As I write this I've been back from my 5 weeks of travel to China for a little over a week. Before I left, Tebow asked if he could go collarless for pride. Yes, Atlanta pride is in October. Yes, it's stupid. Throughout our relationship as Sir and boy, I've made it clear to Tebow that I want him to be able to pursue personal relationships, date, and play with others. The only condition I placed on this was that he keep me informed. So when he asked to take off the collar, I was willing to oblige, as I understand his position that having to explain its significance to a potential date on first meeting can be awkward and detrimental.
That said, I knew that this was a momentous step, and I had the feeling that this would change our relationship significantly going forward. After pride, we agreed that he would keep the collar off while I was gone on my business trip, though he would still have a few restrictions with regard to reporting to me and following instructions. He kept up with those, and I'm grateful for his help taking care of the biodog while I was gone. Still, it felt like more emotional distance opened up while I was on the other side of the world.
On my return, we sat down to dinner and discussed where we go from here. Several options were proposed, but none felt exactly right. In the end, Tebow returned his collar to me for good.
I told him then and I say it now, I will always want what is best for him, and right now, what's best is to be able to distance himself from our relationship. We have grown, and remain, very close, and I love him deeply. That said, I can't give him the sort of permanent home and relationship he craves, and we both knew that from the start.
All that said, I can't pretend it doesn't leave a little emptiness inside. Even though we are still friends, and elements of the power exchange remain between us, it doesn't have the same depth. Things are still in flux, though, and I'm hopeful that we can settle into our redefined roles comfortably. We're still going to MAL in January, and we're still part of the same pack with Emrys. Those bonds remain unchanged, for which I am devoutly thankful.