So I need some perspective on a problem with my slave. He's a good, dutiful slave, works hard to obey my protocols. I like him a good deal. I've owned him from a little over three months. But I realized about a week or so into the relationship that we didn't click enough for me to want to keep him long-term. I explained this to him about a month into the relationship, and he indicated that he was ok with that. This is the first real bdsm relationship for both of us, and we both felt that we were learning a lot. I realized early into the relationship that he had very low self-esteem. His mother was very emotionally abusive to him growing up (and still is), and he was raped by a former boyfriend about 15 years ago. So I decided that I needed to put a lot of emphasis in his training on trying to build up his self-esteem. I decided not to do any humiliation or verbal abuse play with him. I emphasized the importance of paying attention to his appearance. I tried to praise him a lot when he did things right, and emphasized his past successes as we played. And his friends and co-workers commented that he seemed more confident, looked better and carried himself better. Guys who had turned him down previously started hitting on him at bars. It's clear to me that giving up control to me has given him room to start acknowledging his past pain. A couple of times he began crying as I flogged him. The other night he said 'you're my strength'. And I decided that I had an obligation to him to help guide him through this process of coping with all the things that had happened to him. I told him that I wanted him to seek counseling for the rape. So what's the issue? Last night he told me that he really wants this to be a permanent relationship, and that he's willing to do anything and become anything to please me. I told him that I know it's never going to work long-term (it's largely a matter of chemistry--I like him and care about him, but I know that I don't love him). He started crying and talking about how worthless he was, and all his self-esteem issues exploded out. He said he had thought about suicide a couple of times. So I'm left with a dilemma. I could dismiss him now; clearly serving me is causing him to think that maybe I'll change my mind and make things permanent. I have an obligation to not harm him, and keeping him longer may make things worse. Dismissing him now will hurt, but it may hurt a lot more if I keep him longer. Or I could keep him longer. I broke down the walls he had been using to keep his unhappiness at bay, so I feel obligated to help him negotiate his current crisis. Dismissing him right now seems a little cruel. But if I keep him longer, I may just wind up hurting him more. There's no guarantee that I can help rebuild his self-esteem in the short term, and I could wind up taking care of him for a long time. Any thoughts?