We had our monthly SIG meeting this afternoon. It was a topic I always enjoy, Deal Breakers and Non-Starters.
We meet for some social time before the discussion because, well, because you can’t get kinky people together and expect them not to be social, even if there’s an agenda.
So, we socialize for a bit before, then, about the time the food usually arrives, I read the list of questions aloud, if people have questions they ask then, and then we break into three separate groups, dominants, submissives and switches.
We are lucky enough to have a fairly large population of switches, or, perhaps the fact that switches have been welcomed here, they feel more comfortable claiming that identity than they might. I’ve never been a big fan, personally, of groups that focus on orientation but allow switches in whichever mode, only because I think that most of the time, switches have a unique perspective and really shouldn’t have to choose to participate.
The questions for today were:
• What kinds of things would make you step away from a potentially attractive partner?
• How do those deal breakers change over the course of the relationship?
• When do you end a relationship? What are unforgivable offenses or inexcusable deal-breakers?
• Are the same things deal-breakers in vanilla relationships as they are in kinky relationships?
• Are there any absolute deal-breakers or are some things situational?
• Do you think the things which would be considered deal breakers are different for each orientation? What might be the deal-breakers for dominants? For switches? For submissives?
• Looking back over your past ended relationships, are there things that, in retrospect, you wish had not been deal-breakers? Are there behaviors or situations which you wish you had not allowed to go on as long as you did?
• Do all relationships run their course? Does every relationship have an expiration date, as it were?
• In a long-term relationship, is it inevitable for the relationship to morph into different kinds of relationships, ie, one kind of relationship DOES end and another begins?
• Are all deal-breakers internal or are there external deal-breakers, too?
• How do you end a relationship? What tools or methods have you found effective in the past?
• Have you ever relented and continued in a relationship after believing you should end it? If so, how did it work out? Did the relationship survive?
• In looking back over your relationships, is there a theme to what ended them, to what the deal-breakers were, or were each of them unique to the relationship itself?
• Can you spell out deal-breakers in the beginning of a relationship, or is it impossible to anticipate them?
• Are relationships with a poly element harder in this sense? Are there more or different things that are deal breakers for poly relationships that D/s ones?
• In poly D/s relationships, do all members of the relationship have equal say in what are deal-breakers, or does the dominant member(s) have the final say?
These are too wordy and there is too much repetition. What I do each year is devote some of November and December’s meeting time to picking topics for the new year.
There are always topics I want to include, like collars and contracts, negotiation, punishment and guilt, indoctrinating novices, deal breakers and non-starters, and we always do a light one in December, which turns into mostly socialization. Then I add different topics every year.
At this point I have a database of about 15 or 18 subjects with the questions written, and I go through in January and post all of the year’s meetings, with all of the questions, so I don’t have to think about it again. The next time I do, however, I am going to streamline the questions. After having done it for three or four years now, I think that about a dozen questions are plenty.
So, despite the questions being too numerous and not especially well-written, it usually turns out to be one of the more interesting ones, at least to me.
What struck me as interesting today was that the submissive and switch groups focused on kinds of behaviors. Being disrespectful, or deceitful, or untrustworthy.
The dominants, however, tended to be very concrete. Snooping. Dropping in unannounced. Living too far away. There were behaviors, too, of course, like being unwilling to be submissive, or setting limits we couldn’t abide by, but by and large, specific things.
The dominant’s group was six of us, five men and me, five of us poly and one of us monogamous. One thing we did decide in our discussion that poly really made for many fewer deal breakers because the person was not our only outlet.
All in all, it was an interesting discussion.