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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Cheater's High - Relationship Challenge- Seersha Heart Reporting…



            Many of us are in or have been in a monogamous relationship at one time or another in SL.  Relationships are perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of living in SL.  In a virtual relationship we can only rely on IMs, text messages in world, to gage who a person is in SL.  With the amount of people who live in SL, it would seem counter intuitive that most people are honest.  Why not be honest in our virtual world?  You can be anyone or anything, right?  Unfortunately for those seeking honest friendships and relationships there are SL residents who are dishonest about their relationships and their fidelity.  There are many respected studies of the “Cheater’s High”.  This cheater’s high is the emotional boost someone receives when they successfully deceive another person.  And yes, this is a “thing”, the cheater’s high is real.  Those I spoke to experience the cheater’s high by telling me their stories.  All names and identifying information has been changed to protect the contributor.

            Andyy Oh has his SL time all figured out.  He told me he has the best of both worlds.  Partnered to a woman since 2012 he considers that his main relationship.  By most metrics it is a perfect relationship.  He lives in England, she lives in Ohio.  When she finishes her work day in RL she goes home to log into SL.  This is late afternoon early evening for her, for him it is late evening.  They see each other almost every day at their SL home.  However, what she doesn’t know is that Andyy has a second life IN second life.  When he went mesh in 2015 he made a new avi under a new account.  Initially he planned to experiment with that avi and that account but remain on most days Andyy.  For a few weeks this worked as he experimented with the design of the avi.  He also found that building as this new avi gave him quiet and time to concentrate.  He told me he told his partner about this avi, but they never discussed it further. 


            This “quiet” that Andyy experienced while in his ALT account as Hectortst came from the fact he didn’t have any friends with the ALT account.  One day while building in a sandbox a woman approached him and asked him a few questions about his project.  He said it was very exciting to be someone no one knew.  He had a couple hours every day before his partner logged into SL.  He had been using the time to build and to explore a bit.  When this woman chatted him, he saw no harm in joining her a club he had never heard of before.  His new life, his alter ALT had a life blossom easily for Andyy.  His days evolved into a couple hours as Hectortst then the evening as Andyy with his partner.  Hectortst is a different version of Andyy.  Hectortst is “single for life” and a playboy.  I asked Andyy if he was worried about getting caught.  He told me it would never happen.  He insists he is a caring and loving partner and that this isn’t really cheating.  He told me it “doesn’t really count” as he doesn’t have any steady relationships with women as Hectortst.

            It is safe to say that Andyy has not yet read Huckleberry Hax’s series AFK.  If he had, he would learn that Huck seems to know quite a few ways a person may get caught even as an ALT.  You can change the avi and the account, but the RL person behind both remains the same.  People repeat patterns, go places, say things that are similar regardless of account.  Thinking of this I asked Andyy one more question, “has your partner ever met Hectortst?”.  My IM went silent with this question.  After about fifteen minutes he IMed me back and said “yes”.  Maybe he felt guilty for this digression.  I only asked questions and listened.  Leaving the IM silent worked for me.  Andyy told me a short story of how his partner met Hectortst.  He said he purposely went to a club that Andyy and his partner frequented.  The prior night Andyy had told his partner that he would not be online the next day planning out his meeting with her.  Before he walked into “their” club Andyy realized his Hectortst was a very attractive avi perhaps more than Andyy himself.  He went into the club [as Hectortst] and sat at the bar while the DJ played.  She wasn’t there at the bar as he had hoped so he waited.  It took three separate times before Hectortst was there at the same time as Andyy’s partner.  Andyy told me his anxiety grew with each try.  He wondered if his partner was with someone else while he was Hectortst.  He wondered if his partner would flirt with Hectortst.


            By the time Hectortst met his partner Andyy was a basket case of worry.  He regained his confidence when she walked into the club one night.  Finally, his big moment came when he IMed her.  Would she flirt back or ignore him or what???  Andyy confessed that he had thought about having an affair with his own partner as Hectortst if she was interested.  Andyy had moved from a few dalliances to full on manipulation mode.  What happened wasn’t any scenario he predicted.  His RL began more demanding so he only had time for Andyy not Hectortst.  He stopped talking to me after his huge manipulation confession, so I don’t know what happened.  Honestly at this point I would rather not know.
            Women are dishonest in SL relationships too.  Chrissy Aeon has a different system that Andyy’s but seems to successfully have a couple lives in SL.  Currently without a partner, Chrissy says she has partnered before and plans to partner again someday soon.  She wants a partner who has limited SL time, such as only weekend, certain nights, basically a predictable schedule.  She loves having a partner, that someone special, to spend time with in SL.  What she also does is provide and escort service as well as serve as a “slave” to a Gorean man.  There is the “hi I’m Chrissy” woman, the “hi check my picks for gifts” woman and the first girl of Gorean land owner.  I could not keep track of our conversation in a way that I can convey how she does this in SL.  She is sweet, funny and seems to have it all figured out.  She sees no problem with all these lives existing with one avi.  I would agree that there isn’t a problem either, SL is what you make of it.  However, I asked her if she tells her boyfriends about the escorting and the Gorean RP.  To this she said, “no WAY”.  Now that, for many, is a problem.

            I spoke to seven SL residents who in some way are deceiving their partner or love interest.  What I didn’t hear from any of the people I spoke to was guilt.  None of them seemed to feel badly for being deceptive.  Perhaps given I posted my inquiry on Facebook, perhaps only those who felt no guilt would seek me out.  I found myself feeling worse each time I spoke to someone.  It was as if reliving the deception was a thrill.  I asked each one a couple of questions.  These are the questions and the results from my small group;


      What is a ‘partner’ in SL?  [most frequent answer was a partner is your spouse or number 1 person]
      What would you do if you learned your partner was deceiving you?  [surprisingly 5 of the 7 said that their partner would never deceive them]
      Does telling your story make you feel better, worse or the same for deceiving your partner?  [ 3 argued that they weren’t really deceiving their partner/bf/gf, 2 the same, 2 enjoyed talking about it]

Each person was promised anonymity.  I also told each person I would write the story my way using the information they provided.  Only one person asked if they could read an advance copy of this article.  I said no.  What I learned to put this together was deception takes a lot of time and a lot of energy.  There are no specific clues that seem to make one person more likely than another to be deceptive in SL.  I am confident that the deceptive people are the minority here, or rather the long term deceptive practices are few.  Most people are upfront about what they hope for in their lives here.  And in the end, you do your best to get to know someone then…. make a leap of faith.


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