Shaken, Not Broken


Occasionally, I get an email question that moves me. The following one – to which I also replied privately – is a dilemma that many in the BDSM lifestyle have faced in some version. It has been said, without statistical corroboration, that D/s relationships have a very short shelf life. Considering that marriage in America can be rather short lived, the following problem must be quite common. I am not a relationship expert; in fact, far from it. But I think I have some tips that can help out. So, here goes:

I’ve been without a Master for almost two years. I’d love to be back subbing, but my Master of four years broke my heart. I’ve been to a few play parties since, but I just felt depressed and lonely. Please don’t suggest therapists…they’re condescending and don’t understand this lifestyle. Do you think I can recover and be what I was before?

BDSM breakups, in general, are much more difficult than their vanilla counterparts. Because of the intense bonding and trust that is integral to any D/s relationship, the agony of dissolution is beyond words. (I tend to avoid the phrase “being released” because it implies that breaking up is a one-way street. It is not.) In your case, it is very painful because your ex-Dom “broke your heart.” In losing any intense love based relationship, whether BDSM or vanilla, pain comes from many angles.    

Anyone in your situation would be hard-pressed to simply start over as though nothing had happened. Understanding this will give you the proper perspective for regaining your BDSM life. It will not be an easy task, but it can be done. As you have been to a few play parties, it is clear that you want to continue in the lifestyle. Desire is the key to overcoming adversity.

Herein I will offer some practical strategies that will enable you to search for a new Dom while minimizing your emotional risk.

Don’t be impatient.  Obviously, you will not find a Dominant quickly. Even newbie submissives find it difficult to find a Dom/me. Don’t be hard on yourself. You have taken your first steps by going to play parties and committing to rejoining the lifestyle. You are to be commended for that. Just give the process time.

Cultivate friends. You might need some lifestyle friends even more than you need a Dominant. Friends that you meet online, or real time friends that you meet at play parties, can be very helpful in guiding you back into a positive frame of mind. It is hard to go through an experience like yours alone. That’s what friends are for!

Don’t force yourself. Don’t force yourself back into the lifestyle before you are ready. If you don’t feel like playing at a party, don’t. Voyeurism, socializing and looking for a prospective Dom are perfectly acceptable activities at any play party. The key is to do only what you feel comfortable doing.

Be honest with any prospective Dom. This could be our most important suggestion. If you meet a Dom you are interested in, tell him, “I have just gotten out of a relationship and would like to go slow.” Don’t go into details about your situation. You might appear to carry too much baggage and scare him off. (We all carry baggage; it is the amount that is critical!) The key is to make sure he is willing to go slow with you. There will be plenty of time to talk about your issues after you get to know each other better.

Be cautious. Most Doms in the lifestyle are very cool. But, in any community, there are some bad apples. Your psyche is fragile so be cautious. When you meet a Dominant, ask others about him. Check out his reputation. Generally, I don’t put too much stock in this process, as people tend to repeat rumors. But, in your case, you must be super vigilant.

Safe calls. When you do decide to play, observe all the safety rules. I would play in public first. But, when you do play in private, arrange a safe call. You have been hurt once; you cannot risk being damaged again.

You will never be exactly what you were before. None of us will. Everything that happens in our lives changes us, both good and bad. But if you gradually ease yourself back into the scene, and follow some of my suggestions, you will have a great chance of re-emerging with a Dominant you can trust and, ultimately, love – maybe even more than your last one!

By BaadMaster
After a ten year run as head writer for the legendary, and an equally long run as the host of the hit internet show “Baadmaster’s Dungeon,” we are pleased to welcome the one and only Baadmaster to KinkWeekly. His thoughts about all things BDSM will now appear regularly on these pages. From the mental aspects of D/s to the nuts and bolts of S&M play, Baadmaster will cover every facet of this ever expanding lifestyle.


  1. caracoughs says:

    Great article! Do you think it is ever a good idea to be friends with your exes?

  2. That’s a tough one. Obviously, it would depend on the partners; there are no hard and fast rules. For example, if it is a D/s couple with children, it is wise to remain friends for the sake of the kid(s). On the other hand, if one of the partners wants to use friendship as a ploy to get back together, that likely would not work. Then again, it just might! There are so many permutations that it is impossible to give an answer without the particulars with respect to the situation. You might say this is long-winded reply that really means “I don’t know!”

  3. kneelsalot says:

    I agree with Baadmaster. it really depends if kids are involved and what the intent of the friendship is.

  4. And sometimes even if you want to be friends with your ex, they may not be emotionally ready for that. It’s a good idea to consider the other person as well when pursuing a friendship with your ex.

  5. I couldn’t agree with whipme more! Every dynamic should be individualized and a break up should be no different.

    • In the BDSM world, relationships have an extra layer of complexity and iterraction compared to the “vanilla” world. So when the “Dr. Full-Of-It”s pontificate about how people should behave after a breakup, these vanilla experts are usually wrong. So imagine when you add BDSM play and a dificult to maintain D/s dynamic, breaking up is not an easy task.

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