seeing—either romantically or in a D/s context. Sometimes he participated too.
I’ve always felt, personally, that this was the best way to manage multiple relationships. For me there was no need for secrecy and in general I don’t believe in hiding relationships from your partner, which most people would say makes it cheating.
However—what I’ve done isn’t always possible for other people. Sometimes being open and honest about kink doesn’t work, even with the people who should support you the most.
When I think about the bigger relationship picture here, I feel like I want to say … that not only is finding a Dom outside of your marriage okay, but if you have any needs and your spouse is unwilling, uninterested, or unable to meet then it’s okay to find another way to fill them. There are caveats here obviously.
But you deserve to be happy. You deserve to feel complete.
Marriage should support you. It should bolster you up and make you happy. But it doesn’t magically fill all your needs. Your partner can be amazing. You might love them with all your heart and still be incompatible in some ways.
That doesn’t mean you have to throw the marriage out and start over. There are sometimes very good reasons for that marriage, including the fact that you love each other.
But needs don’t just vanish. They don’t go away. You can push them down and forget about them for a while, but they will come back stronger than ever when you least expect it.
If your need is something that isn’t going to damage or harm other people but just make your life more fulfilled, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to have it. And that’s regardless of whether or not the person you marry can give it to you.
This is honestly the whole basis for poly relationships. And this particular problem is one that can be solved entirely by having a polyamory understanding with your spouse or partner. But that’s not always possible, for many reasons so… next week, part two will focus mostly on kinky people who are in a committed monogamous relationship with a vanilla person.