Handing over control is a powerful idea for a lot of guys – chastity goes hand-in-hand with this – you lock it up and hand over the keys and voila! She runs your life, makes the decisions, and things are wonderful. It’s exactly as you imagined it.
Except that’s not how it goes. The reality is you’re two people. You have to work out how you’ll work together, how she’ll make decisions and more. But most of all, she gets to run the show. On the surface, that’s the point. At a deeper level, it’s a huge change.
[SSC: Sorry–have to insert a PSA. Your mileage may vary, objects in mirror are closer than they appear and most importantly…we discuss things. We aren’t a fantasy, we are a couple and we respect each other. Snake has opinions, they are heard and we make a lot of decisions together. We now return you to your previous show…]
If you’ve not yet read it, in my opinion, Domina Jen’s post, “Mistakes Men Make” is required reading. Here’s a link. Seriously. If you haven’t read it yet, it’s a great idea to pop over, read and come back here.
I’m not invoking a pity party here (woe is me, woe is me), but for us, this was a huge thing, and something that I still very much have to be aware of. It’s this idea of my ideas, my thoughts, my fantasies, my… well, you get it. I have these things running around in my head – I mean, come on, I handed over the keys! I agreed to a full-on FLR! Things are going to be just as I imagined. Yay!
Only they’re NOT going to be just as you imagined – not in a bad way, but rather in your partner’s way. [SSC: Being dominant is all about finding your own way. There is no one *right* way. How I do things is not how someone else does. And that’s part of the beauty of this–discovering who you are and what you like.] The takeaway from Domina Jen’s article is one of finding your way, and your partner finding their way. Just because you want that thing done to/with/for you in that way you’d imagined… doesn’t mean you start driving.
In my opinion, that’s topping from the bottom. Period. I’ll argue with myself that I’m not topping from the bottom, I’ll make excuses, rationalize that she just didn’t understand what I mean and I needed to explain, THEN she could run with it. I needed to find out the “status” – whatever. It’s topping. The faster you stop it, the faster things get really amazing for you both.
It doesn’t matter if it’s asking for specific playtime activities, or specific lifestyle things or even just “offering advice” on decisions made by your partner. It’s on them now – you both decided to make this change. At whatever level you’re interested in, you have to let go. You have to let them do it. Just like Domina Jen says.
As a related item, check out I’m Hers – his posting “Control” is about this similar thing of just letting things roll in the way your Dominant partner wants – is really important.
Each of these are really important. Back off. Let them drive. No, REALLY drive. If you don’t, it won’t work. It can’t. It undermines their learning to run it all. They can’t build things out their way. And that’s what everyone wants – to build it out their way. You simply must let them find their way.
All this time you have to find your way to the submissive side of things. Draw your energy from their owning their side of things. You have to learn to not just be ok with things, but actively support and respond to the things they’re doing.
This isn’t easy! In fact, it’s hard. [SSC: Believe us, we know. Finding a balance between communication and topping from the bottom is a daily challenge. Worth it but not easy.] Not because you don’t trust them. Not because you don’t believe they can do it, but it’s just giving up all that management of life and going with the flow. Harder than you may anticipate.
But… just because you’re in this type of relationship, it doesn’t mean your needs aren’t important. It doesn’t mean that your Dominant partner doesn’t care about what you would like to do and explore. But if you can’t tell them without topping from the bottom, how in the world are they supposed to know?
Chaste Cyclist asked, in essence, this very question in a comment here on this site:
This is an ongoing challenge and one that is really critical to work through. I think one approach may be so simple that it surprises you – it did me. I didn’t even realize we were doing it in this manner, but in thinking through the posts here and the questions, I realized it is at work in our own lives far more than I realized.
You need a passive communications means. I know, that sounds fancy. For us, we set up a private blog where we post notes back and forth to each other. It’s a no judgement, no FLR, open comment zone. What that means is I can talk about things that look cool, so can she, we can bring up ideas, post pictures of things that are hot or whatever.
But here’s the thing, if I posted “chains are hot,” it’s one thing. I can talk about why it’s cool, or what is hot, I can talk about scenes I’ve seen, etc. But if I expect Charmer to implement that this weekend in a specific way that I’ve described, I’ve crossed the line.
The reason I say “passive” communications style – is that I can post the things that are cool. Things I liked, things I think she might like, then drop it, and we all win. She’s like a judge. She “takes it under consideration” and does with it what she will. That’s my input.
At first it’s like “BUT I WANT THIS!!!” and I used to get pretty upset if it didn’t happen, or didn’t happen just so. [SSC: So whiny 😛]
But what I’ve learned is that Charmer’s way is Charmer’s way. If she doesn’t like the idea, she simply won’t do it – it’s her call after all. But the reality is, at some point, some day, when it fits her fancy and she’s wanting to do it, she’ll absolutely take my thoughts into account. But, she’ll implement in her way, her style, her approach. [SSC: Which is code for: she pushes it well past where I was thinking but it’s totally awesome…]
Which is exactly as it should be. It’s exactly as you’re wanting.
So, to answer the question of “how do I contribute, without topping from the bottom?” Here are some ideas.
- Get a passive communication tool – blog, email, notecards you can give. These are NOT commands, but rather ideas. Passive means you aren’t going to necessarily discuss them and you sure aren’t going to drive the “how,” “what,” “when,” and even “if” of these items. But she’ll know your desires, and will work with that as she wants.
- Never try to drive in real-time, during a scene or at playtime. Your time is, in my opinion, is any other time than that. That’s their time to control, drive. Let them. Go with it. (Trust me, their touch and flair will likely make it so much better than you imagined!)
- Always support their choices. Always.
- As part of your passive communication, give a few insights into what you liked.
- Forget the small stuff (see the I’m Hers post)
Grow into your role and focus on being better at that every single day. They’ll do the same in theirs.
Avoid topping from the bottom at all costs. It’s destructive to the dynamic in ways that take quite a long time to heal. Everyone will experience it, but you want to work hard to avoid it at all costs. It’s a very expensive situation that really can be avoided.
Let them run with it – and enjoy the ride – both of you!
…I have a question because I still struggle with this. How have you learned to control asking for what you want during play versus just letting Charmer do as she wants?
I still subtlety ask for certain activities and MrsL always obliges usually with a little of her own flair. How do you get past that?