I have been around more years than I care to think about at times. I have seen new people come in to the community and get overwhelmed by all the things it has to offer. Subs/slaves wanting to jump into a relationship because someone knows the right words to say to them. I've seen people get burned because they really didn't know what they were bargaining for and this also applies to the Doms/Masters as well. I believe whatever your orientation or so you think, one needs to know oneself. When I started, I kinda thought I knew and quickly learned how little I knew and the complexity of it can overwhelm. I knew instinctively that I was dominant but I also knew that there was a lot I didn't know. I did a bit of bottoming which helped me with insight on the other side of the fence. I think it was Jay Wiseman in one of his books that said it will take some time for your personality in that role takes form.
Over the years I have myself experienced and watched many relationships, some failed, some succeeded. Of the ones that succeeded, they brought to the table the basic skills of a successful vanilla relationship. They treated each other as equals, communication skills, respect for them self and the other person, conflict resolution skills, ability to compromise, and commitment. Those people connected on the vanilla level with vanilla interests. They developed this foundation and cemented there relationship on vanilla grounds. The other interests they shared in the realm of BDSM gave them the tools to build a BDSM relationship as well to grow and enjoy as much as the vanilla side of them. Even if time or interest in the BDSM waned, they still have the intimate and loving connection as two equals.
Most people fall for the wonderful fantasy of the Dom/Master is in total charge and the sub/slave must obey. It's all about the Dom/Master and his needs above all else. Excuse me a moment, coughbullcoughshitcough, ahh, now that is better, it's a recipe for disaster. BDSM is not about abuse but about loving and caring relationship just like the vanilla side, but done on a different level. One of the things I tell new people, one must have balance, when things are out of balance and it is not achieved, then someone is not happy. We all have needs and when the needs aren't met, then you don't have a happy healthy relationship. It's not about the Dom/Master and there needs being met 100% and the sub/slave, ehh, who cares. Don't be surprised when they tell you where to go in no uncertain terms either.
It is the job of the Dom/Master to try and bring out the best in the sub/slave, and give a part of them self to the sub/slave. Conversely, it is the job of the sub/slave to try and bring out the best of the Dom/Master, and give part of them self to the Dom/Master. As we are human, we make mistakes, we are not perfect, and we will fail from time to time. Things will get out of balance and when it happens, you need to stop and discuss it as equals. I forget where I had heard this, and I have also observed it first hand and probably guilty of doing it myself. We tend to hurt those that are closest to us. We don't mean too but we do.
From time to time you hear about when a sub/slave messes up and next we are hearing about they should be punished. And I am talking real punishment, not doing something wrong to get your ass beat. There are many opinions and beliefs, well everyone has an arse and an opinion to match. I think the real punishment is in the fact that you let the other person down. Some people deal with it by hard spanking or the like, and use it to give forgiveness of sorts and closure. Then the ole question pops up, what if the Dom/Master makes a mistake, what happens to them. Think they will drop there pants or panties and let the sub/slave spank them, dunno, maybe that is how they decided to deal with it but not likely. Dom/Master hurt inside because they have failed the sub/slave, they have to deal with there failure and just as the sub/slave beats up on them self, so does the Dom/Master. The important thing is to apologize, discuss it, and forgive. I've been to my share of weddings in my time, but one thing I didn't expect to hear out of a ministers mouth were the words for successful relationship is these 3 things. Forgive, forgive, forgive. And it applies to both in the relationship in both the BDSM and vanilla side. Learn from your mistakes as best as possible, apologize and forgive, try and take the hurt and use it in a more positive way.