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On 12/16/2020 at 9:08 AM, Dreams Riler said:

 Don't intentionally set out to do harm and never ever demean someone's existence by thinking of them as “just an avatar”.

Very well written, but this last sentence in particular is so key; I don't know why this is so hard for some to understand.  I was just discussing this tonight and someone said that the name really says it all; it's Second LIFE....this is life and that is so true.   This community is so robust and has so much potential and especially in a COVID world it has become a lifeline for so many.  Let's appreciate that and never sully it be demeaning it as a game or someone as "just an avatar".  We all have a part to play; we should try to give more to the community than we take.

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On 12/16/2020 at 9:08 AM, Dreams Riler said:

It's important that you have a solid answer to these questions

No it's not. if you want to that's fine if you don't that's fine. The thing about Second Life is that we all come here for different reasons with different ideas about what it means. What is important is that we all respect that fact and don't impose our own ideas of what is important on others.

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1 hour ago, Talligurl said:

No it's not. if you want to that's fine if you don't that's fine. The thing about Second Life is that we all come here for different reasons with different ideas about what it means. What is important is that we all respect that fact and don't impose our own ideas of what is important on others.

I agree with this. It's nice to have an answer but that only comes with time and experience, and for some people is liable to change over time so it doesn't have to even be solid. And if you don't have an answer, so what? Just have fun exploring the myriad possibilities.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Am I just an avatar?

I was disabled during my military service, greatly limiting my mobility.  I have never been helpless or hopeless, and always pushed myself forward.  The physical therapy, even decades later, is painful and exhausting.  I work full time, even during Covid.  I have three children.

I can't dance anymore.  On some days, I can't even stand up.  Do I deserve an escape from this first life?  Some days, I can barely even type, and can't even feel my hands.  

Especially during the Covid lock downs, I can't interact with people in First Life.  I joined Second Life in May.  It has made a huge difference.

Depression from isolation had started to settle in.  It was impacting my work and my ability to even smile.  After joining Second Life, I find myself far more energetic.  I struggle through the pain and danger of going outside to play with my kids more.  I've regretted this a few times and have left myself bed-ridden, but it's worth it.  Before May, I couldn't do it.  If I went outside when the kids were playing, it was to sit where I wouldn't risk them bumping me.

I have expanded my interests.  I've rekindled my fiction writing, I've finished a painting, and I'm writing a song.  

How has SL done all of this?  Because there are very few avatars.  There are many amazing people.  The friends I've made, even not knowing it, encourage me to go beyond what I feel is an acceptable quitting point.  They accept that I have my limits, but insist on saying that I can, and they hope I will.  They show concern and caring for my growth and happiness.  

I gave up my ability to move freely in service to my country.  My avatar is freedom.  It's not just freedom in SL, but it offers me the freedom that comes from peace of mind.  

Nobody is just an avatar to me, but some autonomous avatars exist.  I am not an avatar.  Evelynn is a character, but Wombat is me.

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Sorry for doing this in two different replies, but I have my reasons.  

The original post moved from what SL means to targeting Second Life relationships.  It did so specifically identifying romantic relationships.  My position on this makes no sense without applying a few words to myself.

Polyamory is a state of loving many.  The most common usage I have seen for it in the last twenty years is a synonym for disloyal or unfaithful, with some 'afraid of commitment' mixed in.  Almost everyone is polyamorous.  If you love your parents, you are polyamorous, because there are two of them.
Applying this to me, I look at love as the interaction between secondary emotions of trust, comfort, pride, mirth, and maybe a coupe others, in a way that establishes a dailiness and a desire to continue experiencing this combination, along with regarding the wants and needs of the object to also be experienced as wants and needs of the subject.  This holds the same with my romantic love.  I am First Life married.  Neither of us look at love as something that is limited or isolated, and having more love does not mean having less love.  As long as our love for one another does not diminish, we don't want to prevent (and because of our love, encourage) love from others.
I don't look for romance in Second Life, or any virtual setting.  That is a personal choice and has been shaped by past experiences.  Polyamorous does not mean always seeking.


Non-sexual is a gender "choice" where an individual doesn't give regard to reproductive bits.  It is very similar to non-binary, which is a self-identification without regard to reproductive bits, but also applies in the way an individual regards others.
If love is expressed without limits, why do reproductive bits matter?  Love is love.  It fulfills and enriches.  Progenation is a different matter.  I have children that I am not related to by blood.  This past year, one of those children was told they couldn't list me as their mother, and brought this to the state Supreme Court, because there is no reason or legal justification to deny him the right to do so.  I love him very deeply.  What do his reproductive bits have to do with that?
In a virtual setting, bits are ones and zeroes.  Minding reproductive bits makes even less sense.  If there is mutual, consensual, and fulfilling love, the bits on the screen and on the players have absolutely no bearing.  Our minds are generally filled with ways to limit and restrict our ability to love, and I have managed to free myself of these restraints.
For me, these bits only becomes a factor when I am given limits.  Right now I have been told, 'no boys.'  

Relationships are simply interactions between people.  To stick with the original post, I will look at romantic relationships.

I've been role playing in virtual settings since the 90s.  I've role played many romantic relationships, but most have them have been purely in-character play.  I have held five virtual romantic relationships.  In fact, the most recent is also the reason I am not looking and reluctant to change that position.  I had to choose between my virtual relationship and helping my first life husband with his recovery.  The guilt of choosing and cutting that relationship haunts me to this day, and that was in 2015.  The player from that relationship is in Second Life, and we have reconnected as friends, but the guilt is still overwhelming at times.
People say these relationships aren't real.  Nobody would question that these virtual friends inspired me, motivated me, or helped me grow.  Why would a romantic relationship be any less real?  Is it because the reproductive bits (which I give no regard to in First Life) will never meet?  If those involved feel the love, the compassion, and the comfort, the relationship is real.  It is just in a format that too many people have learned to reject as a restriction on love.  If it's because the players might never have the chance or interest in meeting in a different media (in person), I can't see how that diminishes the validity of the relationship.
I think the in-person meeting is where the most common nay-say I have seen comes from.  There are people who want an exclusively virtual romantic relationship.  They don't want to meet in person.  I've seen others say that these relationships don't go anywhere, but I have to disagree.  They go into the hearts and memories of the participants.  Isn't that where any good relationship goes?
Virtual romantic relationships are healthy.  They offer many advantages.  They are safe from involuntary removal of consent.  They are safe from self-loathing and social panic.  They are safe from the risk of unplanned pregnancies.  While only one of these is an absolute safety, this makes a big difference to those who suffer from them.  I have gone on one Second Life date.  It was very fun; we went dancing at a club that did swing music.  Medically speaking, I can't dance like that anymore.  The virtual setting has offered me a freedom that I will never see again in First Life.
There are those who seek virtual relationships but don't take them serious.  This is very true and can lead to issues.  However, the exact same can be said for non-virtual relationships, and they do so with greater risk to themselves and their partners.  Even looking at the least savory aspect of virtual relationships, it is a good thing relative to other media.


If someone does not want a virtual relationship, they shouldn't enter one.  This position should be respected by those around them.
If someone does want or is in one, they should be free to seek or accept one.  This position should be respected by those around them.
Respect the freedom and liberty of those around you, and most issues you see fade very quickly.  

There are three people I've met in Second Life who have shown me a true shining light in who they are.  I mentioned earlier that I'm not looking for a romantic relationship in Second Life.  To be honest, I'm not even sure how that would work.  I would reconsider my position if one of those three asked, but I can't say where that assessment would lead me.  That said, I would fight to protect the right of those who do benefit from these relationships to have them.
 

((And this is the whole position))

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1 hour ago, 73wombat said:

Polyamory is a state of loving many.  The most common usage I have seen for it in the last twenty years is a synonym for disloyal or unfaithful, with some 'afraid of commitment' mixed in.  Almost everyone is polyamorous.  If you love your parents, you are polyamorous, because there are two of them.interactions between people. 

I'm going to have to call misconception on this one. You're mixing Eros, a romantic sexual love, and Philia, love for friends and family. Polyamory is a sexual relationship, so loving your parents has nothing to do with polyamory unless you are in some sort of incestuous relationship.

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I won't debate that call, I actually took it a step further than it needed to go to sharpen a point.  Familial love has many shared and many unique characteristics.

It's not a misconception, though.  Polyamory is not limited to sexual love, inherently.  It is in modern usage.  The love I feel for my closest friends does qualify as polyamory, particularly because I don't factor in reproductive bits.  The threshold is not quantifiable.  Will you go through withdrawal in the absence of the individual?

For the most common usage of polyamory I have seen, the withdrawal will not occur, and so intimate love is not attained.

There is no reason to exclude purely storgic love.  For some of us, that is the only love we ever truly feel.

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My apologies and I'm sorry you see it that way.  I assure you, I'm not trolling, and I'm not sure who you mean by OP.  

I hope this will clarify why I used that particular mention.  My largest support of polyamory is that loving one does not diminish loving another.  In familial relationships, most people are capable of accepting this.  We have never been conditioned to reject it as healthy or normal.  In an intimate relationship (or romantic relationship), we have.  

I have three children.  If you ask me which I love the most, you will get a laugh and I will discuss the things I love the most about each.  Loving one doesn't diminish loving the others.

When I was involved with PJ, I was so deeply in love.  My husband started watching for when she would come on line and let me know.  He enjoyed seeing me brighten up (even more than already was) at adding this additional love to my day.  He knew he was not loved any less.

With my husband's current girl friend, it is much the same.  She lives with us now, even though I don't often get along with her.  My and her personalities don't mesh up so well, but seeing them together is absolute beauty.  Seeing my husband this happy truly brighten my day.  In fact, the love they share has helped me come to get along with her far better than I used to.  He loves me no less because he loves her.  Love isn't limited, except by our minds.  She adds love to my husband and myself.

Just like loving my daughter for being the smartest of my children doesn't diminish my love for my youngest for being the most affectionate, loving one person in an intimate relationship does not diminish my love for my husband.  There are distinctions (chemical differences) in the different types of love.  The 'wrongness' of loving more than one person, however, is a social construct.  

With consent, it is a beautiful thing!  Without consent (or with pressured consent), it is horrible and wrong.  With my husband, we understand and agree that it is more love.  With my first husband, he did not agree with that, so I was exclusive in the relationship.  When he broke that exclusivity, I felt betrayed.  With honesty and consent, the differences between the types of love diminish. 

I respect the decision to be exclusive, and right now, I consider myself (primarily) exclusive.  I simply lack interest.

I do hope this clarifies things a bit.

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22 minutes ago, Alivia Wayfarer said:

My mistake, calling this a misconception. I will have to go with "troll." Your writing style definitely gives away that you're the same person as OP.  I'm out of this discussion.

The wall of text was a dead giveaway.   

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  • 2 weeks later...

I state in my profile that I'm myself whether I'm in SL or not. Exception is roleplay, because you're playing a character...but I make that clear.

 

I couldn't have a relationship(s) separate from my real life. Roleplay family is one thing, sure. But I'd have to have a genuine care and concern for them, as people, before I'd be able to call them my family, whether it be a game or not.

 

I tried to keep things separate when I started, but I couldn't. I overshare, I can't pretend. It's so much work. I think if my real life were miserable I could, but I'm generally a content and happy person so all I can handle is occasional casual roleplay.

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