This is the beginning of the next series of interviews for Blissimo concerning SL. The first series dealt with people who had left SL and their evaluations of their time and experiences. You can read those here:
No.1 Colby Pevensey
This next series is probably a bit more revealing, and I anticipate that people will me more reluctant to share their actual names. I have no problem with that because the point of these interviews is to stimulate discussion, not to persecute or praise individuals. I appreciate the honesty the subjects have provided in sharing bits of themselves for that purpose. As with the first subject, I have asked for anyone interested to contact me and I will send them the questions.
In your relationship (s) who has usually been the instigator? If it was not you, were you even thinking of finding a relationship or were you "persuaded" into one?
Answering this question makes me feel foolish because I asked myself why did any of my relationships start ? I never had a friendship that ended up as a love affair nor was I looking for a love affair. A man just starts to pay attention, says nice things, and when he asks me out, I go. I sound pathetic LOL.
Is there a typical first date? What is it like? Do you actually do things in SL or is it just about the relationship on the internet and you happened to meet in SL?
I have done it both ways. It depends on how people use SL; some people immerse and others browse. Dancing at a club or a concert seems to be the standard.
After that first date, what do you typically do together?
In SL there are things to do together, like any normal couple would do in RL , and that can be fun. When you have a relationship online without using SL it is just about chatting. I don't find those as meaningful. I like the visual.
How quickly did you know it was love?
I don't think it was ever love for me but the men seem to say it very quickly. I have felt pressured to say it back sometimes and then I have to explain it later. I resented being pressured and it always ruined that date.
How big a role did sex play in this? Was it confined to SL or did it spill outside of it?
Sex is not a "role" in SL relationships, it is part of the relationship as it is in life. It happens very quickly in SL, just as it does in RL, especially when it is not your first love.
My partners sometimes wanted to use voice or camera but that was not something I was comfortable with.
How does SL enhance or detract from the sexual aspects of a relationship, if it was part of yours.
There are so many things to explore in SL that are fantasy and that applies to sex too. There are things I would never do in RL but I could in SL. It is fun and exciting. Exploring fantasies can open up an intimate pathway between 2 people. Communication and honesty are necessary so that no-one gets hurt. Sadly, honesty is a precious and rare commodity in SL.
Definitely the poses and sex equipment make it very real. Being a visual person I found the props to be really fun to play with and of course you can dress for any role. SL takes away so many RL limits. I think exploring with another adult can be really healthy and even healing for some people but like everything we do, you have to use common sense and make sure you both agree on what is going to happen.
What was your real life situation and were you honest about it to your partner(s)?
I am happily married. My husband knows everything I do on SL and it is not an issue between us. We love each other. I know this is hard to explain to other people but all I can say is that we use it as a bonus to our own active sex life as we are both very open. My relationships in SL always added to my marriage.
I am also completely honest about that with men in SL. I will never meet them in RL. I will never leave my husband. This is just role playing. Of course they all agree to that and say it is exactly what they are looking for LOL and then it turns out that they want other things completely.
What was your partner(s) real life situation and were they honest?
In 3 of the situations the partner lied and told me their wives knew and were fine with it. None of their wives ever showed up, but little things add up over time and you realize you have been lied to. You realize you are with a liar who will say what they have to in order to get what they want.
The one who was honest about the situation was younger than the others. Interesting huh?
Do you think it is possible for two people to have a relationship in second life on one level and another relationship in real life? Why and how could that work or not work?
I don't think anyone can answer that for someone else. Relationships are complicated in SL and RL. Only the people involved know what it is really about. I know that many people would see this as cheating and it is if you are hiding or lying to any of the people involved. You have to be very clear on what the boundaries are and not cross them. There is no way for someone not to get hurt if lies are told and I think it is often the spouse of someone who has no idea what is going on online. I think the online partner gets blamed when they probably don't know anything about the spouse or have been told, as I was, that the spouse was ok with what was happening.
Did you meet in real life? How did that go? Was it as satisfying as your SL experience? (if no skip next two questions)
No it is a line I would not cross although I was pressured to by one man who was suddenly ready to leave his wife and meet me despite what he had told me in the beginning about his undying love and devotion for her. LOL. In the beginning he told me his relationship with her was wonderful, she knew all about what he did in SL and she thought it was great, better than him meeting women in real life which he said he had done before and hurt her. He matched what I said almost completely. In the end, he said they had not had sex in years and that she was completely disinterested. That may have been true but it would not have made it any easier for her to find out he was having sex with me.
What, if anything, were you most disappointed about?
What, if anything, was the most pleasant surprise?
Did you marry in SL? If so, what kind of a wedding and what was the expense involved?
No, I would never marry anyone here. My relationships were about the exploration of sexual fantasies and some role playing and so I did not involve it with my other SL friends or my work. I think my friends and associates would be surprised to know I had ever had a relationship in SL. I didn't plaster their picture all over my profile or anything like that.
Did you have children? How was that?
No. I would not do that either.
How long did the whole relationship last? How long after the marriage did it last? Is it still ongoing?
None of them lasted that long. One was a couple of years but we were on again off again during that time with about 3 months good here and there. None of my "relationships" were exclusive for me or the other person. This was not about "falling in love." It was just about fun.
If applicable, how did you ultimately break up? Did either of you cheat on the other?
It always comes down to lies. When you have a relationship that is just about the fun of exploring sex with no strings or commitments, it might seem perfect, but it never was. There was no need for anyone to lie but they did and then it just seemed ridiculous because the fun was gone and there was no point in continuing.
Ever been caught by a third party that also claimed a relationship with your partner? Were you blamed for the situation?
No. I always made it clear that I did not want to hurt any woman and if I were to find out that they were lying to me about their wives I would break it off immediately. The men who were married told me things like their wives also had relationships in SL.
Are you still friends?
What, if anything, do you regret the most?
That I may have been part of hurting another woman. I have a relationship in RL that is bound by honesty and so I thought others could too. This was not the case with the men I was with. Maybe I am kidding myself.
What, if anything, did you gain?
I learned things about myself and others, and had some fun. It is always fun and exciting in the beginning but it is amazing how boring it can become. I am sure people who actually fall in love do not feel the same way I do.
How many relationships do you think you have had in SL?
What is your opinion on relationships in SL and are they healthy for people to get involved in? What are the key points people should consider before getting involved?
I know you will get some responses to these questions from people who have found their soul mate. I can't judge other relationships by my limited experience and label SL as good or bad.
People should communicate honestly. It is the same for RL isn't it?
I think it odd to discuss SL relationships like a novelty. Relationships are relationships and most of the issues are the issues no matter where the relationship happens. It is not just a game because there are two real people behind the avatars. It can be wonderful or very hurtful depending on the integrity of the people involved. Some people are comfortable with their sexuality, and others aren't, and some people are loving and caring with others, and some aren't.
The only differences would be the physical but intimacy does not require physical contact. In the end, it is up to the two people involved and no two people are the same. I try not to judge someone just because they are doing things I don't know about or wouldn't want to do myself.
If you, or someone you know, would like to take part in these interviews, please contact me online in SL as Bliss Windlow, or on Facebook under the same name, or at my email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Whether you want your name used or not, is totally up to you. I will not edit your responses excepting that I will now allow for anything that is aimed at someone currently in SL by way of naming them for some wrong doing. The purpose of this is dicsussion and exploration, not a witch hunt or retribution.