“It’s so hard to find someone in the Lifestyle that I’m compatible with. You are so lucky to have found someone.”

I don’t know how many times I hear this on a daily basis when conversing. It always brings up my view on the whole dating atmosphere within the Lifestyle. Yes, it is hard to find that special partner who will give you what you want and compliment you in every aspect. However, think back to when you were dating in the vanilla realm. Was it just as hard? Some of you will say no, some will say yes. Those of you that say no, why is that you think?

(Why it seems like there are so few prospective partners to choose from is a different issue.)

Here’s what my opinion is on the subject. Vanilla dating seemed so much easier because we were not upfront and forward about what we needed and wanted in a relationship. Most regular dates I went on before finding my Master never included even the type of person I was looking for physically, let alone telling the person what you wanted in bed or out of the relationship as a whole. You just don’t talk about those things on dates until you both decide to try the relationship thing. In vanilla relationships, what you want and need is usually secretive at first, if expressed at all. Is it hard to find a partner in a vanilla world? Hell yes.

The difference with a BDSM or Lifestyle relationship is that we practically introduce ourselves with a checklist and wants and needs list. We come to the date and begin asking those direct questions of: what are you looking for in a Dom/sub? What do you see the ideal relationship being? What do you like to do during scene?

I feel that we approach a Lifestyle date very differently than we would in a vanilla context. Think about it the next time you are out on a new date. What do you talk about, what do you share with this stranger that you met not long ago? Now how would you go on a similar date with someone in a vanilla relationship? Would you be as upfront to them? No, most likely not. Why is that? You don’t want to scare them away, make them think you are a freak? Many other excuses come to mind.

So, you are thinking, if we come to people up front and share what we want and who we are, why is it still so hard to find the one we need in our lives? Simple, compatibility is hard. We are open with people from the start and so we shuffle through perspective people faster than traditional relationship cycles. This makes us feel like we will never find someone that works for us. It brings us down and envious of people that have found someone to be with, even for a time.

How we approach a Lifestyle date vs. a traditional date is what affects the way we find a partner. Some are looking for play partners, and we express that rather immediately with a Lifestyle date; however, in a traditional date, you wouldn’t say that you were just looking for someone for the sack and not expect to get slapped or called some offensive names. Those of us looking for relationships we sit down for our dates and talk about what we want and need in a relationship, right down to specifics. We get to know what the other person wants and needs, how they act in situations, how they see themselves and who they want to be years down the road. We know what they are like right way and can decide rather quickly if they will be a decent partner or not. A traditional date is superficial. It’s called date talk. Basically it's small talk, where neither party really volunteers any sort of information that would be beneficial to learning if that person is compatible. They just want to get out of the date or make it to the next. Traditional dating is a long process of getting to know one another, opening up and finding out that the person you’ve been seeing for months isn’t compatible with what you are looking for on one level or another.

Dating is dating. It’s not easy and how we approach it affects the outcome. A BDSM relationship is there for everyone. It’s not easy, but neither is a vanilla relationship. Once you adjust your thinking to how we go about dating and the changes in life that the Lifestyle brings upon us you will see that finding a partner is never easy. Once you do find that special one, you will be grateful for all the hard work.