My friend Lemon and I were chatting about this some time ago...the difference in submission vs submitting. That conversation has stuck with me and I think it's important to note: being submissive with someone and being someone's submissive are two very different things. It's the difference between playing and belonging.
All ownership involves a bit of play, but not all play involves ownership.
I think this is a thing submissives sometimes get confused about due to our desire to please and be in that submissive space. You're allowed to submit to someone without them owning your submission. And you're allowed to only want to submit to someone who owns you.
Both are valid forms of submissiveness. I'm not saying one version of submission is better than the other. I've done both and both can be meaningful and fun. Of course, I have my preference, but that's not what this is about.
There is a very important question submissives need to ask themselves when they enter a new playtime or dynamic: "am I their submissive, or am I being submissive with them?"
Being someone's submissive (and belonging to someone) is pure ownership. It's powerful...a connection unlike any other. It can't be replicated, can't be fabricated, and most importantly, it takes a long time to build. It's inherently unique and incredibly personal.
Being submissive with someone can be powerful as well. It can be meaningful and fun, and it can last a long time. However, you may find that the type of submission you have with this Dom is similar to the type of submission you have/had with another Dom. You may also feel a bit more like you're an independent submissive, a submissive who doesn't need to be owned or controlled.
As I said - neither is wrong, they are just different. The real difference between submission and submitting is the feeling of true ownership. That feeling of ownership isn't quite there when you're submitting to a play-partner you feel doesn't entirely own you. This doesn't mean that the submission you feel towards this person isn't real or true or strong - it's not less or more than...it's just different.
This difference of submission is incredibly important to submissives.
It's something not a lot of us ask ourselves, but we should. Because understanding the difference is going to help you a lot in terms of how you choose play partners and how you communicate with those partners.
This can help you have more realistic expectations, understand your roles, and not get hurt. It also provokes us (as submissives) to dig deeper for a better understanding of what submission means to us, what we want in a D/s relationship and how we can better communicate those desires to our partners.