We all put a huge amount of thought into our contacts -or we should. But there are often times that things arise and we have no way of predicting them. I recently shared another post about "Outside Forces." In that post, I talked about steps that may be taken when an outside force storms it way into our relationships; in this post, I plan to address ways to (hopefully) prevent some of those from happening before they even do.
Negotiation of our contracts serves a variety of purposes for us. Contracts outline what is expected of each participant; dominants and submissives alike are bound by the guidelines and expectations we lay down in the beginning steps of a serious relationship. To be honest, vanilla relationships could learn a lot about BDSM ones.
I have composed these thoughts based on my previous experiences and personal observations, and I truly hope that anyone new to contracts may find some useful information here. And, if you have an experience you have learned from, something that was added to your contract because of it please feel free to share it with everyone.
For submissives-how to handle various situations:
- contact from a previous dominant/relationship. Should you direct them to your dominant? Ignore the situation until you can talk to your dominant?
- contact from another dominant who requests something of you -a favor, help, a scene. Same as above. Although in my opinion no dominant in the lifestyle should request something of a submissive (in a D/s relationship) unless there is permission granted in advance.
- what information you are allowed to share with the vanilla world in regards to your relationship. This is so much easier to handle when you are ready for it.
- how are you expected to act in the presence of family and/or vanilla friends? How do you still respectfully address/serve your dominant without using terms like Master or Mistress, without kneeling, etc? Again, this is something that is nice to be prepared for.
For both dominant and submissive:
- what other intimate relationships will you have and what is off limits? Are you monogamous or poly or are you still exploring your feelings on this? Having a clear what about other partners in a scene? Or for sex? Both? Neither? Or should this be re-examined at a later time?
- do you identify as leather? Trust me it can be a challenge for one person to be leather and the other to not be, especially if you are on far ends of the spectrum. Has one of you decided and the other is still open while they learn more? The leather world can be different from the kinky one. If one of you really loves the protocol and structure of leather, then can someone who likes the relaxed atmosphere of kinky be happy? Or vice versa. What steps should be taken to acclimate a "newbie" to a new world?
- Will you have shared or separate finances? If shared, who will make sure the bills are paid? After all, if the submissive is a CPA, but the dominant is not great with money, it stands to reason that the submissive will handle the finances.
- Will you share a home whether now or in the future? If so, who will be responsible for maintaining the home, especially if both parties work full-time or part-time, attend college or any combination of the three? Is marriage in your future -if either of you even want to be married.
- Are their kids at home? Are they from previous relationships? Do you share the same beliefs on parenting? How involved is the stepparent expected be, what if they do not want to be involved? Kids are a very present aspect of life at home. Presenting a unified front is a great strategy for parents/step-parents.
- If you live apart, what do you foresee as a feasible option for time together? Will you have specified time that you share via phone, web chat, IM? How often? Time together is important and ideally should be only the two of you; not the two of you plus the TV etc. By determining the time in advance, you can be ready for it and ENJOY it.
Personal responsibilities and goals:
- What must you do before you move to the next stage of your relationship? If the submissive is "in training" or "under consideration" are there things to be done-serve for a preset amount of time for example?
- Do you have to fulfill a lease, graduate college, finalize a divorce, clean up your credit? Is there any baggage that has to be unpacked so to speak?
- Will you have to maintain a certain physical appearance? Does the dominant choose clothing, shoes, hair color/cut for the submissive? Every day or just for D/s outings?
As you can see, there is a lot to consider; some of it may be things you have already talked about. Some things may not even relate to your situation. But, I hope that in reading this, you may have found one thing that will help you negotiate the contract best suited for you and your partner. Take your time, a well-thought-out contract is a great foundation to a well-oiled relationship.