Dear Submissive Guide,

So, I am totally a newbie. I do have a Master but due to our personal/vanilla lives, it is limited & very part-time. My Master has not participated in the lifestyle for 12 years. My question is do you have any info on transitioning from submissive side back to my vanilla? We also see each other in our vanilla lives frequently, so how should we handle that?

Thanks, Not-So-Vanilla

Dear Not-So-Vanilla,

Ahhh, the vanilla life. It isn’t always easy to get back into the swing of things when you’ve had some kinky fun. Moving between D/s and vanilla isn’t always easy, whether you’re doing things part-time or on a regular basis.

My advice would be to create a transitional routine.

When people, especially submissives, need to transition from their vanilla life (work, kids, family, etc.) and spend time with their partner, it can be difficult to shut off that part of our mind. Personally, I forget to speak in a respectful tone with my Dominant until I’m in the submissive frame of mind. Some people put on their collar, dress a certain way, do a specific task or series of tasks, take a picture specifically for their Dominant, and any number of other things. This helps them feel their most submissive self.

In this case, you need something to do the opposite, get you back into your vanilla mode. Depending on the routines and habits you and your partner have, it could be as simple as taking off your collar, doing a specific activity when you get home, listening to a song, or having a very vanilla conversation. The method that will work best for you is going to be individual to your life. For me, nothing gets me back into a vanilla frame of mind quicker than dealing with my children or thinking about work.

As for how to handle those moments when you encounter each other in a vanilla space, that will be determined on what kind of relationship status you have.

Are you known for being friends or colleagues in your vanilla life? If so, treat each other the way you’d treat any other vanilla friend or colleague in public. I always advocate being respectful as a submissive to your Dominant, regardless of the situation, so I wouldn’t use the vanilla moment to show anger, rudeness, or even defiance just because there’s nothing your partner can do in the moment. In my experience, Dominants never forget, and you’ll have to deal with it later.

Are you in a situation where no one can know that you even know each other? I can imagine that would be very awkward and difficult. This is where the art of small talk comes in. Asking someone how they’re doing, what they think of the meeting/lunch/speaker or whatever, and anything else common to the situation is always safe.

No matter what situation you’re in, treat him with respect, although deference may be something that would raise eyebrows, and be friendly. Those two traits are good for any interaction with other people, and it won’t matter whether he’s your Master or someone you just met. Of course, if you like a little thrill and can find a moment to escape the crowd and get a little kinky, there’s nothing wrong with that, either