It probably took me longer than most to figure out that Second Life is not the same as real life; I mean, beyond the obvious. Also, it took me longer than most to realize that there are basically two types of people here: people who are open to extending their second lives into real life, and people who aren’t.
With one exception, I believe the things that end love in Second Life are the same as in real life, like a cheating partner. Just as in real life lovers breakup because of incompatibilities, they can be sexual tastes, needs for affection, intellectual, sense of humor, social status, financial, and on and on. The exception is, in Second Life we also break up becasue we are too limited by our cyber relationship.
In Second Life there is a human being controlling each avatar. For some SL folks, the avatar is an obstacle to discovering the real person on the other side. Even for those who are committed to being their avatars exclusively, there is still a curiosity about the real person on the other side of the pixels, at the other end of the network.
I’ve come to realize that no matter how rich my second life is, it just can’t provide all the sensations required to be deeply in love. Second Life can feel like real life in many ways, it can even trick us into believing it is real. But there are many ingredients missing from the SL love cake, ingredients that give love its’ full taste and texture. So, the question becomes, to open the door to a real life or not?
Let me just throw this out here:
I believe that people who open the door to a real life connection may have a better chance of keeping their romance alive.
Ok, that was hard! That conclusion was not easy for me to reach. Ever since I joined Second Life, I’ve maintained that I’m not interested in opening the door to real life relationships. And I’m still not, but I’ve come to believe that for most people who want their love to survive and grow, it seems natural to extend the romance into a real life.
I’ve come to believe that most Second Life only love affairs eventually end because of… boredom. A more gentle way to put it is, the relationships just stop growing. I’m not saying that this can’t be overcome. I’m not saying that all SL love affairs are doomed if they don’t extend to real life. I believe it is possible to keep SL relationships alive but I personally haven’t been successful at this. I think the key to making cyber love work is to first recognize that it is not the same as real life.
There is much more to say about Second Life relationships, but armed with my belief that they are not the same as in real life, I’m feeling my way thru the dark now. I’m guessing that I’ll have more to say about this in the future.