What’s “SLove” Got To Do With It?

December 4, 2007 at 11:21 am (Communication, Friendship, Love, Polyamory, Relationships, Second Life) (, , , , , , , , , )

love-heart.jpg

I’ve written before about my own experiences of falling in love online. And I’ve made it no secret that I think we all could benefit from the added ego boost that comes when we see our own power through a fresh pair of eyes. But lately I’ve noticed the unique tendency in Second Life (SL) to be incredibly loose with the use of the “L” word. This is something that appears to be unique to SL, as I don’t hear its utterance on every street corner in the real world around me. In fact, in my own past I recall laboring over whether the time was right to use it at all lest I communicate something I wasn’t ready to reveal. But in SL we seem to be quite liberal with the word and the idea. This has caused me to doubt its sincerity a bit and wonder how many of those love feelings are real and how many we manufacture in an attempt to reap the rewards of simply having them?

Many people I know in SL are quick to claim they’ve found “the one,” to only days later discard the shell of that relationship onto the pile of other rejects. We seem so hasty to label our experience as love or something similar, that perhaps in our desperation we see things that may not really be there. In essence, are our experiences in SL just added examples that we’re a culture addicted to being in love?

Another practice that has me puzzled is the act of partnering in SL. To limit one’s adventures in a limitless universe by staking out relationship territory to me defeats the purpose of Second Life altogether. Yet I think the partnership propensity is another example of how we attempt to find order in the chaos of the grid. Partnership–and other public displays of our affections such as the gushing tributes in our profiles–is a definitive and specific way to profess that we do care about another person. It also helps communicate, in a world where words are all we really have, the varying degrees of feelings we have for those in our circle of friends who are important to us.

A friend told me recently that Second Life can be a very lonely place. This concept amazed me, since there are so many things to do and see and so many people yet to meet. But there is a sense that, if we do not belong to someone on the grid–whether a partner or a family–we are missing some critical component of the experience. How many times have you looked at someone else’s profile and felt a pang of envy at the declarations of love and appreciation showered upon those who are a part of their circle of friends?

So what’s my point? Am I saying we should put on the brakes and be parsimonious with the love language? I don’t think so. I might be more apt to encourage us to learn from how free we feel to use the words in SL, and how great it feels when someone uses them with us in return. Then perhaps we take that freedom and become more liberal with love and appreciation in our lives everyday.

In addition, it may be useful to find another way to affirm our adoration in SL; one that isn’t weighed down by the baggage of varying and disputed definitions of the word (love means many different things to many different people). Not long ago I saw the word “slove” used to describe the intensity of emotion that is uniquely felt within SL and it seemed a perfect definition for the unique but incredibly intense feelings of love–or at minimum deep like or admiration–that are elicited in this crazy online world.

So I say, don’t be afraid to stand up and profess it loudly and proudly: I SLove you! See, doesn’t that feel good?

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4 Comments

  1. Benson Schmooz said,

    Cin,

    I SLove you and your creativity!

    It’s interesting to me how quickly our infatuation turns into a what we may think is love, at a pace rivaling dog years… better yet, ant years!

    My relationships are important and they don’t end up in the inventory dumpster, or worse. Relationship change can be painful, but it really helps me to better understand myself and my impact on those around me in SL and RL. The joy of a new love is wonderful, and the pain of failure is heartbreaking – that’s what makes life all worth living (at least for me).

    Finally, as an explorer… part of my quest is to do just that – the cosmos around me down to those closest to me. It takes a lot of energy, but it’s well worth it. Who knows, if you go exploring with me it’s possible that you’ll end up SLoving me, only to kick me off a mountain in three days (what, like 5 human years in SL?).

    Benson

  2. duskydi said,

    Thanks so much for this post. Hope you don’t mind me commenting. I have experienced love connections over my computer and I have to say have gotton ‘myself’ very hurt.
    Obsession kicked right in. Obviously loving someone and never meeting them is going to create a little bit of obsession, however when your a bit of an obsessive person like my good self the feelings are immense.
    I love to tell people I love that I LOVE THEM, wether it be on line or not.Is love real that you feel on line? Yes I think it is.

    Thanks for getting me thinking again.

    Di 🙂

  3. Ant Love, baby! « VirtualArgyle said,

    […] Love, baby! I love this post. […]

  4. Loki Popinjay said,

    Another thought provoking and very recognisable post Cin.

    Oh… btw… *grins* … I tagged you in my last blog post.
    Hope you don’t mind!

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