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BDSM/BDSM guy acting weird

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Question
Hi there,

I (female) have been involved in a long distance BDSM relationship with a submissive man for 5 years (not all of it was long distance). He is my first BDSM experience. He constantly calls himself my "slave" although I think of him as a submissive rather than a "slave". We have regular play sessions and our communication is very frequent. We have never had a total power exchange arrangement and we have never lived together. Our BDSM life is totally secret. No one knows about it except the two of us. When we started it, I didn't expect it to last this long. I love him a lot and we have a lot of fun together.

A constant source of struggle for me is every once in a while he goes through these weird periods where he feels shitty about his own masochistic tendencies and claims that he is not a slave and has never been a slave and does not need or want a mistress and this was all just for fun and that he can stop whenever he wants. So then we stop talking for a while. After a while, he acts as if nothing happened and starts to contact me again and starts calling me mistress and wants me to dominate him and then everything goes back to normal. I don't know if sometimes he feels guilty or if I do something to turn him off or what happens. But we have this pattern of sporadic periods of a few weeks (1-8 weeks) triggered by him where we don't talk to each other but otherwise we have been "on" for the past 5 years.

So a few weeks ago, he casually brought up the subject of marriage with me. I was surprised because although I do love him, I never thought he wanted to take it to that level. But then out of the blue, he has totally changed his tune and is now saying that he wants to find a vanilla woman to marry and wants to still keep me on the side as his "mistress". Needless to say, I told him no. This isn't fair to me or to this hypothetical future wife. My question is, what's gotten into him? Is he feeling shitty about himself again? Does he actually think it's a good idea to marry a vanilla woman but keep a dominant mistress on the side "for fun"? Do they not think of this as cheating somehow? He says that he wants to marry a good woman but that a good woman would not want to dominate him anyways. He says he wants a nice wholesome woman to bring to his family. I was pretty offended because he was implying somehow that I am a dirty whore or something, which I am not. He didn't say it like that but it was implied in the way he said it. Then when I told him if he wants to marry a vanilla woman, he should go and find one but I'm not going to be his mistress anymore, he says he can go and find someone on craigslist.

I just don't know how to make sense of all this and I'm pretty devastated and offended. I haven't spoken to him since that time and he hasn't tried to contact me either. I would just accept this as his choice, although I don't want any part of it. Except that I am almost certain that a few weeks from now, he is going to come back and act like nothing happened and that he didn't say any of these things. I'm mainly looking for some sort of logical explanation from others who can see the situation objectively. I could ask him but I think it might be too emotionally painful for me to hear his reasons from his own mouth and I also doubt he even knows why he acts this way.

What is he doing? Why is he doing this? What am I doing wrong? What should I do now?

Sincerely,
Sad&Confused

Answer
Your sadness and confusion are understandable.

A few observations for you to consider:

1.  He has a big internal conflict about his desires (needs?) for kinky activities and a power-based relationship.  It seems pretty clear that at some level he considers it "wrong."  Why he does is hard to say - certainly without more information.  But his periodic efforts to push away, his stated desire for a vanilla marriage, and comments about a "nice wholesome woman" clearly suggests that he has problems accepting who he is and what he wants.

2.  His inconsistency and discomfort is a problem for your relationship and for you.  It sounds like you're no longer willing to put up with it.  Only you can make that decision.  But if that is your decision, stick to your guns

3.  One reason it's so important to stick to your decision is that he is effectively controlling the relationship.  He repeatedly decides when you take a break and when you restart things.  You can't be the Mistress if continues to exert this control.

4.  Whether you want marriage or not, TPE or not, you need to have someone who shares your perspective.  We all have moments of self-doubt.  This appears to be much deeper.  

The situation sucks.  But I hope you'll decide what you want to do and do it.  It's not simply that you need to exercise control in your power-based relationships (which you do), it's also that you need to see and act on your own needs.  I know how hard it can be to gain perspective when we're right in the middle of things.  But it's something we need to do.

Best of luck,

Ben

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Ben Martin

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Questions related to power-based relationships in which decision-making authority is intentionally and consensually transferred -- and the resulting imbalance celebrated. I am able to assist those trying to understand where they fit in, and those seeking to structure and thrive in a power based relationships. Specific topics I am able to discuss include: setting and achieving personal and relationship goals, responsible Mastery, the use of protocols and rituals, communication techniques, and conflict resolution. In addition, I am knowledgable and experienced in polyamory, long-distance relationships, bisexuality and a variety of kinky activities ranging from mind games to sadistic play.

Experience

I have chosen to have a power-based structure in my relationships over the past 18 years. This has included a 16-year M/s relationship, several shorter term D/s relationships and various play partners. I am an active participant in various online forums and seek to provide support and advice to those interested in the Lifestyle.

Organizations
Black Rose

Publications
My writings, insights and discussion contributions are available on Alt.com and FetLife.com. On both websites, my user name is BenMartin

Education/Credentials
I do not hold any credentials specific to BDSM, relying instead on knowledge gained from life experiences, reading and conversing with others in the Lifestyle.

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