Communication, consent and connection

Many of the arguments and fears about Taken In Hand in general seem to be based on the assumption that, when a woman enters such a relationship, she gives up the person she really is and becomes the person someone else wants her to be. This in turn opens her up and makes her vulnerable to the whims and ego of a controller who might misuse that power in an abusive and destructive way.

I am not by any means saying that this never happens in what was intended to be a Taken In Hand relationship. Certainly misjudgements are made and people who are not suited in temperament to this kind of life are put in a position of control or submission that they can't handle, but this hardly unique to a Taken In Hand situation and it happens frequently in other relationships also.

For 28 years, I lived in just such a conventional relationship with a man who, apart from a bit of pushing and shoving very occasionally in the early days of our marriage, never laid a finger on me in anger, but who was nevertheless an expert in the art of verbally making me feel two feet tall and stupid with it, and I know from talking to others that I was by no means unique in this experience. Interestingly, it was not until I got online and began to read about the underlying features of what for me constitutes a “true” DD relationship that I realised that I had the right and the power not to be treated in this way.

The first thing I noticed about the pattern of Taken In Hand is that it very often grows from what was originally a loving and close relationship in which the two participants have lost, or never really had, the skills of true communication, and have begun to drift apart as a result. Along with the verbal communication skills there is often a lack of ability to watch and read each other's behaviour patterns and to avoid the frustration that arises when behaviorial indicators are ignored as something not important, or are simply not recognised.

Through the development of vigilance and mutual awareness, taking her in hand seizes these negatives, and turns them around into something that can be used to improve both communication, and subsequently, connection in the relationship.

The second most common basis for a Taken In Hand relationship seems to be a situation where both partners know exactly what it is they want and need from the relationship before they enter into it. Either way, if the decision to enter into a Taken In Hand relationship isn't completely consensual at least in general principle, then it isn't the real thing.

Once it is agreed that Taken In Hand is the way a couple wants to go, the whole thing become much more individualistic and unique to the couples concerned.

To begin with, some couples may want and need only a little control—perhaps just to provide a support mechanism for things like health and safety or relationship issues. Control outside of these specific areas may naturally assert itself over time, leading to a more thoroughly Taken In Hand relationship, or it might not.

In other relationships, there may be a certain flexibility and carte blanche for the man in deciding precisely when and how to correct and control the woman. Or there may be a situation where both partners want to effect a complete change of atmosphere and direction in their relationship, and once they have together decided exactly what it is that they want to achieve, one partner will give up the driving seat completely.

To my mind, so long as each arrangement works for the couple concerned, and is based on a loving regard for each other and for the relationship as a whole, and so long as there is always room for change arising from the vital skills of talking and listening, no harm is likely to come to either of the participants or to their partnership.

The idea that genuine Taken In Hand relationships are about handing all the power over to one person to the detriment of the other is false. What is actually happening is power exchange. That is to say, the man can only take from the woman the amount of control that she is prepared to give up. Thus, she has as much control over the situation as does he. It isn't about one gender being better or more able than the other, but about recognising and openly embracing our different roles as men and woman and using them to complement our relationships in a way that brings the two different elements together as one whole.


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none of us are perfect

We are none of us perfect, and there are undoubtedly going to be some men who view taken in hand as a ticket to relationship autocracy without responsibilty, but for every man who thinks that way, there are many others who take their responsibilities to their partners, their relationships and to themselves very seriously. As I have said before, taken in hand relationships are no different from any other type of relationship, in that there are good ones and bad ones and, even the best ones, we sometimes make bad choices and things don't go smoothly every hour of every day. However, in my experience, the things I describe in my article are what most people, regardless of gender or even of initial motivation, come to want from participation in such a relationship.