Dear Submissive Guide,

In May I met a wonderful Dom online. We talked on the phone every night and I was over the moon for him. He was the first to say I love you and my self-protect wall started to melt. In my dating profile, I was explicit about not wanting to relocate because of a disease I have and the fact that I have a medical team together that I do not want to leave. It took forever to find them all!! At first, he said that was great because he wanted to relocate, but here we are 9 months later he's still 277 miles away and now says I have to come to him because he doesn't want to be in my state. I moved forward with him because I trusted him when he told me over and over that moving was okay for him.

I love him and don't want to give him up but I am starting to question if he actually intended at all to come to me, or if he ever really loved me at all?  I asked him if we could make up a contract so we always remembered and we both knew what we agreed to, and if we had to change something we did it together. He doesn't like the idea of having a contract, it's too impersonal for a couple that wants to spend a lifetime together. His other big line lately is that I'm the slave (which I never agreed to, I always only ever agreed to sub) and had no rights so I'd go where he wants me, with him. Sometimes I wonder if he's two different people, or someone playing games, or something weird going on.  What do I do? My heart is on the line. Just writing this and thinking about walking away from him sends me into an hour long cry fest. HELP!

Sincerely, Confused and Sad

Dear Confused,

I know that the idea of walking away from a relationship you believe in and a person you trusted is heartbreaking, soul-wrenching actually. It can be one of the most awful feelings in the world, but let’s look at a few things:

You were upfront that you don’t want to move because of your medical condition and health team (something I think most people would understand). You never hid this fact, and it was something your Dominant knew when he met you. He also said he was okay with this. Now he wants something different. Because this isn’t just a personal choice you’ve made but a medical one, his reluctance is suspicious. While we all do D/s a little different, in loving relationships a Dominant’s responsibility is to the health and well-being of their submissive. Staying where you are allows you to stay healthy and deal with your illness. The last thing he should be doing is pressuring you to make a major move like that - not without showing you how you could rebuild your medical team in his area (which I doubt has happened).

The next point is about contracts. Contracts aren’t a requirement of D/s and many relationships never create a formal one. Under other circumstances, I would say that you simply have to decide how important it is to you. But taken in the context of your question, his reluctance to have a contract is suspicious.

No, contracts aren’t impersonal and yes, even couples who spend a lifetime together can and do have them. You might not always need it, but if it helps you remember what you’ve agreed to (even if that’s the only purpose it serves) there’s nothing wrong with that. Normally, I would say not having one isn’t that big of a deal, but your entire question makes me thinks he doesn’t want anything written down because then he doesn’t have to be held accountable to his own promises.

Why do I think that? Let’s look at the last major point in your question.

The fact that he now refers to you as a slave with no rights is scary. If you’d agreed to that, and it worked for you, great, but you didn’t. The moment he declares that you are required to follow specific rules or do things you never agreed to do (and don’t want to do), he’s on the outside of a consensual act, and he should be viewed with skepticism and even a little fear. It’s possible that he’s extremely uneducated about BDSM, but my first instinct is to believe that it’s not lack of knowledge but an incorrect belief that as your Dominant he can do whatever he wants regardless of how you feel or what you want. Worse, that he said what you needed to hear to start the relationship and now is switching gears to being a controlling, domineering partner instead of a caring Dominant.

As difficult as it is to imagine, walking away may be exactly what you need to do. Yes, it hurts. Yes, you might even feel ridiculous or stupid for letting yourself stay in this situation (you shouldn’t feel that way, but a lot of us do). You may even be scared to be on your own, but it’s better to be alone than in an unhealthy relationship (kinky or otherwise) with someone who’s not taking your needs, wants, and even medical condition into consideration and thinks they can do whatever they want because they’ve got the title of Dominant.

I always recommend open communication and a full, honest, brutal explanation of your feelings before walking away. It sounds like you’re trying to do that. If not, have the conversation, but if he’s unwilling to change or continues to say and do things that go against what you consented to in the beginning and what you want out of a D/s relationship, it’s better (and safer!) to walk away, deal with the pain, and (when you’re ready) look for a Dominant who understands that D/s isn’t all about the “D.”