Friday, August 29, 2014

Making it Real?

Love is such a funny thing. It can be so all consuming. You see it in literature all the time . . . The lover can't sleep, can't eat, can't think of anything but the beloved. But here is a question: does love really need to be so demanding? Why can't we just "be there" for each other? Why must love always have demands . . . what makes us think that loving gives us a right to ask for more, or to offer less?

And then there is love in Second Life, where virtual love has its own set of complications. I heard from an old friend just the other day who is struggling with the borders between SL and RL. "Vee" has been looking for the right woman (read: a sexually compatable woman) ever since he got involved in SL. He thinks he finally found her. They even got partnered in SL. Now he faces a dilemma. Does he leave well enough alone? Enjoy the virtual relationship as it is, build an SL life? Or ask for more by asking to meet her in RL? Tough questions. Especially since both of them are RL married. With kids.

The way things usually go in RL is that you meet someone. You date a while, get to know all about each other, then--if things are still good--you make it all public. You move in together, get engaged, maybe married. You would at least meet each other's friends, families. And above all in RL you would end the one relationship before going public with the second. Not so in SL.

In SL we begin with masks. And we tend to stay behind the masks. There is no conflict with multiple partners, or for that matter with kids or in-laws. No one leaves their dirty laundry on the bedroom floor, leaves the cap off the toothpaste or the toilet seat up. There are no bad hair days, warts, zits, farts, burps. No need for any unpleasantness and thus no need for any real effort. A self-sustaining fantasy that only takes the right words in chat to keep your beloved happy. It's a pretty good boat. Why rock it?

Remember the case in the news a few years ago of Dutch, the married guy who neglected his RL wife and family for his SL GF? He ended up divorcing, then marrying the SL GF in RL. I wonder if he's happy. You could see hime in-world from time to time, on the Pirate Sim he and Tenaj  (new wife) built together. I wrote about the consequences of virtual "cheating" a while back, but I still don't have any good answers about that except to say we each can only make choices for ourselves never for anyone else, not even for our beloveds. Here's the thing, though. If what happens in SL stays in SL, you are less likely to cause or feel RL hurt--to anyone, yourself included.

Some do move love into RL from SL. I see couples all the time with lines in their 1st life profiles that say "we met in SL and now are together in RL."

On the other hand what if the love of your SL life can't or doesn't want to get RL serious? Maybe he/she is married in RL, and is not prepared to sacrifice that? Or not ready for any commitment that extends beyond the safety of the SL masks? Is the love any less real? Again, that's a case by case and person by person decision. Yes, only you can decide if you want to take the chance on meeting her in RL, and on what terms. But here's a clue. If you don't know her real name, address, phone number . . . if she hasn't shared those things yet . . . then she's not ready. And pushing it will only break it. If you love him/her you have to respect that.

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