Sunday, May 25, 2008

Is Second Life enough for a committed relationship?

I have been thinking about relationships via SL lately, both because of recent posts on other blogs, and from a few other things that were going on in the lives of close SL friends. People often talk about “SL only” relationships, where the relationship is strictly SL, and those involved in the relationship have ‘real’ relationships in their first lives. That, specifically, is something I don’t understand and I never will. However this is going to be about something else: ‘RL’ relationships via SL.

What I mean exactly, is a couple that feels that they are in a real relationship, but they have met through Second Life. Does this work? Of course initially I would have said, “Yes, they do work!” since I am a prime example of SL to RL success.

To give you a bit of a background, my husband Damien and I were one of the first SL couples to get married in first life. We met through mutual friends in Second Life who weren’t exactly happy to see us together. While we made our share of mistakes, we felt strong in our relationship and fought through the anger and drama thrown at us. Along with Second Life, we talked over Skype, which made us feel relatively close. Eventually, I moved to England and we were married (But we’re back in the US now). We are still going strong and happier than ever. (Please read the old New World Notes to track parts of our story. )

But what about everyone else? Was my story just a fairy tale that usually doesn’t happen? I had always thought that Second Life gives you enough closeness that more RL relationships would happen. You can ‘see’ a version of that person. You can hear them via voice. You can interact with them in so many ways that are so close to being real.

But I have seen these relationships fail for all of my friends around me. Sometimes I think that I’m a bad influence… making them think that it’s all easy! Although it’s painful to them, it’s painful to me too, to see so many friends get into serious relationships, suffer through the long distance problems, just to face a hard break up in the end. I find my circle of friends becoming more split up as well, as more of them break up from each other.

Couples breaking up are of course dependant on the individuals themselves. But lately I am thinking that there may be more to it than that. Is it because long distance relationships are too hard? Or that Second Life and Skype are not enough? And should people bother getting into a long distance relationship if they think that it will be too hard for them?

Having a real life relationship over the internet is not easy. If you are heading into one, please know that it will be one of the hardest fights of your life.


Tateru Nino said...

Seems to me that RL relationships over the internet fail no more nor less often than RL relationships in RL do.

Damien said...

I agree with Tateru, how often in your life do you meet "The One"?

The answer is, "Once, if you're lucky!"