QUESTION:
Dr Brame ~ I'm not sure if this is the type of question you can answer, but I followed the links from your website. I've recently been tuning into my submissive tendencies, and in doing so, I've discovered that someone I've become very close to online is a Dom. He has instructed me to find information and articles on how to have a fulfilling long distance D/s relationship and I'm finding it very difficult. So far, all I can find are message boards and chat transcripts and it's not all that helpful. We have no intention of meeting any time soon due to our respective responsibilies, so my quesion is this: How can we construct a fulfilling LDR via phone and internet? Any advice or direction you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

ANSWER:
I'll do my best to give you an answer but, obviously, it will have to be general.

First I don't know of any reliable sources of information on Long Distance (cyber) Relationships (LDR's). However I suspect that there are others in your situation you have posted comments about their personal experiences on their web pages. A bit of digging around, or posting a query on Usenet, may yield some URLs for you to check out. However, always remember that what works for one couple may not always apply to your situation or work for you. So always take advice on personal sites for what they are: subjective points of view that are great for providing ideas and insights but which should never be taken for gospel or the final word on how you should conduct your relationship.


Another course I recommend is that you join a BDSM mailing list or a message board/forum area and simply ask other participants about their experiences with LDR's. I host a very well-traveled BDSM message board at gloria-brame.master.com where you could join (for free) and solicit opinions from a wide range of adults.


Now for some more specific advice on your question: "How can we construct a fulfilling LDR via phone and internet?"


Here are some tips.


1. Thousands of people are, indeed, conducting successful relationships via phone and Net, so rest assured that it is not an unrealistic goal to make a LDR work for you two.


2. Set up a schedule that makes sense to you both. For example, how often can you afford to spend on the Net/phone with your partner, without it detracting from or disrupting your real-world responsibilities? How much time can you afford to speak by phone without accumulating huge bills? Perhaps your Dom can even set up a schedule for you, so you know what you are expected to do each day (a morning email or a goodnight email, a fixed schedule for meeting on-line, etc.)


3. Set ground-rules. As with any real-life BDSM relationship, there should be rules for Safe, Sane, Consensual interactions by phone and Net. You might, for example, want to consider creating a contract together which lays out your commitments to each other. For example: does he have the right to order when you get on or off-line, or does your daily life make it impossible for you to fulfill such whims? Another important area: what are his responsibilities to you? Can you expect him always to be available when he says he will be available? A contract is a great way to iron out differences and set expectations that you can both fulfill.


4. People often dispute whether cybersex and cyber-relationships are "real." In my opinion, they are VERY real. If both people are sincere, and their feelings of love and/or lust are mutual, beautiful things can (and often do) happen. In fact, I met my husband on-line 13 years ago and we had a LDR for the first 8 months. Our transition from cyber to 3D was, well, wonderful. :-)


On the other hand, please be aware that on-line is like off-line: you can't really know someone fully until you have spent quality time with them in the flesh, and have had the opportunity to see how they behave in the day-to-day. Some people successfully project an image on-line and by phone that they cannot live up to in reality.


The best way to stay safe, emotionally, is to take it nice and slow. Don't give away your heart too quickly; don't agree to obey orders that make you uncomfortable until you have very good reason to trust in the person's sincerity and responsibility; and don't lose sight of the fact that until you do spend time together, and are sure that you both are compatible (not just sexually but that you share similar values and goals), a Net-and-phone only relationship carries NO guarantee of real-life success.


In other words, you should both try to remain as cautious and realistic as possible until that day when you are ready to begin discussing a transition to face-to-face encounters.


Hope that helps!


best,


Gloria G. Brame, PhD



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