Do you think that subs confuse submission with love? Is it possible to need to submit because love is there? Is it possible to love someone because they submit?
Do you think Doms confuse Dominance with love? Is it possible to need to be dominant because love is there? Is it possible to love someone because you control them?
From The Thinking Dominant.
Her thoughts on this were excellent, if you haven't read her post, you should go and do that now. I went back several times and started to comment, but I decided that my feelings on this, and the length and personal nature of what I had to say, warranted writing a post of my own. I also found myself waffling on my own answer, I think that a lot depends on the definition that you give to dominance and submission. When I first began to explore all of this, I thought that my giving in to someone was the same as submitting. I didn't see much difference between bottoming and submission. I didn't see love as a necessary component at all. As long as trust and communication were there, it was all good and doable. That was before I entered into a true power exchange.
Looking back, it was a chicken or the egg situation. The more I trusted J and the more I communicated with Him, the more intimacy we shared. I am not really even sure when I began loving Him, one day, I just knew I did. Whether my love enabled me to submit more deeply, or the intimacy created by my submission allowed me to love Him, I'm not sure. It all just evolved. It continues to evolve. Each day, I love Him more. Each day, I strive to surrender to Him more. I do remember worrying. I was afraid that my love might not be returned. I was afraid that it would be perceived as being needy or demanding. I had worked very hard at keeping certain boundaries in place and loving Him was crossing the line (in my mind). I was wrong. I was using my past relationships and experiences as the precedent, as my guideline. In my past, any love I received was bound by conditions and stipulations. It was fraught with expectations and dependent on the situation. I remember being told; "If you do not fill in the blank, I will not love you anymore." Things are very different with J, I am loved and I know I am loved. I do not have to be perfect, I only have to be me.
I know that all of what I have written above, does not answer the questions at hand. It does give my perspective, where I am coming from.
To answer the questions, I think that we have to remember that D/s relationships are still relationships. The power exchange can complicate things, but underneath it all, it is a connection between two people. Yes, I think that subs can confuse submission with love. Just as some women can confuse being sexually intimate with love, submitting is an act of intimacy, it can be confusing. Intimacy and love are different, you can be intimate without being in love. I am not so sure that you can be in love without sharing some form of intimacy. Intimacy is a deeply personal connection, it is not the same as sex or love, but I think that it greatly improves both of them.
I do not think that love creates a need to submit. I think that the propensity for submission is either there or it isn't. It is not something love can create. I will concede that someone might need to be in love to be able to submit, but I think that the inclination must already be present. Love and submission are two different things and are not necessarily tied into each other. I don't believe it is possible to love someone just because they submit. I think that there must be more of a basis for love to be sustained. Submission can be a part of that, but it cannot be the whole.
I don't really feel qualified to answer the questions from the Dominant's perspective. Though I do think that the same principles apply. Dominance and control are not enough to sustain love. If that is the only reason you love someone, then it is probably not love.
Love has many facets, it encompasses a wide range of actions and emotions. I cannot speak for men, but for women, I think it can be easy to confuse other feelings with love. I may draw a lot of fire or criticism for what I am about to say, but it always concerns me when I read of submissive women pledging their love and surrender to someone they have never met in person. Especially, when their online interaction has only been going on for a few months. Our imaginations and our minds can be powerful. Our fantasies can seem very real, but I can tell you from experience, that fantasy and reality are very different. Submitting or being spanked or whipped can be completely different when experienced in person.
In my own experiences, reality, with J, has been wonderful, more intense, more intimate, but that may not always be the case. I have been in other relationships where reality simply failed the test. What had existed in my mind, what I had fantasized about, did not occur. Maybe the trust was not there, maybe there wasn't enough communication, maybe my submission was lacking, whatever the reason, the experience did not live up to my fantasies. With J, my experiences have always surpassed the fantasies. He has freed me, He releases me, I continually want to give Him more. He pushes me, He has taken me past all of my limits, He stretches my submission, He demands answers to hard questions. Yet, He is gentle with my psyche, I know I am safe and cared for. His dominance offers me the strength and the security that I need.