CW: mentions of Daddy/boy kink.
I broke up with a partner this year.
The relationship had been over for a while and both of us were at fault, as is normally the case. But we didn’t want to accept it so we just clung to what we had while treating each other worse and worse because we were feeling bad.
Actually, I won’t speak for him here. I did that. I wanted so much for things to get better but I was hurt and couldn’t get over my own bad feelings enough to see the harm I was also causing. I thought that if I just waited long enough, things would get better – but they didn’t. The breakup sucked for us both, but it was needed, and we like each other more now than when we were stuck in that space together, so that’s progress.
The ending of the relationship, the breakup, and the recovery were all hard on me. In some ways it was easier than expected, but in other ways much worse. One of the things that hit harder was the loss of him as my submissive. Not for the sex, though that was great, but the connection I had through that dynamic and the security it brought me.
I had never lost someone who was my submissive before, and I fully wasn’t prepared for how that would impact me differently than if he was just my partner. And because it’s me and it’s kink, he was also a part of my professional life, which complicated things even further.
I had to look at the penis toys in my review pile and send emails to companies apologizing that I had to miss deadlines; effectively apologizing to strangers for the fact that he and I couldn’t make it work. I hate that a failed relationship affected my ability to get my work done to this degree. I wonder how long it will be before I want to tie another human, or until certain things I bought with him in mind feel like mine. There’s a pin on my dresser that says “Daddy“. It was a gift from the folks at Kink Toronto and I hadn’t gotten a chance to wear it yet, or even show him, and I was so looking forward to sharing that with him. I wonder if I’ll ever find a reason to use it now, now that that title feels…bad…to me. I might find my way back to it eventually, with someone else, but I don’t feel like a Daddy, I feel like his Daddy, and I don’t feel like that anymore, and the distinction is important.
He demoed for me in some classes – hell, certain classes were written specifically for demoing on him. I ran them again without him and was forced to rewrite some of my favourite parts because they simply didn’t work with anyone else.
I stumbled through my classes with a new demo bottom one weekend at a conference. I was off my game already because everything at the conference reminded me of how our relationship was over (even though it wasn’t yet, technically). He was supposed to be there with me but when our relationship shifted, we didn’t try. My chronic illness was acting up because I was tired and emotional, and I missed him and my classes didn’t go well. They felt like the worst I’ve ever run and I left that weekend questioning my ability as a presenter. I had to run his class and be a good professional dominant and teacher while trying not to think about the last time I stood up there and the way he smiled up at me, extending his arm before I had to ask, giving me the kind of trust and openness and understanding that you only get through time and intimacy.
People critiqued me later for not having enough visuals. They were right, but I was trying my best.
People talk a lot about what kink and protocol does for the submissive, but not as much about what it gives to the dominant, and my dynamic with him gave me a lot.
I don’t miss dating him. That wasn’t working for either of us. I do miss the role we had in each other’s lives, though. I miss how ordering him through a task or assisting him with it motivated me for my own work. I miss how the energy I gave to the dynamic was matched and returned, invigorating me further. I miss the way that the Daddy/boy dynamic we had fueled my love of helping people grow and the way it made me feel about myself. Because the thing about losing a submissive is that you’re not just losing the person you dated and loved. It’s more than that. When someone takes multiple important roles in your life, their absence leaves holes in each of these areas that you need to mourn.
When you have a power-exchange relationship, there’s an intimacy there that most relationships don’t have without it. I like to play hard regardless what role I’m taking, and part of playing hard includes delving deep into how your brain works and explaining it to another person – the good, the mediocre, the bad, the traumatic. Being that open and communicative is hard (and something that people in all kinds of relationships may do), but allowing the other person permission to use that knowledge to manipulate you to agreed upon ends in your daily life, and to use that to push you further during scenes…that’s different.
Even though we hadn’t engaged in kink for months, the end of the relationship itself felt like the dynamic was ripped from me suddenly, and I felt lost. I didn’t know how to talk when he was no longer part of my life; I hadn’t realized how often I talked about him because of his role as my submissive, not just my partner. At the grocery store I ran into the lady who made his collar and she asks if it’s fitting him comfortably. I stumbled through the interaction, temporarily frozen by the memory of how his face lit up when he tried it on for the first time and it actually fit him. I wonder if he’ll wear it with other partners and that thought feels bad, even though I know it shouldn’t since it wasn’t a collar I gave him. I tell a story about that time I used this toy on my submis – I stop. I correct my language. He’s not my anything, not anymore, and that was my doing.
I felt thrown out of sync with my own submission, and have had to struggle not to push away from dominants that I engage with. At the same time, I felt removed from my dominance, too. I’ve played with some subs who I’m very attracted to but my heart’s not in it yet, I’m just going through the motions and trying not to let the end of one thing ruin all the good that’s still happening.
Some days are more successful than others.
I know I will get used to him no longer being mine and I know that I will find my dominance again, but for a while it felt broken.
There is no roadmap or guide online to how to deal with this loss. There’s nothing to help you figure out where to go from here. I wrote this piece months ago and have sat on it, reading it every now and then, seeing how my feelings have changed and I’m doing better now. I don’t find myself accidentally talking about him in the same way as I used to. I’m still sad when I think about the dynamic ending, but I know that this is the right thing, and I know we’re both better apart. I find myself less willing to invest in submissives than I used to be, and it feels like I’m punishing myself by withdrawing from something that brings me so much joy. But I know that I’m not quite there yet, and I can’t give a submissive what they need until I am able to trust my own dominance again. And right now, I still need to teach myself how to be dominant without him.