The Morality Test

I have been wondering for some time now if having a Second Life partner would act as a deterrent to potential lovers or suitors. So, being partnered in Second Life, but in an open relationship, I decided to test my theory between April and July of this year. Obviously, I was not constantly with men 24/7 during this period as I had other projects to work on as well but, I was exposed to several men during this time.

To begin with, I expected questions or comments about my partnered status and had prepared my response mentally. The questions never came. I received three serious sexual propositions in one weekend in April from men who wanted action, they were not just flirting. These were not the standard newbie conversations by the way, but full on conversations and/or dates with a legitimate lead up to the proposition, as I know that anyone can get propositioned by a newbie in a free sex area. None of the men who I spent time with were met by me in a free sex area or a nightclub environment but, not being promiscuous in Real Life or Second Life, I had my doubts over the validity of my study because I had politely declined these offers of sex. How could I put my hand on my heart and say I had fully tested my theory if I did not go to bed with these men?

At this stage, a male friend propositioned me, knowing my partnered open relationship status. I declined – That would surely be the kiss of death of any meaningful friendship? Interestingly, he is partnered in Second Life and in an open relationship too. Then, by chance I bumped into a man while sitting by a pool and we struck up a conversation and I thought to myself, can I really have sex with a stranger to test my theory fully? Well, after a while we left the pool and gave each other tours of each others homes, and then we closed the deal. Did my having a Second Life partner act as a deterrent? He never even mentioned him but I know he read my profile as he commented on it at the very beginning.

This brings me nicely to my Second Life Partner, Rhys Kas. When I met and subsequently married Rhys I had survived The-Second-Life-Break-Up with a liar and a cheat and wanted the psychological buffer of having a partner. So, I created one. Rhys is an alt; I made him, took the wedding photograph for circulation and told everyone I had married him in secret. To get around the issue of dating I decided we would have an open relationship more or less from the outset. I also decided to use my fake partner/husband to test the aforementioned theory.

So, is bagging the partnered girl in Second Life more of a challenge? Probably. But I think that it may be about more than that. The partnered girl is “safe”, not likely to cling, unlikely to be possessive or demanding, the perfect companion for fun dates and for no strings sex. If they are prepared to be unfaithful to their partner they will not be demanding monogamy for themselves, and the man she is being unfaithful with must be pretty special – don’t you think? Did we both fail the morality test? I think that there are a lot of lessons that can be learned from virtual world infidelity – For a start, is it real or is it imagined? Why do people log on to Second Life to recreate their miserable First Life relationships? I see so many people everyday pining for their Second Life partner or plotting revenge because they are unable to move on first without inflicting torment on a cheating avatar.

I believe you need to ensure the golden rule is remembered at all times, do not forget it for one moment – A virtual world is one that is created and imagined by its residents, in essence their fantasy. That is the primary cause of problems with virtual relationships.

By Josephina Bonetto

Written: 19 July 2008