Today I bring you the seventh and penultimate installment of my Sound Relationship Dungeon Series: Making Life Dreams Come True.

The Gottmans Describe this level of the relationship house as an atmosphere that encourages each person to talk honestly about his or her hopes, values, convictions and aspirations. In most healthy relationships, there is a space not only for partners to pursue their hopes and dreams, but also to support their partner’s dreams. When I say hopes and dreams, I don’t necessarily mean unreachable fantasies or flights of fancy. I’m talking about aspirations for the future; pursuing a career, manifesting core values, nurturing relationships and social networks… All the those stepping stones that get us closer to becoming our best selves.

To me, this level of the house is about fostering an “all ships rise” mentality in a relationship. When a partner thrives, the relationship thrives. This is not the case in all too many relationships. Sometimes, it’s all too easy to let ego get in the way and see our partner’s success as a threat or a harsh reminder of some perceived inadequacy. Sometimes, this results in subconscious and occasionally conscious stabs at bringing our partner down or throwing a monkey wrench into their happiness. The effect of this mentality on relationships can be devastating. Learning to find joy in a partner’s success can take a surprising amount of work for everyone involved, as well as the willingness to address insecurities and deep seeded emotional battle scars. The payoff, however, is usually well worth the effort.

When I think about life dreams in kink, I can’t help but recall a conversation I had some years ago with a woman who had been with her Master for almost a decade. We were socializing with mutual friends over drinks.

She and I were talking about life, the universe, and everything. At some point, the topic of D/s relationships came up. She talked about her history in the scene, and how much healing she found in her relationship.

“My Master doesn’t stand for me getting down on myself.” She told me. “And let me tell you, there was a time where I tore myself to shreds. In some ways, I feel like he taught me how to be confident and feel good about myself. When I disrespect myself, I’m also disrespecting him. ‘Because’ he says ‘why would I want to own a piece of shit?'”

It’s also worth noting that this woman was no shrinking violet. Without knowing meaning behind the lock adorning her neck, most onlookers would not think to label this woman “submissive.” She and her Master bantered back and forth, and she had no qualms about giving as much as she took. He clearly took delight in her wit and their snark filled rapport. In my experience, this is not uncommon in functioning 24/7 relationships. There is protocol, there is intentional power exchange, and there is space for both partners to express their authentic selves. As a result, there are plenty of submissive identified folks who are forces of nature in their own right. If that isn’t making life dreams come true, I don’t know what is.

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