There’s no how-to for the worst. No one likes to talk about the hard truths of M/s or 24/7 dynamics; that they are hard, almost impossible to maintain. That they require time and energy and commitment on both ends. That they can be draining on vanilla life. On your mental health. That unless you have the spoons and tools and time to put into it, that you shouldn’t do it. M/s is BEAUTIFUL, but there are degrees in it. No one tells you any of these things until it’s too late. This is the letter I needed to see a little over two years ago.
Dear little lost one,
Breathe. I know it hurts. I know everything is on fire and numb all at once, but you need to breathe. It’s going to hurt long before it gets better.
Put away the phone. Out of sight, a little bit less in mind. I know you don’t want to hear this, but distance is the best thing in the world for you right now. You’re not going to wake up and have everything suddenly get better. You can’t undo what’s been done, nor should you. The world is different. There was a collar and now there isn’t. It’s okay to hurt, to feel it. It’s okay to cry, and scream like an animal, but don’t get lost in it. Each time it feels like too much close your eyes and breathe. Get through the pain bit by bit.
Next challenge is eating. No one is going to tell you to. Not even if you check that phone that should still be living in your purse for another week or so. Nothing is going to taste good. But like I said, it’s going to hurt a lot before it gets better and it can’t get better if you die of malnutrition along the way. Instant meals are your friend, for now. Consume as needed.
You don’t have to pretend that it’s all okay. I know it isn’t. Your direction is gone, and that’s terrifying. Your protector is gone. Your safe space is suddenly the most painful thing in your life. You aren’t anyone’s.
Here’s the thing. Before you were anyone’s, you were yourself.
There was a time before the collar, just as there will be a time after, and while it’s hard to remember through the haze of pain you survived without the collar around your neck. Without a man called Master giving directions. Without having to ask permission for dates, and food, and play.
Now that you’re breathing, your phone is safely hidden, and you’ve gotten some food in your stomach here’s what you do.
Keep a healthy distance to allow time and space for healing. Do NOT go to a play event two days after breaking up and try to get him to spank your ass. Do NOT then drive him home and have to sit alone in a car with him till 5 am wondering if he will touch you or not. He won’t, and it will continue to confuse the fuck out of the reality that you two are done and everything is different.
Please understand that I am friends with a good portion of exes and former lovers. I’ve identified more and more as Demi as time has gone on. It takes an emotional closeness for me to want to be fucked senseless (although trust me, that’s there), and more often than not that means a fantastic friendship is built up before romance. Even after a romantic relationship ends I have typically resurrected a friendship in its place, but that takes time. A breakup puts you much further back than the beginning. You’re not starting at zero. You’re starting at -100 for trust, caring, intuition…did I mention TRUST? All of that takes time to heal, and won’t be easy. Time apart before trying to sew any sense of relationship together is a very, very good idea. It will feel strange, but until you’ve put yourself back together and remembered who you were before you were a WE there’s nothing to be rebuilt.
You can’t go back in time. Wanting you two back together is one thing, but don’t try to resurrect what was when you spend time together. It will be very hard to call him your ex. It will be hard to say friend. Or former partner. Practice it, to yourself. And no, you’re not a freak for doing so. Practice saying his name instead of Master or Sir, over and over, until you stumble less. It’s not a curse word. It’s not too informal, and sometimes it can hurt less to say “Oh James and I aren’t together” rather than, “My ex Master”. Especially if his first name is foreign to you after having titles for so long. That little bit of the unfamiliar can give you a little extra time to adjust and heal. That phase of the relationship is over. There’s no definite on what will happen after, but you and them part one is closed.
Come up with a mantra or sentence for sticky and overly-painful situations where you don’t quite have the words. Like when someone asks you how your Master is and you just want to cry. Or scream. Or flip him the bird because he’s across the room and could see you do it. It’s going to be hard to respond with what you need to, that you two aren’t together anymore. There are going to be nights when you have to repeat it five, ten, twenty times because of circles you two run in, and it’s going to be a lot easier for the one that removed the collar than for the one missing it. These tough situations often mean freezing, or saying ‘good’ out of habit instead of answering with the long mouthful that is the truth. This will end in trouble if not remedied. Nothing causes waves more than the idea of you denying the breakup, and not being able to spit out that mouthful will look to your former partner as if that is what you’re doing. The phrase will absolutely suck, but give it time. It does eventually hurt less.
Decide what level you wish to be involved in the community. Or rather, what is a healthy level for you to be so. Relationships tend to change our relationships with the communities around them. Some need a break to recover. Others want to throw themselves back in at full speed
Be careful with breakup burnout. It’s a thing, where suddenly you go from taken to banging everything that moves until you crash and burn into an emo pile of woe and angst. Breakup rebounds are legit, just be careful you don’t throw yourself in with such gusto that you forget to feel the feels. And yes, feeling the feels is required. Numbing it with others won’t work. They’re not going to be able to itch that scratch that only one specific top cam, no matter how many souls you bottom for. It won’t make that itch go away. You’ll still want that specific touch, and the more you try to replace it with others instead of letting yourself feel the pain the more likely you’re going to cause more emotional trauma.
You matter as more than just “X’s Girl”. I know that’s hard to fathom after being someone’s is your entire identity. You were someone’s. Now, you are you, and that can be an amazing thing in and of itself. I know it seems like a lonely thing right now, but it being you and not the Master you always hide behind gives you space to sparkle. Be seen. And yes, you do deserve to be seen and you are worthy. Give it time. Give it some play parties that you go to alone, maybe ones you never went to with him. Give it nights out with friends that know just how to distract you and maybe even dates with other partners (especially if you’re poly).
In time, your relationship with your former Master may not be what you would want, but it will be what you need. It’s hard. You want them to scoop you up again and call them yours and bite you. But then you see the bags under their eyes, even when they aren’t having to worry about scheduling you in. You see lack of room for a partner, or all these issues you never noticed were there. Do you want to rebuild a friendship? Do you want to distance yourself and wait it out and see where romance could go? Do you want to continue to adapt to he changing relationship, or do you want to cut the chord. Guess what? You aren’t a slave in this choice. You have equal say in whatever this future will become.
Rebuilding anything will take time, and it very likely will not give you your hearts desire, but rebuilding at the start of friendship allows something unique. Suddenly your former Master is a man. He’s taken off his high horse and is human just like the rest of the men and women around you. Suddenly, flaws are visible. You watch and see mistakes. You see where something is his fault, or where he caused that. You see that not everything that went wrong was your fault. That there were two flawed humans in a relationship and sometimes that doesn’t end well.
You were human. So was he. That is allowed. And here, with formalities removed, you have the power to tell him no. To say something is too much. To call him an asshole and unfair when he’s being an asshole and unfair. You have the power to ignore your phone, and to avoid interactions and to draw boundary lies.
You both have the power to say what you two adapt into. That may mean a platonic friendship, that may mean a new romantic relationship with a switched up dynamic. That may mean both of you going separate ways down different paths. Either way, you will go on. You are more than just your Master’s. IF your brain is unkind and tells you that the opposite is true, you can always count on this.
Your Master picked you for a reason. There was something about you, in the beginning, that drew their eye. It was there before. It will be there again to draw another eye. You are so much more than just your Master’s, and if anything you will grow from this experience. It will hurt, and ache, and I can’t guarantee or promise that itch to be under that particular hand will ever be scratched for another. It hasn’t for me. I can’t promise that there will be a time that you aren’t hyper aware that he’s there, or what his needs are, or if he’s sick or tired or cranky.
I can say that in time you will laugh again. That food will taste good again. That eventually the hurt lessens, even if the small ache never quite goes away. You will come away knowing yourself better, both in what is healthy for you emotionally, and what you have the capacity to overcome. You are so much stronger than you think you are. Let a powerful relationship teach you, not bring you down.
I learned from my collar coming off that I was resilient as fuck. That I mattered in the community as more than James’s sqeaky toy and somewhere along the line had become an asset to them. I learned how to properly get in to a Citadel event when you weren’t a plus one, and discovered that I enjoyed being able to get myself in without the help of others. I enjoyed once again choosing what kink events I was involved in and which ones I missed. I controlled my schedule and didn’t have to double check with another every time I made plans.
You are so much more than what you think. You are capable of so much more. It’s okay to change with the loss of a collar. I can’t wear collars that lock, it’s a hard limit for me now. It’s much easier to be led by a harness than by a leash. I don’t submit as deeply as easily as I once did. There are lots of trust road blocks, and often play dynamics go at a very slow burn buildup for me. But I discovered a dynamic I didn’t even know existed in me with the partner that followed my Master, and while some itches aren’t being scratched so many new ones are. Different is very okay, and there’s so much more out there than M/s.
There is more than just this relationship. You will keep going. You will be okay.
Yours, then and now