How to Build a D/s Relationship That Lasts, Part 4: Navigating Through Conflict [5-Part Series]

Hi My Friends!

Today we are getting down and dirty talking about conflict and what to do when it arises in your D/s relationship. Every couple has conflict, but it’s how you navigate through it that matters. I have been with my Daddy for 6 years, and honey, let me tell you, there are times where I give him the dagger eyes and think, “Oooo if you weren’t my dominant I would just…” (grumbles curse words in my head). ūüėÄ So I want to peel back the misconceptions about the D/s dynamic and problem-solving to break it down into parts that can resonate with you.


I. Remember Your Goal as a Couple 

When you enter into a D/s relationship there is a very high chance that you will have a contract put in place. (Even I have one, and we are married!). This is important because you’re making a covenant with each other. You’re pledging to be loyal, faithful, and loving with each other. You are choosing to enter into the relationship and want to make it work, for better or for worse. I’m emphasizing choosing/choice because that is your goal: You choose to be bonded to your partner. In times of conflict, you need to give yourself a gentle reminder, “Okay, I want to cuss his/her butt out right now, BUT… I won’t, BECAUSE… I love them, and I chose to walk this path with them.” Then you take a breath, take a pause, and calm the situation down to talk it out. You remember the goal that you’re always striving for:

I am here with you because I choose to be. I am your Dom/Sub, and you are mine just as I am yours… no matter what!

By focusing on the purpose of why you’re in the relationship you really can work out differences and obstacles. And chances are, you’re probably bickering over something stupid anyway. (At least that’s how things are with Daddy and I lol).

II. It Ain’t All You, Honey¬†

I would be remiss if I didn’t include this section. We are submissives, but we are NOT doormats. As people who are naturally eager to please, and who has a lot of love to give… nothing is more satisfying then hearing our dominant smirk and say, “good girl”. Mmpf… But what happens if you don’t have that? What happens if you have a dominant who has their own issues and has trouble expressing praise to their sub? I’ve been in a D/s relationship like that before. I would pour more and more of myself into the connection thinking that if I just tried a little bit harder… did my tasks a bit better… then MAYBE, just maybe he would shower love and praise on me. Over time I realized that the problem wasn’t me. There are doms out there who (knowingly and unknowingly) use and abuse submissives and their emotions because they are unable to be a true, healthy, balanced dominant. They don’t want to have self-awareness and personal growth. It’s these toxic relationships in which you need to avoid, or leave if you’re currently in one.

We are all on our own individual journeys of self-growth. And there are dominants who are just working through their baggage and are unable to fully assume the role of dominant because of their issues. You know what? That’s okay! It’s okay to recognize that in this time (and I’m not saying forever), that perhaps the D/s bond you have with them just isn’t the healthiest because they still have work to do on themselves. As the submissive you can only do your best, and if the dominant is grounded and healthy, then he/she will see that and it will be enough.

III. Holding Space for Healthy Communication 

As someone who is half Irish and half Italian, trust me when I say that I understand hot tempers. I’m still working on compassionate communication and learning to hold space for my Daddy. The term “holding space” means to give your partner your undivided attention, as you sit silently, absorbing their every word. You’re giving them space in this busy, chaotic world to divulge their innermost feelings. It is crucial that both the dom and sub do this on a regular basis to keep a pulse on each other. We often think that the dominant must shoulder the responsibility of taking care of the emotional needs in the relationship, but I believe this to be untrue. Both partners must actively be attentive to each others needs, and to give each other the chance to express their feelings fully.

In the D/s dynamic we are often presented with play sessions that require a lot of communication. While Little Space and playing with toys might not have a lot of verbal communication, if punishment is incorporated, or sexual play is involved, then communication is essential in aftercare. I want to also point out that tone and delivery of speech is important too. How you speak to your dominant or submissive matters. Now this really falls on a case by case basis, so Doms, do your research and learn how your sub prefers to be spoken to. My Daddy had to quickly learn that I do not like loud noises, so yelling or raising his voice made me shudder and completely shut down. Other subs yearn to be bossed around and told what to do. It all depends upon preference. But however you speak to your submissive, do so from a place of respect. There is a stark difference between tearing down your submissive, and giving gentle correction to modify behavior.

Now my fellow submissives, listen up for a moment. I need to pop the bubble on bratting. I know, it can be fun to push buttons to get punished and get attention from our daddies and mommies. But, too much bratting is just wrong. You don’t want to manipulate your dominant by bratting too much, and you certainly don’t want to snap back and yell at your dominant because you’re having a bad day. Which brings me to my last point….

IV. Addressing Points of Conflict Immediately 

Talk, talk, TALK!! If you take nothing else away from this article then please take this piece of advice: work on the issue immediately when it arises. Even if you have to hold up a hand and say, “Whoa… pump the brakes, boo. Now I’m in “big me” space, and that behavior you did just triggered the hell out of me and we need to talk about it”. DO IT! By addressing the problem right then and there, you stop everything to hold space and sort your issues out. I mean, who actually wants to waste hours, days, (and even weeks! Eep!) being mad at their partner?? It’s ridiculous and not needed. Face your problems head on as a couple. Remember that you love each other, even when you’re having a disagreement. You chose to be together and you still choose to be together, even when they are seriously irking you. Hold space and use compassionate speech to sort through your issues. Then, follow the playground rules and hug it out! ūüôā (Or more… *wink wink*)

If you’re having issues with your partner and still feel lost and confused, please feel free to email me privately at: and I’ll get back to you as fast as possible, OR you can DM me on Instagram @littlepennyberry. Alright, that’s it for me today, my friends! Stay tuned for our final article tomorrow in this series where we are going to talk about SEX! (Yum!) So stay tuned and have a wonderful day! ‚̧

~Penny Xx

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