Writer’s block is a bitch and I’m still alive.

Yes, I am still alive. Things in life are good, though a recent development has been a little chaotic, but life is still good. Since we last spoke, I closed vetting and negotiations with the new little/sub and I’m sure I’ll be talking about her in the future.

I am currently up to nine drafts. I’ve been working on them here and there, but some of them are a little too… clinical… I feel like they lack my voice/presence/jes nes se quois and that simply will not do. So, as one concerned reader put it, I am in fact, recharging my batteries.

I hope life is finding you all well. Much love from my side of the internet.

Losing Your Dynamic

We talk a lot in the lifestyle about managing your dynamic, communicating with your partner, love languages, alternative love languages (a big favorite of mine), how to be a better Dominant or submissive, but very rarely do we take the time to talk about managing yourself after a loss in dynamic.

The loss hurts. It can be crippling. It is so much worse than “just a breakup”. The expectations and trust that are placed in your partner are so immense, it is natural that there is an emptiness left when facing the end of a LS dynamic.

From a psychological standpoint, you are mourning the same losses as a vanilla relationship. You mourn what was, the memories, and what could have been, the hope. What could have been has always been the hardest for me. I am a hopeful romantic at heart. In a romantic BDSM dynamic, you are essentially losing two relationships. It can be devastating.

So how to you manage the loss? For me, I work a lot on myself. I spend much time in reflection. Looking for lessons to learn and mistakes made that can be avoided in the future. It may take a while, but I will eventually re-center and find my own happy place and limited peace. I am wired to be a caregiver. While I can find happiness within myself, I will always feel a little incomplete when flying solo.

Maintain your routines. You’ll probably feel a little bit like a zombie, but self-care is so very important in healing and recovery from the emotional trauma of losing your emotional bonds. Maintaining your routines keeps a since of normalcy. Some may shift or phase out if there were tasks associated with your routines, but keeping your schedule, remembering to eat, and take care of your needs. It may seem hard now, but you can function without them.

Start journaling or continue to journal. Even if it’s not something you share with anyone else, get your thoughts and feelings out. It can be difficult at first putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, but getting the feelings that you’re struggling with out and into the open is an amazing way to process and heal. Explore your feelings. It’s okay to be sad.

It may take some time before you can find it in yourself to do it, but wish them well. Don’t harbor negative feelings and emotions. Even if you never tell them to their face or over text, wish them well. Give yourself that closure and it, at least for me, is such a cathartic release.

Remember to breathe. Listen to your sad songs. Cry. Get it out. Eventually there will be a rainbow to accompany your storm clouds.

Mental Health Check

March is a hard month for me. My mother passed 14 years ago and this month would have marked her 58th birthday. Mom was abusive. There’s no kind way to go about that. While not making an excuse for the abuse, as an adult, I can see that she raised us in the manner she was raised and for her, that was good enough/what she knew. The fact is, she tried. Which is more than I can say for a lot of parents I observe today. I have struggled a lot this week because I once again forgot her birthday. The guilt I feel for this is immense. Bunny assures me that I will never forget her and that she will live forever in my heart, but I cannot help but still feel guilt for the forgetting. It weighs heavily on my heart.

While I struggle with this month and spring finally around the corner, how are you doing? Are you doing okay? One quote that has helped me since my teenage years is from The Crow. “It can’t rain all the time.”

I hope life is finding you well, friends.

Back in the Saddle

I work rotating 12 hour shifts. Four days on, four days off. Three days on, three days off. This week was my long weekend and I took it for myself. I needed to recharge my batteries and practice some self-love. I am heavily introverted, so like a solid 90% of my friends are online. I like them there. They’re in a neat little box and are always there. They know much of my life. Who is in it, who I am, who I truly am. I value them greatly and they’re spread all over the world, which amazes me. We spent much of the weekend gaming together. From building a new breeding base to Ark, to slaying our opponents in the Outlands of Apex Legends, we accomplished much that we set out to do.

Bunny and I also spent a lot of time talking over the past week. A lot of time. Between self-reflection on both of our parts and through much conversation, we have come to the realization that despite our separate issues and traumas, we don’t want to do this without the other. We spent a lot of time talking about what we need to address personally and individually. Going forward, we will address our traumas and work on our issues both together and separately, leaning on one another. Even after all the ups and downs, separation and rejoining, she is still my peace. I still find solace in her that I have never experienced with anyone else.

Now that the long weekend is over and I have 37 loads I am monitoring for tonight, I feel invigorated and ready to tackle the coming week and to spend some more time in both thought and reflection. Of course, being back in the saddle also means that I’ll be focusing back more on lifestyle writing. I’ve almost finished The New Topping Book and will be putting a review together for that soon.

On a tangent, has anyone else watched the Big Bang Theory and marveled at how Dominant Sheldon is? Hear me out. He spanks Amy. Amy comes to him eagerly when he snaps his fingers. Amy comes off has naturally submissive in her personal relationship with Sheldon and does things that I would equate with a service sub. They have a contract. Just things I think about.

Checking In

Salutations and sæl, friends. There have been a few you sending inquiring emails and I wanted to let you all know I am alive and well, just slammed with work. Even though it’s supposed to be our slow season, we are in the thick of it currently. The pandemic has done some really odd things to the logistics industry.

Bunny and I are still friends are helping and supporting one another each other as we get the healing we need. I also have an amazing support group of friends that I’ve made doing this here and in the groups. I thank all of you for checking in on me, her and us.

I’m currently working on a few drafts and was thinking about kicking off with Loving BDSM’s writing prompts for 30 Days of D/s. I’ve also gotten some ideas from Kit for future essays, but work on all of that comes on the weekends and with inspiration. Almost everything I write comes from the heart. When I try to write unmotivated it loses the je ne sais quoi and flair that I feel makes my writing stand out.

Again, I do so very much appreciate the inquiries and support. I would be in a very dark place without the support network I do have. You all mean so very much to me, even if it’s just small interactions here and there. Much love for all you.

May be an image of coffee cup and text that says 'one time'

On Protectors, Mentors and Foster Daddies

Perceptions from a Daddy Dom

Perceptions from a Daddy Dom are essays, instruction pieces, and sometimes rants. I write and even text, like I talk in real life and I’m here today speaking from the heart. I offer my opinions and insights that I have gained from fifteen years of experience and through trial and error. If I offer insight, it is from the mindset of my Dominant philosophy, which is primarily that of Daddy Dom. I use the pronouns I am comfortable with, but please swap your pronouns where you feel comfortable. The lifestyle welcomes all of you. Welcome to Wonderland.

You see it on Fetlife some times and rarely mentioned in groups anymore: twuesub69 protection thiccdickDom666. What does it mean though? In the ye olde glory days, when a new member would join a Leather Community, they would gain protection of a Leather family. Within that frame of reference of protection, there were also strict protocols that covered BDSM and life based decisions while the new member of the Leather Community learned the ropes. While appreciated then, it’s return would be much valued now, if done like it used to be. Today, I see all too many “protectors” or even more loathsome still “Foster Daddies” running rampant in our various online communities.

So what is a protector supposed to be? Well, to be perfectly frank about it, it’s just like what it sounds like. A protector is supposed to ensure the safety of a submissive. They help screen and vet would be suitors, help find research, help educate and are like a gatekeeper for the submissive. While not exactly a mentor, they can definitely fulfill mentoring roles, but if your protector is on the opposite side of the slash from you, I personally discourage mentoring and we’ll get to more of that later. A good protector separates their wants and needs for what’s best for the submissive and for what the submissive wants and needs. Some protectors did and should still do, in my opinion, vet any suitor Dom before the submissive finds. That’s not to say that the submissive couldn’t vet with her protector, but the protector’s primary role is to be her defense against predators, especially in the case of those new to the lifestyle. This can and should extend into real life beyond the realm of our groups. An experienced protector can show the new sub the protocols of their local dungeon, screen potential play partners and be present for said play. 

Being a protector isn’t something that one should consider lightly. They should be experienced and understand the implications of what they are about to commit to. The prospective sub seeking a protector should vet their protector. Almost all of their questions should be experience based. By protecting someone, in its very nature, there would be a small element of power exchange involved in this relationship, but only in regards to protection and caring for the submissive. Rules, structure and punishments should never enter this level of dynamic. It is not the protector’s job to be the Dom. There should be clear and negotiated parameters for the expected protection and what the protector is protecting the sub from. 

One good example I found of a protector was a Domme that took a new sub underwing. The new sub had a problem telling perspective partners no and was getting in too deep and not recuperating enough. The Domme, after a long conversation with the sub, took her underwing and screened all potential play partners ensuring they were not pursuing the sub for just sex. In the end, the Domme relinquished her protection over the sub when the sub found a partner that wanted her for just more than play and was willing to actually be her Dom.

What about mentoring? As I had mentioned above, mentors should be on the same side of the slash that you reside on. This is purely an ethical standpoint. A Dominant can only teach a submissive how to be a good submissive for him. Not all Dominants have the same wants or needs. How do you find a mentor in our internet world? Well if you’re submissive, it’s a lot easier sadly. There are several good submissive only Facebook groups out there, some of them even leaning heavily on Old Guard traditions. I’ve been asked a few times if I would mentor a sub and I’ve told them no and pointed them either to submissives I trust or more recently, ‘networked’ groups that I know they’ll get a decent lifestyle education. Generally speaking, someone seeking mentorship should just ask their prospective mentor if they would be willing to consider it. Rarely do those offering mentorship have good intentions. 

A good mentor is someone who is experienced in the lifestyle and yes, you should vet them too. They can teach you the ropes, show you articles and essays and even help you find a local community if you haven’t already. The mentee needs to assess their own needs and what they want to develop in themselves and then identify a suitable mentor. A good mentor is someone you will feel comfortable talking to, someone you can trust and build trust with and someone who has knowledge in the areas you want to develop. For example, a mentee wants to learn rope play, they would go find a rigger.

I am so loath to even talk about Foster Daddies, but here we go… You see it pop up from time to time in the DDlg groups and I got to say, well over half of what I’ve seen and interacted with is highly predatory. That is not to say that there aren’t good and legitimate Foster Daddies out there. I am saying that I’ve yet to meet one. If you’re set on having a Foster, vet them. For the love of everything holy, vet them like you would a potential Dom or Daddy Dom. You get a single red flag, run. The chance of being groomed while you’re supposed to be feeling safe and protected is so very high, I can’t in good faith recommend it.

In an ideal world, if this worked, you would vet the potential Foster Daddy. You would negotiate for what structure and rules you needed and would negotiate any and all punishments. I would be slow to negotiate or ask for too much in the way of structure and punishment. Be careful about being trained as a submissive by anyone who isn’t your Dom. Personally, I don’t think there should be any structure from anyone who isn’t your Dom, but that’s neither here nor there. Just like with a protector. there should be no sexy time with a Foster. Again, in case you didn’t read that correctly: THERE SHOULD BE NO SEXY TIME WITH A FOSTER DADDY. Ethically, he or she shouldn’t have an interest in your princess parts. Their role should be to provide whatever structure you negotiated for while you find a forever Daddy. They should act like a protector in all other regards, including vetting your potential Daddy with you and I do say with you. Even if it doesn’t appear like you’re a part of the conversation with the potential would-be, you need to be in the know and should be able to direct questions.

Love for the Unowned

Survive Being Little and Unowned

A common trend I’ve been noticing is littles finding themselves suddenly out of a dynamic, lost, confused and have no idea what to do. It’s understandable. Even if they were unhappy or in an unhealthy dynamic there was at least structure and rules in place to help them and guide them along. Suddenly they find themselves in the world left all alone and even as a Daddy Dom, the world can be a big and terrifying place. Just because you find yourself unowned doesn’t mean you can’t still provide self-care and in providing your own structure to your life, you can still find a little solace while you’re on the mend. 

If you find yourself in this dark and seemingly terrible place, you still have value. You still have worth. You’re still worthy of being loved. Take the time to breathe. I know that it’s scary. It hurts. You can’t breathe. I promise you, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not a freight train. Sometimes the tunnel can be long and bendy, but it’s there. You’ll make it through this.

Maintain or set up a routine. Get up by a certain time, go to bed by a certain time. You may not have a Daddy to help remind you anymore, but you can still do this. According to Brad Brenner of the Therapy Group of NYC, maintaining a routine will help you cope with your anxiety, it helps combat burnout and promotes healthy lifestyle habits. Put alarms in your phone if you need help with this. A wake up alarm, a reminder to eat by noon alarm, alarms for your medicine (if applicable), bedtime alarms. Put in an alarm for whatever you need, name it and hold yourself accountable. You can do this. Even if it’s the only thing you can do, it’s a start.

Lean on your friends and community. Your friends care about you. Lean on them to weather through this storm and if you don’t have friends you can talk to about your lifestyle, lean on your community. Most of the groups are so very supportive and many know what you’re going through and a few may be going through it themselves. Whether you realize it or not, there are people who care about you. You may feel like it, but you’re not alone.

Smile. I know this one is going to be hard, I struggle with it too when I’m sad. Even if you have to fake it, when you pass by a mirror, stop and smile at yourself. A recent study by the researchers at the University of Kansas found that even if you fake a smile, it legitimately reduces stress and will lower your heart rate. Dr. Murray Grossan, an ENT-otolaryngologist in LA even says that smiling can increase your immune system. When you’re depressed your immune system is lowered. “When you smile, the brain sees the muscle [activity] and assumes that humor is happening.” Even fake smiles can help. You’re gonna get through this. And I know it sounds silly, you’ll probably feel silly doing it, I know I did until I made it a routine. You can even add daily affirmations to this routine.

Work on self-betterment. I know this probably seems like common sense, but get therapy. You don’t even have to leave your own home anymore to see a therapist. Many insurance providers now, thanks to the post-pandemic world, provide access to many online-counseling portals where you can get therapy over web meetings. Heal yourself. Everyone has at little bit of trauma by this point in our lives. Fix yours. It took a lot for me to seek out help. I started with mental health Tiktok and when I felt comfortable with that, I branched out and got an actual therapist. Learn to be happy again and you will find things falling into place in your personal life. If you want to hit the gym, hit the gym. Even if it’s just for cardio or toning, even limited exercise has been proven to impact depression, anxiety, reduce stress and help you sleep better at night. Do something you’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t for whatever the reason. Even if it’s something small. Go do it. Take a personal adventure and get it done. Pamper yourself. Get your nails done. Find some small thing that helps you feel better about yourself. For me, it’s the small things that matter the most.

It may not feel like it now, but I promise it’s not hopeless. Stay hopeful. You’re going to get through this. You’re going to be okay. The universe, God, the gods… whatever bigger thing you believe in has a way of bringing you what you need. It’s almost like a universal truth. Be your own positive force and good things will start to come your way. You got this. You’re going to get through it. It may not like seem like it now, but you’re going to be okay.

Identifying, Managing, and Reducing Caregiver Burnout

Reblogged from littlespaceonline.com. All too often, I feel like the lifestyle focuses on the needs of the little and rarely is thought put into the needs of the Daddy Dom/caregiver. When I’ve spoken out in the past about burnout or being exhausted in various groups, I’ve been viscously attacked. “Daddies don’t get tired” or “You must not be a REAL Daddy.” Lol. You can’t fix stupid. Here’s a very well-written essay on caregiver burnout.

Why You Can't Yoga Your Way Out Of Burnout

Caregiver Burnout is a condition that often appears with many of the same symptoms of depression and anxiety when a Caregiver of any type becomes physically, emotionally, or mentally strained or even exhausted. It’s even so well known that even interabled relationship couples go through individual as well as couples counseling to try to combat it’s frequency. While our relationships may not necessarily involve physical limitations, disabilities, impairments, or medical conditions it does seem that a heavy emotional, physical, and even financial dependency upon a sole Caregiver is typically desired. Even though that dependency is desired by both/all parties involved in the partnership it can still place a strain after long-term care upon the primary Caregiver.

There will be times where a Caregiver is going to feel overwhelmed and needs some type of break or reduced task list. This is normal and should be accepted by the little as okay. All littles need to be educated about this situation so that it can be dealt with as it comes, and couples should work together before this occurs so that a plan of action can be more easily followed.

The little should acknowledge their partner’s need for a break or responsibilities reduction. The little should attempt to meet this need, and show appreciation toward their Caregiver for what they have done and/or continue to do for them. It’s helpful if the little identifies things their Caregiver does for them that their Caregiver doesn’t exactly prefer to be doing so that the little can easily remove this from the Caregiver’s regular routine or show more appreciation for when the Caregiver still actions this responsibility.

Research by Christina Maslach and Michael P. Leiter of the University of California at Berkeley and Acadia University, respectively, identifies six areas that lead to or contribute to burnout:

1. Workload. If a Caregiver has a large workload, whether that be in their caregiving or in their external obligations like the workplace, it can impact their ability to recover. When they feel overloaded, these opportunities to rest, recover, and enjoy life to doesn’t sufficiently exist. Caregivers need not take on huge burdens without great support systems in place, including the support of having breaks from workload.

2. Perceived lack of control. Feeling like they have no valued opinion or choice in daily routine can be damaging. It’s important to find a balance where a Caregiver is given opportunities to make personally valuable decisions, and has a say in the direction of tasks without placing burden on them to handle all decisions alone. They should be able to make decisions such as not participating in their partners regression without feeling guilted or as if they’ve failed their relationship.

3. Rewards. Feeling rewarded is crucial to maintaining interest in a task or even partnership. Rewards can come in various forms, from spoken words of appreciation to physical gifts or even the gift of leisure by having a temporary workload reduction. If the Caregiver is not feeling sufficiently rewarded then they’re likely to feel like the investment of the partnership is not worth the payoff.

4. Community. Being able to communicate with those who you feel are respectful, understanding, and nonjudgmental is valuable to one’s mental health. Finding a positive community to engage with is also important since negativity of the community can also co tribute to individual burnout. Caregivers should be encouraged to participate in local and online communities that support Caregiving.

5. Fairness. Fair and equitable treatment of Caregivers is important. Their time, attention, and care should be met with appropriate appreciation and recognition. Many Caregivers feel unable to speak up about feeling unrecognized and under appreciated by their partners, leading them to suffer in silence or even end the relationship.

6. Values mismatch. When it comes to being a Caregiver it’s important that the partnership shares the same common goals, interests, and values about their relationship. Talking together about shared goals and opinions can do wonders to uplift a Caregiver who is concerned about their relationship compatibility.

A little can show appreciation for a Caregiver’s care through some of these methods:

  • Words of encouragement and love.
  • Verbally recognizing the specific care that has been exchanged and thanking their Caregiver.
  • Artwork or crafts created in the thought of appreciation.
  • Hugs, kisses, and physical displays of love.
  • Taking on tasks on behalf of the Caregiver (such as making a meal for them or completing a chore on their behalf).
  • Spending more time doing the Caregiver’s favorite or preferred activities.
  • Prioritizing your Caregiver by canceling other events or rearranging your own schedule to do something enjoyable with them.
  • Gifts (monetary like a gift card, a service like a professional massage, time in that you arrange for them to make their own personal plans freely with no major responsibilities for a period of time, or physical like an item they’ve wanted).

When a Caregiver does not listen to their own occasional need for these things or a little refuses to comply with the Caregiver’s need for “a break” of some type then the relationship suffers. It sounds often that this is when a Caregiver pulls back too heavily and stops doing the small, loving things they once said or did, and has little patience to offer their partner. Sometimes this is the primary demise of the relationship if this is not recognized by all relationship parties and met with acceptance.

Burn-out can happen for a multitude of reasons and it isn’t just being a Caregiver to a little that contributes to that feeling. It’s a combination of their own responsibilities as well as being joined with taking care of another adult-bodied individual. This means that it is not the little’s fault that the Caregiver feels unhappy, stressed out, overwhelmed, or simply burned out from caring for others.

These are some contributing factors to the feelings of being burned out as a Caregiver:

  • Work stress.
  • Biological family stress.
  • Biological parenthood stress.
  • Financial concerns.
  • Mental health conditions.
  • Medical issues.
  • Uncomfortable living arrangement.
  • Loss of a close friend or loved one.
  • Feelings of having no “me time” or personal time to themselves.
  • Lack of hobbies or leisure activities outside of responsibilities.
  • Feelings of wanting more control over situations but not being able to have more control.
  • Taking on too much long-term responsibility for their partner(s).
  • Being the sole or primary caretaker of too many people at once.

These can be some signs from a Caregiver that they may be feeling burned out:

  • Feeling very stressed (even if for no reason).
  • Feelings of inadequacy.
  • Feeling like your partner is taking too much from you.
  • Feeling like you have no time for your own happiness.
  • Feeling like your partner is ungrateful for your care.
  • Feeling underappreciated as a person.
  • Feeling like too much is out of your control.
  • Feeling neglected.
  • Feeling unusually insecure.
  • Feeling unusually jealous.
  • Losing patience for your partner’s regressive nature.
  • Wishing your partner cared more about you.
  • Pulling back from your, once very strong, relationship although nothing seriously bad has happened in it.
  • Ending or wanting to end your relationship for no specific reason.
  • No longer wanting to be a Caregiver to your partner.
  • No longer wanting to be a Caregiver at all, ever.
  • Feeling like you need a break from being your partner’s Caregiver.

These can be some signs from a little that their Caregiver is feeling burned out:

  • They don’t say, “I love you,” any more but I know they do love me.
  • They stopped doing a routine we’ve done for a long time.
  • They stopped calling me my favorite nickname by them.
  • They told me I have to rely on myself more.
  • They told me I need to be responsible more often.
  • They said they don’t have any more patience for me.
  • They said they don’t have time to be my Caregiver any more.
  • They won’t change my diapers as much now.
  • They won’t act like my Caregiver as much now.
  • They always say they’re too tired to take care of me.
  • They pulled back and aren’t talking to much as much any more.
  • They don’t want to acknowledge CGL in our relationship any more.
  • They don’t want to be my Caregiver any more but we’re still together.
  • They don’t want me to call them my Caregiver but they are still acting like it.
  • They want me to find someone else to take care of me, but I know that would actually hurt their feelings or make them feel bad.

Communication is important to having a successful relationship. Communication is important to resolving Caregiver burn-out so that a little can acknowledge to a Caregiver that how they feel is acceptable and that they are willing to make changes for them, and so that a Caregiver can verbally express their feelings that they’re aware need to be met by the little. Work together to prepare in advance with a course of action for when burn-out strikes, and make light agreements when the Caregiver in a relationship is clearly overwhelmed, stressed, or underappreciated so that immediate action can take place when it’s time. Talk with your partner if you suspect you or they are feeling burned out. Continue to talk together and find ways to resolve this temporary feeling.

These are some possible points to cover together when making a plan of action in combating Caregiver burn out:

  • Identify what regular, small activities or actions makes the Caregiver feel appreciated.
  • Identify if the Caregiver prefers to be verbally acknowledged for their care efforts or if they prefer thank-yous to be exchange in other ways.
  • Identify if the Caregiver likes surprises for moments where a little may want to organize something special in appreciation for them.
  • Identify what the little should not ever do on behalf of the Caregiver, and what may feel like the Caregiver is unneeded or undesired when feeling burned out.
  • Identify how the little can still ask for small ways of being cared for without overwhelming the Caregiver further.
  • Identify language the Caregiver may use when expressing feelings of being overwhelmed or stressed out.
  • Identify ways the Caregiver personally relieves stress and figure out how a little could be incorporated in those methods.
  • Form a small, gentle way of expressing love in moments where even saying, “I love you,” may feel like too much. This can give the Caregiver the option to gently remind the little that they do care about them and reassure the little that the Caregiver just needs a break.
  • Create a list of the Caregiver’s “favorites” (activities, meals, movies, services) so that the little can select from this easier.
  • Make a schedule of special “Caregiver days” to show extra gratitude and appreciation for the Caregiver.
  • Make a schedule of periodic “break days” where the Caregiver is to focus on their own care, happiness, and relaxation, and the little is to tend to their own needs without complaint or request for the Caregiver’s involvement.
  • Find a therapist together that is accepting of CGL relationships and can be another listening ear for your Caregiver.

All relationships will have moments to overcome together, and CGL-based relationships are no exception. Everyone in a relationship will need to give of themselves from time to time–even when they don’t want to or it’s inconvenient for them. Meeting the needs of a burned out Caregiver is a time that a little needs to give more of themselves, even if that includes putting their heavier regression moments on hold or actioned privately without their Caregiver’s involvement so that their Caregiver can heal and their relationship can grow more strongly together.

Reflection, Recovery, Renewal

Recovering from a Narcissist Fake Little

I have tried searching this subject and the lack of information available is telling. Nobody is willing to talk about this. Surely, I’m not the only one who has gone through what I have. The mathematical statistics alone support that there should be something somewhere on this topic, but there’s not, or at least, nothing easily discoverable. My Google-foo is well above average, if we’re going to be honest. Which we should be. It’s one of the Four Pillars. So where is this help? What the fuck? I debated even writing this, but it’s something I’ve wanted to get off my chest for a while.

My initial thoughts as I exited the relationship were a jumble. In addition to the normal how’s and why’s, blaming myself and blaming her, I couldn’t believe that I had allowed myself to wander these paths, let alone a similar path as before. Again. Fucking again. You’re the sadist, asshole. Why do you keep making the same mistakes? Right? Like c’mon, bro. You’re better than this, you dumb fuck. Once again, as a romantic Daddy Dom, when she said she wanted to pause the dynamic, I stayed. Right? That’s what we’re supposed to do. You’re in this for the whole thing, not just the dynamic. After all, my job as the Daddy Dom is to create the structure she needs. So, logically, if she needs a pause in the structure, we put it on pause. After all, a pause indicates it should resume. Right?

In hindsight, we should have put a date on the moratorium. That was, I feel, my biggest mistake. By not putting a date on when we would come back to the table and talk about our collective needs and attempt to renegotiate, I passively waited for her to be ready. I failed to create a safe exit, not only for her, but myself. I couldn’t let go of her or the step-son she had given me. I couldn’t let go of my Dominant self. It’s ingrained into every part of who I am, so I put Him on the mental sideline, but every once and a while, He would come out in conversation or in action and the fights that would ensue were, in a word, apocalyptic. After the first of these such fights, I should have left. I couldn’t, can’t be passive. It’s just not in me. I would try to lead and she didn’t want to be led. And I stayed. I stayed for a multitude of reasons: we were a family, I loved her, there was our step-son… This could be fixed. I can fix anything. And so, I stayed. And in the staying, I created more excuses.

The amount of mental abuse I endured from this little gone rogue and my own lack of action was immense. My needs were not being met and the pain it caused was so intense as the first year rolled by. It would be okay though, I told myself. We would return to what was and everything would again be right in the world. I tried to bury everything that I was to be the stoic supporter, be the caregiver, be the husband and the Dom. I would like to think, in the beginning, I did a decent job. I did what I was supposed to do. I was supportive. I still gave care. 

When she first began the mental assault, I should have left, but I allowed us to enter a holding pattern of mental anguish both caused by my supposedly submissive partner and my own desire to stay and attempt to salvage the relationship. After all, I could fix this. She would enter these states where I thought things would be returning to normal. She would return to her submissive self. Or at least act like she was returning to submission. She would age regress. She would do all the things that I fell in love with her over. We would mime the activities we used to do without the structure in place. We would briefly talk about returning to our dynamic. She would even work with me to revise and work on our rules and contact. I devoured it. I needed it and this was the promise of returning to normalcy. We even looked into lifestyle friendly marriage counselors. Then suddenly, it would come to a screeching halt. She wasn’t ready. She didn’t want to submit. I remember thinking to myself, it would be okay. We would be able to fix the broken pieces and put it all back together. After all, I could fix this.

I lost count of the times we would do this dance. I used to have drafts upon drafts saved in my Google Drive. She would dance around my needs, giving me just enough to satisfy frustrations and then it would be gone. I remember thinking, sometime around the fourth or fifth time, I should leave. No, I told myself. Surely not. She has a desire to fix this too and we’re married. This is sacred. It’s supposed to be sacred. 

I endured for four more long and terrible years. The talks of reentering our dynamic eventually stopped. Sex became dull, boring and then that too eventually stopped. Like a plant dying of dehydration, physical touch and affection slowly died off. By this point, I had thought about leaving many times, but stayed because I believed we would be able to return to what was our golden era and of course, and my concern for the child I had now spent five years raising. I no longer believed her when she said we would return to the dynamic and I felt trapped. I began to resent her and even started to hate her. We could still fix this. It was a mantra by this point. Even if it was a hollow one.

Things were starting to look better by the end of the fifth year. We were talking more, being more open with one another and once again, the talks of returning to the dynamic were reopened, this time with more zeal from her. I felt like a new man. I had vigor again. I felt like things were finally turning around. She had even begun to be affectionate again. There was a light at the end of the tunnel and things were finally going to be better. I had even scheduled sessions with the lifestyle friendly therapist. And that’s when I learned of the emotional affair. 

While she danced around and manipulated me into thinking things were getting better, she had an emotional affair with another Dominant. One that was supposed to be our friend. I had inklings that this was a bad idea when they started talking more, but when I asked her about it, she offered, “Baby, don’t you trust me? You know I’d never do that.” Something was vehemently wrong. I could feel it in my gut. There was something truly foul afoot, but I couldn’t place my finger on it. Then one morning, she was gone. Only a text message was offered as the briefest of explanations. One that I couldn’t even reply to because she had blocked me on literally every form of communication that was possible. She had denied me even the dignity of closure.

I still ponder what I could have done differently. Not out of a desire to win her back, because fuck a lot of that noise, but to learn. After a lot of work with a therapist, I’ve learned she was a narcissist, which blew my mind. I had always thought narcissism to be a more male affliction. I learned that she mirrored my heart. Mirrored my wants and desires and lured me into a trap that I should have seen coming. I’ve learned a lot of new red flags to watch for, that’s for sure. I’ve also done a lot of inner child work, in addition to therapy. I had to make sure that I wasn’t the root of the problem. After two back to back failed marriages, I needed to ensure I wasn’t the common denominator in these equations. I feel like this effort invested into myself has reforged me into something stronger, truly a better me. 

I almost left the lifestyle because of this singular incident. For months afterwards, I questioned myself. Every aspect of myself was laid out to bare and inspected thoroughly and thoughtfully and at times, even accusatorily. I had allowed this to happen, I told myself repeatedly. Surely, I was the one at fault. There was something insidiously broken somewhere and it had to be found, repaired or discarded. I didn’t find anything. Only broken pieces of what was, of who I used to be. I looked at those pieces in disgust. That wasn’t who I was. I refused to accept that. So we rebuilt and reforged. There’s still work to be done, but I am without a doubt, stronger because of this experience. I have learned much from it.

Divorce papers are finalized and I’m waiting for the decree. I cannot wait for this chapter to end. I have been and am on a path of recovery. Reconnecting with parts of me that I repressed and neglected. I am finally happy again. I can finally look in the mirror and be happy. A lot of help came from some curious companions I’ve met along the way. A lot of lessons were learned with this one. It is okay to pause a dynamic, but you have to put an end date on the moratorium. In the future, if there’s not, it’s the end of the relationship. I won’t go through this again. My needs are just as important as my partner’s needs and if I ever reach such catastrophic levels of unhappiness again, it’s okay to leave.