This is a guest post by Tilari of written for the Submissive Guide Newsletter 4/11/15

Service in a power exchange dynamic can be a very intense and involved experience, especially when you’re in a 24/7 dynamic and “always on.” You have a to-do list that is starting to hit triple digits, you’re pretty sure you hung the floggers up on the clothesline instead of the fancy sheets, and you put out forks for the soup course. Let’s face it, you’re overwhelmed.

Life Happens

Changing life situations, whether that’s the addition of a new member of the family, a job change, demanding school schedules or a shifting health situation affect your ability to serve in the same way you were previously. It’s easy to become overwhelmed if you try to push yourself at a service level that doesn’t mesh with your current life situation.

The first part of stopping yourself from being overwhelmed in a service dynamic is accepting that life happens. Sometimes things hit the fan and you need to batten down the hatches and get through the choppy waters.

Communicate Expectations

Communication with your dominant or master in this situation helps to cut down on any frustration and miscommunication on fluctuating levels of service. Without communication, it’s easy to fall into a trap where you push yourself to stay at the previous level of service and handles the increased time commitments of work or other life situations. Resentment, burn-out, and fighting are all problems that can come from this situation.

Establishing time and energy appropriate service during the life change helps to keep the dynamic strong and introduce a united front between yourself and your dominant partner. You don’t have to feel like you aren’t living up to expectations because you are mutually re-establishing the expectations of service.

Some forms this can take include:

  • Limiting a number of services that are provided.
  • Limiting the amount of time you allocate to service.
  • Temporarily shelf the service aspect of your dynamic until life calms down.

Establish a Service Check-in

One tool I personally like using in my service dynamic, especially when life gets hectic and I don’t have time to really breathe, is a service check-in. This is a set time of power neutral discussion where my Captain and I talk about things affecting service, feedback on service tasks and duties, our emotional states, and whether there are any outstanding issues that need to be addressed before little problems turn into big problems. The schedule for your service check-in depends on your life responsibilities and when you and your dominant partner can focus on the conversation. Ideally, you have access to a time

Come to Terms with Accepting Service

Depending on the time availability of yourself and your dominant, you may need to accept that the dominant is going to take on some of the load you previously handled as service tasks. This shift can be somewhat distressing, especially if you have operated as the full-time service person for a significant period of time. The main goal of many dominants is to make sure that your health and well-being is preserved so that you’re capable of serving in the long-term. One way to ensure that is to take actions to stop you from getting overwhelmed and burnt out by life and service. The dynamic should be a mutually beneficial relationship.

Consider Outside Help and Alternative Arrangements

Sometimes the most submissive thing to do in an untenable service situation is getting outside help with problematic tasks. House cleaning is one of those tasks that often gets neglected or falls by the wayside, and it’s also one of the easiest to outsource.

A cleaning service stopping by on a weekly or a bi-weekly basis can make a big difference in the overall service load in the household. It’s also much less stressful to have the major cleaning load handled instead of the house getting messier. You still need to figure out a way to handle cleaning on a day-to-day basis, but generally, that’s easier to schedule around than a full-blown house cleaning.

Alternative arrangements set your service up in a different form from before, while still fulfilling the basic premise of the service task. For example, instead of cooking 3 meals from scratch every day, you spend a day setting up freezer meals for the upcoming week or month. This allows you to use the extra time you have available to prepare for future service and works around your time commitments during other days of the week.

Life has a habit of changing when you least expect it, but being able to adjust to varying circumstances is an essential skill in a long-term service submission dynamic. The amount of service you can provide ebbs and flows, and as long as there are realistic expectations and frequent communication, in most cases you’re able to adjust to life and keep your dynamic happy and healthy.

Tilari has been involved in the BDSM scene for 3 years, after a chance message on OKCupid introduced her to Fetlife. She has walked a pathway that was far beyond her wildest dreams, filled with loyal friends, incredible partners, and a dedication to lifestyle submission, particularly of the service variety. She enjoys helping others learn about service, running her service site at, poking her sadist Captain on a regular basis, and plotting all manner of food in their kitchen. In her vanilla life, she's an avid gamer, animal activist, and business owner.