When a Master/slave relationship comes to an end what does one do?

A Master / slave relationship is one of deep intensity and connection, and when that ends there are significant feelings and consequences. In this article I would like to explore what that can feel like, but then a suggestion about what we as a community should do for these events.

So what happens:

For this article I can only talk about the feelings from a slave side as that is what I have experienced.

When I’ve had my relationship with a Master finish I often go through the cliche 5 stages of grief:

  • denial
  • anger
  • bargaining
  • depression
  • acceptance

I often use a metaphor to describe how it feels. You are standing on stop of a cliff, and when the relationship ends you are pushed off it.

Now what happens when someone is pushed of a cliff? They panic and try and grab hold of anything that will stop them from falling. And perhaps for a time they do. The find a branch and hold on, but eventually it cracks and you continue your fall.

You instinctively fight it, but you are trying to fight against gravity. There is no way you can win against gravity. So inevitably you fall and crash to the ground with some force. You break into pieces, and then slowly start the process of putting yourself together again.

If you choose to jump – to end the relationship – it can be easier to reach the bottom. But when you have no control over it (and as a slave you often will not), this can be a scary experience. You may not even realise you are falling (denial), and do anything to stop yourself from crashing to the ground.

This happened to me last year. As I have grown older, I would like to think I have grown wiser, but when I was pushed off that cliff I went into survival mode trying to do anything to stop myself from crashing to the ground, even thought that effort was futile.

As a slave you did have this amazing connection with a Master. Having a Master completes you, giving you balance, and making you feel whole. Then when the relationship starts to break down you feel unbalanced, and you feel a hole in you soul. In fact it can feel like something has been ripped out of you.

When you are used to feeling unbalanced and unfilled- as in not serving for a few years, it can be easier to bear. But when you go from one state –  of being fulfilled, to the other state –  feeling empty, it can be a real shock. And so you might try and do anything to try and fill it again.

This can seen as trying to find another Master to serve, any person no matter what they are like or if they are suitable.

I hope by this point you can see this may be futile to do, and incredibly unhealthy.

What should we do instead?

We should mourn.

We should recognise we are at the end of something and mourn for it.

True Master/ slave relationships are very intense, and a slave feels great intensity and depth of emotions. They have also learnt to be very open and vulnerable to the Master. When the relationship ends the intensity of emotion is still there, but now the slave is feeling great loss, anger, rejection, depression, and they are incredibly open to feeling the full intensity of those emotions.

Because of this depth of emotion, perhaps we should recognise this as a death. And therefore deal with such a situation as death.

This requires:

1) Understanding of what has happened: The slave needs to recognise they are experiencing a death, and by recognising it, they can start the process to accept it. From my experience that may require people around them to help them realise it, or to have patience for the slave to come to that realisation themselves, to support to that point.

2) Have a ritual: Symbols and rituals are very important in slavery, and perhaps we should use these at the end of a relationship as well. Perhaps it is as simple as a candle burning in the fireplace, or perhaps you symbolically put your collar away somewhere for time, with ritual and ceremony.

I once bought a little wooden chest, and put some keep sakes in, and buried it with friends giving a little speech.

This should not be a ritual done in anger. For example cutting up a collar, but one done with sadness and grief, and with the recognition that something good has now come to pass.

3) A time to mourn: From my experience I would suggest approx one year. For some it maybe a little sooner than a year, or a little later. But we should then recognise that there is period where the slave needs to time to recover from the Master they served before finding another.

During the relationship with a Master a slave has taken many steps towards him. The slave now needs to take these steps back in reverse. An simple example can be taking ownership of your own look and feel again such as haricut. It seems so simple. But for a slave coming out of a relationship it is also a symbol that it has lost its Master, and it painful to do.

These steps back away from the Master the slave once served take time.

In olden times people would wear black clothes for a period of mourning. Perhaps a slave needs to realise they are in mourning, and to realise that to try and bind themselves to another Master is to soon, and they are simply not ready for it yet.

4) Community support: Finally I would recommend that we are a community help support these steps. To often the BDSM community is focussed on sex. The moment someone has issues or difficulties the scene is very good and pushing that person out and away. They are no longer fun, and therefore no longer useful. The “play toy” is no fun anymore and should go away until it is fun again.

But perhaps for those of us that live this as a lifestyle. We can be there for others during these hard times, and help support them. Help them to reconsider the need to mourn, and to be there for there funeral.

And when that time of mourning is passed, celebrate it as the opening of the next chapter of the slaves life, and to whatever comes next.

And perhaps if we can start doing these things, we have more chance of turning into a real community rather than what we have now,