We all know that communicating well with our partners is one of the most important (and often hardest) aspects of keeping a relationship healthy. It’s something that’s talked about a lot in the BDSM community when we talk about meeting our wants and needs, as well as in the vanilla community where we address building the foundations of a good relationship. But communicating is a little more difficult than the clinical “speak and listen” transcription it’s generally discussed as.  Don’t get me wrong: when communication is easy, it’s really easy. Nothing is better than connecting with someone in just the right way and feeling like you’re not only being heard, but gaining something from what you’re hearing. The other side of that, of course, is that when communicating is difficult, it can be brutally difficult, and sometimes—often times, we put our feet in our mouths (or worse, we perceive that we have).

Occasionally, we all hit moments where our grown-up words fail us, and we say something horrible that we don't necessarily mean; occasionally, we have no idea how we're feeling, and we do something stupid that ends up hurting someone close to us later. It's human nature, the yang to the yin of laughing and joking, and smiling.

Wherever we’ve gone wrong in our ability to communicate, we’re all going to come to a point in our lives where we realize that we need to apologize to our partners. It’s often easier to recognize when an apology is owed to us than when we need to give one, but knowing when to apologize, and how to apologize, regardless of the situation, can do wonders to prevent deeper conflicts from arising in otherwise solid and loving relationships. Apologizing to someone lets that person know that you care more for them than you do for the outcome of a disagreement; being able to recognize when we’re wrong—or having someone else recognize that they were wrong—can give closure to situations that might otherwise continue to have a negative impact on the relationship.

Why is this important for your submission?

Apologizing is a sign of humility; accepting an apology is an exercise in grace. Learning how to recognize when you’re in the wrong is an exercise in sympathy and compassion, and learning how to make up for your wrong-doing (and just as often, to accept that you cannot make up for your wrong-doing) exercises the strength of your character, and your reliability as a person. While a touch traditional, both are good qualities for a sub to strive for. (Not to mention that it just makes you more likeable as a person.)

The Art of Apology

This series is strives to help you strengthen your ability to recognize when apologies are necessary and how to conduct yourself when receiving or giving an apology.  As always, the information is applicable to all relationships, whether romantic, BDSM, familial, or work-related, but I’ll do my best to bring each section back to how it relates specifically to being a sub.

Do you struggle with apologizing? Do you find yourself apologizing too much? Not enough? How might knowing how and when to apologize tie into your submission?