Photograph of a ankh shaped key in keyhole in a rustic wooden door

The 5 Things I Want in a Virtual Relationship

Photograph of a ankh shaped key in keyhole in a rustic wooden door
While the keys may not be hard to find, they can be hard to turn.“Key of Life” by James Carter, click image for his flickr page

I know I have really high expectations and I don’t apologise for it. In fact, it’s one of the most consistent threads of my approach to my work, and what I expect from myself, my colleagues, my friends, and of course, a real or virtural relationship.

I’m the farthest thing you could imagine from someone with a lot of relationship experience in SL. For one, I’ve never been partnered. Ever. I don’t even really know why. The reasons may have alternated from cluelessness, to having more than my share of trust issues, to wanting to spend time with friends, to working my ass off at new projects, to never being attracted to someone on that level before now, and finally, because I’ve only been asked once (yes, I turned him down).

Partnership, for me, is not a whim. It’s a commitment. It’s either on or off. There is no halfway.

Lately, I’ve thought more and more about partnership in Second Life. It initially had a lot to do with my closest friend’s relationships, which naturally consumed a hefty share of our conversations. And now, I’ve started walking down this path myself, and it’s raising even more questions than I ever thought I’d have to answer, in both RL and SL. Finally, since I’ve read Yordie’s posts, sharing her own relationship experiences in Second Life, I’ve been inspired to revisit these ideas again, and hopefully contribute to the conversation in my own, hopeful, way.

It’s been through those, in some cases vicarious, experiences I’ve considered what I really, really want. I initially wrote this when I was single, as an Open Letter to Would-be Suitors – mainly to ward off those who might be interested in me. I figured, one read of this and they’d head for the hills running! On the flip side, if they were still even remotely concious by the end, it might be a sign I’d have a live one.

Since I wrote the first version of this on Songs from the Coal Face several months ago, I’ve had many women friends tell me how much it helped them articulate what they too wanted, and several male friends who use it as an instructional manual of sorts (good for them, I say!)

So here we go… (deep breath) here are the 5 things I Want in a (virtual) relationship.:

An Open Letter to Would-be Suitors who are considering a Virtual Relationship with me

1. Intimacy

Ok, here’s the deal. The number one thing I want is your time. While physical proximity may not be necessary for intimacy to occur, it can rarely occur without time. I want to feel like I’m a priority in your life – no, not necessarily your RL, but certainly your virtual life.

I am extraordinarily busy in SL. I rarely have an idle moment that isn’t in some way devoted to either talking with someone I care about, interacting with people at work, working on my Second Life Business, shopping, reading and writing, building, or even just organising and purging my inventory. But, I do these things by choice. I want to do them. And if I’m going to say yes to you, I have to say no to some of them. That’s life… tradeoffs. So, it had better be worth it.

I can scale back, but don’t expect me to give up the things that are most important to me. My closest friends were there before, they’ll be there during, and they will probably be there after – I will not make them number 2. I’ve known the pain of being discarded by friends when a shiny white knight walks into the picture, and I will not do that to my friends.

If you can’t deal with my work or my ambitions, then don’t bother. If I didn’t want to do what I’m doing, I would have stopped it already. If I didn’t want what I want, then I would have chosen another path.

Obviously, time isn’t an endless resource, in fact, it’s our most precious gift. So, if you want me, I want your time. It’s simple. Your time is free – it doesn’t cost you a nickel.

I like attention, and affection.

I want you to take the time to say hi, to say goodbye, even a simple IM to share how our days are going. The more communication the better – I don’t need poetry (although I’m touched by it), even a sweet message telling me that you’re thinking about me would be enough.

If you’re offline for a while. That’s ok. Send me an email. Tell me what’s going. Because if you don’t, I’ll worry. I’ll start spinning. And trust me, that’s bad news.

2. Love

If time is the measure, love is the quality. Your actions and words need to be consistent. I don’t want to spend my time guessing and I don’t want to play mind games.

I want to be chased, I want to be pursued, I want to be doted on, I want to be cherished and I want to be cared for. Sometimes I want you to take the lead – I already have a job in here, I don’t need or want another one – so don’t expect me to do all the work.

Surprise me. Kiss me for no reason. Write me a love letter. Make me a picture book of your favourite moments with me. Plan something different and don’t ever recycle your “greatest hits”. Sweep me off my feet. If you want my love, show me yours.

3. Sex

Of course, I want to feel closeness with you. I know I may seem it sometimes, but I’m not shy with the right person. I want to know what you want to feel. I want you to know what I want to feel. 99/100 times, I’m not aiming for a speed record. I want foreplay, and loads of it. If you’re not any good at this, I probably won’t tell you, I’ll probably fake it (sorry, but it’s true). You’ll know this when I don’t initiate consistently. If I don’t, pay attention and get clued up. Read a book. Learn something new, for goodness sakes. Make that effort. It will be worth it I promise you.

I love to be kissed, passionately. I want to be warmed up. I want to be pleased and I want to have great orgasms (several, if possible). Then I want to cuddle and talk. And that is more important to me than you may ever realise.

Sometimes I won’t want to. Usually, that’s not about you. It’s about me. It’s probably RL related. Stop fretting, everything passes, I’ll be back.

4. Support

I want to feel like I matter to you. If I get a new outfit, comment on it. If I get a new hairdo, notice. A sincere compliment will get a lot of mileage. It’s soooo easy!

I want you to ask me for my opinion. You don’t have to follow it, but I want you to listen to me.

I’m not your babysitter or your mother. I’m not even your big sister. I want you to hold your own. I need you to be strong because I can’t be strong all the time. I want your support and your leadership, and I can’t rely on you unless you can rely on yourself. I will be the very best listener I can possibly be. There is almost no limit to the amount of reserves I have inside me. But sometimes, I need your ear. I need your support. I need the grown-up.

Take responsibility. Being right all the time is impossible. Blame others for your problems and I’ll have little sympathy. You made your decisions. You are responsible. Deal with it.

If I want to tell you something, give me the time to work my way through it. I don’t have all the answers. I don’t always want or even need you to fix it. I just want you to listen and encourage me. I want this so much my eyes moisten at the thought.

Sometimes I want you to tell me everything will be ok, even if you know I’m heading for a world full of pain. And when it comes, I want you there to pick me up and not tell me that you told me so. Yes, you were right. I have a memory. I got it.

I want to laugh. So much I can’t control it. If I’m down – which will happen, cheer me up! Say something funny, but know when I want to be serious.

Laugh at yourself, if you dare.

It’s not always hormonal. I’m more than a skin bag of chemicals. Sometimes there really is a problem!

Make yourself better. Invest in yourself. Know your flaws and work on them. I don’t mind a moving target, as long as it’s moving in the right direction.

Intelligence will go a long way in obscuring your weaker points. We all have them, so it’s ok, I can live with yours. Bragging about how great and wonderful you are will make me lose interest in direct proportion to the grandness of your claims. Quiet and sincere humility is one of the most attractive qualities you can have.

5. Honesty

I don’t need to know every intimate detail of your life. I have boundaries too – many. I will respect yours and happily receive what you give me. I will treasure it, and not live in a state of perpetual want for something else. Please do the same.

If you’re away, tell me why. There is no reason to lie about it. I can sense when you’re not telling the truth. If you want to spend time with your friends or follow your interests, just tell me. I want the same, so it’s ok. If you’re not online for a while, let me know – just send me an email, it isn’t that hard.

Please answer your IM while you’re online – I don’t expect you to answer immediately – within 5 minutes is ok. If you don’t answer and go offline, and I don’t get an email within a reasonable amount of time, yes, I’ll get pissed off. It’s just the way I am.

Lastly, don’t even think that there is anything even remotely close to harmless flirting or accidental lapses. Respect me enough to tell me the truth and let me decide how much is too much.

And if you should imagine, for even one second, that there is such a thing as infidelity in this picture, then you don’t have a clue who I am. Should it ever happen, where do we go from there? It’s simple. That is the point of no return. No second chances. No forgiveness. You will have one chance. Make it count or don’t play.

Author: Canary Beck
Second Life avatar, entrepreneur, club owner, and social media socialiser. I photograph, film and write about the virtual experience: relationships, virtual community, music, art and Second Life.

10 thoughts on “The 5 Things I Want in a Virtual Relationship

  1. Hi Becky! Welcome to iRez!!!

    Wow, you took up right where Yordie left off!

    You put “Virtual” in parenthesis… which begs the question, are these relationship keys any different for VR than for RL? Or the same either way?

    Which I guess begs the next question? Can you have a VR partner / interest / flirtation AND an RL one? Or can you only have VR OR RL… unless they’re the same person…

    Gosh, I spoke to someone, quite a while back I think, who said that they had an RL partner who also did SL, and that they each had a different SL partner and actually didn’t interact very much with each other in SL because that would just be recapitulating RL and not that interesting… ha, I wish I’d had a deeper conversation with them, I really can’t recall who that was, anyway, I’m guessing that’s not the “typical” scenario… but who knows…

    1. Hi Becky and welcome to iRez salon!!

      Wow! As I read your points I was getting way too excited and was thinking, yeah, those are things I want too. I’d never have the presence of mind to write all those things down, but seeing them is good.

      The things you want are things I believe many women want. And I know there are guys who want want to be the kind of man you want.

      But Second Life is sooo imperfect and creates endless opportunities for miscommunications, even when we use voice.

      Your business really got me thinking. Your business is not only unique, exotic dance club, but also creates a world your guy has to find a place in. When a woman or guy has a business, in many ways that becomes the focus for both of you. Your guy must find a role in your club, otherwise he’s lost.

      Here’s something I’ve noticed with other long term couples, when they have a business ore other special activity that holds them together, they seem to last.

      The good news is many guys who come to SL don’t have things going on. Many just come in the evenings to be entertained, they have no roots, but if they can become involved, I believe it makes them a different person. Your club, exotic dancing, must attract many guys and your guy will have to be comfortable with all those other guys. But he will have to be a partner in a sense.

      Sex… /me blushes.

      Your say, “Make that effort.” Yeah! A lot of virtual sex is so boring and you have to type so much.

      Did you know there’s sex HUDS (Excite i think) a women can wear? The HUD let’s the guy press buttons and the woman responds the way the guy wants. Do guys really get off to that? Why wouldn’t they just create a female alt, strap on whatever they want including that HUD, then they wouldn’t need a pesky woman at all. The HUD even has a woman making appropriate sounds for each button. The reason I mention this is, someone I cared about actually asked me to get one.

      SL sex does require some artfulness and you are so right.

      Your second life revolves around a fascinating world, the world of exotic dance. I hope you’ll share more of that in the future. /me winks

      1. Thanks for the welcome Yordie! And I’m so happy to hear you could identify with what I wrote.

        And, about my particular business, you could not be more right about that. The guy that checked all my boxes happened to wander into my club one day because he was attracted by the music for an event we had going (hehe, yeah, and he probably reads Playboy for the articles too ;). He liked the place and the people and became a bit of a regular. A couple of weeks later, we found ourselves pretty much alone with me behind the bar and him on a barstool, talking for the next few hours, and pretty much knowing right then and there that we had found something special.

        Interestingly, it was my staff’s suggestion that he fill one of our empty manager positions that forced my hand to broach the subject of what we might have together and where it might lead. I didn’t want to complicate things unnecessarily, so we laid out a few ground rules first, and I think that was a smart thing to do.

        Today, he’s a very important member of our team, and yes, that definitely helps us spend more time together. And, he is considerably more clear about what and how we do things here than someone who might be less familiar with the business. The potential for jealousy, guilt, and discomfort would likely be too much to bear where that not the case.

        Do I know about Xcite? Yeah, I sure do. I haven’t used Xcite attachments myself, but many do. It’s hard to judge without actually practising it, but I think I’d find that a rather scripted (pardon the pun) and detached way to truly practice the art of making love (or even having sex) in SL. I might understand it with those for whom English is a second language, but I’m very comfortable managing the pace and descriptive quality of my more intimate moments without the need for such accoutrements. For me, a big part of the excitement of any communication (platonic or sexual), derives from the inventiveness and creativity of my partner, and how we can build on each others textual tells.

        Ohhh, I could go on and on! And maybe I will… 😉

        1. I never tried to envision all the ways the Xcite HUD might be used, but the ones you mention make a lot of sense. For my guy, it turned out he wanted it for those occassions when he wanted romance but couldn’t use voice because his wife was present. That was a whole story in itself. I just didn’t like the idea, like you said, of “scripted” romance.

        2. Btw, I used to have a girlfriend in SL who was a stripper. She wasn’t in a classy place like KamaSutra but she had some really great friendships that came from her job. One guy even married her, bought an island for them, everything. I suspect that a lot of guys find it easier who they are in exotic clubs. I have other friends who’ve worked in clubs too and several have had amazing relationships evolve. I’ve thought about this from time to time. I think in many ways, there are similarities with my experience as a geisha. I think that’s a similar type of experience. You’ve got a wealth of experience there and i for one would love to hear about it. /me smiles. Jus sayin

    2. Thank you for the welcome Vaneeesa! So glad to finally be here!

      Virtual in parenthesis… hmm, now you have me questioning why I did that? No, the keys are no different really. All of these five things are necessary in any relationship, virtually or otherwise. I suppose you could easily substitute IM for texting. I suppose there is a significant question of degree with the 5th Key (Honesty). I’d be willing to tolerate significantly less openess in a virtual relationship, given the boundaries that people have. But boundaries exist in RL too, so I suppose it’s just a question of degree. In some ways, I might feel more open and more honest about certain things in a virtual space than in the “real”. I know as well, that people have revealed things to me in SL, that they claim they have never told another living soul, in any space.

      As for the second question, I wholeheartedly believe you can. And many, many do. Again, just as it’s possible to love and be intimate with more than one person in the RL space, it is even easier, I believe, to do so in the SL space. For many, SL relationships don’t even “count” as cheating! This is usually associated with those who love the phrase: “It’s just a game”. Is it? So if I had phone sex with someone other than my RL partner, that wouldn’t be cheating? What about cam? Would that be cheating? It’s all in how you define it I suppose, and you may be able to BS others for a while, but how long can you really BS yourself? To me, being in love with more than one person at the same time, commiting your mind and your heart to those two people at the same time, is the definition of infidelity. Who cares what “base” your on or what tool you’re using? A rat is a rat.

      Of course, if that couple, as you mentioned, are in an open relationship where everyone is clear on the expectations of what is fair game and what isn’t, then who am I to judge? Statistically however, I have very little confidence that that relationship will go the distance. I’ve seen that particular scenario in a couple I know well, and while it’s a sample of one, and I once believed that somehow they made it work against all odds, in the end human nature stepped in. Today, their RL relationship is on the verge of collapse.

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