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vannesh put up a very interesting post about Second Life relationships, why so many of them burn out so extravagantly and quickly, and who really is in love with whom anyway.

She poses one problem that I think I can address: “In SL it seems to be quite different,” she says, meaning different from First Life. “We meet a person, talk for an hour, end up on a sexbed in various animated poses together, pledge love, and then watch it all fall apart within a week or so.”

Well, the solution to this is right inside the problem. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with meeting someone, talking for an hour, and jumping into virtual bed with them, but if you then profess undying love, you’re setting yourself up. Just the same as in First Life: it’s fine to meet someone at a party or an event, go home with them, and divert one another with pleasures of the flesh for an evening, but don’t expect to wake up with a life partner. Creating a relationship that’s going to last means getting to know people and only settling down with someone whose habits and beliefs and wants and needs fit with yours.

It does seem to me that a lot of people come into Second Life craving love and attention (all of us crave some amount of love and attention, after all, don’t we?) and because they may feel that Second Life is not real when they first arrive, they may think at first that having a relationship is as easy as declaring one. Only after some surprises (especially the surprise that they care as much as they do!) do they begin to feel that relationships might need to be approached with more caution.

Another subject Vannesh brought up, and a trickier one, is the question of who’s doing the loving and who’s being loved in Second Life love affairs. If our avatars have their own existence (a belief that sophrosyne-sl champions), then how do we tell whether it’s the avatar or the First Life person who’s falling in love, and is that person falling in love with the other avatar, or with the other person?

This question stumped me for a little while, until I thought of a test. If you have a Second Life lover, you could ask yourself this: would you still be in love with that person if they were in a quite different avatar and were showing some different parts of their First Life personality? If so, you love the First Life person and not the avatar. If not, you love the avatar.

And would you still feel the same way about that person or avatar if you were in a different avatar, favoring different parts of your own personality? If so, it’s you the human being who loves the other. If not, it’s you the avatar.

Well, but Vannesh points out that it’s probably not quite that cut and dried. Do read her post! She has a lot of interesting things to say. 🙂

^^^\ Kate /^^^

P.S. I’ll be away for about a week, so sorry in advance that I probably won’t be able to post for that time. 🙂

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