Power: 1 a (1) : ability to act or produce an effect (2) : ability to get extra-base hits (3) : capacity for being acted upon or undergoing an effect
2 a : possession of control, authority, or influence over others
3 a: physical might or efficacy
Exchange: 1: the act of giving or taking one thing in return for another
2 a: the act or process of substituting one thing for another
b: reciprocal giving and receiving
3 a: something offered, given, or received in an exchange
Relationship: 1: the state of being related or interrelated
2: the relation connecting or binding participants in a relationship
3 a: a state of affairs existing between those having relations or dealings
b: a romantic or passionate attachment
If you look at just the words, it's easy to remove the mysticism of these kind of relationships. Too often, we forget the basis for it all.
For one, this is a relationship first and foremost. A relationship should enrich your life and make you happy. It should be about the people involved. There is no right way to do this. It is as individual as every person.
Two, the parties involved in said relationship should be getting something out of this. A submissive should not be giving away power simply because the other person demands it. Nor should a Dominant accept power over their partner simply because the other offers it. If there is not a bigger picture and purpose for both people, in the sense of both to be giving and receiving, then there should not be a power exchange.
I stress the word should because I can't tell anyone what to do or not do. Simply that if you look at how the words are defined, a power exchange means there are certain things that should be happening.
Three, power is not an excuse to do whatever the fuck it is you want. The same goes for a lack of power. There is responsibility, goals, desires, wants, needs, etc that still exist beyond whatever power exists and is being exchanged within a relationship.
Four, the power and its exchange goes as far as those in the relationship allow and let it go. It DOES NOT extend beyond your relationship. So be mindful when making rules that you're not impressing your power exchange unwittingly on those around you. Because frankly I see it all the damn time and it's just not cool.
Five, a power exchange relationship can come in various forms. It can exist on any and all levels you wish it to. It doesn't have to look like anyone else's power exchange relationship...because it is as unique as the people involved. Power exchange does not mean that it's a total power exchange.
Frankly, that last one is complex and deserves its own post. They all really do, and I will likely be expanding on them at some point. These are the starting blocks to think about in the mean time.