My Second Life Romance – Part 3

Unlike the end of Part 1 and Part 2, I sorta know how this piece will end. I think Second Life old timers and newbies will both find something to hang onto, even.

1) He Made Me Feel Like Dancin’
2) He Filled My Life With Hope
3) Protecting Your Heart

It seems ages since the end of Part 1. I declared, “He filled my life with hope” and he did. Peter wanted to see me every night and he gave me an endless stream of beautiful memories. I was addicted to our nights together. Our relationship was like this for months and it grew. On our first anniversary, we threw a spectacular party and invited as many friends as would fit on our island. ((My human, always the skeptic, even wondered if this was a relationship we could take to real life?))

Sadly, Second Life old timers already know how my love affair with Peter ended.

Unfortunately, there were many thing in play in our second lives. Not everything was the bright sunny day I’ve protrayed. Occasionally I’d do things that caused Peter great concern, even jealous. I learned that he has his viewer setup to see where my camera was pointing and while I never imagined this was a problem, I had forgotten that when I host, it was my habit to scan the crowds at the club. Sometimes I shot photos for my blogs, sometimes I’d read profiles. To me all this was just curiosity, or if we had a griefer arrive it was my job to toss them. But I came to learn that each time I read a profile, it destroyed Peter’s trust in me.

Unfortunately, things I didn’t know about Peter’s real life became known. Then suddenly, Peter left me to save a real life marriage I didn’t know about. He returned to SL, of course, but on his return a couple months later, he partnered with a woman I hadn’t known about. And on and on that story went.

And I left Second Life again but this time I knew I’d return, and I did a month later.

After breaking up, New Years came and I danced alone.

On returning, I needed closure but Peter was cold and did everything he could to let me know to stay away from him.

I tried moving on. In my time with Peter, I had shut the door on all communications with other guys. Now, all alone again, I wanted to repair those friendships. Even Nathan and I became friends again and for one brief shining moment, I thought there was a spark of romance. But there was no flame and probably for the best. I was glad we are friends again though.

Most places I once loved, the joyful places I’d shared with Peter, were now a reminder of my failure and a source of embarrassment. Friends told me I shouldn’t feel this way, that these things happen to all of us once in awhile, but I was a prisoner to my feelings. I was humiliated.

The Junkyard was the source of my greatest embarrassment. Being there reminded me more of my failure than anywhere. Nonetheless, I still wanted to be part of the bluesy circle and I continued to try to connect again… as a single. I danced with new guys from time to time. I went out on dates with guys who had enough interest to plan a date; there were even a couple of flutters of romance here and there. But maybe I’d become too distrusting, too cautious.

I took to boating on the Blake Sea in my sassy Street Dancer, I called her Sea Girl.

I opened my life to new places; I discovered the Blake Sea. And when I found a darling little Street Dancer speedboat, I discovered the joys of zooming around the sea and discovering its many ports of call. Girlfriends started joining me and then we started planning little outings. They’d bring their guys and if I happened to be dating a guy, I’d bring him too, but mostly I was solo.

One fine day when our group was on a scuba adventure on Sirens Isle. It was one of those days when I was solo. As our party assembled on the shore for our dive, a guy in an F15 Tom Cat crashed on our island. He survived the crash and on crawling away from the wreckage, her introduced himself. He was a good-looking guy with an easygoing way (I mean, if you don’t count crashing a warplane into our party) and I liked his style. Over the course of our dive, we got to know each other.

A small group of girlfriends had taken to organizing adventures.
Most of the girls brought along their guys, but that’s me alone in pink.
Anyway, there we were just before Siddhartha burst on our scene.

The Tom Cat pilot was a rather unique Aussie named Siddhartha. And our time together that day was very enjoyable. In just the right way, this sorta swashbuckling kinda guy had burst into my life. He came from the sky and I was swept off my feet… as only I can be. /me blushes

Here’s the thing, I started looking at relationships in SL. I looked at the long list of my friends and recognized that only a few of those who had partnered over the years still had relationship that lasted. Most had failed after only a few months. Some lasted a year or more. There were even couples that lasted multiple years, but when you set aside couples married in real life, only a handful of long-term couples remain.

I think many of us who have discovered Second Life love have also discovered its sadness.

Those who can look at SL analytically will surely see the futility in most virtual romances, but they may also miss a great range of emotional discovery. And there’s a lot to be discovered about virtual relationships, and even Life itself. Those who cling to SL and discover nothing about themselves, seem to be on a downward spiral. Each cycle that begins with the joy falling in love is followed by the sadness of breaking up. Perhaps though, somewhere in the middle, there is a balance between the cautiousness of the analytic and the wrecklessness of those trapped by their emotions. I’d like to believe this and I believe this is where I’ve come to in my romance.

I’m glad Siddhartha came into my life. I might even be able to fall in love with him in time, but I’m much more wary than in the past. And I’ve got much more time to let things evolve.

Siddhartha and I exchanged phone numbers (Contacts).
A few days later he asked if I liked classical music
and we went dancing, and yes it was beautiful.

I haven’t lost my spontaneity but I listen a lot more to words that are said and I watch for patterns. I’ve learned many of the patterns that reveal those who are married or divorced or single. I’ve learned the signs that identify those who are seeing others. I’ve learned that almost everyone has some aspect of their life they wish to keep private. It’s not hard to do this, I can’t help knowing these things. Some discoveries require action, most don’t though, but you should always protect your heart.

That’s the first advice I was ever given about SL Love was: Protect Your Heart.

And no matter how much you love a virtual person or believe he or she is worthy of your trust, protecting your heart is the only defense you have when that cycle of Second Life love begins.

The End

Author: Yordie Sands
I'm just a girl with an overactive imagination. I write about my life as an avatar in Second Life, where I star as the heroine of a virtual fantasy life. In my second life I'm an adventurer, photographer, blogger, exotic dancer, geisha and socialite. Occasionally I find myself swept away in romance.

14 thoughts on “My Second Life Romance – Part 3

  1. Thanks again for your very interesting reflections on your SL love life, Yordie.

    Peter spying on your camera view was a little spooky, I didn’t know you could do that, it sounds like a hack.

    1. I’m with Ironyca, Yordie, your easy (to my eyes reading, maybe not to your fingers typing… your easy openness is really beautiful and makes for such a simple, powerful telling.

      The power of you anecdotal stories is tremendous and it seems almost crass to ask for “hard data,” but without it the suggestion, I think, from both you and Botgirl that virtual romance lasting is somewhere between improbable and impossible…

      I think it’s true that the VR of 2012 doesn’t do relationships and intimacy as well as RL… still… RL relationships fail every day… RL peeps cheat on each other, lie to each other, spy on each other, every day… so to say VR isn’t “perfect” is sort of like saying it’s human…

      Ironyca, I don’t want to go too far down the track of “mediated data,” since THAT is a really deep and interesting rabbit hole, but mostly a tangent to Yordie’s powerful storytelling.

      I think the “Camera Pointing” feature is actually “standard” (or probably “standard” on either the Advanced or Develop menu) but not often used. I’ve actually only turned it on once, and I found it sort of cool but quite distracting.

      I totally agree that it seems creepy for him to do that, although I suppose you could argue that he was “protecting his heart”.

      I love the idea of taking things slow… I think excitement while wonderful, does lead to lots of misassumptions, and worthwhile things will still be worthwhile in a few days, weeks, etc… but I’m a little uncomfortable with “protect your heart” — for sure this too is something peeps IRL say… but it’s kind of like placing the burden of the failure of a previous experience on a brand new experience… and even though the probabilities on the new may be slim, I feel like it deserves its own chance.

      Also “protect your heart” reminds me of the parable of the Emperor’s New Clothes, and I’m convinced that, like so many things, that parable is totally wrong.

      In the parable the little kid is the only one with the nerve to say “THE KING IS FREAKIN NAKED, PEOPLE!!!”

      That moral is the right one for some culture somewhere… but not for hours… we are a jaded culture… deep down we have so much contempt for so many… we the people and our media destroy people for sport… The Emperor is naked?? haha, no shit, who isn’t naked?

      I think the story should be that the little kid is the one who knows that the Emperor might be naked, but is willing to dare, willing to believe, willing to risk being a fool, for the chance to experience the true splendor of the Emperor’s New Clothes.

      It’s easy to love (and by “love” I don’t just mean “romance” I mean many things)… when you’ve never, ever been burned… in a way that’s not even that interesting… but if you can take your imperfect, broken self, and dare to believe no matter how foolish some might think you… THAT is a beautiful moment… a transcendent, Real, Human moment.

      oh gawd, I tangented my own tangent!

      Back to the spycam creepyfulness thing… Jeremy Bailenson at the Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab (VHIL) and his peeps have done a lot of really impressive research on this stuff. We really should do a separate post on this, it’s a big, amazing topic and the future possibilities are amazing…

      Loosely speaking (since I only know this stuff very loosely)… Yordie’s viewer is sending a lot of data to, I guess a Linden Lab server… which is sending a lot of data to Peter’s viewer.

      So yes, it may be creepy that Peter monitors Yordie’s gaze… but consider that Yordie could also be scanning the room all nite, or staring at Tony the whole nite, but sending Peter data that she looked only at him the whole nite. Eye contact 24/7. Yordie’s viewer is also sending her shape and skin and clothing to a server and on to Peter… but what if he decides to make her look different without telling her…

      This can of worms just goes and goes… and at least for a programmer (which I’m not) I think it’s all pretty easy… so Romance… Marketing… Politics… these have all been manipulated since forever… but the new tools for manipulation in this century are astounding…

      1. So funny to read about the camera pointing used in this way!

        In fact, as an exotic dancer, it’s one of the standard tools sophisticated dancers use to gather information about who’s attention we have and when the right moment is to engage with our guests. I sometimes spend time letting dancers know who is watching them in IM (if they don’t use the feature) and coaching them on when and how to engage. And yes, it’s a standard preference in Firestorm, at least. But anyway…talk about tangents! hahaha!

        YORDIE! Your latest instalment really touched me. I feel it might have been written by my own hand! I could really relate to the excitement, the distrust, the insecurity, the embarrassment, and the nearly inevitable downward spiral of disappointment that is the dead end of so many virtual romances. And, being caught up in my own current story… it hits me all the more, raising so many questions as to where things may lead, what I want and what I’m afraid of.

        While I am personally only a toe-dipper in these murky, shark-infested waters, I’ve witnessed, first hand, several instances of the devastating wreckage that can be left in the wake of SL romance gone belly-up. Even now, I’m observing a good friend’s 10 year relationship erode right in front of me, as the parties dive deeper and deeper in the depths of infidelity on Second Life. I’ve seen the emotional drainage in those that hide their SL romances from their RL partners – virtually drowning when the air of their hopeless dreams escape from thier chests!

        These feelings, their implications, they don’t shut off when you log off! They go on and on and on, well after you log off for the night. They permeate your dreams, wipe the sleep from their eyes with you in the shower, and knock you for a wallop as you miss your stop on the workbound train.

        Protect your heart indeed, for here there be monsters!

        1. Thanks so much Becky.

          It makes perfect sense to use those spying features in a club, but I found them just too distracting. I’m very visually oriented and try to keep my screen as clear of clutter as possible though. I believe I have my output turned off these days too, so I don’t think anyone can see my cam or beams anymore. Even if they aren’t turned off, I really don’t care because I feel I have nothing to hide, yanno? Sadly, if a person is distrustful, I feel they’ll always find reason to distrust.

          Becky, I’m not at all surprised that you’ve been through similar experiences. When I first discovered your blog, I remember several of your very moving, very personal writings. You are a very open person, trusting and emotional person. Sadly, people like us seem destined to discover that not everyone is worthy of our trust for love.

          The experience I’ve written about is a composite of my experiences and lovers, but each element comes from personal experience. So this was a very personal protrayal. There freedom to experience all these things has only been possible in this virual world. In real life, I have far too much pride to ever admit these kinds of things.

          The devastation of these virtual romances can be shake you to your core. And when infidelity is involved it makes you wonder what kind of person it was you gave your heart to… as you suggest, monsters. One New Years I was alone and wen to Bogarts. A guy asked me to dance and we had fun and laughed. But after our first dance, he suggested we sit at one of the tables. He told me he wanted to stop dancing because he wanted to remember it as a beautiful experience. Then he told me how devastated he was because of a Second Life relationship. He just opened up with suprising honest and my instinct was to try and helf him back, but he was too badly hurt. After about a half-hour of chatting he said, “Thank you for the best dance of my Second Life. Now I’m leaving forever.” Then poof, he was gone.

          I’m not sure I can give my heart out the way I’ve done in the past. Virtual romance can be wonderful, but the devastation of what follows so often is too great a cost to bear. Protecting you heart, for one thing, means you need to slow down. I’m not ruling bout new love, but it will take a lot of patience and that’s the kind of guy I want anyway.

          It saddens me when every long term virtual relationship breaks down, and your friends making it 10 years is extraordinary by all measures. Those are the pioneers and they are the source of hope for others who enjoy this type of relationship.

      2. The writing of this story touched many bases, but it had to touch on jealosy because it seems to be so prevalent in Second Life. Afterall, most of us choose to be beautiful women or handsome men, and there’s a surprising number of men and women who have the morals of an alley cat.

        There’s good reason for concern for anyone who has a propensity toward jealosy, because you can be standing next to your love and he or she can be involved in flirtations or worse with the guy or girl standing next to you.

        For me personally, I doubt that I ever stared at anyone for more than a couple minutes to checkout guests outfits or costumes, or to get to know new guests. And I was always mindful of abusive or inappropriate situations, including griefers. But the vast majority of the time my viewer was zoomed out to see the entire dance floor.

        I learned that if someone checked my profile there was a special beam that was indistinguishable from someone clicking on me to give me something.

        There are many spying tools available in Second Life, but I’m sure the really nasty ones would surprise me. There are even SL detectivies who spy for pay.

        I learned recently, people who are collared give special controls over to the person collaring them. Apparently, if you are collared, your IMs can be turned off. I’m sure there’s more to it than that though.

        And yes, it is a can of worms.

      3. Hi again, Vanessa… yes, “I totally agree that it seems creepy for him to do that, although I suppose you could argue that he was ‘protecting his heart’.” Yes, he was protecting his heart and we had many discussions about things that happened. At times I think he actually trusted me, but he was so damaged that he just couldn’t get past it.

        And then there’s this, he was a flirt. I only discovered after we brokeup just how big a flirt he actually was. I suppose his rationale was that if he was doing it, i must also. But the truth is, I had stopped talking to my male friends, just to give him assurance.

        The sad part of that story is I was always 100% committed and faithful, and I loved him. Silly as it is, this virtual romance thing, it is powerful and I was in love.

        Your comment, “I think excitement while wonderful, does lead to lots of misassumptions, and worthwhile things will still be worthwhile in a few days, weeks, etc… ”

        Unfortunately, excitement and openess is my stock and trade. I mean, checkout Peter, totally hot, no? And he was a vampire even!

        Many friends have told me, be careful, you are too open. And I’ve always said, this is who I am and who would I be if I were cautious? Anyway, that’s my dilema. But even someone like me can learn. I’m not saying that I won’t plunge into situations with wreckless abandon again, but there’s like a beacon inside me now, reminding me to beware.

        I pity the newbies that fall in love today because far too soon there will be circumstances that will lead to their breakup.

    2. That camera spying feature is common in Phoenix Viewer. I didn’t realize the feature was turned on, but I never felt I had nothing to hide. I’d done this same type of camming when ever since I started hosting. The thing I enjoyed about hosting, other than showing off, was getting to know the guests.

      I look back and marvel at how many people I actually knew by name, plus knew a little about. We’d have 60+ peeps at our Saturday night show and I was surprisingly (surprised myself I mean) vigilant at watching the comings and goings of guests. i know that must sound kind of OCD.

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