My wife and I went through the same situation you are describing. By nature of my job (police officer) I was very alpha. We started our marriage as an FLR, but my wife had to deal with a lot of what you’re describing. The turning point took place after I retired. I bowed up on her over the phone one day, and she decided she had had enough. When she got home from work she sat me down and told me she was tired of trying to figure out if I was submissive or what from one day to the next, and she wasn’t going to do it anymore. She then told me that if we were going to continue our FLR, I was going to have to totally submit to her authority, and there was not going to be any wiggle room. She said that if I pushed back against her there would be consequences, I would be punished for my actions, and I would accept her punishment. She then told me the only other alternative was for us to go to a totally vanilla relationship. She also said that if I chose to truly submit, and then went back to the way I had been treating her it would be over and we would become a vanilla couple. She also told me that she would never have this conversation with me again, whatever I decided was how it would be from that point on, and if I chose to submit and then screwed it up it she would never go back to trying to run the relationship.
Basically, she told me that it was my last chance to make our FLR work, if that was what I really wanted. My first marriage fell apart because my first wife didn’t want to be in charge. I have always needed to be with a woman who would dominate me, and I could never be happy in a vanilla relationship. I’m sure my wife knew this and what choice I would make. After this conversation she told me to give it some serious thought before telling her how I wanted to proceed. I realized that I had indeed been undermining her authority and taking it away from her by my actions, and that I needed to literally reprogram myself to let go of my alpha side.
I went back to her and knelt down in front of her and told her that I needed her authority over me. I apologized for my behavior, and acknowledged that I had not truly submitted to her authority. I told her that I wanted to change, but I couldn’t do it by myself, I would need her strength and guidance to become the truly submissive husband we both knew we wanted. She admitted that she had been slacking in areas of leadership, and promised to step up and be the strong woman we both needed her to be. She then warned me that she would not go easy on me, that when she felt it was needed corrective actions from her would not be in any way pleasant. She also reminded me that if I didn’t change, the FLR would be over.
After that day, I had a different mindset. I wanted to make my wife happy and I wanted to serve her in whatever capacity it took to get there. It hasn’t been easy, and it didn’t happen overnight. I have pushed back a few times but my wife stepped up each time and told me I was out of line and she wouldn’t tolerate it. Her punishments haven’t been harsh, but they served to establish her authority and encourage me to do better. She no longer backs away if I do anything to challenge her authority, she steps up and does whatever she feels is necessary to put me in my place.
Deep down I have always needed that, but for a long time I was too insecure to let go of my alpha side. I am thankful that my wife was strong enough to challenge me like she did and make me look inside myself to realize what I really wanted. That was about 10 years ago, and since then we have never been happier in our marriage.