Since joining chat, I've had the pleasure of meeting a number of newbies to the DD/TTWD life. When they find out that Steve and I have been on this journey for nearly 2 years now, I often get asked what advice I can offer them when they're starting out. It's a good question so I figured it deserved its own post.
There is no right or wrong way.
Once you start researching DD, you're going to find a lot of information. Chances are, some of it's going to be conflicting. You're going to wonder who is right about how DD should be. Here's the thing. They are all right, at least for their relationship, but that might not necessarily be the right way you and your partner should practice DD.
I have yet to meet a couple that had it all down pat from the start. It's going to take time and a little bit of experimenting to find what works for you. Don't be afraid to throw something out if it isn't working or try something new that you haven't saw anywhere else. The right way to practice DD is what works for you as a couple.
Keep in mind that those needs may change over time. If something has been working for a while and suddenly stops working, take the time to figure out why it's not working any more. You may need to make some adjustments.
Follow the KISS principle with rules.
Keep it simple. If you're starting out with a huge list of rules, chances are you're going to have trouble remembering all of them, which is going to lead to frustration on both parts. Or one or both of you is going to feel overwhelmed or inadequate because the large number of rules means a lot of punishments at first while you adjust.
Pick just a few to start out with. The 4 Ds (no disrespect, no disobedience, no dishonesty and no dangerous behavior) are a good starting point. Or you can simply pick a couple things that you want to work on.
The rest of the rules will come over time as the need arises. When we started out, we had 3 rules. We condensed the 4 Ds down to two rules (dishonesty falls under disrespect and dangerous falls under disobedience). Our third rule was a major peeve of Steve's that we both wanted worked on. After nearly two years on this journey, we only have 7 rules.
Communicate, communicate, communicate.
There's a reason nearly every DD blog talks about communication. None of us are mind readers. It's important to let our partners know what's going on in our heads.
If something is going wrong, talk. If something is going right, talk. If you don't know what's going on, talk. If you can't get the words out of your mouth, write them down in a letter or type them in an email or text.
Keep in mind that your partner may communicate in different ways than you do. You may find that your partner has been saying the things you wanted to hear all along, just in a different way than you expected.
It's okay to ask for what you need.
This one was a tough one for me to learn. I'm very independent and I don't like asking for help from anyone, not even my husband. I didn't want to admit I couldn't do it on my own. I didn't want him to see me as needy or too much work.
Over time, I've come to realize that it's okay to ask for what I need. In fact, he prefers that I ask. Otherwise he's left stumbling around in the dark trying to figure things out while I just get frustrated because he's not reading my mind and giving me what I need. It all goes back to communication.
It's not all sunshine and roses.
You're going to struggle at times. Both of you are. It's okay. Sometimes those struggles are needed so you can learn something you might not have learned otherwise.
Don't be afraid to lean on your partner. Even if there's nothing they can do to fix your problem, talk to them. Let them know what's going on inside your head. They'll appreciate it. Trust me.
While this advice is commonly given to the dominant partner, it applies to the submissive counterpart as well. Consistency tells your partner that you're committed to the relationship. Consistency tells your partner that they can trust what you say.
If you say you're going to do something, then follow through. If you have a legitimate reason you can't (an emergency, illness, etc), let your partner know so they're not left hanging. Then follow up at the first available opportunity.
Seek out like-minded people.
DD can be lonely at times. If you have that one person outside your relationship that you can tell anything to without fear of judgment, that's wonderful. But if you don't have that person, it's a good idea to seek out others who do live in this dynamic. To be honest, I'm not sure we would have made it this far if I hadn't been able to talk to someone who understands. I've made some amazing friends in this community, friends who have supported me through the rough patches and offered advice when I've been struggling.
Join the community. Start a blog or start commenting on blogs written by others in DD relationships. Many of us have our email addresses listed on our blogs so you can email if you wish to speak more privately. We were all newbies once and we don't mind answering questions as long as you're polite.
Try out the chat rooms. I have a couple listed on the sidebar on the right side of this page, but there are more out there. An internet search will turn up some forums and groups as well.
I hope that helps those that are just starting out or thinking about DD. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment, email (addy is on sidebar) or come find us in chat (also on the sidebar, just look for Dana and Steve in the chat).