Unlike the end of Part 1 and Part 2, I sorta know how this piece will end. I think Second Life old timers and newbies will both find something to hang onto, even.
It seems ages since the end of Part 1. I declared, “He filled my life with hope” and he did. Peter wanted to see me every night and he gave me an endless stream of beautiful memories. I was addicted to our nights together. Our relationship was like this for months and it grew. On our first anniversary, we threw a spectacular party and invited as many friends as would fit on our island. ((My human, always the skeptic, even wondered if this was a relationship we could take to real life?))
Sadly, Second Life old timers already know how my love affair with Peter ended.
Unfortunately, there were many thing in play in our second lives. Not everything was the bright sunny day I’ve protrayed. Occasionally I’d do things that caused Peter great concern, even jealous. I learned that he has his viewer setup to see where my camera was pointing and while I never imagined this was a problem, I had forgotten that when I host, it was my habit to scan the crowds at the club. Sometimes I shot photos for my blogs, sometimes I’d read profiles. To me all this was just curiosity, or if we had a griefer arrive it was my job to toss them. But I came to learn that each time I read a profile, it destroyed Peter’s trust in me.
Unfortunately, things I didn’t know about Peter’s real life became known. Then suddenly, Peter left me to save a real life marriage I didn’t know about. He returned to SL, of course, but on his return a couple months later, he partnered with a woman I hadn’t known about. And on and on that story went.
And I left Second Life again but this time I knew I’d return, and I did a month later.
On returning, I needed closure but Peter was cold and did everything he could to let me know to stay away from him.
I tried moving on. In my time with Peter, I had shut the door on all communications with other guys. Now, all alone again, I wanted to repair those friendships. Even Nathan and I became friends again and for one brief shining moment, I thought there was a spark of romance. But there was no flame and probably for the best. I was glad we are friends again though.
Most places I once loved, the joyful places I’d shared with Peter, were now a reminder of my failure and a source of embarrassment. Friends told me I shouldn’t feel this way, that these things happen to all of us once in awhile, but I was a prisoner to my feelings. I was humiliated.
The Junkyard was the source of my greatest embarrassment. Being there reminded me more of my failure than anywhere. Nonetheless, I still wanted to be part of the bluesy circle and I continued to try to connect again… as a single. I danced with new guys from time to time. I went out on dates with guys who had enough interest to plan a date; there were even a couple of flutters of romance here and there. But maybe I’d become too distrusting, too cautious.
I opened my life to new places; I discovered the Blake Sea. And when I found a darling little Street Dancer speedboat, I discovered the joys of zooming around the sea and discovering its many ports of call. Girlfriends started joining me and then we started planning little outings. They’d bring their guys and if I happened to be dating a guy, I’d bring him too, but mostly I was solo.
One fine day when our group was on a scuba adventure on Sirens Isle. It was one of those days when I was solo. As our party assembled on the shore for our dive, a guy in an F15 Tom Cat crashed on our island. He survived the crash and on crawling away from the wreckage, her introduced himself. He was a good-looking guy with an easygoing way (I mean, if you don’t count crashing a warplane into our party) and I liked his style. Over the course of our dive, we got to know each other.
The Tom Cat pilot was a rather unique Aussie named Siddhartha. And our time together that day was very enjoyable. In just the right way, this sorta swashbuckling kinda guy had burst into my life. He came from the sky and I was swept off my feet… as only I can be. /me blushes
Here’s the thing, I started looking at relationships in SL. I looked at the long list of my friends and recognized that only a few of those who had partnered over the years still had relationship that lasted. Most had failed after only a few months. Some lasted a year or more. There were even couples that lasted multiple years, but when you set aside couples married in real life, only a handful of long-term couples remain.
I think many of us who have discovered Second Life love have also discovered its sadness.
Those who can look at SL analytically will surely see the futility in most virtual romances, but they may also miss a great range of emotional discovery. And there’s a lot to be discovered about virtual relationships, and even Life itself. Those who cling to SL and discover nothing about themselves, seem to be on a downward spiral. Each cycle that begins with the joy falling in love is followed by the sadness of breaking up. Perhaps though, somewhere in the middle, there is a balance between the cautiousness of the analytic and the wrecklessness of those trapped by their emotions. I’d like to believe this and I believe this is where I’ve come to in my romance.
I’m glad Siddhartha came into my life. I might even be able to fall in love with him in time, but I’m much more wary than in the past. And I’ve got much more time to let things evolve.
I haven’t lost my spontaneity but I listen a lot more to words that are said and I watch for patterns. I’ve learned many of the patterns that reveal those who are married or divorced or single. I’ve learned the signs that identify those who are seeing others. I’ve learned that almost everyone has some aspect of their life they wish to keep private. It’s not hard to do this, I can’t help knowing these things. Some discoveries require action, most don’t though, but you should always protect your heart.
That’s the first advice I was ever given about SL Love was: Protect Your Heart.
And no matter how much you love a virtual person or believe he or she is worthy of your trust, protecting your heart is the only defense you have when that cycle of Second Life love begins.