What to Do When “Real Life” Interferes with Your Power Exchange | 30 Days of D/s
Your power exchange is real life, we know that. But for some of us, there’s our kink world where we live our best power exchange lives, and then there’s everything else: going to work, paying bills, being a caregiver (for kids or adults), etc, etc, etc.
And it’s that “everything else” that can seriously interfere with a power exchange relationship — especially when life goes off the rails. So what do you do about it? Here’s what we do.
Try to Keep Your Sense of Humor
Not everything can be laughed off, but if it’s absurd, ridiculous, or you just have the urge to laugh, go for it. Make a dark joke if that works for you. (It works for us — we’ll crack a joke at the most inopportune times, like at funerals.)
We tend to roll our eyes, say, “Of course this interfered with the fuckery we planned,” and then shake our heads in annoyance. Because sometimes that’s all you can do.
Talk About What’s Going On
We say this a lot, don’t we? Whatever is happening (or not happening) in your power exchange, talk about it with your partner. Vent your frustrations. Cry. Admit your fears. Say the thing out loud.
Not talking about it doesn’t make it go away. And it might make you wonder if your partner cares about the situation as much as you do. Resentment can build because one or both of you assumes the other doesn’t care.
Talking about a problem might not fix it or change anything, but it provides space for sharing your feelings, getting vulnerable, and acknowledging the situation.
Focus on What You Can Control
Some “real life” situations feel (and are!) completely chaotic, even when they’re planned. (I’m thinking of every time we’ve ever moved. We wanted to move, but it absolutely fucked up our D/s for a short time.)
It’s easy to feel out of control, in both your power exchange and the rest of your life. You probably can’t control the chaos from that vanilla situation. So what can you control?
- Talking about it.
- Making time for each other.
- Not neglecting other parts of your life (that you have the mental or physical energy for)
- Taking care of yourself so that you can keep moving forward
Focusing on the chaos of the situation that you have zero control over only makes the situation feel like it’s never going to end.
Remember This Isn’t Forever
Are there some situations that are forever? Yes (death and taxes come to mind). But this thing that’s causing a temporary pause or upending of your power exchange likely isn’t permanent.
Things will change. Life will calm down…eventually. You will adjust. You might have to find a new normal, or you may be fortunate enough for things to go back to normal.
When we treat these moments like permanent losses, we lose hope. We give up or think even small acts of D/s are pointless. And sometimes we do unnecessary things as an act of desperation because we convince ourselves we’ll never get back to normal.
Do your best to get some perspective on the situation. Even if the thing that paused your power exchange is permanent, how you react to it and feel about it usually isn’t.
Look for Temporary Adjustments
Take a deep breath. Do your best to look at the situation calmly. Then ask yourself, is this likely a short-term thing or longer-term? And if it’s longer-term, then ask yourself, how can we adjust our power exchange?
It’s okay to look for solutions in the midst of real life chaos. You’re not abandoning your old D/s structure. You’re adapting to the reality of your situation, and you might find these temporary changes stick around when life calms down again.
Focus on Small Acts of Power Exchange
Before “real life” got in the way, maybe you followed a laundry list of rules, tasks, and protocols. You had special scenes planned multiple times a week. You each followed a strict code of what you would and would not do, and what you could and could not expect within your power exchange.
Now, shit has hit the fan: job loss, illness, moving, you name it. You can no longer follow every task, rule, protocol, or expectation to the letter. It can feel like a big loss. And it is. Hopefully it’s temporary, but it may also require finding a new normal when things calm down.
Until then, look for small acts of power exchange. Small things can be just as meaningful as the big, overt acts of kink. It might not be what you once had, but it can also help you feel connected when you need it most.
Examples of small acts of power exchange:
It’s hard to give examples because everyone’s needs are different, but here are things we do.
- I (Kayla) always walk on John Brownstone’s right side.
- He opens the door for me, to enter a car or building.
- I do small daily tasks around the house: make coffee, make the bed, etc, etc.
- With his permission, I might take care of administrative tasks for him: paying the bills, setting appointments, etc.
- He puts my collar on me every morning.
The level of “real life” drama or chaos will have a direct impact on how much you can do. For us, we have so many small acts of power exchange built into our life that we don’t even need large, overt acts very often anymore. Big, hours-long scenes, kneeling or posturing, lots of rules — those happen from time to time, but it’s not necessary for us to feel our Dom or sub self.
Get used to the idea that “real life” will absolutely interfere with your power exchange relationship from time to time. What you do when it happens makes a big difference. Talk about it with your partner, work through it, and find small ways to stay connected. Whether it’s a permanent shift or a short-term annoyance, you will get through this moment. What you do now can make a big difference in the state of your power exchange now and in the future.
In our 30 Days of D/s program, we ask you to think about how you’ll react and what you might feel when “real life” gets in the way of your power exchange. This is just one of the many prompts we’ve created to help you navigate D/s for yourself and/or with a partner. Feel free to use our prompts as conversation starters with your partner, as a journal prompt for yourself, or in your local kink community as things to think about.