Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Letter From A Reader

I pulled this from the inbox. The writer greets me and says some nice stuff, and then gets to the issue…

I've had a D/s relationship with a submissive girl for almost a year. It's partly virtual because we do not live in the same place, but we have been together and taken the D/s relationship into real life too. It is the first time for both of us. We are also pretty much in love with each other…. We are both around 38 - she just broke up a marriage of 7 years. I mentioned going into a new relationship in such a short while was maybe not a good idea. She decided to go on. And everything has really been fine. Except these last months where I have not been handling the long distance communication things so well. It gets me cranky.

She is now free from a marriage that gave her hard times and did not help much with her self esteem, so she is happy and enjoying her freedom (I don't mean sexually), finding herself again, etc. I understand all of that, and share the joy for her. But, I feel this is not a point for someone to be submissive to someone else….I feel her attention is not as centered, she is not too disciplined, and all of this has been pissing me off a bit.

So I said I needed to take some space, and did. This, meaning less emails, less chat, less cam, etc. Now she says she doesn't want to be a burden for me, that she wants me to want her, etc., and that she can't be submissive if she feels she is a burden. She will come live closer soon, in a couple of months. But now she said until she comes she needs to feel free and so wants to lay things down for a while until we meet again, that it is for the better and that she still loves me and still wants to be my sub, that she adores me and has never felt so strong.

Ok, fine. Sorry for the rant, but, my question is: This attitude of hers has made me feel very angry. I decided to take space, she thinks it's better to stop for a while, sort of even saying it will be better for me. I have felt like she is taking over the control of the relationship by deciding something like this. I said I only want her here if she wants to be here, anything else is not good for me.

So, how does a Dom handle a situation like this? Where he feels the sub is somehow taking control of the situation? It makes me feel uncomfortable. Sort of like the person who was under me is now on top.

We both love each other a lot, I know this.

I get a lot of emails about, “How do I handle X situation in a D/s context?” And my answer is often, “Dominance and submission have nothing to do with your problem.”

You see, I’m 100% behind anyone who wants to live in a 24/7, dominant/submissive arrangement. If that’s what you want, that’s great. But it is my observation that very, very, very few people really give up total control of their lives, for good. Like, very few. People will give up some control, some of the time, as Master Abe Lincoln might have said. But when a dominant runs up against an emotional boundary, boom, that’s it. All of a sudden the submissive who’s been talking about his/her complete and undying submission stands up and says, “No, uh-uh, I don’t want to do this.”

And that’s normal. That’s a perfectly reasonable thing to do. People often don’t know their limits until they get to one. You two are both very new to D/s. When you began this, she could not have known what would be okay for her and what would not. Neither could you. So I don’t blame either of you, you’re learning as you go. But that's occasionally a bruising process.

Many, many kinky relationships are essentially romantic/sexual partnerships with a twist. Stripped of all the trimmings, this is a long-distance love affair that’s faltering. That happens. You’ve pointed out all the reasons it has for faltering. Can it be saved? I don’t know. But what I do know is that the fact that you’re dominant and she’s submissive is beside the point. So, my Dear Reader, this is a boyfriend-girlfriend problem, and you should put aside any idea that you being dominant means you get to control her emotions in that way.

I can’t tell you exactly why she’s doing what she’s doing, or who’s right and who’s wrong, or anything like that. I grant you that she’s doing a somewhat classic conflict-avoidance thing by saying “It would be better for you.” She shouldn’t use that line, but it’s a small offense. And really, weren’t you doing the same when you said, "I feel this is not a point for someone to be submissive to someone else"?

But it’s not about who’s right and who’s wrong. I would say: yes, why not take a break? If she’s going to be moving physically closer to you soon, that seems like a natural place to resume spending time together and see if you two can pick up what you had again.

Sometimes – and I don’t know if this is you or not – but sometimes I think people gravitate to a dominant role because it makes them think they’ll be safe from being hurt. They think that they’ll be able to control their relationships, and that their heart will never be broken. I wish that were true. But it’s not. If anything, the deeper intimacy of intense and taboo love means that you risk more hurt, more disappointment. It’s a trade-off for the powerful pleasure we take in what we do. You might consider if that underlying belief is playing a part in your feelings of anger with her, because letting go of that idea will make your emotional life as a dominant much smoother.

I wish you both luck…

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