The good, the bad & the ugly – A guest post from LILNR

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Cassandra (Sandy) Park is one of the coordinators for Long Island Leather N Roses as well as the organization’s webmistress. She has written several books about spanking and S&M, and is one of the featured authors in the First Annual BDSM Writers Con Anthology. She lives in Queens, NY.


Most of us have gone through breakups, in and out of the scene, and they are never easy, even for the partner who initiated the breakup. Sometimes there’s no way of avoiding pain or avoiding hurting someone else. But there are ways to try to make things easier, Eric Pride told Long Island Leather N Roses on Tuesday, July 22.

Think of it more as a “transformation”

For many people the word “breakup” means destruction or hatred, while using the term “transformation” can lead to civility and respect, Eric said. Also, people sometimes think a breakup means they’ve failed. Eric suggested instead to cherish the experiences you’ve had together and don’t consider it wasted time.

There are different types of breakups and different ways of initiating them. They can be unilateral and passive-aggressive (one party decides it’s over and just avoids the other person), or they can be bilateral and the terms can be peacefully negotiated. Of course there are many other scenarios that fall in between those two extremes.

It’s not wrong for a breakup to be unilateral; sometimes one person has to leave. The partner might not agree, but has to accept it. Other times, both people realize the relationship is no longer working. A bilateral, direct approach, if it’s possible, can give you the best outcomes, Eric said. Both parties agree to take steps so that they can end up as friends, and, in discussing the reasons for the breakup, both take full responsibility.

He also recommended:

  • Only breaking up face to face
  • Acting with respect and dignity
  • Avoiding a step-by-step dissection of what went wrong
  • Respecting and recognizing emotions, and sharing them within reason
  • Agreeing not to demonize and/or badmouth the ex-partner.

As the process continues, further negotiations can be made between the two parties to not fight, and to peacefully settle and distribute any shared finances or assets (such as who gets what in the toy bag!). He also said it helps to agree between you what’s going to stay private and what’s going to be disclosed to family, friends and the community.

Creating a clear end

Eric said that one of his relationships ended not long ago, and in the process he and his partner agreed to not see each other for at least a month. When people are involved in the scene, they are going to be in the same circles, so during that month of no contact, he and his partner negotiated which parties each would attend while the other went elsewhere. In some S/m or M/s breakups, the clear end may be an uncollaring, or some other ritual or ceremony to honor the past and pay tribute to what they had together.

What can the BDSM community do?

In a community that is actually somewhat small, Eric said, friends and acquaintances can do a lot to support both halves of the separating couple, such as:

  • Not choosing sides
  • Not spreading rumors
  • Letting the individuals tell their own story

All of these suggestions could be made just as easily to a separating vanilla couple, of course. But there are sometimes differences that come up because a couple is D/s or M/s. 

A Master may wonder if he can still call himself a Master if he no longer has a slave. 

A slave may feel a lack of guidance and direction, and, just like the Master, wonder if she is still a slave when the Master is gone.  The community can help a lot when someone is going through this, Eric said.

He encourages those who are struggling to ask for support, for a slave to perhaps seek out a temporary guardian, or for either of the pair to get therapy.  

Good intentions and communication can make the process less painful and the transformation easier to get through, he said.

About Eric Pride:

Eric, together with his wife Lady Christie, heads a structured, authority-based household in New York. The household celebrated its 10-year anniversary in 2012. The primary focus of the household is integrating healthy power-exchange dynamics into daily life and providing guidance, training, and support for its individuals. Eric enjoys consensual S&M, blogs on different aspects of the lifestyle, and gives presentations on alternative lifestyle relationships, structured authority-based living, S&M, ritual and spirituality. Eric has presented nationwide at numerous conferences, organizations and events. He is a founding member and an instructor at the Master/slave Development Center, an educational group for Masters and slaves. He is also the founder of NYC Kinky Living (NYCKL) and the producer of the hands-on immersive full-day events KinkWorks: Creating and Living Positive BDSM Lifestyle Relationships, PlaySpace, and EdgePlay. Contact Eric at



Image: Young Girl Holding a Letter by Caspar Netscher (public domain)

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