Taking Back My Power

In the “better late than never – no really,” category, I’m chiming in on the SafeworD/s Club, “Tell Me About…” prompt for “Power Exchange.” Of course the meme has already closed, because that’s how I roll (ugh). But this topic is top of mind for me right now, as I navigate the ways in which V’s and my relationship has changed during this D/s hiatus.

Power exchange, freely and consensually giving up one’s power to another, is a heady thing. It is at the core of being a submissive, of desiring to submit to another. To submit to, to give one’s power to, another. For me it is obviously sexual; perhaps not so obviously, it also has deeper meaning than just the sexual.

When I started this with V, I stated, quite emphatically, that D/s was not what I wanted. I wanted a play partner. Someone to “do the things to me,” and then let me return back to my “real life.” It was all about getting my physical – and, in the moment, emotional – needs met. That wasn’t what I/we ended up with. He wanted, and offered, more. Perhaps he offered more not knowing what he was offering, or promising; or perhaps not even realizing he didn’t have that to give. Maybe we didn’t have the same definitions for what it was we were talking about. I’m pretty certain that he and his primary partner weren’t operating under the same definitions. In any case, though I claimed I didn’t want D/s, it is such a deep part of me, the desire for it is so deeply ingrained, that when he moved that way, I followed. It was such an easy, natural, progression. I wanted what he wanted…and I wanted so much to feel that power exchange again. To feel Owned. I wanted to be Owned. I wanted it so much, I wanted to believe in it so much, that I didn’t question his ability to follow through on that concept, or to understand the responsibilities of it – to be my Owner, rather than a part-time play partner. D/s, for me, wasn’t a part-time thing. But he has a (very) primary relationship; a life that could not include me as a co-partner. I think, originally – and without discussing it in depth with his primary – he thought it could. But even that version of what it would be like didn’t mesh with what my version of what that would be like, with what I need if I am in a D/s relationship. Our lives were deeply silo-ed, and while our D/s worked for him, never leaving him feeling fractured or dissatisfied – because he knew my mind and thoughts were always on him – for me it often did. I was only really a part of his life in condensed, predetermined timeframes, and then only part of his sex life, though I think he truly did want more than that from me. He just couldn’t give that kind of attention back to me.

There were a lot of parts of it that worked for me. Even more so than my submission to W, in some ways. He was controlling and demanding in ways that W had never wanted to be, he recognized my need for him to take control in more than just our sex lives, he truly wanted control of more than just that. And I wanted to give it to him. I did give it to him.

So where did it all fall down?

I am pondering that, in this month without D/s. Trying to understand why so often I was left feeling resentful and…neglected? Feeling that my needs were not being met. That there was some disconnect between what he said he could give, what I understood he would give, and what he actually could or did. A lot of that, of course, is because of the nature of his primary relationship, and how she felt about the time and attention he gave me – and how strictly she controlled it. But in relation to his and my relationship, as frustrated as I am with her rules and restrictions, ultimately the fault lies squarely on him: he allowed those restrictions to stand, and still does. And, along with many of the other things that suffered because of that, my willingness to give myself to him, to consider myself Owned by him, also suffered.

So I’ve had time to think about it recently. I have had a good weekend, and though I am alone here tonight, that’s by choice, mostly, and I had been planning to enjoy a night on my own deliberately. But I recognize a subtle difference in how I feel about being alone, and in how I feel about him, and my connection to him, since we’ve had this hiatus.

I feel a shift in the power between us.

Maybe that’s a “duh” moment. We are not in a power exchange relationship right now, and the obvious outcome is a shift in the power, from him back to me. It’s more than him giving back my power though, because truthfully, he never did. It was me that called a halt to it, because my needs weren’t being met. Of course he didn’t want things to change – his needs were being met. It was me that took back my power. It was me that said, I can’t do this anymore because I’m not getting back what I put into it; I’m not getting back what I need. If I had never said that, he would never have known anything needed changing.

I did say it.
And here we are.

And…I am feeling…I don’t know what. Released? Relieved? Empty (or almost empty) of the resentments I had been harboring. I have no expectations of him; I also have no obligations to him. Before, it was a (largely) one way street: me always thinking about him, my thoughts and any time I could be, devoted to him. Any time, any way, I could make myself available to him, I was. Now…I don’t have to do that. I can be my own, and the freedom in that is exhilarating. The thing is, I want to give myself that way to another, but only if it is an exchange – if I feel it flowing back to me. Power exchange is, ultimately, reciprocal – founded, of course, in the agreement between the individuals of what that reciprocation looks like. I know he loves and desires me as fiercely as I do him, but, for a host of reasons, I did not feel the exchange of power reciprocated, and eventually everything was soured by my resentment.

On the other hand…!

Perhaps because of this, when V and I have got together this past month is has been really, really good. Everything and then some of what I’ve hoped for and needed. It has been intense and charged and sexy and everything I’ve been wanting. We really have found our BDSM groove. And because I don’t expect anything more from him, I am not disappointed, and not resentful. I do miss that connection, though. It is something that I… I was going to say “need,” but perhaps it’s not exactly that. Maybe it’s not a need. Maybe it’s a want, and maybe it’s something I can live – happily – without. I don’t know. I guess time will tell.




  1. Brigit Delaney

    Relationships can be so damned complicated! It sounds like taking back your power was a good (necessary) decision. If he didn’t realize you needed more, there is a serious problem with that. His time was divided. His attention was divided. And your were the only one on the losing end in that situation. Here’s to hoping this groove fulfills you.

  2. NPE

    You have it well thought out and clear, at least I have a clear sense from reading this. I’d say share this post for any future relationships.

  3. natadv

    Really well written. My current teacher of D/S says the Dom role is ultimately one of service. Getting off on the reactions while delivering to the sub what they want/need. Otherwise it will turn out the way you describe.

  4. Jupiter Grant

    It’s really hard when you’re left playing second fiddle while your lover is with his primary partner and family. I can relate 😢 I’m glad for you that you are taking back some of your agency and power.


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