In looking back at my emotional states post break up, a pattern emerges. See below.
Rollercoasters: not great
As we can see, I have a bit of a delayed response to breakups. I hold steady on my current heading for a couple of weeks. I justify it in my head. All logic. It wasn’t going to work, hence the breakup. Why waste energy being upset about it? I’m usually back to OkCupid and scouring FL ads within the first week. If I’m lucky I may even go out on a date or three in the next couple weeks.
As I enter week 3, however, it all starts going downhill. At this point I’m done actually meeting people, but even more fervent about checking dating sites for the ‘perfect’ match. At this point I may even create a CollarSpace profile. shudder
Then we get to where I am about now. Week 6, roughly. The low point. Despite logic, despite having done this a few times, I get the self-loathing. I’ll never find anyone again. Life sucks. I’m unattractive (knowing, of course, that being mopey about it is likely the most unattractive thing at this point). Who would want me? Blah. blah. blah.
Of course I know, logically that none of this is true, but the emotions come out in force anyway. Even when a friend tried to cheer me up, I burst out in tears for no reason. Not my best work.
But! The good news is that since I’m here, it’s all uphill looking forward. Plus I got to make a sweet bit of graph porn. So there’s that. Additionally, I seem to be handling this low point better and better each time. So even if ‘perfectionist’ JT isn’t happy with it, ‘always-striving-to-be-better’ JT is. And I like the latter guy more, anyway.
Aftercare is that lovely time when the scene is over and both top and bottom can come down from their respective highs. While the type of aftercare may differ from person to person, I reckon some form of aftercare is needed after every scene. Maybe it’s a simple check-in text the next day, maybe it’s a brand new pony, or maybe it’s some cuddles, but some kind of aftercare should be done.
Unfortunately, I get stuck in the position where I play casually a lot and do so with tops that aren’t big on the cuddly closeness type of aftercare that I need. Aftercare is negotiated, so this isn’t some sort of surprise or anything – I know what I’m getting into. However, when the options are between limited aftercare and no play, I’ve always chosen limited aftercare.
As many of my readers know, I’ve long distinguished between casual play and romantic/relationship play. I have largely ignored my aftercare needs when it comes to casual play in an effort to explore and play as much as possible. As of late, however, I’m starting to pull back from such a gung-ho approach to kink as I approach the end of my second year of kinky adventures. Tonight is a perfect example. I had a choice of three parties tonight. A week ago I was fretting about which one I would go to. The day of, however, the interest just wasn’t there, even knowing I could assuredly find someone to play with at any of the three.
I could go and play. Play with friends, people I enjoy playing with. Alas, people I also am never going to be in a relationship with. So I ask myself: do I want to go and play, have a bit of fun, then crash for a day or three afterwards as I sort through complicated feeling towards people I wouldn’t have those feelings for otherwise? The answer is a resounding “no”. At least today. A glass of water and a cookie is nice, but it really isn’t enough. Not today.
So as my aftercare hope-sos become aftercare needs, I find myself less interested in casual play as well. There are only a handful of “types” of scenes I’ve actually experienced and they have long since passed the “let’s try it, for science!” phase. So, perhaps if I get the chance to do something new, I’ll jump on it, but for my standard play, it’s started to lose its luster and the lack of cuddly aftercare no longer makes it worth it. I’d really like to ramp up the kinds of play I do, but I simply cannot without a solid relationship base first.
There is a lot of wisdom in loving yourself first and foremost – especially when it comes to how others perceive you. Self confidence (real or constructed) goes a long way to being a person others wish to spend time with and effort on. Added to this is the age old adage that you should be happy single before you can be happy in a relationship. There is truth to that as well, though I think there is an interesting discussion to be had in how that plays into contemporary D/s relationships.
This thought comes about after watching the second episode of Downton Abbey, in which a character not use to privileged life scoffs at his newly appointed valet. What kind of career is it for a grown man to serve another? Later in the episode he is reminded that the valet gains a sense of self worth from his duties and that is not something one should scoff at.
How then, do we reconcile these two concepts in modern D/s relationships? Even with my D/s “goal” being as it is (24/7 TPE), I still have a career and education that I will continue to pursue throughout my life. Other submissives may prefer homemaking (which I’m likening to Downton Abbey’s Edwardian era servants, in this case) as their career choice instead. In both cases, however, a great sense of self worth is garnered from submission, both in specific acts service or mental side of submitting. With a greater sense of self worth comes a greater confidence, which, in turn, makes a more attractive person. How then does today’s submissive feign that extra bit of confidence while single? Where can they get that self worth?
Well we could follow the internet’s three steps following a divorce (something about hiring Facebook, hitting a lawyer and deleting the gym), though my little trick is try to think of (or know from previous relationships) a lot of the little things a future dominant is likely going to want anyway, and work on those. Now, D/s is a very powerful force for me, more so than pure willpower a lot of the time, but for whatever reason, I find it much easier to disappoint myself than I do others. It’s hard for me to be accountable to myself. This is why Crossfit has worked so well for me (and hopefully our upcoming team nutrition challenge as well).
Although not as powerful as an actual D/s dynamic, this sort of Mind Mistress does help. I do not think that this can be the final stop, though. Being able to achieve goals purely for self is important, and I don’t believe doing things for imaginary partner counts in that regard. It’s a start though.
I am interested in the tips and trick of others though so please post below. Also, a question for dominants – when and/or if you are single, have you run into any of the same issues, on the other side of the slash? Does having a submissive of your very own help iwht your self worth and self confidence, or is it immaterial?
I’ve been back in the dating world for a few weeks so it’s interesting to once again to reflect on how attraction works for me as a shift through another period of searching. First off, I suppose, is that I shouldn’t ‘search’. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that posting seeking ads do not work (for me). Regardless of the reasons behind this, I have never received a response from a discrete ad. In fact, it is generally when my expectations and effort are lowest that interested parties pop up, so hopefully writing this post doesn’t piss on fate too much.
I find that attraction breaks down into four parts for me: physical, D/s, emotional/romantic, and pragmatic. My follow up to this, then, is that I’ve yet to met someone (or perhaps have and don’t yet know it) whom I’m attracted to in all four ways. Given this, polyamory certainly has its merits, though I’m not sure this is the post to talk about that.
Anyway, let’s start with a low hanging fruit, physical attraction. There are likely billions of people I am physically attracted to – women, men, and those in between. And, out of all possible physical traits, I think it’s smooth skin does it most for me – likely since I am very tactile and touch is my my primary love language. Pure physical lust after a random hottie, however, is rare for me. It is only when emotional/romantic get layered in do I get the oh-my-god -I-must-have-you-now kind of thoughts.
This gets complicated though, because unlike some (most?), I find it nigh impossible to separate emotional attraction from romantic attraction. And, since I generally have emotionally close relationships with a lot friends, it also means that I am romantically attracted to many people at any given time. Yes, probably you.
As you may know, D/s is kind of my thing. As I go through profile after profile of dominants on FetLife and CollarSpace, there numerous that play right into my D/s fantasy and several that hit the D/s reality points too. It all sounds great. Realistic TPE, matching kinks and all. For all the dominants I know in-person, as well, that aura of dominance is there and it is great. However, more often than not it seems, there is something. Something that reads just slightly off. A certain word used. Perhaps a description of a scene. Even with other traits all lined up, it doesn’t take much for me to realize the D/s just isn’t going to work. Or will only work part time or for a short period. Could I eventually trust this person with my social security number? It doesn’t take me long to make that judgement call.
Then there’s the pragmatic side. These are the almost boring, but important, life questions. Do they have a career? Savings? A good credit score? Can I see myself moving across the country or asking the same of them for work reasons? Would I be uncomfortable introducing them to my family? Bringing them to my employer’s Christmas party? Would they go to a gaming convention with me? Travel Europe with me? Basically, is there really, truly, the possibly of a long-term relationship with this person, fully integrated into each others’ lives?
So, it’s not uncommon for people I meet to two or three levels of attraction (and different combinations, at that). It’s that four I want. The four I need. I know they are out there, somewhere. As rare as a four leaf clover, perhaps, but it will be all more exciting when I find them (or they find me).
No, not like: “Yay, styrofoam, you’re so awesome!”
More like, “Look at that rock, all sturdy and shit. Oh, never mind, it’s made out of styrofoam.”
I feel like a styrofoam rock.
People tell me regularly how easy I am to talk to, how calm and collected I always am and other such things. Part of it is the whole not expressing emotions and my general stoicism. Either way to leads to a rock-like demeanor (that’s totally a thing).
Inside though I feel like the slightest jarring is going to flaking bits and pieces away while I struggle to hold it together. I know the feeling will pass and that I’m just in a low spot momentarily. But if anyone has some of whatever holds styrofoam together, please send some. Cheers.
I’ve always struggled with sharing emotions. I certainly have them but sharing them with others, presenting them to the world, is scary for me. Growing up, I was much more keen to share emotions but Western socialization of masculinity teaches boys and men not to openly share emotions other than anger. Thus, I learned to keep my thoughts and feelings private in order to fit in.
These days however, I’ve learned that sharing emotions appropriately is just as important has withholding them appropriately. It’s all about context. As it turns out, I’m really good at withholding them. I’m known for being stoic (and to new people, this can come off as unfriendly) and even hold the nickname of ‘Robot’ to a select few who think I don’t have the capacity for feeling. While this is untrue, I do understand how I come off and have to (and have been) work on correctly expression emotion. Especially when asked directly, I tend to fumble and mumble trying to turn a whirlwind of thoughts into coherent sentences. This blog, then, is a helpful tool that allows me to structure my expression away from the awkwardness I feel in face-to-face situations.
Even my confidants mostly live in virtual space (barring my best friend and therapist), where I can take the time I need to type out thoughts and feelings. This also provides a layer of abstraction – a safeguard, if you will – from emotional stress since online confidants would have a much harder time hurting me and in general are removed enough from my day-to-day life to have any reason to hurt me either.
I think a lot of this struggle comes to my nature to think of things in black and white. This goes far beyond expression emotion and has been a fairly constant issue (turning in a paper a day late? might as well drop the class now!). On the emotional front, this has troubled me in the past as well. Growing up and into my early college life, I would tend to bottle up emotions, letting them out in outburst of anger, infatuation, happiness, ect. As this is unhealthy, I’ve worked very heard to moderate expression of emotions, though I still feel like this particular skill is one that still needs a fair amount of work. Luckily I now have the self-awareness to at analyze and tweak each new situation, even when I don’t handle them as up to par as I would like.
For those who haven’t been following along, GeekDomme and I had our first date on New Years Eve and, barring a couple week hiatus, have been together for about 7 months. About a month ago, we moved into what she deemed “friends with D/s benefits” and last week we decided to finish the split (completely amicably) and remain friends. Despite issues of distance, she just got a new job several states away, only adding to the problem, so the end was near anyway. (If you know who she is/how to contact her, make sure to congratulate her on the new position.)
I am glad for the time we spent together, though. I think I can safely talk for the both us when I say it was a tremendous learning experience. She was several “firsts” for me and my first real taste of what an in-person D/s relationship could be. In fact, I think our relationship goals as far as D/s goes match up quite well – had other variables been different, we may have made a good long term couple.
Alas, that was not the case. For both us, D/s is as much in the little day-to-day things as it is in the hot kinky play, and it’s just too difficult to allow those acts to flourish when we live 90 minutes apart. Doing a 3 hour round trip to make her some coffee seemed a tad unrealistic.
Looking forward, I’m quite happy where my life is right now, both in the vanilla and pervert realms. After about 18 months of being active in the local community, I’ve started to branch out from my usual groups and events and have met lots of wonderful new people in recent weeks.
One thing I’ve noticed is that my emotional state post breakup is much better than it has been in the past. I attribute this mostly to GeekDomme, who had been encouraging me to meet others in recent weeks and who I knew would make the final exit friendly and drama-free.
As I continue on my kink journey, I am, for the time being, (and, perhaps, regrettably) setting aside 24/7 D/s as an absolute requirement. While I may be attracted to several people at any given time, sometimes for the emotional connection and sometimes to their dominance, it seems incredibly hard to find potential partners who are into the same style of power exchange relationships while also being compatible in all the other ways I require. But what I have learned (seemingly forever ago now) is that I won’t compromise my own happiness and other areas of compatibility just for the sake of being in a D/s relationship.
What this breakup also means is that I will likely start blogging more again. As it seems to happen, I post more when I’m not in a relationship because when I’m in one, which seems counter intuitive – really what’s going is I’m discussing things with my partner and they become resolved long before I feel the need to blog about them.
Keep on keeping on, kinksters.
GeekDomme lives 90 minutes away. Due to scheduling conflicts, it is rare that I am able to spend the night at her place, leaving me with 3 hours of driving anytime we want to be together.
This is incredibly shitty.
For me, with power exchange as my major kink, the day-to-day things play a huge role in keeping a D/s dynamic alive and well. We do the” good morning/good night Ma’am” thing, and she is in control of my orgasms, but other than that, there just isn’t much else we can do.
Now, when we are together we enjoy each and have fun, but our relationship is really, as she puts it “friends with D/s benefits.” Which, while nice, is not enough for either of us, especially in the long term
One of the best things about humans is our adaptability. We change. We grow. In general we can take what life throws at us, spin it around, and throw it back. There’s plenty of faltering and questioning in this process. A small jump forward may be followed by face in the mud, but I’m writing this in a positive mood, so I’m assuming a net positive over time.
Part of this journey we may (read: do) misrepresent ourselves to others (and, frankly, ourselves as well) unintentionally. This, in particular, has been an issue in my career where my tempered bravado in professional settings lands me positions I’m not qualified for. Sometimes I’m able to step up and learn as I go, but on the occasions where I cannot, the failure is crushing. However, you are probably not that interested in whether or not I can code myself out of a paper bag.
This relates heavily to my kink journey as well. My identities have become increasing fluid in the last few months and it seems that it is difficult to represent myself appropriately to everyone I might come across, which is because of this fluidity. I want to be clear in that I don’t think I’m necessarily representing myself incorrectly, but rather that I can mold into one of several different grouping of identities depending on the context – all of them real and valid to me, even if it might be confusing to others who experience JT in multiple contexts. A really obvious example of this is that I don’t go to work in leather pants and a spiked collar.
The problem then is when I represent myself in some way and it turns out to be invalid, or at least not completely true. This is not something I do intentionally. In fact, often, I want to be whatever *it* is, but when it becomes clear I am not, it can be disappointing to myself and those around me. Like Miss Pearl’s Wildcard, I wanted to be a super masochist, as I hoped it would make a more attractive partner in the D/s dating scene. I’ve found however that my masochism is limited, and, more importantly, that that’s okay. For me, pain specifically doesn’t get me off, but because physical touch is my primary language of love, pain in the context of a greater range of tactile sensation is welcomed.
In a D/s context, I’ve found that the types of control I am willing to give up has changed as well, which actually has a lot to do with my self-confidence, which I personally feel is the wrong way to go about being submissive, but one reason I was drawn to it originally. As I gain confidence in the ‘rightness’ or my own decisions, over a broad areas of life, the less likely I am to want to give up control of them. Again, to be clear – I want to give up control. My dream of 24/7 D/s is still alive and well. But I have found it more difficult over time, rather than easier – which is what I expected. I’m not entirely sure where this leaves me going forward, but in the grand scheme of things, I’ve got plenty of time to figure it out.
The biggest problem I face, then, is making sure I don’t inadvertently hurt others along the way as I continue to explore and learn about myself – while at the same time making sure I don’t sacrifice my own happiness.
I’ve posted a lot about labels and identities recently as I wade through my thoughts. I’ve come to a resting place (for now) and updated my FL profile and am posting it here for posterity’s sake.
On the vanilla stuff
The down and dirty first. I’m in college with about a year of undergrad left (Journalism & Screen Studies and Women & Gender Studies, double major) and plan to continue into grad school afterwards. Currently, I work as an app developer at a high paced start-up.
I have a wide range of vanilla interests (of note are psychology, social justice, and sci-fi/fantasy media) and thrive on interesting discussion first and foremost. I enjoy the finer things in life, like to dress up when I can, and would love to learn ballroom dancing with a willing soul. I also do CrossFit several times a week in an effort to get in shape.
I’m extremely empathetic and take great care in both the emotional and physical well-being of those close to me.
I blog at http://jtrevner.com.
I have often struggled with the boxes that various kink identities put us in. In general, I don’t feel that any one word is descriptive or nuanced enough to fully capture all of my interests. However, you will see ‘sub’ at the top of my profile, as I think it most closely refers to my outlook on kink and relationships – but I urge you to continue reading for the whole story.
One friend has described my version of submission as being a ‘pet gentleman’ – which I have taken a liking to. My preferred relationship style is a D/s one, with romance at its core – power exchange is by far my biggest kink. Girlfriend/boyfriend, Dominant/submissive, partners in crime. At once, both compatible in vanilla and kink interests. I am not interested in being a secondary or in a D/s-only relationship. I’m greedy and want it all!
I want to kneel at her feet, not simply because she is a dominant, but because she is the woman I cherish and care for most. I want to do things for her for the simple enjoyment of making her happy.
When it comes to play, however, I am a switch, or rather, *can* switch. As above, my enjoyment comes from others’ pleasure. If someone’s pleasure comes from pain, then, I am happy to oblige. I am a reaction junkie all the way so whether it’s the sadist’s laugh, the masochist’s moans of pleasure-pain, or the dominant’s “good boy,” I want to be the one that caused it.
I’m all about power exchange and the trust flows between me and my partner (whether for a party, for life, or somewhere in between). S&M, bondage, and all the other physical kinks are icing on the cake and a manifestation of that trust. I am a very tactile person, so closeness and touch are important to me in play – I don’t need a lot of toys or equipment to enjoy a scene.
Play comes in two very different forms for me. Casual play, with friends, is all about testing limits, both my own and theirs. For some, their body is a temple – mine is a laboratory; a science project. I am very open to casual play and do so regularly at parties and events. In these cases, gender and biological sex are not important to me.
The second kind of play for me is play within the context of an ongoing relationship. It can be fun and silly, painful and dark, purely primal and sexual, teeth gnashing. This kind of play is raw and emotional, saved for behind closed doors, and shared only with my partner.