As I write this column a friend is waiting to find out if her missing Second Life husband will return. He disappeared two weeks ago, with no word. They have been friends for months, marrying in a virtual ceremony in September of this year. She knows he is around online, just not in-world anymore, his last words were “I love you”.
This scenario, sadly, is not uncommon in Second Life. People don’t just invest real life money in their Second Lives (myself included) but they also invest real life feelings too. The truest statement I ever heard made is written on a friends profile – Behind every avatar is a real person, they have real thoughts and feelings and we should never forget that.
I think that, given my attitude to Second Life dating and relationships, it would be all to easy to mock and say that people should not expose themselves to hurt in this way in the first place but I have friends in this world, and as a result I invest real feelings in the “game” myself. That is just the way it is here – Or is it?
I would like to take a moment to introduce you to a man named Randy. We joked in-world when we met of the British meaning of the name – That where I come from it means something akin to horny. So, was he Randy by name and nature? Very much so. We spent some time together one day, the next day he messaged me and I told him I would be along to join him in 15 minutes – When I arrived he was with another woman. Below follows excerpts of our conversation……
Me: Oh you do have your hands full, lol, I’ll catch you another time.
Randy: Ok – Sorry.
Me: I don’t share, if people can’t wait 15 mins for me I’m not really interested LMFAO.
Randy: You look fantastic.
Me: Your loss lol.
Randy: I’m here for fantasy.
Me: And you are getting it – Just not going to get it with me 5 mins after groping another. I have class.
Randy: Yes you do.
Me: You don’t value that. Get your fantasy elsewhere, no drama, that is devoid of taste for me
Randy removed me from his friends list immediately. Now don’t get me wrong, I was not after the three M’s – Monogamy, marriage, monotony. I was just after respect. Why did he not understand that living his fantasy with taste and decency was possible? I blame low intellect, his conversation skills were lacking so I knew he was not going to be a long term romance for me.
So, what are my sexpectations in Second Life? Being single in real life, I can pretty much please myself without the “is it infidelity?” question. I have actually found that I am significantly less promiscuous than my married-in-real-life friends and acquaintances.
Take Saul, for example, my former friend who is married with children in real life. He never fully recovered from a Second Life romance that affected him so deeply he felt abandonment when she stopped logging on. A keen builder and scripter in Second Life, and a seemingly all round nice guy, he had a lot of involvement in the development of my region but, began using my body of female staff as a dating pool to satisfy his craving for virtual sex. When I found out about one incident in particular, I was furious that a friend could show such disrespect to the smooth running of my businesses. I introduced a fraternization policy and watched the employees whose Second Life was defined by sex walk out of the door. That was the best business decision I ever made – There was less cybersexing happening in IM and more work getting done by people who have a balanced Second Life.
Saul’s sexpectations were clear – Every hole was a goal. Friendship was much further down his list of priorities and it took several weeks for my hurt and disappointment to subside. I suppose that was my very own Second Life abandonment experience.
So how should I, and others, manage their second sexpectations to avoid disappointment? There is no way of protecting yourself from others, not if you want to meet people and share experiences. Much like real life, Second Life is full of toxic bachelors (and bacherlorettes) and the only way to deal with them is to do the one thing I wish I could do in real life – Mute them.
Written: 16 November 2008