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Hippie Bowman

SL Relationships. How real are they to you.

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I was thinking about relationships the other day.  Particularly SL relationships.  What do they mean to me?  Are they the same as RL Relationships? Can I really get attached?  Even though the parties involved are "just avatars" and this is "just a game."

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Can I really fall in love here?  I think that the answers to these questions are yes!  You can fall in love.  And it don't have to be a sexual, or casual love either.  A love that has it roots set much deeper then something sexual.  A love that is all encompassing, and powerful.  What I call the "Big Love".

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There are a 2 people I have met in the wonderful world we call SL, that fit in this category.  My lovely Lady Ladysue, and my dear friend Lenni (Last names left out for TOS reasons) Come to mind. 

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How do I explain Lady.  She is my Hippie girl.  The grooviest chick in the world!  Wow!  SL has allowed her to explore things here, that she would have never dreamed of in RL.  She is the most patient, and kind friend.  In many ways I don't deserve her.  But she understands that her man is really just a big boy, that need to play and act like a man child from time to time.  And besides that, she really turns me on!  So greatfull for your love! Thank you Ladysue, for sticking by me thick and thin!

 

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Lenni!  Lenni was a very curius noobie when I met her about 2 years ago.  My star student I used to call her.  She caught on real fast to SL.  She has her own Party Place at the spaceport!  Lenni and I would run and play and explore SL, like the world was our oyster.  Always something new to see, and places to go.

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We both  fell deeply in love with each other.  Not sexual, but the more powerful kind of love.  The deep love, or the Big Big love.  She has become one of my dearest friends in SL and RL!!  She has inspired me in many ways.  If not for her I would have not become a Building teacher.  Also I don't think I would have ever gone  to the SL Convention (By the way going again this year.  In San Francisco!) Lenni is something very special to me, and I value her friendship with all my being!  Thank you Lenni!!



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Lenni has a friend named Kiss.  I have met her.  What a decent and classy lady.  Lenni sent me a link to Kiss's Flickr photostream.  Kiss wrote a article about Second Lives - Real Relationships.  Her words are so true.  Please, when you get a chance take a look at her photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/kissmy/5672482233/in/set-72157626615919182/ .  It put it all into perspective for me.  Far out!

So how about all of you!  How do your SL relationships fare.  Do you love em and leave em, or has there become an unbreakable bond between you and the ones you love!



Peace!

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Hippie Bowman wrote:

So how about all of you!  How do your SL relationships fare.  Do you love em and leave em, or has there become an unbreakable bond between you and the ones you love!


Peace!



Albert Camus thought that the only serious question is whether to kill yourself or not. Tom Robbins believed this to be incorrect. He thought that the only serious question. was how to make love stay. In my experience, friends and lovers come and go, especially in SL. It is too easy for people to drop in and out.

The SL world is a dream, nothing but an image on a computer screen. The avatars that we see most likely do not reflect the person behind it. While our SL world may be an illusion, the beauty is real and so is the love.

Enjoy it while you can.

 

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What lovely stories, Hippie!  I have three close friends in SL who are very dear to me.  Two I met very soon after my rez day over four years ago and one who has become my dearest friend over the past year.  All three of these relationships are different and special and very real.  We share real feelings, thoughts, emotions and stories of our real lives.  I do not distinguish them from people that I have met in RL....they are friends of mine, period.

 

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I've been thinking for awhile about how to answer these questions. I think there are basically 3 kinds of relationships we have with people in SL.

First, there are the people we meet in SL & will probably never meet or talk with in RL. Our relationships with them are more likely to be fleeting, because we may never give them much of who we really are & they may never give us much of who they really are. These are disposable relationships, though we may still enjoy them & learn much from them.

Second, there are the people we bond closely with & may have met or come to meet in real life. Our relationships with these people are just as real & lasting as any others we form. I have several friends I know both in RL & in SL, and because we don't live in the same city in RL, SL gives us a way to visit & keep our friendships alive. I also started dating my RL boyfriend in SL, and since we also live in different cities in RL, SL helps us keep our relationship fun, current & close.

 

     Kelly & me having lunch at Mont Saint Michelle                                Elveson & me dancing at Fangtasia

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Third, there is the relationship we have with ourselves. SL lets us explore sides of ourselves that we would likely not be able to explore in RL. We can look & act differently, often with more confidence, and see how others treat us when we look & act differently than we do in RL. We can experience a taste of being a different gender, race or species.  We can manage a bussiness, be in charge of a social group, or be an explorer of various worlds & lives. If we have positive experiences in SL when letting out these possibly hidden sides of ourselves, we may then decide to bring them out into RL a bit. But even if we don't bring these sides out into RL, we are given the chance to express them & learn about ourselves & others.

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     Naomi & me visiting                                                                        Standing in front of my shop in New Barataria

 

(Edit to add captions to pictures)

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They are as real as you let them be, if you can let them.

People say SL love is fleeting.  But are you still dating the first boy you ever kissed?  Is the first woman who touched you living with you today?

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Hippie, this is a really interesting topic and probably one of the most difficult thing to understand. Are they real? The heart says 'YES!' but the head says 'No!' ... in the end it depends on the person you've met.

I have every intention to treat someone in SL in whatever form of avatar that they're in, as someone real and with feelings. However over the course of SL dwelling, meeting people and having a form of relationship with them.. I can't help but become more skeptical than ever. I'm not yet to the point of being cynical but the question "Is he/she for real?" is always there.

I find a lot of people does not know what they want or meant what they said. Words and promises are just too easily spoken probably because hiding behind their avatars gives them a sense of 'protection' from a potential backlash and thus getting butthurt. Especially the ones that adamantly stated the he/she "is not into any relationship" or "I'm happily married in RL" or "I find relationship/dating in SL is stupid"... and yet ended up hooking up with someone.. it made me think twice if I should take any of this person's word seriously the next time.

But I have decided to just go with the flow. If I found someone who cannot decide what or how he/she wants his/her SL life to be... I will never take them seriously. The last thing I want is for someone to use *me* as the experimental subject... because I have this evil tendency to 'play with my food' if provoked.

I also take the word 'Love' seriously and it is very real to me. I don't think SL term of 'Love' is real nor does it exist. I made it really clear to anyone who has any kind of romantic interest in me that to never ever utter the word Love unless he meant it for the real Willow behind the screen. I'd rather have someone comes to me and say... "Look, I find your avatar sexy and I want to have cyber sex with you exclusively" than say...  "Willow, I find you the loveliest person ever and I'd like to have your heart and body as long as I can" ... you see how confusing it can be?

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Great thread Hippie!  I don't fall in love in SL (tho I do get "crushes" regularly).  I am married rl so that's not exactly what I am looking for.  I do have great friendships in SL - people that I have known for years now and I totally consider these friendships as real as anything in "RL".  Some of these people are now friends on my rl facebook (I don't have sl fb page) but not all - I am not in SL as much as I used to be but when I see these people its as if no time has gone by.

Essentially this is what keeps me logging in to sl, they mean that much to me.

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I love how you describe your relationships, in doing so you also describe your character. Yours I find wholesome and refreshing.

How we handle our relationships in SL is in fact no different than RL in many respects but very much based on what we are as individuals and what makes us tick.

I see SL as a social platform with many side benefits somewhat like having a penpal but on steroids. I don't look for the bad in people but I use my common sense to evaluate their actions, words and sincerity. It doesn't take long to figure out what's what.

I am blessed with many friends of varying degrees but as I look to the top of the list there are about 6 very dear people I have constant interaction with. I cherish those few closely and have yet to be disappointed.

The top of the list is my partner for 3 years now, we are close think alike and can spend hours sitting and talking or cruising SL or whatever. The main thing is we can be together (without poseballs) and enjoy ourselves. We share our laughter and our sorrow and remain as one and for that I love that girl.

It is the mind of those I interact with that intrigues me not the image on the screen and it didn't take long to be able to place those in the "wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole" or the "glad to have you as a friend" category. One of the things about these and other forums is a quick read can save you a lot of time when judging character.

Whether someone is a self proclaimed ex rugby star or a brain surgeon or a truck driver do we ever really know I mean it is only their word. If your aim is to find someone to wed, well be damn careful.

For those finding SL a game all of the above means nothing.

My answer Hippie is they"re as real as I let them be based on time and common sense:)

 

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Why shouldn't love be fleeting? Does hate last forever? If hate doesn't last forever, why should love? Why should a man just have one woman? What if a man really wants a woman in RL (or maybe several) and one in SL? Why be limited to only one lover at a time?  

Isn't the concept of one man with one woman until death do them part in the bonds of holy matrimony passe in the brave new world of the 21st century? There was a thread about religion in SL until the Linden gods zapped it out of existence, in which some posters strongly proclaimed their atheism and lack of belief in any higher power.

Isn't marriage a religious concept? If we live in a post-religious society, why should there be marriage if it's religious based? Shouldn't it just be a subsection of contract law....

Party A desiring regular sexual relations with Party B, and Party B desiring to have financial support for bringing a new life into the world do hereby agree for an initial period of 10 years, renewable upon mutual consent of the parties, to the following terms and conditions....

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Heya Hippie, I am partnered with Reuler in both lifes, between both of us everything is real, we use 'the game' second life most as a communication tool (because both of us travel a lot in real life) ..... *meows*

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If you think Love is fleeting than you are confusing Love with Infatuation, or had never truly been in Love, or possibly the only Love term you do understand is 'Love Thyself'. Yes, Hate sometimes last forever and you'll have the scar to remind you now and then.

So what about you wanting to have a woman in RL and another in SL? I say, nothing is going to stop you... But is what you felt for that person in SL is Real or Not? When you say you 'Love' that person in SL, are you just pretending or are you truly in Love with that person? If you are truly in Love with that person, would you go across the ocean for her? Would you leave your wife and children to be with her? ... If your answer is 'Hell, No!', then it isn't Love and therefore there is No Such thing as SL Love... And because of that I would never let anyone say "I Love You" in SL if it was meant towards Willow, the avatar.

The concept or Love and Fidelity is not even a religion... It is something that comes naturally from inside myself. What you describe as Big Love is not a 21st century concept, it is a human hedonistic instinct that was greatly implemented as far as pre-historic era. Ask me if I chose to be what I want to be is because what my religion told me to do? Or better still, go ask the wolves and the penguins if they mated for life was a god's mandate?

I'm not sure if you were in the Baby Boomers, Gen - X or Gen - Y era but if you look at the Modern society trend, people are sticking with one spouse mainly for its material values... Meaning, I can't afford the time and money to pay for more than one spouse at the same time. Why do you think there were higher divorce rates anyway?

My previous statements were not intended to question or to imply negativity on couples who are married in RL. I'm simply am stating that some people are just out there pretending to be who they are not and possibly living in fantasy... They have no real feelings and the Word Love is just a line of scripts in their mind that they will need to act out just to be in the game. If you can snap out of from SL life the moment you switch off your computer, then you are just an actor playing house with someone in Second Life. But if the feeling lingers and you couldn't wait to come back online just to be with her... And wish that it would be real... then you better ask yourself if there is more to it than just living out your fantasy.

All I'm asking with someone is to be true to himself...

Are you for real? Then you have my complete devotion as the real person behind the avatar and be ready to accept the real me... I'm not easy to fall in Love with.

Are you here for the thrill/fantasy? Then you better let me know that and you better be really good at acting out your fantasy because I've got so much of imagination in my head that I don't think anyone can cope with me... I'm a very demanding, PITA, confusing fantasy lover.

Now Randall, do you have anything more to dissect from me? Or you would rather have this discussion Inworld while riding the SLRR tram over in Mainland?

:matte-motes-big-grin-evil:

 

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Between yourself and Peresphone you have both summed it up very well for me I think.

This especially resonates... 

"I also take the word 'Love' seriously and it is very real to me. I don't think SL term of 'Love' is real nor does it exist. I made it really clear to anyone who has any kind of romantic interest in me that to never ever utter the word Love unless he meant it for the real Willow behind the screen. I'd rather have someone comes to me and say... "Look, I find your avatar sexy and I want to have cyber sex with you exclusively" than say...  "Willow, I find you the loveliest person ever and I'd like to have your heart and body as long as I can" ... you see how confusing it can be?"

Too many people use the word 'Love' too loosely in SL - some will even swear they mean it in a 'RL kind of way' when in truth they are just 'experimenting'. 

My advice to anyone who cares to hear it is in two parts...

1 - take responsibility for your own actions and how you treat and relate to other people in SL - because yes - no matter how shallow the avatar may be, there is a human behind it, so give thought before saying/doing things that may affect them.

2 - tread carefully, there are many in SL who not only consider it to be a game (and they have the right to do so) but more importantly feel it is a legitimate part of the game to deliberately dupe and hoax other people - just because they can. Treat everything and everyone as totally superficial unless you are given due cause to think otherwise - and even then be careful.

There ends the lesson in SL 'Love' for today.

My 2p worth...

And yes it is possible to make deep, meaningful relationships and friends in SL, sometimes it can even be the beginning of love. As such the pain that we can feel when we lose a friend or someone special because they 'return to RL' without us, can be just as real as any pain in RL. But it is my experience that people who have never felt that tend not to believe it - in that way SL really is just like RL.

Be gentle with yourselves people... and let that gentleness flow to the people you come into contact with too :smileyhappy:

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Dammit. I'm going to have to be the one not singing along to the tune with the rest of you. As usual...

It's impossible to caluculate because, as each individual will be more or less open and honest, more or less self-aware (and thus able to be truthful about him or her self), but the degree to which a person represents their true being in a VR will vary enormously. Some, knowing themselves very well - and happy within themselves - will make sure what comes across is as close to reality as is possible, considering the limits of the medium. Some will project what they truly believe is what the are - but will be totally off-target. Others will be willfully inventing a persona to project.

How do you know which category your loved-one comes under? You don't. That's the problem.

And that's the crux of the matter - the guy you lurve quite possibly doesn't exist. In which case, what you think you love is a combination of him inventing a character and your projection of your ideal luvver.

On the very rare occasion in which it does work, by some miracle, two very honest, insightful, self-analytical human beings have found one another. Otherwise, it's pure illusion. The fact remains, that many are in love with the idea of being in love and being able to benefit from having youthful, beautiful bodies and faces without bad breath, smelly feet, wrinkles and spare tyres round the tummy, who spend their time together flitting around magical and surreal lands, with no boring routine stuff to do - like wash dishes, do laundry, wash the car - is fuel to the illusion.

I've said it before - if I really believed I'd met my soul-mate, I'd move it into real-life pronto and not waste time trapped in a VR. I've also said this before - I've lost count of the people who have told me that they really, really love their gal or guy to bits but when asked if they know one another's real name and address, reply: "What?? You nuts?? He could be an axe-murderer!". or sentiments to that effect...

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I have friends in SL, and have 'bounced the bunny' a few times when I was more of a noob (and thought it was very funny).

But I don't do SL romance.

And I don't do it because once you get that kind of emotions involved the barrier between RL and SL becomes impossibly thin.

 

As for my SL friends, I have people I care about and think about - but to this day I know very little about their RL-selves. By intent much of the time. I just feel more comfortable imagining them as their avatar and keeping my relationship to them through the medium of our avatars rather than bridging the barrier.

When I did MMOs for a time, and faced 'voice' pressures there, I would only join in when I could disable my mic - and for me it was more distracting than useful as I could never tell who was saying what. I preferred knowing the people as some giant minotaur with magic spells rather than some gal in Minnosota who kept saying 'don'cha know eh?'

- Even if I felt or feel close to people, I'm close to that branch of them, and they to this branch of me - and that helps me stay close in some cases more than letting our RL selves interract might.

 

 

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Randall Ahren wrote:

Why shouldn't love be fleeting? Does hate last forever? If hate doesn't last forever, why should love? Why should a man just have one woman? What if a man really wants a woman in RL (or maybe several) and one in SL? Why be limited to only one lover at a time? 

 

Love is where you find Jah's hand in the most direct manner.

Love is the only energy in creation that violates the rule of physics where nothing can be created or destroyed.

Hate burns calories and consumes energy - it is tiring to hate. Hate may have an ever growing hunger, but it needs fuel to feed that hunger.

Love is -NOT- the opposite of hate. Love creates energy and is refreshing, enriching, and lifegiving.

Passion can be hates polar twin - its a firey energy that consumes and takes energy, but eventually burns out when it runs dry on fuel. many confuse passion with love - and it may be that above you were describing passion when you used the word love.

Love never runs out. You can lose it, you can let it go, you can throw it away - but it can also sustain itself forever with nothing put into it but itself, and can grow and in fact give back more energy that it takes in. Love is where a positive relationship that lasts through a years finds itself, if it did not start there.

 

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I wish I could remember the author of this quote.  It came from a book given to me by a real life friend.  It went something like this (and I'm sure most of you have heard this already 100 times):

"Friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies."

So no.  They are not real to me.  And I'll add to the list: Second LIfe friends help you "kill time".   They are like friends I might make while on vacation.  They are people I bond with over a shared interest in SL (or vacation destination), I like them a whole lot, but due to distance and other RL constraints I leave them behind to live in my photos and memories.

If I and my SL friends are on-line at the same time and I'm feeling social, great.  Tomorrow I may find out they have disappeared without a trace. Or, I may find out alot worse, and I have, so I leave them behind. 

And if a SL friend gets all sentimental and/or touchy about my absence, a warning light goes on for me.  I do not want to have any important relationships in a virtual world.  Not saying I don't enjoy friendship, but for me these virtual relationships are like the kind kids have when they get together in the park and gang up to play softball.  Here today, nice for a brief time, otherwise not real.

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Kissmy Spicoli wrote:

P.S.  I don't see how to attach or link to a Flickr picture from here?

They all have to come originally from your computer.  Once you insert a picture it is added to your photos in your profile and after that you can reuse the picture by picking it from your uploaded files.

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My relationships in SL may be virtual, but the feelings I have for friends and lovers here are very real to me.  It does not bother me that people come and go or that they may have chosen to be someone here very different from who they are in RL.  For me, I guess it comes down to how comfortable one is with the concept of having a virtual life which is part of, but uniquely different in some ways, from RL.  If you treat your relationships here as fake or less valuable than your relationships in the physical world, then you are missing out on a huge part of this experience.  

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Love is as real as I allow it to be. As are any relationships I have in sl.. or rl.

If I don't truly love someone, I don't tell them I love them, period. That's the same whether I am using a virtual platform or not. My feelings are the same no matter what. That's just part of who I am. It's a pretty strong word, imo and I reserve it for only those deserving. I understand others have a line drawn between the two "worlds", and I respect that. I, however, am not one of those people 90% of the time. I look a little different in sl-well my av does-but she's just a placeholder for me. She "speaks" my words, my feelings, my thoughts, etc...What I do and say is very real, as *I* am real. (save the things not possible in rl, lol when I'm flying in sl.. I'm not flying irl :P, but I'm sure you get my point)

I love my soulmate with every ounce of my being, whether we are in sl, or rl.  I met him in another online "world", a game actually. One of those truly romantic, electric sparks go off the moment you meet, sort of deals. I respect that others neither want, and in some cases, believe such things happen. But I have to admit that I'm pretty glad I'm not one of those folks. Otherwise it would have been tremendously difficult for us to get as close as we have over the years and develop the true love we have for one another. If I had only wanted to remain "virtual friends", I would have missed out on a lot over the last 4 years.

That said I do have plenty of friends in sl, that I only know their "sl side" as it were. I don't know a lot of their real lives, only what they've allowed me to know. That's fine with me too :) I don't mind one bit. I still consider them good friends. I've got some I don't know if I'd consider them great friends, but they are friends. I also have some sl friends I know a LOT about their real lives and have come to know and love them as much as I love their  "sl self". It's sort of hard to explain, actually. I am, by nature, a hermit. Not because I am shy, but because I rarely ever leave my home, unless I'm with my kids(this is, obviously, in real ife, although I tend to do the same in sl, mostly because I'm usually tinkering with things in sl, lol). That's just how I am and I've always been okay with this. So I have very few real life friends, and even fewer I actually see on a regular basis. This too, doesn't bother me all too much. However if it weren't for sl(and an online game that no longer exists), I would not have some of the amazing friends I do have today-in either world. So I'm real happy that I didn't completely prevent my own self from getting close to others in sl.

Yeah even friends, heck even family, in sl can hurt you. They can up and leave one day. Bad things can happen and you might be left in the dark. It's entirely possible, much the same that it's possible in rl. It's also possible that the folks you meet in sl have no intentions of letting themselves get close to others or ever share their rl. Some people simply prefer that. I say if it works for them, awesome. I tend to be a sharer, I share a lot more information-sometimes way more than folks want. I only share what I *want to share, of course, and most of the more intimate details of my life(including rl name) are only shared with those I am very close to. So I have plenty of sl friends who know very little about my real life, or only know about certain aspects.

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Ardin Darkfold wrote:

My relationships in SL may be virtual, but the feelings I have for friends and lovers here are very real to me.  It does not bother me that people come and go or that they may have chosen to be someone here very different from who they are in RL.  For me, I guess it comes down to how comfortable one is with the concept of having a virtual life which is part of, but uniquely different in some ways, from RL.  If you treat your relationships here as fake or less valuable than your relationships in the physical world, then you are missing out on a huge part of this experience.  

This.

Well said Ardin.

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