From clues to a wonderful reality

We have not always had this relationship. We began our relationship with a small seed of awareness of my wife's need for a man who would not tolerate her behavior when she acted inappropriately. However, this awareness was confused and cloudy, due to our lack of full self-understanding. My dominant instincts were blunted because I thought I needed to be “nice” and “constructive” at all times; I assumed that if I was patient, supportive, logical and communicative, this would eventually persuade my wife to leave her tantrums, false accusations, anger and sarcasm behind. My wife, on the other hand, was in reality (which will be obvious to many Taken in Hand readers) simply trying to find her limits, and subconsciously wanting me to set her straight.

As I mentioned, we did have some early clues. My wife was aware that she had absolutely no respect for her ex-husband, because he simply let her do whatever she wanted. She realized that she was attracted to “take charge” guys. It was obvious from the beginning of our physical relationship that we both greatly enjoyed dominant physical scenarios, starting from classic “pinned against the wall” kisses up to and including acting out bondage and rape scenarios. I had a dim awareness that occasionally women would, in small but unmistakable ways, respond submissively to me with a desire for my leadership.

Like many others on this site, pursuing the clues in our sex life, we first experimented with some BDSM. While that was enjoyable, and sometimes still is, it clearly didn't explain those moments of lucidity when we both were reminded that my wife really needed me to be in charge in real life. Conversely, while I read up on some of the literature and websites about the nature of being “submissive”, it was obvious that my wife did not fit my understanding of this term.

Over the last three or four years, we kept working on this, in the background of our daily life. I came to understand these things:

1. My wife cannot stand weak men.
2. She is bright, resourceful, and when she is not emotionally “off-balance”, really well organized.
3. She has stretches of nasty behavior that are not corrected through my patience with her.
4. I am much better able than my wife to remain calm while under tension, and able to make decisions based on fairness, patience, and kindness, rather than fear, insecurity and vengefulness.
5. She is not interested in explicit acts of servitude, in real life or even just for sexual play. Instead, she fantasizes about and wants in real life to be forced into rough, dominant sex much of the time, having control taken from her. I, in turn, enjoy this just as much as she does, and find it utterly natural and comfortable. Yet, each episode is followed by tender closeness.
6. I had seen my patience stretched thin at times, and observed that in the few cases where I had firmly put my foot down, my wife's behavior actually improved (though she was careful not to admit the reason).

I was puzzled. Is she submissive, or not? Should I demand she act in a submissive manner, because I know there is some aspect of this in her nature, and that I am better equipped to decide a course of action during times of difficulty? How much of her desire for dominance that is so obvious in the bedroom (and on the table, and in the shower, and in the backyard :) extends into real life?

It was only when I found a link to this site (linked from a BDSM user group) that I realized that this set of characteristics is also experienced by others, and that unbelievably, there were thinking, mature individuals with which we could explore and discuss this spectrum of relationship preference.

So in the last two weeks since we have found this site, I realized that there are many women like my wife who are not stereotypically submissive yet are unequivocally in need of boundaries from their men. Without over-explaining, I began firmly correcting her inappropriate behavior at the first sign of sarcasm, defensiveness, or inappropriate accusations, while making sure to provide support and tenderness just as quickly as her behavior improved. While I am not naive enough to think there won't continue to be challenges, the result has thus far been almost magical. We spend almost no time in conflict because I never let her stray from between the “white lines”. Not coincidentally, our sex life has been great. Interestingly, verbal reprimands are all that have been required thus far. (We are still carefully exploring whether or not discipline-related spankings are right for us.)


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Weak men

I'm glad that your wife is happy with you, but perhaps it is possible that her ex-husband wasn't weak, but just easygoing. Maybe he just wanted her to be able to do as she liked? Perhaps he thought that would make her happy? Whenever I hear a non-dominant man described as 'weak' I always think of my late father. He was not weak, he was relaxed, cheerful and easygoing. He thought that everyone, including my mother, should be able to do their own thing. It was not weakness, he had a genuine sincere belief that everyone should be in charge of their own life.

There are worse fates that can happen to a woman than to be married to a man who wants her to be able to do as she likes. She might be married to a cold-blooded calculating control freak for instance, which in my opinion would be worse (I don't think you are one of those, but I've read stuff on this site that has made me a bit thoughtful).

Nondominance Does Not = Weak

Louise, you are very right that a man who is not dominant is not necessarily weak. A woman who very much wants a dominant man in her life may interpret an easygoing man who believes everyone should make their own decisions as "weak" but that doesn't mean he truly is.

My husband isn't "weak" and he can certainly hold his own in a dispute with me but he feels no need to control me. He says if the things I'm doing are not bothering him he sees no need to meddle in them. To me, that's a centered and strong man.


This is interesting

Pat wrote:

He says if the things I'm doing are not bothering him he sees no need to meddle in them. To me, that's a centered and strong man.

Ironically, I think my husband would very much agree with this. Although, I would never call him controlling. Dominant, yes, but not controlling.


He is nice... and weak as well!

In one way you're right; he actually is a nice person, and I would say well-intentioned. But I can also assure you he is most certainly weak, which was made amply clear during their marriage. "Nice" and "weak" are not mutually exclusive; an individual can be both weak and nice. Saying that he may not be "weak", but instead perhaps "nice" is a little bit like saying a vehicle may not actually be rusty, instead it might just be green. They are separate concepts.

The key point is this: a women who desires a Taken In Hand relationships is counting on her man to put boundaries and limits on her behavior when it is best for her. My wife recognizes that she needs these boundaries and limits, and one of the specific reasons she learned this was through the negative example of being married to someone who could not or would not set those boundaries.

Separate concepts

They may well be seperate concepts, but I personally feel that a man who 'lets' a woman do as she likes is not necessarily weak. It would never have occured to my father, for instance, that he had any business setting boundaries and limits on my mother's behaviour (it would have been interesting to see him try though). It's not necessarily a sign of weakness to have no inclination to limit someone else's behaviour, a lot of people I assume would simply take it for granted that people will control their own behaviour as they see fit.

My husband is a natural bossyboots and so has no difficulty setting limits and boundaries on the things that interest him, but I don't regard a desire to be dominant in a relationship as either a sign of strength or as weakness, it's just one of those things. The same with the desire to be submissive, I don't think either of these things have anything to do with either weakness or strength.

I have to agree with Louise h

I have to agree with Louise here. In particular, regarding the desire to be submissive versus either weakness or strength. My wife is definitely a submissive yet no one would think her weak (just the opposite—one of the things that attracts me to her is her individual strength and autonomy). My wife owns and runs her own business and is looked up to as a role model by many other women. Yet she very much wants me to be the one in charge while she is taken care of and, yes, controlled. I can even imagine that it is her very strength that allows her to be comfortable being submissive to me. I'm thinking that perhaps her strength gives her the confidence to let go. I'm conjecturing a bit here as I'm talking about my wife's feelings rather than my own. But it makes sense based on what I know of my wife and our relationship. Likewise, although I'm the one in charge, I don't feel the need to be in control of everything in our relationship. Just as I believe Louise has described vis-a-vis her relationship with her husband, there are numerous things that my wife handles independently (and would hate if I tried to control or micro-manage) and there are numerous things are joint decisions. Yet, underneath that is an understand that I have some sort of final say. Why? I don't know except to say that's how my wife and I want it. And that seems like a good enough reason to me. But my wife, weak? Never gonna happen, thank goodness.

Re. A wonderful reality

I don`t see where it makes much of a difference what they both think of her ex-husband as long as they are happy together. Plus the things that Togetherfulfilled mentioned were not about whether a non dominant man is weak or not or that her ex husband was submissive. I also didn`t read that he thought he thinks his wife is weak if her submissive nature comes out. He mentioned that his wife is bright and recourceful and that they have found a lifestyle that is very fulfilling for both of them. So who cares about the Ex?
My impression was that her Ex let her walk all over him and she thought of him as weak. And if a man lets his woman walk all over him without doing anything about it, it is in my eyes weak. It does not have anything to do with being submissive or dominant.

It's all in what you need

If a woman wants to be controlled and have her man establish boundaries, and he doesn't, it doesn't matter if he is easy going with a live and let live outlook, or if she sees him as weak. What matters most is she needs something he won't/can't give.

Being married to an easy going, happy go lucky man sounds wonderful. And it is, unless you're a woman who needs definitive boundaries and a structured environment. When he doesn't have an opinion about anything, when whatever you want is okay with him when what you really want is for something to matter to him, it stops being wonderful.

It doesn't matter if it stops being wonderful because he is easy going or because he is weak. The point is it's no longer wonderful because she isn't getting what she needs.

It creates the situation where the woman starts to walk all over him because he allows it and she keeps pushing and pushing him with more outrageous behavior to see where in the world the boundary is, but he's too easy going to say anything. He's got that live and let live attitude and that attitude feels like indifference. He wouldn't tolerate this behavior from me if he really loved me, she thinks. In that situation, it's easy for her to see him as weak.

If an easygoing man is married to an easy going woman, or at least a woman who enjoys and adapts well to his easygoing manner, she enjoys their interaction. If a woman needs boundaries and her man can set them for her, she enjoys their interaction. When she needs boundaries and he won't set any, the interactions are not enjoyable.

What's worse, she walks all over him pushing him to see where the boundaries are, he doesn't respond at all falling back on his good natured easy outlook so she continues to push him with more outrageous behavior that is damaging to her emotional balance, possibly her safety, and certainly damaging to their emotional/sexual intimacy. She looses respect for him because he tolerates it.

Because she sees him as weak doesn't mean you would see him as weak. You may thrive with a man who sets boundaries where as another would see that as unbearable.

J's girl

To J`s girl

I agree 100%, you explained it perfect. I feel the same way about it and what you said about doing things that would damage even a woman's safety reminded me of something I did a long time ago where I ended up in the hospital. I was together with a man who was easy-going.

Pushing boundaries

Any woman who would do things that would endanger her safety simply because she wants to see if she can get a rise out of her man would have to be mental in my opinion. A woman who can't control her own behaviour without having a man 'set boundaries' for her has got to have a screw loose.

A Screw Loose is Right

Just because a couple is mismatched, she wants boundaries and he isn't the type who cares to set them, is no excuse for going off the deep end and endangering herself just to try and get a rise from him.


Re: Having a screw loose

Well, I don`t believe that it has anything to do with having a screw loose or looking for an excuse. I don`t realy want to get into details about what exactly happened to me back than and why I ended up in the hospital. Part of it was of course because I had certain weaknesses but who doesn`t have them? Another part was because I was still very young, but he was older and could`ve stopped it and like I said he was to easy going. I met a few other men afterwards that were somehow the same way but never got into the same situation again because I learned from my mistakes. And yes they always left an impression on me that made me feel like they were to weak for me and I needed a strong man. And that seems to be the same way with Togetherfulfilled, that`s why I can totally understand why he said her Ex was to weak for her.
I think J`s girl explained it perfect. And Pat and Louise not everybody is as emotionaly stable as you two are but to just judge somebody who made a big mistake to maybe get an reaction out of a man is as wrong as saying every easy going man is weak.

Emotionally stable?

I don't think I am particularly emotionally stable actually. And I can understand that if you are hankering for dominance you might try and goad a man into being more dominant. I've done that in the past with one or two boyfriends, teasing or being a bit provocative in order to provoke a dominant reaction. But it never worked with men who simply weren't that way inclined. And I think the point at which you realise that it's not going to work,a nd that you simply can't provoke a man into being dominant if he's not, should fall somewhat short of doing something that is actually going to put your life at risk.

Apark from anything else, if the only thing that can provoke a dominant reaction in him is risking your life, then wouldn't you have to keep on doing that in order to get the dominance you crave? Surely that would get a bit wearing over time, for both of you. I think even when I was young, I would have thrown the towel in on the provocation long before I reached the risking the life stage.

"This man is not the kind of man who goes in for putting his foot down, laying down rules etc" I think you need to say to yourself eventually "either I accept that, or I move on" In my own case, I had seen a lot of films in which the heroine gets spanked after she has provoked the hero in some way, and I used to try that from time to time, but in most cases, unless the man knows definitely that this is something that you want him to do, it's not going to happen. And as for laying down rules, setting boundaries etc, again, unless the man knows that's what you want, I don't think a lot of men will do it, especially nowadays when a more egalitarian relationship is considered the norm.

A number of women have written on here about marrying non-dominant men and only discovering later that they have a dominant side, and that's great, but I think there must be a safer way of discovering if a man is dominant or not than by putting yourself in a life-threatening situation.

Putting my life at risk

Afterwards I knew that putting my life at risk was not the right thing to do. The problem was that at that time I didn`t even know the reason why I did it and I also didn`t know exactly what I was looking for in a man. I realised it though when I met my husband and still it took years for us both to find out exactly the way we want to live.
Just because you woudn`t go as far as putting your life in danger Louise, other women might. Like I said, everybody has their weakness. I`m strong in many ways but in a lot of ways he`s a lot stronger than me and that`s where I need him to be dominant. I think if a woman who needs or wants a man who sets boundaries and limits for her and she can`t get her husband to do it, it can get quite frustrating. Maybe not frustrating enough to put her life in danger but she may do things like spend more money than she can afford or drink to much alcohol or just simply put him down nonstop or whatever just to get an reaction out of him. She may have not seen the signs that he wasn`t the man she was looking for when they were dating and just getting a divorce is not that easy when there are children involved.


Wanting limits

The wanting a dominant man part I can understand, but the going to the extreme of taking a risk of personal injury or death or whatever seems to be going a bit too far, simply because if you had to do that in order to get a man to be dominant, where would it end? I mean, what would you have to do next?

I used to have that problem when I was young and watching those old films where the heroine, or occasionaly some other women, provokes the hero into walloping her. I mean, the women generally had to do something quite drastic, like at the least slapping the man's face, or trying to drown herself in the sea or wreck his traction engine or something. It all seemed to me a bit too much effort to have to go to to get spanked. I mean, I had a sort of vague idea that I was probably going to want to be spanked more than once in my lifetime, and I couldn't really imagine going to those sort of lengths on a regular basis.

Also, it seems to me, that almost any man, even if not dominant by inclination, might get that way if a risk of life was involved. For that matter, so might a woman. For instance, I remember in one of her articles Bramble wrote about how her husband got into a bad motorbike accident and was in hospital. Well, she turned up at the hospital with the papers for him to sign to sell the cycle, and he signed them without argument. Now Bramble isn't normally dominant in their life together, but this was one of the occasions when she was because she just needed to be, for her own peace of mind and because she didn't want to see her husband get killed. Then she reverted to her normal non-dominant nature.

If a man loved you, he might say to you something like "Don't ever do that again, I don't want to see you get hurt, you're getting rid of that bloody bike today" but that would be an extreme reaction to his fear of losing you, rather than actual dominant behaviour of a regular kind. If you want a man who is dominant in day to day life, I don't think you can get him to be that way by acting in a really drastic manner. I don't have to get into a motorcycle crash for my husband to get assertive with me, all I have to do is forget to put the Nesquik away after making the children a drink. If a man isn't interested in being dominant in daily life, then I don't think it's any use to try and get him to be dominant in some drastic situation, because it would only be temporary, then he'd revert to type again.

Re: Wanting limits

I never said acting in a drastic way can make a man dominant and I never said that it was the right thing to do. But just imagine if your husband would just stop dominating you from one day to the next,wouldn`t you try to do something just to get the spanking that you crave so much even if it wasn`t the right thing to do? I`m not talking about putting your life in danger. I certainly wouldn`t do that again, but I would go over the edge a bit if my husband would just stop dominating me from one day to the next.

What I said was she continu

What I said was

she continues to push him with more outrageous behavior that is damaging to her emotional balance, possibly her safety, and certainly damaging to their emotional/sexual intimacy. She looses respect for him because he tolerates it.

I didn't say anything at all about endangering her life or personal injury. What was said (or meant) was that his lack of response to her need to have boundaries caused her to push him. His continued lack of response, due to his easygoing nature, caused her to push even more outrageously for any kind of response. Lack of said response unsettles her emotional balance (does not make her mentally unbalanced), possibly affects her safety, and certainly damages the relationships emotional/sexual intimacy because he is not a safe place for her.

What I was thinking about specifically was when J was okay with me going to the pub with a girlfriend after an evening class we took together. Then I started going to the pub during the week without her. I worked into going on a weekend night and staying out till 11 pm or so. It escalated into me not coming home until 4 am with absolutely no comment from him. No conversation where he said something like he worries about me out that late, or what did I do till 4 am. Nothing. I realized that I was putting myself at risk. My reputation, possibly my safety by being out till all hours of the night. I stopped that, realizing it wasn't good for me and it wasn't going to get a response from him.

The other event I was thinking about was when things were so bad between us I moved out of our marital bed and slept on the couch in our bedroom for three weeks. He didn't beat his chest and demand I get back in his bed, he didn't create conversation about it, or insist on counseling, or ask me to leave. He just let me sleep on the couch for three weeks. Then I moved into the spare bedroom down the hall. He let that go unchallenged too. His inability or unwillingness to address my in your face behavior made me feel he didn't want to bother. He seemed to be completely indifferent. I wasn't worth the trouble; our marriage wasn't worth the trouble.

These are the types of pushing I was referring to.

My definition of weak obviously differs from others', but I don't think is so unique that there aren't those who agree and understand. Let me also make clear, I don't view easygoing men as weak. I do view easygoing men who allow a woman to disrespect him as weak.

My easygoing pushover could be your prince charming and your dominant bully could be my dream come true. It all depends out of whose eyes you're looking.

Trying to explain things

Women are in a Taken in Hand relationship for different reasons. Some just like to please their men because it makes them happy others practice it because of a sexual turn on. There is nothing wrong with that. But what I found out is that you can`t really explain to them why other women need boundaries, limits and rules.

Testing limits

Autumn, your comments are spot-on to the point I was originally making. Although my wife didn't understand it at the time, she realizes now she was specifically pushing her ex (husband at the time) farther and farther, to find out whether he would 'reign her in' and be the kind of man she needed. He didn't, and he wasn't; the result was that her choices and decisions were not optimal (though certainly not physically dangerous.)

With regard to some of the other comments that have been made, I think folks need to keep in mind that what works for one couple is not necessarily going to be appropriate for another, (of all people we certainly ought to understand this!) and my comments were meant only to provide insight into what my wife and I learned about ourselves. Please don't take these as judgements upon any other reader or members of any reader's family; obviously they could not possibly have been intended to criticize individuals I've never met.

To Together Fulfilled

I`m happy for you two that you have found each other. After reading your story I thought there should`ve been way more positive than negative comments. You seem to be a man who loves his wife very much and you have found a very successful way to make it last.

Testing Limits

TF, not only did I understand what you were trying to convey in your first submission, I commend you for picking up on her hints and acting in the fashion you did, and sharing it with us.
I am happy with my Taken In Hand relationship, and did some of the same things you mentioned your wife did. They were subtle but I did "test the waters" to see if my current boyfriend had what it took to be a permanent part of my life. I knew on a subconscious level what I wanted, but didn't know how to articulate it. I would look for more dominant men to date. Very few took a hint, or if we dated seriously did not give me boundaries. Which is exactly what I wanted, what I needed. Sometimes I could be a real brat. To put it nicely.
Until my husband understood that this wasn't just a game for me, that I needed him to be this way, I was miserable. I started with spankings in the bedroom and went from there. Till one day I broke down, and admitted, even through fear of complete rejection that I needed him to be "in charge" all the time. It took a while but, he just let his natural instincts take over. Sometimes it amazes me at how well he has taken to the Taken In Hand role of husband.

How it works...

Thank you for this thread which is interesting. It's encouraging to see other couples finding what works for them. I've always been submissive in all relationships but in my marriage which was only just short of 20 years' long although right from beforehand I was ceding control like nobody's business, even when fixing the wedding telling him "you decide"—foisting the power at him in spades as well as (me the innocent virgin only just 20/21) asking him to pull my hair, spank me etc so you didn't exactly need a Manual of male Dominance to know how I was inclined...despite all that he just wasn't a man to take that kind of loving control.

I now can't work out whether it was because I was better at him at almost everything (in other words I didn't "marry up" or whatever most women do) so he of course wisely tended to take my advice about things and in most normal relationships that could have worked fine, but not for my personality of course, or because he simply wasn't dominant (although he was in some ways controlling—it can be hard to distinguish the two but since then I've had relationships with 2 or 3 dominant men and the distinction is easy to see and it is all so much simpler—I can just be myself).

At least I know what I'm looking for now. On the original post:

"Without over-explaining, I began firmly correcting her inappropriate behavior at the first sign of sarcasm, defensiveness, or inappropriate accusations, while making sure to provide support and tenderness just as quickly as her behavior improved".

That is what all a lot of submissive women need. (Although spanking too is fun—I keep it as fun, not real punishment but obviously people differ on that and I would accept someone who kept proper punishment rather than play punishment, in reserve if fairly exercised and never in anger). When I've been in a Taken In Hand relationship (and I've never lived with someone in one although from being married so long I think I know quite a lot in general about living with someone in the real world) the desire to please usually means you don't need a lot of being told what to do to comply but it needs to be there and I like and need some rules and standards. I expect to be respectful and I am not happy if things aren't pointed out but the last man I was seeing often just had to raise an eye brow or whatever. Can be quite subtle depending on mood.