I know I have really high expectations and I don’t apologise for it. In fact, it’s one of the most consistent threads of my approach to my work, and what I expect from myself, my colleagues, my friends, and of course, a real or virtural relationship.
I’m the farthest thing you could imagine from someone with a lot of relationship experience in SL. For one, I’ve never been partnered. Ever. I don’t even really know why. The reasons may have alternated from cluelessness, to having more than my share of trust issues, to wanting to spend time with friends, to working my ass off at new projects, to never being attracted to someone on that level before now, and finally, because I’ve only been asked once (yes, I turned him down).
Partnership, for me, is not a whim. It’s a commitment. It’s either on or off. There is no halfway.
Lately, I’ve thought more and more about partnership in Second Life. It initially had a lot to do with my closest friend’s relationships, which naturally consumed a hefty share of our conversations. And now, I’ve started walking down this path myself, and it’s raising even more questions than I ever thought I’d have to answer, in both RL and SL. Finally, since I’ve read Yordie’s posts, sharing her own relationship experiences in Second Life, I’ve been inspired to revisit these ideas again, and hopefully contribute to the conversation in my own, hopeful, way.
It’s been through those, in some cases vicarious, experiences I’ve considered what I really, really want. I initially wrote this when I was single, as an Open Letter to Would-be Suitors – mainly to ward off those who might be interested in me. I figured, one read of this and they’d head for the hills running! On the flip side, if they were still even remotely concious by the end, it might be a sign I’d have a live one.
Since I wrote the first version of this on Songs from the Coal Face several months ago, I’ve had many women friends tell me how much it helped them articulate what they too wanted, and several male friends who use it as an instructional manual of sorts (good for them, I say!)
So here we go… (deep breath) here are the 5 things I Want in a (virtual) relationship.:
An Open Letter to Would-be Suitors who are considering a Virtual Relationship with me
Ok, here’s the deal. The number one thing I want is your time. While physical proximity may not be necessary for intimacy to occur, it can rarely occur without time. I want to feel like I’m a priority in your life – no, not necessarily your RL, but certainly your virtual life.
I am extraordinarily busy in SL. I rarely have an idle moment that isn’t in some way devoted to either talking with someone I care about, interacting with people at work, working on my Second Life Business, shopping, reading and writing, building, or even just organising and purging my inventory. But, I do these things by choice. I want to do them. And if I’m going to say yes to you, I have to say no to some of them. That’s life… tradeoffs. So, it had better be worth it.
I can scale back, but don’t expect me to give up the things that are most important to me. My closest friends were there before, they’ll be there during, and they will probably be there after – I will not make them number 2. I’ve known the pain of being discarded by friends when a shiny white knight walks into the picture, and I will not do that to my friends.
If you can’t deal with my work or my ambitions, then don’t bother. If I didn’t want to do what I’m doing, I would have stopped it already. If I didn’t want what I want, then I would have chosen another path.
Obviously, time isn’t an endless resource, in fact, it’s our most precious gift. So, if you want me, I want your time. It’s simple. Your time is free – it doesn’t cost you a nickel.
I like attention, and affection.
I want you to take the time to say hi, to say goodbye, even a simple IM to share how our days are going. The more communication the better – I don’t need poetry (although I’m touched by it), even a sweet message telling me that you’re thinking about me would be enough.
If you’re offline for a while. That’s ok. Send me an email. Tell me what’s going. Because if you don’t, I’ll worry. I’ll start spinning. And trust me, that’s bad news.
If time is the measure, love is the quality. Your actions and words need to be consistent. I don’t want to spend my time guessing and I don’t want to play mind games.
I want to be chased, I want to be pursued, I want to be doted on, I want to be cherished and I want to be cared for. Sometimes I want you to take the lead – I already have a job in here, I don’t need or want another one – so don’t expect me to do all the work.
Surprise me. Kiss me for no reason. Write me a love letter. Make me a picture book of your favourite moments with me. Plan something different and don’t ever recycle your “greatest hits”. Sweep me off my feet. If you want my love, show me yours.
Of course, I want to feel closeness with you. I know I may seem it sometimes, but I’m not shy with the right person. I want to know what you want to feel. I want you to know what I want to feel. 99/100 times, I’m not aiming for a speed record. I want foreplay, and loads of it. If you’re not any good at this, I probably won’t tell you, I’ll probably fake it (sorry, but it’s true). You’ll know this when I don’t initiate consistently. If I don’t, pay attention and get clued up. Read a book. Learn something new, for goodness sakes. Make that effort. It will be worth it I promise you.
I love to be kissed, passionately. I want to be warmed up. I want to be pleased and I want to have great orgasms (several, if possible). Then I want to cuddle and talk. And that is more important to me than you may ever realise.
Sometimes I won’t want to. Usually, that’s not about you. It’s about me. It’s probably RL related. Stop fretting, everything passes, I’ll be back.
I want to feel like I matter to you. If I get a new outfit, comment on it. If I get a new hairdo, notice. A sincere compliment will get a lot of mileage. It’s soooo easy!
I want you to ask me for my opinion. You don’t have to follow it, but I want you to listen to me.
I’m not your babysitter or your mother. I’m not even your big sister. I want you to hold your own. I need you to be strong because I can’t be strong all the time. I want your support and your leadership, and I can’t rely on you unless you can rely on yourself. I will be the very best listener I can possibly be. There is almost no limit to the amount of reserves I have inside me. But sometimes, I need your ear. I need your support. I need the grown-up.
Take responsibility. Being right all the time is impossible. Blame others for your problems and I’ll have little sympathy. You made your decisions. You are responsible. Deal with it.
If I want to tell you something, give me the time to work my way through it. I don’t have all the answers. I don’t always want or even need you to fix it. I just want you to listen and encourage me. I want this so much my eyes moisten at the thought.
Sometimes I want you to tell me everything will be ok, even if you know I’m heading for a world full of pain. And when it comes, I want you there to pick me up and not tell me that you told me so. Yes, you were right. I have a memory. I got it.
I want to laugh. So much I can’t control it. If I’m down – which will happen, cheer me up! Say something funny, but know when I want to be serious.
Laugh at yourself, if you dare.
It’s not always hormonal. I’m more than a skin bag of chemicals. Sometimes there really is a problem!
Make yourself better. Invest in yourself. Know your flaws and work on them. I don’t mind a moving target, as long as it’s moving in the right direction.
Intelligence will go a long way in obscuring your weaker points. We all have them, so it’s ok, I can live with yours. Bragging about how great and wonderful you are will make me lose interest in direct proportion to the grandness of your claims. Quiet and sincere humility is one of the most attractive qualities you can have.
I don’t need to know every intimate detail of your life. I have boundaries too – many. I will respect yours and happily receive what you give me. I will treasure it, and not live in a state of perpetual want for something else. Please do the same.
If you’re away, tell me why. There is no reason to lie about it. I can sense when you’re not telling the truth. If you want to spend time with your friends or follow your interests, just tell me. I want the same, so it’s ok. If you’re not online for a while, let me know – just send me an email, it isn’t that hard.
Please answer your IM while you’re online – I don’t expect you to answer immediately – within 5 minutes is ok. If you don’t answer and go offline, and I don’t get an email within a reasonable amount of time, yes, I’ll get pissed off. It’s just the way I am.
Lastly, don’t even think that there is anything even remotely close to harmless flirting or accidental lapses. Respect me enough to tell me the truth and let me decide how much is too much.
And if you should imagine, for even one second, that there is such a thing as infidelity in this picture, then you don’t have a clue who I am. Should it ever happen, where do we go from there? It’s simple. That is the point of no return. No second chances. No forgiveness. You will have one chance. Make it count or don’t play.