This was first posted on my Fetlife blog in 2009, shortly after Sir and I came together.
In a group I frequent, a friend sort of coined the phrase ‘due diligence’. Justin and I have sort of adopted it as our own since we’ve come together. And recently I’ve had a couple of people ask me specifically to talk about what it means to me and how this helped Justin and I come together well. And so I’ll give this a try.
I see so many submissives come into this life who are so eager to get to the BDSM part of things that they forget it’s about human relationships. People talk about limits and how someone pushed their limits or broke their trust. And it turns out when that happens that they didn’t do their ‘due diligence’ before starting up. They were in such a hurry that all they talked about was BDSM, not real life. That’s where I see the biggest mistakes happening in new D/s relationships.
Understand, I’m not talking about play partners or bedroom-only submission. I’m talking about 24/7 D/s or M/s life.
When Justin and I first started talking, it was just friendly banter because we enjoyed posting together. In my mind at the time, there was no possible relationship because he lived in GA and I have a custody issue that means I’m tied to AZ until Bratgirl turns 18, in 3 1/2 years. I had no intention of moving in a relationship direction and I’ve never been one to do the online/long distance thing.
But as our chats via personal messages progressed, we found that we had quite a bit in common. So we started talking on the phone. Again, there was no intent on my part for a relationship at this point because I just didn’t see it as a possibility. Just friendly banter. But as we talked, we moved away from the banter and into life. Who we are, our past, including the painful stuff and the hard stuff, what we wanted out of life. Justin started to get into my head, and in many ways, I started to get into his head. We talked about the mistakes we had each made. The emotional damage we each had. The baggage we each carried. Our talks moved away from both BDSM and friendly banter into the realm of real life. What daily life was like for each of us and what each of us wanted out of it.
I think in many ways, as we talked, we were both able to be a little more open because I don’t think at this point either of us really thought it was a possibility that we would ever get together. I mean, he lived 1500 miles away and I couldn’t move. Justin said that everyone deserved an ‘impossible dream’ and that I was his. By this time, I was very in touch with that.
I had made the decision a few months before that I was no longer looking, that I was one of those people for whom relationships just don’t seem to work. I had walls 3 feet thick and 10 feet high, and no one was getting inside them. I was DONE. But Justin was safe – actually for several reasons and only one of them had to do with distance. Because over the course of these all-night conversations, he had broken through pretty much every single one of them.
There were times when we yanked the scabs off of really bad crap in our lives and in our pasts. We talked about the stuff that had festered and as we did, some of that festering stuff actually began to heal. For both of us, I think. But even at this point, it wasn’t truly a real possibility.
Until I had a layover on a business trip in Atlanta and was able to change my flight so that I had a full day there. I arrived in Atlanta thinking I really had nothing to lose. We had covered every base. We had truly discussed everything I thought we could possibly cover. And I figured if Justin could make it into the city, then meeting him would decide if this was something I really wanted to pursue. Of course, by this point, I was pretty much all in, depending on him being who I believed he was. I think that was true for him as well.
Meeting went better than well. We spent 5 hours together, wandering around the airport, having lunch, talking and flirting. Getting to know each other in person a little bit better. And yes, the chemistry was pretty explosive from the first moment. And when it came time to get on the damn plane, I cried. cheryl, who never cries, ever, got on the plane with tears in her eyes. Because I didn’t want to leave.
Immediately after meeting, our talks took on an even deeper level. Now we weren’t just talking about Bratgirl in the abstract, as in the girl has issues from her abusive dad, but as in, how would she accept Justin moving in with us. Our talks moved to practicalities of him moving to AZ, a state he’d never even visited before.
And then he posted and we began telling people about ‘us’. And the emails and private messages began. People came out of the woodwork to warn me. To tell me that they just plain didn’t see it. And we talked about those messages I was receiving. In detail. Some of them came from people who have known Justin for more than a decade. And who love him, but just didn’t think this was the right thing. And so we talked. For hours a day. About ugly stuff. About both of our marriages and what went wrong. About our other exes and what went wrong. About the bad choices we both made and how we recovered from them or didn’t.
Interestingly enough, not one of those messages warning me contained anything that I didn’t already know about. Because we had truly done our ‘due diligence’. We had talked about all of the bad stuff that each of us has done. We talked about people we’ve wronged, or people who have wronged us. We talked about our vices and how we each handle the stress of life – or don’t handle, in some instances. We talked about money and alcohol and monogamy. About children and family and upcoming custody hearings. About exes and soon-to-be-exes. So none of the messages I received contained any surprises. Oh, I think there are some people who believe they have information that would surprise me. There may even be a person or two who think they have information that would surprise Justin.
And so life has a way of playing tricks on you. We had planned that Justin would move in May, after a scheduled demo in late April. But life intervened and he arrived on March 1st instead. It would be a serious understatement to say that I’m very happy about that.
Our moving in together has gone so much more smoothly than I ever anticipated. He knew before arriving that I was just a wee bit OCD about some things. He didn’t know that I’m ‘overly clean’, as he puts it, but he’s pretty accepting of it. He knew Bratgirl would be a challenge, but he got some advice from a great friend who was in a similar situation a few years ago.
We’ve had a number of challenges outside of ourselves that have reared their ugly heads, both in the form of exes. My ex-husband thinks that my cohabiting means he should now have custody and even called the police for a welfare check on Bratgirl. The cop literally shook his head in amazement at my ex’s behavior after interviewing her and talking to me. Bratgirl isn’t speaking to her dad anymore and constantly responds to his texts by saying ‘don’t ever text me again’. We’ve had similar stuff from the other side of the fence but that’s not my story to tell.
What’s the point of all of this? Well, it all goes back to due diligence. Justin and I covered all the bases. Before we ever played, before we ever had sex, before we even knew we wanted a relationship. It was worth it to both of us. To know each other inside and out before ever meeting in person. We each saw something in the other that we wanted to know more about. Yes, sexual interest has always been there. And when we met, we knew we had pretty explosive chemistry. But that wasn’t what the due diligence was about at all. It was about covering the bases of life. Talking about God, and life, and philosophy, and politics, and dreams, and hopes, and family, and faults, and weaknesses. That’s what due diligence is all about. And if you’ve done that, if you’ve taken the time to be open, to listen, to talk about real life stuff, the kink stuff will fall into place.
And because of all of that, the stresses that keep hitting us are so much easier to handle. But if you skip the due diligence and move ahead to the kink and sex, then it really only has the chance to last a few weeks at most. And when the outside influences begin to hit, you won’t have the base you need in order to work through them. You won’t be prepared for real life. If it’s worth exploring, in my opinion, it’s worth taking your time for.