And then I met someone who actually made me want to chunk a part of my day just to dedicate to her, and I then, like a million-watt light bulb going off in my mind, realized that it's not that surprising we'd want to connect with others in-world in deep ways: to date, get to learn about others, to make connections that have you wanting to build a relationship with just one person.
BUT...to get to that "building a relationship" stage, most SL citizens date, and it's that SL Dating Pool where you can run into the right one, the wrong one, the crazy one, and the ones in between. I talked with a few SL citizens about the good, bad, and the ugly of SL dating and not only got good stories, but good advice for those jumping into the grid and looking for L-O-V-E.
I asked a few SL citizens to share with me an SL dating/relationship story, good or bad, and offer some sort of advice to others jumping into the dating pool. I want to share some below...
It all started out as us being best friends. I had his back and he had mine. He was my ace, my ride or die, the blunt to my weed. We both had bad luck in relationships, so we started to take our relationship to another level and that's when it all started.
At first it was great, we laughed, we played, we went out, we had the best time together. So, we started getting closer and closer each day, and we decided to bring it out of SL into RL. After doing so, things started to get rocky. There were other girls involved, we started arguing everyday, and it wasn't just the small arguments. It was the ones where it makes your chest hurt from all the sadness. We was on and off in a relationship over the years, but if I was smart, I would have ended it the first time. I honestly can say I do wish we would have stayed best friends and nothing more.
All I have to say is if you're going to be in a relationship in SL, take it real slow, just as you would in RL. It can take a toll on you in your real life emotions just as if it was real. People say they can separate SL from RL, but if you think about it, your RL emotions will get involved if you have an SL relationship with someone and you actually care about that person. So with that being said, my advice for Second Life relationships is...they can be a wonderful thing if you know how to handle things the correct way. If not, they can leave you in a horrible state of mind.
I used to date this guy who was very, very sweet. Would do anything for me at any time. I thought it was too good to be true. We dated for about 2 months until he wanted a kid, so we adopted twin girls. About 3-4 months later, we were married--a pretty happy family, we truly were, but then of course God sends you distractions in life, and I was distracted by this fine gentleman at this club. My hubby caught me out with him. So, he and I went home, and he's telling me he thought we were going to last forever. Even after I promised not to do it again, he said he couldn't believe me. Our relationship ended, but he said we could stay friends, and we've been besties ever since. In fact, he lives with me now 'cause he's homeless and doesn't have anyone else.
From this experience and other dating, relationship experiences, all I can say is when you got a man that gives you what you want/need, don't mess it up...you got what you need. Don't take more than what was given to you.
Overall, the experiences were positive for me because without those experiences, I wouldn't be half of who I am today and probably wouldn't even have my kids, and I'm proud of me and my kids.
I have to admit I often make the women I talk to mad in SL. All you have to do is look at my profile to know I am here just to have fun. That line is actually IN my profile. But I'll go to a club and my IMs will blow up with women trying to holler. I'm cool with that. But if I give them any time, then that means I must like them, which means I must want to kick it with them, which means they are pissed when I'm not IMing them every day or they see me at the club the next night with someone that's not them. SL dating to me means just going out and having fun and doing whatever--with no strings attached. I'm not looking for someone to spend my life with. I have that. In my REAL life.
I'm a serial relationshipper...whatever the hell that means. The problem is that every experience I have is the same...fast-paced and always with an ending that leaves me alone though not for long. My very first relationship began and ended in the span of a month or so and included everything and the kitchen sink. I met this guy at a club, lame I know, and we ended up talking the whole night, like 5 hours about any and everything. You couldn't tell me I wasn't in love.
By the first week, we were an official couple. My friends though I was crazy, but I didn't care. By the second week, I was joking about us getting married, and next thing I know, I'm getting a gown from Marketplace from him and we're talking wedding locales. Soon, he was the name in my "partner" box. Almost a week later, we were adopting kids and buying land to get us a big swanky house. I was so happy, decorating the house, playing mom and wifey.
The week after that, I didn't hear from him. I never heard from him again. Never saw him in-world, no more e-mails, nothing. Ended up giving up the land because I couldn't afford it. Moved me and the kids into the freebie home I get from SL as a premium member. I was upset for a good two weeks before I met someone and started the crazy cycle again.
I've this merry-go-round thing about five times so far. Something must be wrong with me, right? LOL I mean who keeps doing the whole love-marriage-baby carriage mess? I'm sure it has something to do with what my RL friends tell me: "You live for the drama of it all." I wouldn't recommend people do what I do unless they want the aggravation. My heart (and drama apparently) runs on high octane. I would advise others to go a much slower route is dating in SL is something they seriously want to do.
From these stories, and from the words I've received from friends over the last 2+ years on the grid, I see one thing is a constant in RL and in SL: people do love to don their club best in hopes of finding "the one" through their empty drink glass!
But in all seriousness, I see other similarities, too. There are those of us that treat dating as a sport--do it for fun and for the moment, not looking for more. There are those of us who seem in love with the idea of being in love and with all the trappings like a wedding, children, home, etc. There are those of us that have something good and still find a way to want more and end up losing a good thing. And there are those of us that find a love and want to keep it--even when fights and dissension show that the love is probably not meant to be.
If anything, from talking to others, I know (and I always knew this) emotions are real. Virtual worlds and real worlds do not change that. Once something is in your heart, it is as real and as tangible as your hand upon your face. I think for those out there looking to jump into the SL dating scene, they would do well to heed the advice mentioned in these stories. Take your time, keep hold of those who are there for you and give you want you want and need, listen to someone--if they say they are not feeling a relationship, toss them to the side and find the one that wants you (and that you want, obviously).
I'd like to throw my own piece of advice out there, too. Don't go seeking love. Let it find you. If you're open to it (and even if you're not) and you just go about your business, you'd be surprised just how fast it can happen and how wonderful it can be when it does. Like I said at the start of this article, I never wanted a relationship in-world and was hit squarely between the eyes with the coolest, hottest, dopest, wonderfulest (yes, I know not a word, lol), realest person on the grid [Check out my piece "When Bae Met Bunny: An Anatomy of a Working SL Relationship"]. And if it can happen to me--a true, pure knucklehead since birth--I know it can happen for you, too.
What have been YOUR experiences with dating and relationships in Second Life?