September/October 2002
The reality of online relationships

by Candid_1

What is it?

What is it with online D/s relationships? We go to a room and begin a lively exchange with someone who seems to match our interests. We begin to meet up there and soon, we hug and softly kiss. If all goes well, we go to a private messaging system to continue our exchange in more intimate and personal tones. Soon, we paint a picture of one anotherís personality, appearance and disposition. We turn off the computer and lie awake in bed thinking, how nice it could all be if onlyÖ.

Itís an alluring medium, which can create unreal images of all-too-real people. People online say and do things they generally would not, and can't do what they normally would. Emotions are either amplified or filtered. Usually both. Its a lovely way to get to know people from the inside out. Its also full of pitfalls, just as in real life. Our feet run after whatever our heart desires, and the only thing in our way is space-distance. The desire to close that gap can be more than alluring. It can be compelling and even obsessive.

To give due credit to the online medium as a means of exploring your D/s interests; there are several purposes it can serve. For one thing, itís a relatively safe place to experiment and to learn more about yourself, your D/s - BDSM interests and attractions. It provides a forum to play out certain fantasies without the dangers that real-life play can entail. Many people desire nothing more than this cyber-play from it, and thatís fine, so long as they are honest and donít mislead another intentionally. Players of hearts are the most despicable of online creatures. This is a real and present danger for those who jump too quickly into an actual D/s or M/s online relationship. If all you want is cyber-fun, find a good cyber-fun partner and explore till your heartís content. But, be fair and honest about the limits of your intensions.

Gimme more!

Some people want more than just cyber-fun but they arenít prepared to move their interests into a real life experience, especially at the beginning of their journey into D/s - BDSM. This is an opportunity to learn about the lifestyle through meeting others with similar interest as your own. Itís also an opportunity to experience some of the deeper emotions involved with submitting to another or topping a submissive. To take this a step further; it provides the dynamics to experience a more solid experience through the giving or wearing of an ownership collar. Thatís a pretty special thing for those who desire a deeper and more personal experience of the lifestyle. For some, this isnít enough.

Making it work real-time.

There are some who have found real-life happiness through online meetings. Real-life D/s couples have been formed, collars have adorned and marriages have been performed as a result of successful matches initiating from online introductions, but these successes are the exception rather than the rule.

Are there any particular reasons that a few succeed while most others have failed in their quest for meaningful real-life experiences? While Iíve conducted no official surveys, have collected no official data base and therefore have no scientific proof; I can share with you what Iíve observed over the years about the couples who have managed to meet their match. Here are my observations:

They know what they want in their real life and are willing to make sacrifices for it. The depth of these sacrifices should not be under-rated. It could mean changing your entire environment. This includes: Moving away from loved ones and the support youíve received from them. Sometimes it means leaving a son or daughter behind with their mother or father. Sometimes these sacrifices are devastating, ruining any chance of success the couple may have otherwise enjoyed, had distance not been an issue. Sometimes people actually do know what they want and are willing to make the necessary sacrifices to achieve it.

  • They meet real-time first, before diving headlong into a 24/7 relationship. This may not provide the immediate gratification that a full time relationship would provide, but it provides time for each partner to reflect on the experience without the pressure of having to make it work, or consider it (and yourself) a failure, as a result of it falling apart. Most often, individuals in successful relationships meet their partner several times (r/t) before taking the plunge into a committed 24/7 relationship.
  • They integrate with one anotherís tribe of family and friends before they commit full time to one another. Each person has a support system. For some, itís a strong and complex marix. For others, it may be only one or two trusted friends or relatives. If two people are going to successfully integrate, its important to integrate with all of them, including the partnerís family and important friends.
  • They have their economy worked out in advance. Before one or the other relocates, the financial welfare of the couple (and children) have been worked out in advance. Money problems have a way of killing the romantic spirit.
  • They enjoy common interests outside of the lifestyle. Letís say they have agreed that they both enjoy camping. Sounds great so far, online! Itís surprising how many versions of camping there are. To one, its a blanket atop the Cascade Mountains. To the other, itís a queen-sized mattress and a hot shower inside a 32 foot motor-coach. This might seem petty, but it reflects a real difference of tastes and meaning to the word, camping. Many people like cars. Only a few enjoy restoring them.
  • They enjoy private interests and have made provisions for them. Far be it from me to say what a Dom (Dommeí) should or shouldnít allow their submissive. Its not my place here to cast moral judgments. It is, however, my observation that successful and enduring relations include room for each partner to enjoy their individual hobbies and interests.

Of course, there are many who are not seeking a 24/7 relationship. Some people wish to participate in the lifestyle without the live-in aspect. In fact, some are not interested in finding a partner at all, and for these folks, there are plenty of friends to meet and events to attend, available through online sources and contacts.

Even though it should go without saying, it canít be said often enough: Whether your preference is for a lighted hearted and kinky cyber-fling, an enduring 24/7 real-time relationship or something in-between, be safe and sane about it, and always be certain its consensual.