Not too long ago, my pup and I were faced with something that rears its ugly head to everyone-lifestyle or not. The dreaded "outside force." What is this intruder you may ask? Well, it is anything outside of the relationship that causes undue tension within a pairing; it is never welcome and always has to be handled with a certain degree of finality.
You will find these annoyances everywhere; they can be vanilla or lifestyle, major or minor issues, overt or subtle. They are the idiot who cut you off in traffic on the way home; the creditor hassling you about a bill that you thought was paid off; the online Don Juan who continues to message you or your partner.
Some outside forces can be such a frequent occurrence in our daily lives that we may not even recognize them right away. We react to stresses caused by work, kids, friends and all the things that encompass our daily lives. We have all had days where we really just want to crawl into bed, pull the covers over our heads and sleep until a new day begins. Days like this are just a part of life. We
But we also have outside forces in our lives that are not as easily translated from one relationship to the next; the bothersome thing about them is that they can have a great deal of power.
So what do you do about them? If you are submissive and you are in a horrible mood, how can you shift your mindset to service? If you are a dominant and your nerves have had it, how can you calm down to lead?
Well, there are a few things...
- Identify the problem as originating from outside the relationship. If you see it for what it is, you can more easily disable it.
- Do not give into it. If you need a few moments to yourself, ask for permission to take them. Or, for the dominants out there, explain that you need a few moments to settle, then take them. I know that you do not necessarily have to offer an explanation but, in giving it, you will avoid causing your submissive undue worry that they did something wrong. Many submissives will worry that they are the reason for their dominant's stress.
- Discuss it calmly. When the pup and I recently had an outside force creep into the time that we share, I was the one who encountered it first. When he had time to learn about it, his initial reaction was the same as mine-anger. But, since I had already recognized the intrusion, I told the pup "I realize that you are reacting to the situation and not to me. I am just as upset as you and I have time to acclimate to things. I know that this is your initial reaction and that you have not had the chance to adjust. But please do not let it interfere with OUR time." My ability to remain calm and understanding helped him to recenter and things were fine.
- Let it go. Once you have been able to move past the issue, do not revisit it. Trust me, you will have plenty more outside forces to deal with as time passes.
But what about the lifestyle-related things that you do not see coming? The issues that may not affect one relationship but will affect another? These may be things that one couple has not considered but another has already experienced. Or, something so completely unexpected that you have no way of foreseeing. Now what? Take the steps listed above and...
- Realize that you cannot negotiate everything; there WILL be things that come up that you could not have possibly taken measures to prevent.
- Renegotiate if need be; use these times as opportunities to strengthen your commitment and relationship.
- Stand firm; if something is trying to stress your relationship, refuse to give in. Draw your strength from each other if you have to.
- As previously mentioned, take the lesson and move on. The more you worry about something, the more it controls you in a potentially negative way.
The main thing to remember about outside forces is that they will happen but that with the right approach, you can prevent them from doing damage to your relationship. As with everything else in the D/s lifestyle, communication is key! Once you have had the opportunity to discuss things with your dominant or submissive, you are likely to find that the tension has abated. You may find that you have to deal with a certain issue more than once, but it will become easier to both recognize and handle with each time you face it.