A woman named Aly Tadros penned a column for the NY Times’s Modern Love column that explores how she got herself into a B.D.S.M. “relationship” with a man she met on an online dating site, a man who lived with his girlfriend in an open relationship.
According to Ms. Tadros, she had just come out of a relationship with someone who she could not be herself with. They had been dating for a while, but she had never shared the pain and experiences of her childhood, especially about her relationship with her distant father. She also avoided any talk of why she did not drink, because alcohol was her way of coping and when she realized she had a problem, she stopped. Then one night, she opened up to him and it was too much, and the relationship ended.
Thinking she would never find healthy love or a relationship with a man who would accept her—she went on OK Cupid and saw that someone had “liked” her profile. When she clicked on, she almost laughed at his description. He was upfront about the dominance and his desire to leave her with marks when she went off to work. However she found she was intrigued and (embarrassed by) excited. So she read on. She told herself not to respond, then said what the heck and did, thinking, it’s only an email exchange. He responded back and somehow, after a number of back and forth communications, they met.
His thing was the rules he had with his girlfriend and his limited availability. This was to be a purely physical relationship. The first few dates they met, ate and talked. However at the end of the third date, he asked her if he could kick off the B.D.S.M. relationship. She agreed with some hesitation, and he then bit her hard on the shoulder before saying goodnight at the subway. After that it was early am’s at her place—and she was always left with marks, just like he said.
She stayed as long as she did (not very long) because with him, she could say anything. She could express herself in any way she wanted and he was unfazed and accepting. She talked about her father, her upbringing, her drinking issues, all of it, and he continued to come by.
It was only when she got a call from an ex who wanted to get together for dinner that something changed. They went out, laughed, shared a great meal and talked late into the night. In that moment, she came face to face with what she was missing and what she had settled for and why. She was able to break it off, and later went back online to find a dominant guy to her passive woman who wants a real relationship, with all that goes with it.
So was all this just a big waste of time? Probably not. Everyone has to have that moment, that epiphany when insights and past experiences and present behavior all come together—and clarity happens. Had she not met this guy, she could have continued floundering, unsure of what it is she needs and wants. This experience helped her know what that is. While I don’t recommend this kind of relationship to anyone, for all the obvious reasons—those who have had a relationship they regret would benefit from seeing what good might have come from it and greater self-awareness and self-knowledge is always good.