6 Ways Submissives Can Support Their Dominants in Tough Situations

In the BDSM world, at least our corner of it, we spend a lot of time talking about what Dominants can and should do for their submissives. That makes sense. Many submissives have consensual rules, protocols, and/or tasks to follow so they know exactly what they need to do for their Dominant.

This isn’t that conversation.

This is what you can do for your Dominant when they’re low energy, going through something tough, or just not feeling quite themselves. The default for many of us (*raises hand*) is to panic, worry, and think the worst.

There are better and more practical ways to support your Dominant.

As always, your experiences will vary and some Dominants may or may not find these things helpful.

Acknowledge Their Struggle

Sometimes what we want most is to be seen, to know our partner recognizes that we’re in a bad place and not ourselves. “You seem down” or “Are you feeling okay?” can mean more than we realize sometimes. Try not to make assumptions about what’s wrong, and when in doubt, just ask.

I’ve heard plenty of “I’m fine” or “It’s nothing.” If my instinct is screaming at me that something isn’t right, I push back a little. Dominants tend to believe (falsely) that they have to be strong every moment of the day. What we need more than strength is honesty.

Ask What You Can Do

It’s easy to think we know exactly what our partner needs. Sometimes we do because this is an old problem rearing it’s ugly head. Ask how you can help. Maybe they know, maybe they don’t. But sometimes asking that question can open up the discussion. It also allows your Dominant space to be vulnerable.

“I don’t know” isn’t an answer I want from John Brownstone, but it’s also one that allows me to offer solutions if he’s willing to hear them. Sometimes that little bit of back and forth works as a brainstorming session and we come up with an idea together.

Try Not to Assume the Worst

I’ve found myself (too recently) imagining that the problem is me, that he doesn’t want to be my Dominant anymore, and that somehow I’ve wrecked things. It’s all crap of course, but that doesn’t keep my anxious brain from spinning out of control. Sometimes our Dominants aren’t ready to talk. Maybe they don’t even know what’s bothering them or why they’re stressed. A lot of the times, they know exactly what’s wrong but don’t think talking will help.

Until and unless your Dominant tells you that you’re the problem, try not to go down this path. You aren’t an effective helper when you do, and you create extra friction and worry for almost no reason. As long as your D/s relationship is mostly good, solid, and healthy, it’s not all your fault — even if your relationship is what they don’t want to talk about.

Respect Their Boundaries

Maybe it’s because I’m a babygirl or maybe it’s because I have the fixer personality (I want to fix every problem), but I tend to trample on John Brownstone’s boundaries when I’m worried about him. No, this isn’t okay. Yes, I need to do better. But I do it because I’m worried about him and need reassurance.

When he says he’s not ready to talk through a problem or that he doesn’t really want to think about it, I have to respect that. This is a moment to be patient, give your partner some time, and calm down. Pushing and pushing because you “need to know” or you’re sure you know what the problem is only makes things worse. Ask me how I know.

Know Some Problems are Unsolvable

I want every stress, problem, or worry to have a fix. But that just doesn’t happen. Sometimes it’s their health — mental or physical. Other times it’s money, work, bills, kids, or something else. I believe that talking about problems can help (just ask my therapist). But not everyone does, and not everyone wants to talk when you’re ready to listen.

So yes, sometimes your Dominant has to go through something tough. They have to be stressed, sick, hurt, or unhappy. And you have to let them work through it in their own time and their own way. That this is difficult has less to do with you being a submissive and more to do with caring about your Dom. But sometimes all you can do is be there as a comforting presence, let them know you care about them, and wait.

Do What You’re Supposed To Do

This one is completely situational, but in my experience, it helps both you and your Dominant. Do your tasks. Follow your rules. Keep things going as much as you can. If the situation is too chaotic or your entire relationship has been overtaken by whatever is going on, this might not be possible. But when your Dom is the one out of commission, and you’re still mostly normal, be the submissive they depend on. As much as you can be.

It’s easy to think that your Dom doesn’t care because they’re not checking in or they’re not acknowledging what you’re doing. But sometimes seeing you go about your submissive life reminds them of what life can be like. They may be in a dark place where they think nothing matters and the D/s isn’t important to anyone. And there you are, following your tasks, keeping your protocols, and being your best submissive self.

It won’t always be the right solution, but even if it doesn’t solve everything (and sometimes nothing will), it might help you feel better, too.

From experience I know that every situation will need different solutions — from me and from John Brownstone. But the majority of these options don’t fail, and they tend to keep the lines of communication open. The hardest lesson to learn here is patience because sometimes the only thing that helps is time. In episode 144, we’ll discuss supporting your Dominant in tough times in more detail

How have you supported your Dominant through tough times in the past? Share in the comments below or talk to us on Twitter!

4 Responses

  1. Maître says:

    Kayla, this is a totally brilliant post – and I hope you don’t mind that I’m going to replug it because I think it’s really important to get the message out there. You’re a very good and extremely wise educator when it comes to these matters.

  2. Great advice! Thanks for sharing.

  3. amy says:

    Very good points. Trampling boundaries out of concern is something I’ve done before! We had a very good talk about that one. 🙂

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