It doesn’t matter how the relationship ends, if it was something you wanted and hoped would work, you’re going to be upset and need time to deal with your emotions. Whether you walked away from your D/s relationship or your partner left, it’s important to take time for yourself. Let yourself grieve in whatever (healthy) way works for you. Binging on Netflix, sharing naked selfies on Twitter, or playing video games until your fingers go numb – sometimes you just need to do something that doesn’t require a lot of thought or effort.
While everyone’s situation is unique and no one way works for everyone, we have a few ideas to help you take care of yourself after the end of a D/s relationship. You know yourself better than anyone, so if these don’t work for you, get creative. As long as you take care of yourself in a non-destructive way, any self care is good self care.
Talk to a Kinky Friend
You know how we constantly tell you to join your BDSM community? It’s not just because we love seeing kinky people flock to each other. (Although, we do, we really do!) When times get tough, it’s important to have someone to talk to who can empathize with your experience. If no one in your vanilla life knows you’re a Dominant or submissive, they might not understand why the end of your relationship is so difficult for you. Especially if you’re the one who ended it.
Ideally, your community will involve people you can see, touch, and talk to in real life. If not, look to your online community. You don’t have to talk to everyone you know. If you have a friend you trust or know someone who’s non-judgmental, ask if they’ve got time for a chat. Being able to talk about your feelings with someone who understands BDSM or kink can be helpful. If your friend can make you laugh and think about something else for a while, even better.
Do Something For Yourself
Got a hobby or activity you used to love but haven’t thought about in months or ages? Is there something you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t had time for? It can be literally anything – quilting, knitting, cooking, a new video game, gardening, learning rope bondage – anything.
When a D/s relationship ends, you’re filled with a lot of time on your hands. You could spend that time missing your former partner – or the idea in your head of what the relationship was supposed to be like. Or remembering what it was like to submit or be in control. But that’s not always healthy or helpful. Doing something constructive that requires your focus and attention allows you to (potentially) feel something other than your pain.
Get Social in the Kinky Community
If you’re unable to get out of bed or stop crying for days at the end of your D/s relationship, this one might not be for you. But if you’re (mostly) functional, try to attend an event or two in your local community. We don’t mean go to a play party or the BDSM dungeon unless you’re really feeling up for that. Instead, find a munch or a social event at a coffeeshop, bar, restaurant, or wherever.
These kink events tend to be low or no pressure occasions. Everyone dresses in vanilla attire and hangs out. It’s a great way to meet other people and be a part of the community. You don’t have to talk about your relationship unless you want to. Not talking about it might be what you need. A couple of hours to hang out with fellow kinksters, eat some food, and laugh about random stuff can lift your spirits. If you happen to make a new friend you can lean on in the future, that’ll be worth the effort it took to get dressed and leave your house.
Be There for Others
Expressing empathy for others is good for the soul – and not just the person who needs us. When you go through a break-up, it can feel like you see nothing but happy couples. Look deeper. You’ll see heartbreak, too. Maybe it won’t be a relationship that ended. A beloved pet may die, a parent might become ill, or a job is lost – when you see someone else in pain, reach out.
We all want to know we’re not alone in our pain. Ever since my first D/s relationship ended, I’ve gotten a physical pain in my chest anytime I see that a submissive has been released from their relationship. That same pain also hits when I see someone sad about being apart in a long distance relationship. I know those feelings so well that I’m compelled to reach out and offer even a small amount of comfort. When I do that, I (hopefully) help someone else, and I also connect to a fellow human being…it’s good for the soul, y’all.
Do Something You Wouldn’t Do Before
We all make compromises in our D/s relationships. You’re into something your partner isn’t, and you’re bored to tears by something they love. It’s normal, and most of the time, giving up a small thing (or doing something less often) doesn’t matter much. Now that you’re out of that relationship, think of what you haven’t done recently. This isn’t like the hobby advice earlier. Think back to a place you liked to go or an activity you enjoyed.
Maybe you haven’t been to the movie theater in the middle of the day or eaten Raisinets for lunch in months. You might have missed going to the flea market or garage sales because your partner didn’t enjoy it. Whatever little thing you stopped doing because your partner wasn’t interested, now is the time to reconnect to it. Remember, this is about making you feel good. As long as it’s not a dangerous or destructive thing, get out there and do it!
For the record: We don’t think you should stop doing things you love in a relationship just because your partner doesn’t enjoy it. In fact, we think you should have your own interests outside of each other. But the reality is that many of us drop small activities because we don’t want to keep doing them if our partner won’t join us or because we find other things to do with our partner.
Write Your Feelings
I don’t necessarily mean blog every thought you have and hit publish. You can if you want – it’s worked out well for John Brownstone and myself over the years. But not everyone has that desire. The point is to get the thoughts and feelings out of your head as much as possible. Talking to a friend can help but so can writing it down.
Pen and paper, a Word or Google doc, scrap paper and a crayon – the method doesn’t matter. Before you say, “But I’m not a writer!” no one expects you to let anyone else read whatever you write. This is an exercise in getting those swirling thoughts out of your head. For me, writing is therapeutic because once the words are on a screen or paper, they’re no longer swimming in my brain, clogging my thought processes. I can look at them from a bit of distance. Or I can delete, save, or publish – and then walk away. No, that won’t work for everyone, but if you enjoy writing – I can’t recommend it enough.
There are countless things you can do for self care – bubble baths, a nap, a bit of chocolate, listening to music. Y’all, anything. All we’re trying to help you do is see the possibilities so you can take care of yourself while you heal from the end of your relationship.
We’ve only listed a few ideas. What have you done in the past that’s worked for you? Share with us in the comments below!
In episode 107, we talk about how to walk away from a D/s relationship — definitely not an easy thing to do, but sometimes necessary.