About 5 months ago I was contacted via FetLife by a local Dom who was interested in getting to know me. At the time I was deeply entrenched in a D/s love affair in which I was the submissive so I was categorically uninterested. I replied, expressed that it was bad timing and that I wished him luck. He was not easily rebuffed, though he was respectful, and he sent a few messages to say hello which I either politely replied to without encouraging conversation or I ignored. I wasn’t interested. He maintained that he was fine with my lack of interest and perhaps we could be friends, swap stories, maybe go to a kink learning event. No pressure. No expectations.
Fast forward a couple months: another message. He was polite and even-keeled as ever but I was aware that his message coincided with my change of status on FetLife. That was a tiny red flag, but also maybe a coincidence, so I replied. We talked a few times, moved to text and soon I felt disarmed enough to talk about my current stance on my BDSM identity. There’s still fluidity and Switchiness in me, but I am light years away from ever trusting myself to make good decisions from the position of submission. In short, the wounds are too deep, the abandonment too raw and I can barely imagine seeking a Dominant partner again any time soon, if ever. My last two relationships with Dominants have left me feeling lost and unmoored, off center, broken. I articulated clearly to him that I cannot afford to go through that again. He was understanding and gentle, encouraged self care and suggested strategies for trying again in the future with better results. He also suggested that it might be advantageous to be friends with a Dom first and then evolve the relationship into D/s. Red Flag number two? Maybe? I couldn’t tell. He was warm and consistent and began to check in on me almost daily.
I’ve found him pleasant to talk with and the conversations are sometimes about kink but are never kinky. We don’t sext, we don’t really flirt, and if we do it’s usually goodnatured teasing vs sexual innuendo or tension. He’s currently on vacation and still checking in, still making time to reach out and connect by text almost daily. He slipped “Good Girl” into a conversation and I immediately told him not to use that phrase. He apologized and we moved on. Later he asked if I would mind explaining why that had offended me. I explained that it’s just not something I am comfortable being called outside of a D/s structure. I likened it to me randomly calling him “Daddy” and how weird that would be. He LOL’d and said he could think of much worse things to be called by me. Hmmm. Red flag number three?
This is where I’m stuck. Is he just being nice? He’s clearly interested. I’ve been clear I’m not. There’s never pressure, I don’t feel coerced, but I’m starting to wonder if this is him courting me, seeing himself as the friend that could turn into a partner. Or, given my honest fears and hesitations about my ability to express submission, is he grooming me to build up my sub self-confidence and starting me down the path towards being his sub? I’m fully aware that I don’t have to anything I don’t want to but am I being paranoid? Is my faith so rocked that I can’t take his pleasantries at face value? I can’t seem to make sense of it and the part of me that prides itself on being self aware is very confused.
Are these red flags? Why is it so unclear to me? I don’t know what my next move is. He’s been a good friend so far but those occasional statements give me pause. I’m still not in the market for a Dom (nor do I think I ever will be).
What say you, Dear Reader? Help?