Should I Stay or Should I Go: Living & Loving (Openly) On & Off The Second Life Grid

March 13, 2009 at 10:59 am (Divorce, Infidelity, Life, Love, Marriage, Polyamory, Relationships, Second Life, Second Life addiction, Sexuality)

which-way-to-goFor many of you who’ve read my blog regularly this new post will probably be a stunning break in my somewhat accidental and rather prolonged silence. I promise not to bore you with the “oh my real life is busy” sob story. While true, it is a bit irrelevant to this discussion. Because this particular kink in my Second Life blog author “hose of prose” actually happens to relate to the evolution of my Second Life and its merging with the one I live as an upright, fully-functioning human being. You see, I’ve been actually living my real life and exploring what many of you do “in world” in the flesh and blood (literally!).


So what exactly has torn me from the riveting prim confines of the glorious Second Life grid in favor of the real deal? Well, if you haven’t already, take a gander at my most recent blog post and thus begins our fresh telling of my own provocative fairy tale. I admitted that the seeds of open loving (and sexual) relationships and polyamory I had planted in my Second Life had actually taken root in my real life. In essence –for those who refuse to do your homework and prefer to be spoon fed the Cliff’s Notes version—my husband (of nearly 13 years) and I officially opened our marriage. And…well…since then I’ve been kinda busy ( /me grins lasciviously).


Officially opening your marriage feels a bit like attending those corporate-sponsored events held at amusement parks where all the rides are free; you run around like a kid in a candy store frantically trying to ride all the rides, before the evening is over, desperate to experience all that was previously “off limits.” I realize that sounds rather hedonistic. And there is some truth to that. I admit the coincidental fact that I had multiple business trips that fell on the heels of that official “open” designation was deliciously serendipitous.


All this real life excitement, though, has distracted me from the fantasy Second Life I’ve been quietly cultivating for the past few years. And I’m pretty darn ok with that. After three years of casing the same SL joints, engaging in many of the same conversations over and over, and repeatedly discovering within the first few flirtatious quips with a new “friend” that the depth of their interest in me centered on how cleverly and creatively I could coax them to sexual climax, I realized Second Life was holding less and less appeal for me. And once the opportunity arose (or probably more appropriately was sought out), my husband and I took the next step in our journey and I transferred my already limited energy and free time to finding fun in the flesh as opposed to seeking out romance in Second Life.


So where does that leave me—avatar & blog author Cindy Kesey—now? Well I began writing this blog as a way to verbalize much of what I and many others have experienced as our lives were expanded through Second Life to include new friends from across the globe. And I’ve tried to capture the complexities of what it feels like to be seen by someone else in a new light after years of being glimpsed (and perhaps often overlooked) by many of the same familiar folks—husbands, wives, and friends included. In Second Life many, like me, have found fascinating people we’d have never met in our real lives; people who found us engaging, exciting, interesting, amazing, and beautiful. And that attention was—and is—often more than intoxicating, it can be downright addicting.

I wonder, however, if my alliterative attention and exhaustive explorations might be creeping closer to covering the concepts of open marriage and polyamory in the real world. A lot like Second Life, I’m finding that the Cult of Fidelity (especially in the United States) provides very few if any tools, language, or climate for couples who might wish to explore a different way of life in an attempt to perhaps avoid the staggering rates of failure within the traditional constructs of marriage we as a culture have worshipped and extolled for the last few decades. [I feel compelled to mention here I am not talking about “swinging.” I realize many people find that sexually satisfying, and there’s nothing wrong with that in my opinion. I personally, however, find it hollow and require an intellectual and emotional connection on a deeper level to experience truly fulfilling intimacy with another person.]


This evolution of mine is somewhat bittersweet. I don’t think the challenges many people in Second Life face—especially folks married to spouses dabbling in Second Life romances—have been fully explored. I continue to receive countless email from devastated wives and husbands whose partners have left them for their Second Life lovers. My heart goes out to all of you because I don’t think there are any easy answers here unless you and your partners are willing to be totally honest about the true state of your “affairs.”


So in summary, my wonderful and fully fabulous readers, I’m not exactly sure what the future holds for this blog. I continue to pop on to Second Life, although my appearances are less and less frequent. As you can imagine it isn’t easy to juggle a successful career, motherhood, marital harmony, personal fulfillment, and a budding loving relationship with a new and wonderful person in my real life. Perhaps I’ll begin another blog and continue to write about the nearly oppressive expectations we as a culture have of our marriages, mates, and the “happily-ever-after” elusive fairy tale we continue to chase. For I do think we deserve the opportunity to discuss these issues in a realistic, supportive, honest forum where we can ask the tough questions and discover the real roots of why we do what we do—both in Second and real life.


I guess I’ll just keep you “posted.”

Advertisements

Permalink 7 Comments

The Waxing and Waning of our Second Lives

October 3, 2008 at 5:38 pm (Life, Relationships, Second Life, Second Life addiction) (, )

I feel obligated to apologize for the slow trickle of blog posts from me over the last couple months. I’m not one to offer lame excuses for my lack of compelling content. But actually this is exactly what I wanted to talk about today. Over the last couple months my real life has gotten astonishingly busy. [incidentally I’ve thought a lot about the use of “1st life” vs. “real life” as an antonym to Second Life and I feel compelled to continue to use the expression RL, if simply to remind us all that yes, this life our flesh is living is real, the second one is not.] I barely have enough time to squeeze in the normal obligations of life every day, much less to pump energy into a second one.

So my beautiful house stands vacant on the beach, the wind–if there was any on SL–tosses my curtains around gently and the soothing sounds of waves bounce off my empty walls. I’m not there to enjoy the World->Environmental Settings->Sunset. And my mailbox is constantly overflowing with junk mail–I mean important group announcements for events I won’t attend. Has this ever happened to you? You find your free time gobbled up by the daily routine and soon your once smoldering Second Life screeches to a shocking halt.

Or perhaps my schedule hasn’t changed all that much. Maybe I’ve just noticed that SL has lost a bit of its luster. The list of events seems surprisingly similar to the list I looked at last night and the night prior. The little dings of chats that once poured in by the bucketful have dwindled. The mediocrity of some of the SL musicians has me clutching my ears begging to make it stop. And even the farthest reaches of the most fabulous sims seem, well, stale.

Ok, so honestly it’s probably a little bit of both. But what I’ve learned lately is that our engagements in our Second Lives wax and wane like the monthly metamorphosis of our moon–that is, if we’re healthy. Where I was once sad when I found a friend had disappeared for stretches of time I realize now that they were just taking care of business. Real life needs work. And if we’re engaged in a second–or fantasy–life too deeply, we’re most certainly depriving the roots of our real existence of the most essential and rich nutrients required for us to grow and flourish.

I realize there are many of us whose lives are so painful we retreat into our Second LIves to simply give us some room to breathe. I get that. Although I’d like to suggest even those of us in this situation take a long look at some solid steps–even if they are baby steps–we can take to make real changes in the lives we hide from.

So in the spirit of finding balance, why not take this moment to think of five other things you could do besides sit at your computer staring at your avatar as he or she gallops around the grid. If you don’t like TV, find some new books to read, call an old friend you haven’t spoken to in awhile, or make a cup of hot tea and just sit calmly. Because Second Life can be fun, when played in moderation. It can also be dangerously all-consuming. And when that happens, my friends, we run the risk of losing what’s most important to us: our real selves.

Permalink 8 Comments