It’s no secret that having a working long distance relationship is a challenge, even under the most traditional circumstances, but when the dynamics of your relationship are dependent upon the delicate balance of give and take between Dominant and submissive, the potential challenges that you face increase tenfold. When you are unable to spend your day physically in the presence of your Dominant, it is difficult—almost impossible—to accurately and consistently anticipate his/her needs. Likewise, faithfully following smaller directions that you have been given can often seem less important, time-consuming, or simply inconvenient without the benefit of being able to show your Dominant your job well done. In short, the functionality of your relationship is not only dependent upon the ebb and flow of a traditional relationship and the give and take of a D/s relationship, but also on the honor system.

For many, however, the honor system isn’t enough to sustain a lasting relationship. Many people need something more tangible—they need the physical interaction between themselves and their partners and the reassurance that their efforts are appreciated without constantly announcing that they’ve done what they were asked to do; but for a few of us, the connections we’ve formed on our D/s journeys were not made within convenient driving distance, and we constantly struggle to balance the often intangible expectations of our Dominants with our need for physical interaction. One of the simpler ways that this need can be sated is by wearing a collar.

Collars are already a traditional and well-loved aspect of D/s relationships, but in a long distance relationship wearing your Dominant’s collar can provide you with that desperately important, tangible link to your Dominant at all times. Your collar is a source of comfort, something that you can touch to remind yourself of your Dominant (and thereby remind yourself why it’s important to complete certain tasks). Like a wedding ring, it signifies that your relationship with your Dominant is real, even if you can’t be by your Dominant’s side.

For me, my collar is a source of comfort. My every-day collar has a bell on it, and I often find myself toying with the bell throughout the day—sometimes to remind myself of my Dominant when I feel lonely, sometimes just when I’m thinking (and inadvertently, my thoughts always turn to her when I hear my bell jingle). Being able to put my collar on when I get home from work each day, and being able to reach up and touch it while I’m wearing it, is often enough to bridge the miles that separate myself from my Dom.

If you’re in a long-distance relationship and you already wear a collar but still struggle with feelings that your Dominant is intangible, you may consider talking to your Dom about creating a ritualistic way to interact with the collar you wear. These rituals can be as elaborate or as simple as you and your Dominant feel they need to be. For example, another contributor to Submissive Guide has mentioned that her Dominant has given her a mantra to repeat each day, and you might consider coming up with something similar that you can repeat when you put on or take off your collar. Likewise, if you are creative, you might consider sewing a pouch or decorating a small box to keep your collar in when you are unable to wear it.

I personally have no formal ritual, but I do make sure that when I am not wearing my collars they are kept in mesh pouches and hung on pegs under my bedroom mirror. On the days when I feel like I need a little extra, I make a point to look at myself in the mirror before, during, and after I put my collar on, and I think about what wearing my collar means and think about who it signifies. For me, the collar that I wear is as important as the person who gave it to me because this is the part of my Dominant that I can interact with on a consistent basis. In this way, wearing a collar is not just a way to signify to myself and others that I have given myself to another person, it’s a way to comfort myself when I’m feeling alone and to reassure myself on the days when I don’t feel actively submissive.