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Domestic Discipline COMMUNICATION: Key and 3C of DD

Domestic Discipline Communication is often talked about especially when a couple is new to the DD relationship choice, or if there is a road block within the first year or two of including a Domestic Discipline dynamic into their relationship. When a couple has been living with a DD Foundation for awhile, it's understood how important and absolutely vital the building and strengthening their communication techniques were especially in the beginning.

Sometimes when a couple or a single individual beginning to research Domestic Discipline as a possible relationship choice, they might think that it's all about "spanking" "rules" and Dominant vs submissive behavioral roles. So, naturally some believe that's where they should begin. What usually happens though, is the DD dynamic isn't presented as the unique relationship choice that it is in reality, and it becomes more of a spanking kink that doesn't grow into the couples lives in the way it was first intended. And, if a couple just wants the spanking kink part, that's fine, but it becomes very unsatisfying for those who want more yet feel unfulfilled with the spanking, list of rules and D/s approach.
Communication is so important to a DD Foundation and lifestyle that it is one of The 3C's of DD and a Key to DD.

Why is Communication so important as a first step, 3C & Key to DD?

After verifying Consent between both partners the first steps of becoming successful toward building a Domestic Discipline Foundation begins. There are initial expectations that may or not be met, needed negotiation and new roles to learn and include to an existing ideology. There is the inclusion of new thoughts, feelings and ideas. 
For a new couple it might mean one person Coming Out about their desire to live a Domestic Discipline style of lifestyle choice. This comes with possible expectations that need to be examined by a couple and negotiated through discussion.
For an existing couple there is a relationship in place that has preceding rules which might not be as functional and desired as they once was.
In either case there is so much to learn, so much to examine closely and relearn that Communication needs to be a focal point, especially early on. Because there is a lot to learn, the couple needs to communicate about all the new aspects and ever changing possibilities when meshing together two individuals ideas, needs and feelings about this fresh approach to enveloping this dynamic into their relationship.
If communication breaks down then everything usually comes to a screeching halt. One or both involved might have a feeling of failure or letting the other person down. One individual may want to continue or restart. After what might be conceived as a failure it becomes more difficult to try again.
When Communication is instilled and worked on early in a DD relationship, the road blocks that can deter or completely end one couples quest toward infusing a DD Foundation to their union, can be managed by a couple who knows how to remove such difficulties with discussion, honesty, openness, negotiation and of course... strong Communication skills!

Often when a TiH is new to a Domestic Discipline relationship choice... 

A Domestic Discipline lifestyle choice and the inherent roles of HoH and TiH take time to cultivate. Too often one partner pushes the other to "GET IT" before they're ready. This can leave the other partner looking like a deer in the headlights and their partner as a Mack truck filled with information and ideas ready to plow them over! Not always, but more often then not, the potential submissive TiH partner reveals this consensual lifestyle to their potential HoH partner after reading and learning and reading and reading and reading... (you get the picture) and reading about Domestic Discipline as an actual relationship choice. It usually takes the TiH awhile to gain the courage to share this realization, and then right after the submissive partner finally divulges their need for leadership in the relationship... they take over!

Even though it's the leadership and guidance they want from their partner, it's they who then take control and try to lead from a submissive position. In the open lifestyle community, this is known as a form of "topping from the bottom " This of course is confusing for the HoH. The whole idea of leading, spanking, and keeping their partner accountable might be completely new for them. But, the submissive partner has probably been thinking about this for some time and studying the subject. The TiH partner has been reading about the positive parts of what other DD couples are doing and of course they want the same. This can be overwhelming for the brand new HoH.

If you look deeper, you'll notice that the newer couples whose TiHs lead, struggle more. How many times have you read a post in a discussion group or on a blog that is from a TiH unhappy with their HoH. Too often. But, those who have been living this lifestyle for awhile understand that it takes time, especially in the beginning few years. Yes, I said YEARS! The first 3 months are just a feeling out period. The next 9 or more months are spent getting the communication dynamic right for your individual relationship. I've worked with couples who've been married over ten years and when I said they would need to both let go of past grudges and give themselves completely to one another in their new leader and support roles... there have been a few that looked at me like I was an alien! Otherwise, you'll be right back where you were before and nothing will have changed, and nothing will be changing in the near or distant future.

Often when a HoH is new to a Domestic Discipline relationship choice...

A new HoH often wants to begin by asserting a new feeling of authority. When in reality it's leadership that is needed. Other new HoHs are a bit timid to take on the leadership role needed from a HoH or they might think it's about spanking instead of a real and viable relationship choice. In either case it takes time to learn and evolve into a HoH style leader.
Taking the time to discuss each new horizon is very important. Negotiation and consideration of our loved ones feelings are integral in the process and creating a plan moving forward.

If a new HoH brings some long list of arbitrary rules to their new or potential TiH, it can backfire quickly. A true TiH is not there just to do everything and anything a HoH wants. A TiH has a say in the relationship and how it proceeds. A HoH is a leader, never a dictator.
After verifying 100% Consent, setting up Sit Down Discussions (two a week first year) is the most important first step for a HoH. During the initial SitDDs a connection will begin that will help each person discuss their feelings and thoughts about the roles of becoming the style of TiH & HoH the other needs.  

Domestic Discipline as a consensual lifestyle is something that takes love, patience and time. This isn't the lightning round of a game show!  There isn't a quick fix when you start, and if you keep feeling the need to continually start over in the first few months, then there might be a reason. It's not completely uncommon to have the feeling that you're restarting over and over in the beginning, it's ok, but you might be pushing yourself or your partner too hard to "get it." The DD lifestyle isn't a race and there is no "finish line." There isn't a one size fits all way explaining how to do this correctly for everyone. There is a place and time for everything and in the beginning DD takes time, a basic structure and the right place in your life. It's not uncommon for couples to have their ups and downs along the way as they learn and continue to grow. Those who persevere will find the tranquil home they have been striving toward. Each partner has to learn at their own pace even if it's too fast or slow for the other. They'll begin to find that tranquil balance for a few weeks or months at a time in the beginning. Then communicating more and finding the right balance will lead to longer and longer periods of peace and happiness in the home. One of the beauties of a DD lifestyle dynamic, is that it promotes communication which leads to more knowledge of your partners needs. 

Some General Tips:
  1. The goal of effective communication skills should be mutual understanding and finding a solution that is understood by both parties, not ‘winning’ the argument or ‘being right’.
  2. This doesn't work in every situation, but if you’re having a conflict in a DD relationship it helps to hold hands or stay physically connected as you talk. This can remind you that you care about each other and genuinely support one another in any situation.
  3. Keep in mind that it’s important to remain respectful of the other person, even if you're unhappy with their actions.
  4. Keep in mind that the final decision is the HoHs, but both partners ideas and opinions are important while gathering information to make the best decision for the relationship and household.   

Here is some advice gathered elsewhere while researching this ADDS article.

  1. Stay Focused: Sometimes it’s tempting to bring up past seemingly related conflicts when dealing with current ones. Unfortunately, this often clouds the issue and makes finding mutual understanding and a solution to the current issue less likely, and makes the whole discussion more taxing and even confusing. Try not to bring up past hurts or other topics. Stay focused on the present, your feelings, understanding one another and finding a solution.
  2. Listen Carefully: People often think they’re listening, but are really thinking about what they’re going to say next when the other person stops talking. Truly effective communication goes both ways. While it might be difficult, try really listening to what your partner is saying. Don’t interrupt. Don’t get defensive. Just hear them and reflect back what they’re saying so they know you've heard. Then you’ll understand them better and they’ll be more willing to listen to you.
  3. Try To See Their Point of View: In a conflict, most of us primarily want to feel heard and understood. We talk a lot about our point of view to get the other person to see things our way. Ironically, if we all do this all the time, there’s little focus on the other person’s point of view, and nobody feels understood. Try to really see the other side, and then you can better explain yours. (If you don't 'get it', ask more questions until you do.) Others will more likely be willing to listen if they feel heard.
  4. Respond to Criticism with Empathy: When someone comes at you with criticism, it’s easy to feel that they’re wrong, and get defensive. While criticism is hard to hear, and often exaggerated or colored by the other person’s emotions, it’s important to listen for the other person’s pain and respond with empathy for their feelings. Also, look for what’s true in what they’re saying; that can be valuable information for you.
  5. Own What’s Yours: Realize that personal responsibility is a strength, not a weakness. Effective communication involves admitting when you’re wrong. If you both share some responsibility in a conflict (which is usually the case), look for and admit to what’s yours. It diffuses the situation, sets a good example, and shows maturity. It also often inspires the other person to respond in kind, leading you both closer to mutual understanding and a solution.
  6. Use “I” Messages: Rather than saying things like, “You really messed up here,” begin statements with “I”, and make them about yourself and your feelings, like, “I feel frustrated when this happens.” It’s less accusatory, sparks less defensiveness, and helps the other person understand your point of view rather than feeling attacked.
  7. Look for Compromise Instead of trying to ‘win’ the argument, look for solutions that meet everybody’s needs. Either through compromise, or a new solution that gives you both what you want most, this focus is much more effective than one person getting what they want at the other’s expense. Healthy communication involves finding a resolution that both sides can be happy with.
  8. Take a Time-Out: Sometimes tempers get heated and it’s just too difficult to continue a discussion without it becoming an argument or a fight. If you feel yourself or your partner starting to get too angry to be constructive, or showing some destructive communication patterns, it’s okay to take a break from the discussion until you both cool off. Sometimes good communication means knowing when to take a break.
  9. Don’t Give Up: While taking a break from the discussion is sometimes a good idea, always come back to it. If you both approach the situation with a constructive attitude, mutual respect, and a willingness to see the other’s point of view or at least find a solution, you can make progress toward the goal of a resolution to the conflict. Unless it’s time to give up on the relationship, don’t give up on communication.
  10. Ask For Help If You Need It: If one or both of you has trouble staying respectful during conflict, or if you've tried resolving conflict with your partner on your own and the situation just doesn't seem to be improving, you might benefit from a few sessions with a therapist. Couples counseling or family therapy can provide help with altercations and teach skills to resolve future conflict. If your partner doesn't want to go, you can still often benefit from going alone.

People who have lived this lifestyle for years will tell you it's not a magic wand. The "GET IT" moments can take some time, but there will be a time when the first of may "GET IT" moments happens and you leap forward toward an even more full understanding of one another. Just as a light bulb being turned on gives more light, the "GET IT" moments illuminate our understanding of our individual DD lifestyle dynamic. You'll begin to understand that DD is a foundation that your daily lifestyle is built upon. Building a strong foundation is so important in supporting the rest of what comes later and what you decide to include upon your DD foundation. Through the years it still takes attention and effort to successfully sustain any style of relationship. 

                                                      A Gift that Keeps Giving!

Where does your DD style communication begin and just as importantly, how does one sustain communication? There are many links to wonderful blogs that can be found right here on this ADDS page. I suggest you find at least few that "speak to you."  And, I strive to include useful information within the posts and articles presented here on this ADDS blog. I suggest slowly pacing yourself through using a resource that has been developed over fifteen years and has been built to foster a cohesive union for a HoH & TiH. It is a process that can be used over and over to start, re-start, reset or revitalize your Domestic Discipline Lifestyle relationship dynamic. At the top of every page, and at the top of the Labels list (an below on this post), there is a link to a series that was introduced free to anyone who would like to use it as a guide to open your DD style communication and provide a common language and a basic structure that promotes discussion. I methodically developed and refined this process and it's not found online or anywhere else. No, I'm not selling you this info in a book, I'm offering this as a free resource to include with other resources that work for you. As you read each article, you'll notice it's an open template and not a set of rules to follow with some arbitrary time limit. It's a progression of  ideas presented through articles that helps you develop your own DD dynamic through the use of shared terminologies, communication tools and a basic foundation that is meant to be solidified and built upon. I'll also be here for you as a resource to answer questions and reply to your supportive suggestions for others who will be following in your footsteps and beginning their process in the future. After all, we live in A Domestic Discipline Society that is a community of supportive people sharing their knowledge with one another. :)

Related reading and research

Where to Start: Beginning your DD Lifestyle Together > ADDS Free DD Lifestyle Guide
Domestic Discipline Foundation: The 3Cs of DD
Coming Out about Spanking & Domestic Discipline Desires
How to Start DD Research (Series)
Domestic Discipline Marriage: Beginning A Domestic Discipline Marriage 
 Domestic Discipline Relationship Characteristics: Ethics are a Key to DD
 Domestic Discipline Key to DD: Patience

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