6 Types of Transitions in a D/s Relationship
Everything changes in life. Sometimes because we make a change, sometimes because we have to roll with what life throws at us. To be fair, some changes feel like getting run over by a car or having a house land on our head.
The point is that this perfect moment you’re having in your D/s relationship where everything is exactly as you imagined – it’ll change. On the other hand, the absolute worst moment in your kinky life won’t last forever. Eventually you’ll feel better, move on, or find a new way.
It’s easy to forget that life is always in motion, especially when you’re at the extreme ends of an emotional experience – good or bad. With that in mind, we thought it might help to talk about some of the more common transitions that can happen in your D/s relationship. How you handle these transitions is up to you and your partner but we recommend a sense of humor, a little sarcasm, and determination.
From Casual to Serious Relationship
For you single kinksters out there, the one looking for love, this is the transition you’re probably looking forward to most. It’s also the one most fraught with anxiety. You’re taking this flirty, casual relationship, where you only feel your role at specific moments and turning it into a relationship. Something that might have a future. It can give you butterflies and a knot in your stomach.
You may have talked about limits or roles before, as part of a casual conversation. Now you’ve got to get serious – and honest. The fate of your relationship relies on it. This transition is where you find out if the other person (Dom or sub) was pretending and playing a game or if they really were looking for a real partner, too.
From Long Distance to In Person
In a long distance relationship (LDR), you – hopefully – get some time in person with each other. But take it from someone who had her own LDR for 18 months, the time you spend with each other is nothing like living together or seeing each other every day.
Visits during an LDR are playtime, time to catch up, and almost a vacation from your every day life. Yes, even if you still have to work, take care of kids, and pay bills.
Moving in together means you’re navigating bathroom habits, schedules, ways of doing simple things like putting away groceries, and details you won’t even think about until later. I had no idea I cared so much about how the dishwasher gets loaded until someone else did it for me.
You also have to learn how your relationship will function face-to-face. No more waiting for a text or a Skype call. Now, you’re together nearly all the time. Just because it’s what you want doesn’t make it any less difficult.
It’s important to realize that the old rules you had as LDR probably won’t work. Give yourself time to develop new ones and figure out what you want your relationship to look like and how you want it to function.
From Vanilla to Kink
A lot of you may have already gone through this transition or are considering it. Usually one of you develops an interest in kink or D/s and you decide to bring it to your partner. Not only do you have to deal with any anxiety about how they will react, it’s also a big change.
Some couples we know discovered they were both interested but were both too afraid to say anything. Others needed time for their partners to process the idea. Unfortunately, some relationships can’t make the full transition even if both partners support the idea.
The big thing to remember is that this transition will not automatically “fix” a broken or failing relationship. Can it help to finally express your sexuality and relationship needs in a way that’s more authentic? Definitely. But you have to apply the same hard work that any new D/s relationship does – communication, honesty, and openness.
It can be more difficult for long-term, established relationships simply because you’ve already got a history and memories can be very long when it comes to prior bad acts or mistakes made. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Try not to be surprised or disappointed if the transition takes longer than you thought it would.
When You Have Kids
Plenty of kinksters find their D/s self when their children are nearly grown or completely out of the house. Maybe they knew but weren’t ready to act on it until then. But some people can and do get pregnant for the first time after their D/s relationship is established.
Not only are there potential physical considerations with pregnancy and kink (talk to your doctor, y’all). There are also the mental ones, too. Morning sickness, lack of sleep, being uncomfortable while life is grown in your body – yeah, doing your D/s thing might not be a huge priority during that time.
Some people might think they need to give up their D/s life completely. You have to make the decision that’s best for you, but it is possible to have a D/s relationship and children. The tasks, rituals, and rules may change. The expectations will too. But I promise, you’ll learn how to have quieter sex and get kinky in five minutes or less.
You can also choose to be as open or private about your relationship with your children as you want. They don’t need to know the terms “BDSM” or “kink” to understand that you’re showing respect to the person in charge. Or that you do certain things because you love your partner.
You don’t have to give up kink when you have children. You need to adjust what you do but infancy and the toddler life doesn’t last forever – we promise. You’ll find that you can transition again as your kids get older and more independent.
When Someone Gets Sick
Hopefully an illness is a temporary transition, but these things have a way of upending lives. In our case, when John Brownstone’s sister was diagnosed with cancer in 2015, we had to let a lot of protocols and functions of our D/s relationship slide. There was just too much to do.
He also wasn’t always in the right frame of mind to be The Decider in a lot of our relationship. It was my job to support him and do my best to keep the ship floating so he could take care of his sister. After she died, he needed time, space, and support to grieve.
When my mental health deteriorated in the summer of 2016, he quickly figured out that I couldn’t be dominated out of it. While I desperately tried to maintain my submissive role, a lot was relaxed and many mistakes were forgiven. Giving a depressed or anxious person corner time for a missed task isn’t taking care of them, and John Brownstone understood that.
You don’t stop being a Dominant or a submissive because someone gets sick, but the routine you’ve developed may need to change or stop. From a submissive’s perspective, the best way I could serve him during his sister’s illness was to support him. When I was sick, he was the good Dominant who took his responsibility for my care and to me very seriously.
When Jobs Change or Are Lost
I wish layoffs, firings, and lost jobs weren’t a reality for people. It would be nice if we could all be employed doing something we like and make enough money to survive and even be comfortable. But not having a job – for whatever reason – can and does happen. And yes, this will affect your D/s relationship.
The stay-at-home partner may need to get a job. You both have to deal with the stress of a lower income. Domestic roles may change to accommodate the financial change.
Until you find an equilibrium – and it could take a while – you’ll be stressed and exhausted. Having the energy to get kinky or follow up rules and responsibilities might be the furthest thing from your mind. Again, don’t beat yourself up over this. It’s a normal reaction.
Not everyone reacts to stressful situations by relaxing their D/s dynamic. Some people tighten them, clinging to them for a sense of “normal” in a chaotic world. But depending on how your life changes, the physical tasks or rules may have to adjust and change for your new reality.
The point is to understand that your D/s relationship will go through countless transitions over time, and all you can do is adjust. It may be a temporary shift or a permanent one. If you go into it with the willingness to work on your relationship and give your best, while also understanding that some things are out of your control, things tend to work out…eventually.
We know these aren’t every transition that can happen, so tell us – how has your relationship had to shift in the past? How did you handle it?