Boy, when it comes to relationships in Second Life, seems like there’s an awful lot of doom and gloom in the air over on SL Insider. And, yes, there’s an awful lot of relationships in this virtual world, as in any other, that range from rocky to chaotic. Yet I’m pretty sure things can be made to work, if the couple involved are realistic. What’s the key? I think the key thing you have to do is: Define your ground rules at the outset, before things get hot and heavy.
In the case of myself and Danielle, we did exactly that. Our relationship is strictly within the bounds of the world; it kind of has to be, for various reasons. So, for us, “What happens in SL, stays in SL,” to quote my friend matt27 Churchill. Danielle was realistic about it; her goal was to create a relationship, within the game, as far as it would progress “naturally.” In her words, “If it leads to Erbo ‘marrying’ Danielle then yay!!” And that seems to be where it’s led. In RL, though, the person behind Danielle and I (who is female, by the way) are just good friends at best, albeit long-distance ones, similar to the friends I left behind when I moved to Denver. Which is OK, too; my RL wife has a number of friends of that nature, some of them overseas.
Now, I’ve seen couples that haven’t defined the boundaries beforehand and stuck to them; those seem to be the ones for which things get messy, if not downright ugly. The result is the kind of drama that seems to suck us in, consume vast amounts of energy, and leave no one feeling very happy. Folks, if you’re planning an SL relationship, or have fallen into one, do yourself the favor of setting the boundaries and sticking to them. If you do, you’ll not only avoid problems, in my opinion, but you’ll discover rewards that make it all worthwhile.
(Inspired by the wedding today of two of our friends, 167mamba Au and ZoeyStar Rankin. I hope they’ve been as sensible about the process as we have. In any event, may their union be blessed and loving, always.)