Dating while kinky can be fun. It can also be immensely frustrating! Finding and connecting with a partner who matches you on desire, relationship compatability, and personality is difficult at best. It can be easy to find someone to play with but much harder to find a long-term romantic partner.
For many submissives, being single is hard in the same way being single for anyone can be hard. However, kinky folks have an added component of feeling like they are not “really a submissive” or “really kinky” if they are not partnered.
If you have been on a bunch of dates, enjoyed a bit of pick-up play, and have scoured dating sites looking for love but not found THE one(s) you want, here are some common stumbling blocks and ways to address them.
You Are Too Specific
A common exercise for single folks is to create “the list.” The list is a set of characteristics you desire in a potential partner. If someone lacks items on the list, you screen them out of the dating pool.
While the list can be helpful for identifying major areas of compatability, people often get very specific, therefore screening out a lot of potential matches and scaring off even more. The more exacting you get with your list, the less likely you are to find someone who meets all the parameters.
You Are Not Specific Enough
Yes, I just said not to get too specific. However, you can err on on the other end of the spectrum and not be specific enough about what you want and need in a relationship. If the search parameters are too broad, you run the risk of having to go on coffees with many incompatible partners before finding one who is even close to being a match.
So what is a sub to do? The trick with coming up with a list of characteristics for a desired partner is to hone in on the big areas where there must be compatability and leave out the rest. If you are looking for a dominant, that you clearly want to screen out all partners who have no interest in being dominant (e.g., other submissives, aggressively vanilla folks). However, weeding out people who have not settled on an identity in the kink community or switches greatly narrows the pool. Switches and people still finding thier place in the community might be great partners for you, depending on where you are in your submissive journey.
You Believe You Have To Love Yourself First
We have to stop telling people that they cannot be loved unless they love themselves first! You can have a complicated relationship with yourself and still be worthy of love and care by others. You can still be in a successful relatioship before you fully love and accept yourself. Stop thinking you have to fully embrace all parts of you before you find love.
You Are Not Honest About Your Own Bandwidth
Being single can be hard. It gets lonely and can be depressing for many people. However, to have a successful relationship (nots just a play partner) you need to have the emotional and temporal bandwidth to connect and develop a relationship.
If you find that parnters are not clicking because they want more from you than you have time and energy for, examine why you are limiting time with them. If you have lots of other obligations (e.g., work commitments, raising children, caring for elderly parents) you may not be at a time in your life where pursuing a romantic long-term relationship is possible. We all have to balance time, activities, and where we invest energy. Not every point in our lives is great for pursuing a relationship.
You Compromise Too Readily
Compromising to please a partner is a big weakness of many submissives. By our nature, we want to please and serve our parnters. Compromising your needs, desires, time and more is part of a power exchange relationship. However, you still need boundaries and balance.
Compromising Too Early
Watch out for the need to compromise too early in a relationship. If you start negotiating away your needs and boundaries from day one, this is a sign of an unbalanced relationship. Healthy power exchage relatioships begin on an equal footing. Partners get to know each other, negotiate, and over time, their relationship develops.
If a partner demands major commitments or compromises from the start, this is not a great sign for your future. A partner who demands that “All my submissives must…” and whatever the demand is falls in an area you are not comfortable with, hold off on committing. A good partner will work with your needs and boundaries to create a relationship which works for both of you.
Compromising on Key Areas
As there are hard and soft limits when it comes to sex and kink play, we all have hard and soft limits with relationships. We all have a relationship style (e.g., monogamous, monogamish, polyam, open). If you are very comfortable with one relationship style but not others, this is a key area for compatability. If you value monogamy and your potential partner demands an open relationship from day one, you most likely do not want to compromise in this area.
You Don’t Really Know What You Want
Most relationship columns assume you know what you want in a partner and relationship. Just saying you want a college educated woman over 30 wtih no kids does not translate into really knowing what you want in a relationship. Knowing what you wants means identifying key things like relationship style, power exchange needs, how kind and funny does the persion need to be, how much of an extrovert or introvert do you want.
While you don’t have to love yourself to date successfully, you do need to be able to identify what is really important to you. If you keep meeting people who seem to be a good match on paper but just don’t work out, it might be time to re-evaluate what you are looking for.
Correcting the Issues
How do you come up with a list that is not too specific and not too general? Identify what is and is not working or you in matches? I’m here to help!
Evaluate how important these things are in a partner:
Kink Needs. Kink plays differnet roles in people’s lives. For some of us, we crave daily power exchange. We feel most secure and happy when we are with a partner in power exchange. For other people, their desire may be fulfilled by an occasional paly date at a dungeon. For others still, kink may only play a small role in their lives. Be honest with yourself about your deisres around kink and then be honest with potential partners about your needs.
Kindness. Kindness is a key predictor for determining how long a relationship lasts. Partners who are kink are more likely to stay together. Some people get the idea that a dominant must be cruel or rude. This is absolutely not the case. Even the most sadistic play partner needs to have a kind streak. For example, my long-term dominant will hand me a pillow for my knees before violently fack-fucking me because, as he puts it, “He is a sadist, not an asshole.”
Wilingness to Grow with You. Many dominants focus on helping their submissive grow into the role. This is wonderful! However, dominance is as much of a journey as submission is. Is your potentinal partner willing to continue to learn and grow? How much do you desire to see your dominant change?
Ideology This covers a wide range of beliefs for a person. It can include how they approach kink; political beliefs; religious beliefs; child-rearing beliefs and more! Most of us do not perfectly align with our parnters on all beliefs. You need to determine which areas you are comfortable with disagreement and which you won’t be able to sustain. If religion is key for you, dating an atheist may not be a real option. If you believe in lots of boundaries for children, a person who is very permissive may not be a great match. If neither of you have kids, this difference won’t matter.
Relationship Orientation Everyone has a preferred relationship orientation. One dimention is on the monogamy-open spectrum. Another dimention is authoritarian – relaitonship anarchy. When you are vetting potential partners, discuss both areas for relationships. Additionally, make sure you both define how you are using the terminology. One person’s monogamish is not the same as another’s.
Shared Interest Figure out how importnt it is that you and your partner’s share overlapping interests. As a submissive, chances are you will be asked to participate in many of your partner’s hobbies or interests. How much time do you want them to spend doing yours? Are you comfortable pursing your own interstes without them? Talk about these areas and needs.
Long Term Goals/Plans Kink relationships are like any other relationship in that this is an ongoing partnership and you both have long term goals and plans. While you may align in the kink area well, this does not mean you desire the same things long term. Make sure you understand what each other is working toward and decide if that is a journey you want to go on together.
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