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January 07, 2004

Comments

My comedy troupe made a video about Second Life addiction and an intervention to help some one get over it. Maybe some of you would find it funny.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oN-0-kVJs78

wow
this game does do crazy things. I've been addicted on and off for a year. I tried to limit my time and my sl friends really came down on me hard. Today I feel very sad because I am fairly sure that a very good sl friendship is over with. I feel this incredible sadness and a mixture of anger and withdrawals. I get what I deserve though. I've been dishonest about my addiction and what I do online, the way I flirt. But I really want to just leave sl behind and find the strength because all it has left in its wake is damage, damaged people, damaged life, damaged friendships and damaged feelings. I wish I'd never logged on in the first place. Best of luck to everyone

Mony, I think these two are the MOST important points in your example:

-Mantain a rich set of activities away from the computer
-Measure and balance your participation in on-line communities and internet

Tom had already begun to slide into a life of seclusion before he signed onto Second Life for the first time. Once he was addicted, he refused all attempts made to pull him away. I had no idea the game could do this to him.

This particular entry has become an important location for many people who have shared their stories surrounding their relationship to the game for over four years. I have kept this blog up-and-running, in part, to allow this community to keep flourishing and evolving. If you want to help me a bit with by minimizing the dent of the yearly fee to keep the blog running, please feel free to send a donation via secure PayPal. No obligation, of course. The PayPal donation button has been added to the end of the original article.

Thanks.

To Enelar, I dont know if this will help at all. But its the only thing I think I can do, also if some one out there prevents this from happening to her, by knowing. It was worth it.

Awareness does not hurt. It helps.

This is what I am requesting LL to place in their Terms of Service.

***ILUSTRATIVE EXAMPLE***

Important Warning About Using Internet

A small percentage of people may develop obsessive behavior towards internet games and communities. Even people with no history of addictive or compulsive patterns might have an undioagnosed condition that can cause these changes in behavior while participating on internet games or on-line communities.

These can range from from mild to grave, resulting in change of personality, abuse of time, neglecting chores and responsibilities, isolation, other physical sytoms can include, lightheadeness, blurred vision, change in dream patterns, head pain, neck pain.

Immediatly stop online connection and consult a doctor if you experience any of these syntoms. Since this is an adult game you should ask or share if you present any of thse syntoms with family members. The riks of developing this condition can be reduced by:
-Sit farther from the screen
-Connect in a well-lit room
-Do not play when drowsy or fatigued
-Establish a schedule to use the service
-Mantain a rich set of activities away from the computer
-Measure and balance your participation in on-line communities and internet

***THAT WAS AN ILUSTRATIVE EXAMPLE***

I promise to leave this matter in peace, if no one supports it. To the players that say NOOO! Com'on look at something ugly with no fear, like a spider inside a glass. It wont hurt hurt you, just look at it.

-------------------------------

Dear friends from this elliptic blog, please support this idea by voting at:

http://jira.secondlife.com/browse/MISC-1515

If you blog your comments, it wont hurt either.

Wow.. a lot of you have my sympathy. I thought I was the only one who had her RL relationship squashed by SL.

For those who don't recall - my fiance of ten years (we'll call him "Tom") and I had been having issues. Ever since he'd found "the Furry Fandom", he'd been getting a bit odd in the head and easily influenced by others. We were living in different states at the time (he was caring for his elderly parents) and Second Life was something he had recently begun to get into. He invited me as a last ditch attempt to save our relationship and spend time together. When I created my account, I found Tom's entire 12 hour day was taken up living as "Kacey" - a magical bunny anthropomorphic girl who had several lovers, mostly foreign men. As I delved deeper, I discovered Tom was lying to these men about his RL gender, age and name and that one in particular had RL feelings for "Kacey". We ended up breaking up over this because I couldn't get even a moment of his time or affection, it was all for his SL lovers. I received several nasty public and email threats when "Kacey's" husband was told the truth of who "Kacey" was by a friend who could not stand the idea of the poor German guy being victimized.

Since then, Tom has stalked me (he sends visitors to my land, stalks my livejournal and just about any place I post) and has had two other failed Second Life relationships, both of which crashed for the same reason - the men found out "Kacey" was a man and couldn't be dated in RL. Currently, "Kacey" is dating "Yote" - a man who is married in RL with two children and has spoken of leaving his wife to be with "Kacey's" RL self. He, like the first guy, has no idea "Kacey" is a 46 year old man named Tom.

Tom has stopped leaving his house. His entire daily routine revolves around SL and his fantasy of being "Kacey" the beloved bunny-girl. He believes "Kacey" is a seperate voice in his head and is real. This fantasy has completely devoured any trace of the man I use to know who courted me, took me out to dinner and wrote me love letters. The only Tom I see now is internet obsessed and has sworn revenge on me for "orphaning his Second Life children by ruining his first relationship". How could this happen??

As to me, do I play Second Life? Yes I do. I love it because it's a great place for me to meet friends, make things in 3D and basically play The Sims 2 on an interactive level. Could I go a day without it? Yes. Could I go a week without it? Yes. It's a great game but as I've said before, it's a game. My real life comes first. I wouldn't die without SL.

Seriously, what can we do about this though? Warn people of the immersion factor? Have a list of warning signs? The game by itself isn't wrong, it's the emotional state of the people playing that causes this. Some people are just prone to addictions whether it be Second Life, World of Warcraft or even religion! Maybe the best thing would be education instead of warnings slapped all over everything.

Tell all your friends in SL to go there and vote.

We need like 300 votes for this matter to be considered.

Ask me anything you need to know.

GUYS SHOW SOME LIFE!!!!

I AM GETTING TOASTED!

I PLACED A SUGGESTION TO LINDEN LABS TO ADD A WARNING OF INTERNET ADDICTION TO THEIR SIGNING PROCESS.

IF WE GET VOTES THEY MIGHT DO IT.

SHOW SOME LIFE AND VOTE FOR THIS AT:
http://jira.secondlife.com/browse/MISC-1515

COME ON GUYS SUPPORT THIS!

Go there and vote come'on !!!!!
--------------

That place is an official LindenLab blog where they work on new things they want to display. It can become an imported issue, to consider this.

Lets act on this guys come'on!!!

I am requesting them to place a WARNING about Internet Addiction and I am getting flamed and ridiculized for this.

You guys here come and blog, I know I been here, I have suffered it. Lets go!

http://jira.secondlife.com/browse/MISC-1515

***Smiles***

This will help... its a first step


I wish I'd found this earlier, I was addicted by the end of my first week, within months, I was in one SL relationship after another, a year later, I'd lost my job and was divorced in RL. Most of my fellow SL addicts would say that SL doesn't cause a marriage to fail that doesn't have problems already. That may be true, but if you're focused on SL, you're not trying to fix your real life relationship. Not sure that things wouldn't have turned out the same, but at least I'd have tried to work things out. Immersion is dangerous and the people who try to compare this to other addiction "scares" of the past are either in denial of their own addiction or haven't ever gotten in deep.

CORRECTION my email is monymarkova@yahoo.com in case you want it.

AGAIN back on the offensive. To try to do something about this.

Many of us have suffered it, know it, taste it, understand it. But many of us only like to talk or blog about it.

Please visit this place and vote for this issue to be looked upon by Linden Labs. The more people votes for this it will be taken into consideration.

I urge you to act now.

http://jira.secondlife.com/browse/MISC-1515

You need to have a SecondLife account to vote on this official LL blog (to suggest changes)- this gets read by LL officals, and I propuse a simple, first step towards helping this problem ease.

My propusal is to ask Linden Labs to place WARNINGS, similar to the ones found in games, about epilepsy, in different ways, so EVERY new citizen becomes aware of this possibility. THIS IS ALL I AM ASKING, no more complex solutions now.

Please support this action.

Hello everyone!

Its been long time... but I think I found one way out. So I came to this blog to reinforce my commitmet to leave and share with you.

ONE SOLUTION OUT

Sadly it takes time, too much time. It is about boredom, one day everything becomes the same. This happened by the time that I almost bring my RL business to complete bankrupcy and I found myself, jumping and dancing and romancing, like a stupid dumbhead in "DisneyMind" aka Second Life. Suddenly all seemed a little more empty and silly, I was alone, all dressed up, on top of my popularity, and being on the verge to become a miserably wasted person.

Get boreeeed has soon as you can. I seen friends achieve this boredom plateau, but also seen many others stay, still doing the 24 hours or SL. Some of them have played for several years! Everynight on the same cluuuuub! OMG whats on their mind?

I found this site a bit monopolized lately by some bloggers, or did the blog owners hired moderators or local advisors? Not to push down the liberty to express and vent but... less is better, so I will go quiet.

I hope you all get boored soon and come back to REAL LIFE !!!!!!

We should email every single LL employee account with the URL to this post. "Dont look the other side - SL Addiction is real and dangerous"

Katy, the thing we all have to remember is that you're not falling in love with a person. You're falling for a /part/ of a person - just what he chooses to show you. I'm not saying he's being deceptive, it's just natural not to want anyone to see our warts. Even if you're on voice, and cam, swapping photos and talking on the phone, you're still seeing an edited, idealized version of him. You may love the /idea/ of him, but you CAN'T love him - you don't know him.

I say this as someone with VERY deep feelings for someone in SL. Just today we swapped RL photos, and I now know that, despite my best guesses, I actually am very attracted to her in RL. But I always have to remind myself - it's not really her! I see my wife when she wakes up - when she's sick, or puffy-eyed from crying. She sees me chew with my mouth open, sees my table manners - THAT is reality, not the stylized, idyllic world of SL.

Speaking of deception, does your RL boyfriend know about your SL one? If not, why not, and does that concern you that you're concealing something potentially extremely hurtful from him? If you are, what do you suppose that says about you, and your ability to be honest with someone you're close to?

If you read my posts above, you will see what SL did for the passion level in my own marriage - but that was a result of openness and honesty. Lying and concealment kills passion DEAD. (I'm not an expert or anything, I've just seen a LOT of these stories by now, and that is one constant - if you're hiding SL from RL, you are creating a problem, and someone [probably everyone] is going to be hurt by it).

SL "love" DOES feel like love! But it lacks what real love has: true intimacy. That is what makes it such an exciting addition to relationships that can take it (mine /just barely/ can), but it's also what leads to so much heartache. You simply can't choose SL guy over RL guy. Try instead to communicate with RL guy - identify the reasons for the staleness and work to overcome them! Maybe that will give you some of the perspective it seems like you need. One of the cardinal rules of SL is this:

RL MUST ALWAYS WIN

It's so great to hear the people that are able to walk away from sl. My emotions are so strange and its hard to decipher if I am lost in fantasy or if there is reality to these feelings I am having. I am falling deeply for someone in sl. I think about him all day long. When I am with my boyfriend I can put those feelings away, most of the time. But when I am alone they creep up on me and I feel like, and this will sound funny, I feel like my feelings are a moth and this man is the light. I can't stop going to him. I wonder if I am suppose to be with him instead of my boyfriend. My relationship isn't bad. It is just a little stale. There is passion lacking. I feel a very strong connection to the person in sl. It's mutual with us. Why do so many of us start out with good intentions and fall in love with people on sl. I know it cannot really be love but it feels like it. I have no idea what to do

His Angel (no longer) I am so glad that life after sl is going so well for you. It seems from your post that everyday gets better for you. I applaude your strengh and courage. You have a great husband from what I can tell and some good friends too. That is allways a plus, to have a strong support system to help someone through tough times. Goodluck, and please keep us posted. You have a great outlook, and I beleave a great future ahead of you...

:) My pleasure Lgt.

I struggled baddly with lonliness after leaving sl too... i think their was more tears in the washing up water then dishwashing detergent..lol... it has gotten a lot better over the last month thou...

Dispite the fact that I had a very understanding husband. I think what helped me when I left sl- was I started too notice a couple of people at work (who I previously had not noticed as potential friendships) who have amazing hearts!

So I started opening up too them more... not in detail, but just enough too alow them too relate to me. And I found that they really cared- I found this really healling.

While I was so involved in emotional sl relationships, I couldnt see anything real in my life let alone- friends!...

One friend I spoke of above (a male work mate, who happens to be gay) took me out, in the City for good (real) time (with my husbands blessing)..lol.. and it was that and more! This friend reminded me of: what a loving friend is and what it is to be treated and (spoken too)with respect from another men... a real gentleman!

Drtime was right when he said that it takes time for the wounds to heal...and I would add too that- "it's what you do with the time, that can spead up the healling process a greatdeal... :)

Bless you.

Angel,

Your post was very touching to me and made me cry. Yes, I was somewhat famous (or infamous is probably a better word) on sl. I don't know if people were shocked when I left because I didn't consult anyone afterwards. I only found out about my partner's repartnering by doing a google search last week. His profile info came up and I read it. He was re-partnered two weeks after I left sl. One thing I am sure of, in sl life goes on. Many people leave, and come back as alts, etc and no one on sl is irreplacable.

I don't miss sl except for the easy connections to others. Yes, they were fake and didn't hold up to the pressures of real life, but they were easy to create. In rl its much harder to connect to people and right now I am struggling with lonliness and am craving meaningful connection.

Thank you so much for your support Angel! You have touched me.

Lgt

Igt... its my plesure, cause it is true:) ...

If you've read my blogs above you will see what I went through on sl. I spent weeks crying(heartach), I felt so lost, I had forgotten who I was, I started to define my self via my av - lol- I had only been on sl for about... ummmmm four weeks!! I read all that you have bloged and I think I understand your positioning in SL, you were in deep! Which only makes me admire you more.

I was spending 10 hours a day (mabey more)on sl, seeing sl man for only 20min of that at midnight (as it was about 7pm in his country) and 15 min of that at at about 4pm (Before he was to start rl work). This Sl man is very popular and wealthy! having similar av possessions too that you described - he is in deep- and I was lost in him!

Igt.. creativity has many characteristics. It is bound to an endless capacity to love.... as love is the altermate Creation. So.... if you have alot of creativity - that comes not only with its beauty, and healing capabilities but also with its difficulties....

In saying this - the up side (from what I have seen) creativity gives amazing strenght- to do what you have done... break out, from any addiction!
(so sorry this long)...LOL

Thank you, lgt - I suppose the distinction I was trying to make was that, while I am married, there is no possibility of SL impinging on RL in any sexual way, and my wife and I countenance each other's SL relationships (I assume your second partner's wife was not aware of his infidelity). My girlfriend knows I am married (and who my wife's avatar is; they have even met, though not really conversed). I am not trying to change your mind, and I apologize if it appeared that the word "parasitic" was directed at you. I just consider my situation greatly different from yours because I simply don't have the option for mine to cross the line into RL.

Without straying too far from the bottom line, I applaud your strength in walking away and staying away, your candid descriptions of your experiences, your willingness to spend considerable time posting here for the benefit of others, and the very knowledgeable perspective you bring to this forum (in most ways, of course, far surpassing my own). To the extent to which it seems I'm arguing with you, I apologize. As DrTime said above, we are all, from our different perspectives, trying to do the same things here.

Hi Dave,

Let me answer your post with a bit more on SL relationships from my perspective.

None of my relationships were parasitic. They were just fantasies. Of my three partners in sl, only the first one was somewhat parasitic. But he was a charismatic, intelligent, creative person as well. (who had a HUGE sex addiction) The second one was a very wealthy, very successful married man that lived in my city. I met my second partner in rl and had sex with him and we clicked somewhat as people, but I didnt want to be involved with a married man, and there was the ackwardness of taking the fantasy to real life. He was trying to play out our sl fantasy in rl, with roleplay and whatnot, and for me it just didnt work. I felt objectified and used. I broke up with him quickly, once we met in rl. I was with my third partner within a week after breaking up with my second partner, who is a musician and is very intelligent and talented, and also very immature and very very unemployed. Nothing can be watered down to stereotypes. All the men were interesting, all the men were also unhealthy in various ways, but obviously, since I am an sl addict, so was I unhealthy.

All of my partners shared some of my values and interests. All were multi-faceted, interesting people. All were as addicted to sl and to other addictions as I was. All were fantasy loves that couldn't hold up to the pressure of rl.

I totally feel and relate to where you are at with your girlfriend because I was the sl girlfriend to my married second partner, and we took it into rl and it was a very painful experience for me. When the sl fantasy dissapeared, all that was left was the usual pain and ackwardness of having an affair with a married man. Luckily for me, it was short lived and there was no real permanant damage done to either one of us.

No two people or two couples are going to have the same sets of problems. My point is that for me sl-love turned out to not hold up under the glare and pressure of real life.

Again, thanks for your thoughtful post.

lgt

lgt:

First, thank you for your kind words about my posts - as I have said, you are a highly valuable and able contributor to this forum, so your opinion means a great deal to me.

I don't for a moment dispute that my immersion, as you term it, has deepened over the course of my time here. As you may surmise, that is a direct result of my deepening feelings for my girlfriend. Of course, unlike you, I am not in a position ever to let that relationship transition into RL, so I just don't have to worry about those distasteful elements of a relationship that rear their ugly heads when two people are in a room together (and neither does she). We both know there are insurmountable limits to our involvement, so we maintain a certain distance. That said, we have discussed subjects of substance, and find ourselves compatible in matters such as politics, religion, child-raising, cars-and-driving, etc. She and I are both responsible adults (i.e. not living with dear old Mom and Dad) - we just don't have the same problems you describe with your RL people (not to say we wouldn't have a raft of OTHER problems, of course). Also, I have seen her RL photo, and she has not seen mine. Suffice it to say she is attractive, and I am ... well, less so... I am reluctant to reveal that to her, for fear of puncturing the fantasy (which I readily admit it is).

Please don't take any of this as arguing, or defending my position. Ultimately, mine is an extramarital relationship, and I am acutely aware that, by its nature, it is playing with fire. I just think that not all SL relationships, even extramarital ones, need be parasitic and destructive. I hope time bears me out on this and, again, if I am proven wrong, I will see to it that others may have the benefit of my negative experiences, just as I hope people find some value, however minimal, in my positive ones.

Hi Dave,

When I was in the throes of my sl addiction, I used to say all of the same things about my sl partners. I used to spend a HUGE amount of time convincing myself the love was real and that I would love them no matter what. When I took the relationships out of the fantasy context and into real life, I found out the hard way, that simply wasn't true.

My sl partners were very interesting. I had great conversations with them. I just didnt stress that point because it wasn't relevant to my overall post. They were very human, had feelings, etc. But we were using each other to escape, and I had to find this out the hard way.

It is not my place to judge whether your love is real or not. If you say it is I take that at face value. I only say that my love to my three very interesting sl partners, could not survive the drudgery and non-fantasy of real life.

Just as a note, I have read all of your blog posts, some of them several times, and I have noticed a deepening of your immersion into sl over the course of your posts. You are pretty immersed in the experience right now and are seeing things from the perspective of someone who is very emotionally attached and committed to sl. I am NOT judging this. I am simply observing that when I was emotionally attached and immersed in sl I had many of the same views and feelings as you are describing above.

Your posts are always thoughtful and are appreciated.

lgt

lgt, your posts provide food for thought - a banquet of it - and I find myself inclined to comment at length (I can hear the groans from others here already...). I'm at work, though, and will make every effort to be brief.

I have talked with my wife a lot about "love" in SL. She and I each have someone in-world for whom we have very deep feelings, and we've had all those same conversations - about how it would be different in RL, about how we don't really know the *person* on the other end, but only those aspects of them they want to share (or create). We both consider it unthinkable to meet our SL people in RL, and our SL people know that (I don't say "partners," because neither of us is partnered), so that aspect of it isn't in play.

But one thing my wife said resonated with me. She said that the human heart has a very great capacity for love - that it's possible to be in love with one's spouse, and yet feel love for someone else. I agree with that, and I think that what I feel for my (now only) SL girlfriend is a kind of love. It's not leave-my-family love, or stop-loving-my-wife love, but it is deep, and profound, and it sustains and energizes me after several months together. It's more than infatuation, more than "liking" her - whatever it is, it's real (and whatever it is, it's that, regardless of what it's called). I told my wife that I think the ancient Greeks had it right - there are many different kinds of love, and the heart can feel them all without excluding anyone from any of them. My SL girlfriend recently found someone in RL, and I was delighted for her - if my feelings were selfish and unhealthy, I would not be so pleased that she had someone to make her happy, considering that it could result in my losing her. I think placing her happiness above my own is a symptom of some kind of love.

I have also given thought to the factors you raise regarding physical appearance. If my SL girlfriend looked like a sumo wrestler, she would still have her charming voice, her electric way with words, and her ability to say the things that soothe and heal me. She would still kite off in mid-sentence to go exploring shiny things in the distance, leaving me bemused and grinning in her wake. If all we did was watch TV, we would have amazing conversations about it, and make each other laugh and smile until our cheeks hurt. Some of your hypotheticals bear on the kind of person someone is - I would not just watch TV while she did the dishes - I would not be me - I would help her - dry the dishes and put blops of soap on her nose and poke her playfully with silverware.

I am fully aware that I am undoubtedly disgusting and nauseating most people who read this, and that each of them is convinced I am deluded - that my girlfriend is a vampire bent either on luring me away from my family, or draining the life from me in some other way. Obviously, I'm in no position to say for certain that's not how she is - I think my point, though, is that yes - SL does attract needy, damaged and very dark people, but it is also populated in large part with thoughtful, kind and caring people looking for adventure and connection, with realistic views on what it can and can't be. Maybe I'm deluded, maybe I just got lucky - maybe things will change, and I will fall out of love with my wife (or she with me). But I've been in this situation for several months now, and if it's really as sinister and many on here seem to think is inevitable, I must be very deluded indeed not to have detected any trace of it by now.

I will promise one thing, though: because I am here to try and help, if my SL does take a nasty turn, or my RL because of SL, I will say so here. I will be embarrassed, and feel extremely stupid, but I will be honest enough to admit to you all that I was wrong.

Angel, your comment brought a tear to my eye. I really needed the positive reinforcement. I don't feel strong, I feel weak for having let this addiction take over my life for over a year. But you are right, I am strong. It was my strength that let me build up my so-called "success" on sl and it was my strength that allowed me to kill my avatar, club and sim, without going back. Since I see my addiction as a sign of weakness, I have been beating myself up about it lately and your comment really helped me.

I have a few more words regarding sl relationships that I want to share.

I started out in sl not thinking my sl relationships were real. I was there primarily for creative projects and I went to sl clubs just to see what types of things people did on sl. In sl group environments like clubs I met people that were clearly prowling around for sex, young students that were just goofing off, men from all over the world that were just looking to meet people from different places, and a few people like me, who were trying to create something in sl whether it be a small business selling virtual clothing or real estate, or a building business, building out sims for people. At first it was mildly fun to meet these people, but I didnt take it too seriously.

Within a couple of days or so of active sl use most people will have found a few people that they connect with and get to know a bit better. I found a girl friend (who was really a woman in rl, lol) and several guys that wanted to get sexually closer to me.

The relationships I had turned sexual very quickly, within a few "meetings", and all had a very similar pattern to them. The person would take me to their favorite sl places on "dates". We would go dancing, surfing, snowboarding, etc. Then the venues would get more sexual. The pose balls would no longer be just dancing poseballs but would be sexual in nature as well. What was very interesting to me about all of this is how few questions I asked. Did this person have other avatars that had other girlfriends? Who knows... I never asked. Did this person have a real life relationship? That question I did ask, but took any answer given me at face value and didnt care. If my new love interest said his "wife didnt understand him", that was good enough for me. His infidelity was her problem not mine. (again, I was engaging in behavior that was my worst self on sl, I should have cared about the other person's feelings...)

I took any description of rl at face value, and ALL of my partners lied or exaggerated their health and stablilty. I found myself only giving tidbits of my rl info. Saying a few lines about my job, letting them know I was single in rl, letting them know what city I lived in in rl and my age. (I was truthful, many on sl are not)

What is interesting is that I would have had sl sex with these people several times or more BEFORE they got to see a rl picture of me! Rl is not really important in sl relationships, although I found that holding out the promise of taking the connection to rl made the passion more intense and fueled the pseudo closeness.

Becoming "married" or "partnered" in sl was simply a matter of hanging out with the person for several weeks, telling them a few things about your rl, and having sl sex with them. I partnered all three of my partners without knowing much about them. I learned about them AFTER we were partnered.

Was it love? I would have to say no. Infatuation with a fantasy image is not love. Love requires being there for the ups and downs and loving the person at their worst as well as their best. None of sl partners wanted to be there to deal with the day to day stress of my rl, not really, nor did I want to be there for their rl problems. We were using each other to escape. And I found myself saying that I wanted them in real life just to keep the sl passion going. I didnt really want to take on the burden of a married man, or a man with no job living in the basement of his parents house in rl. I told them I wanted them in rl, but the truth is I was ambivilent.

Why did it feel so real? I have learned (again the hard way) that emotions do NOT have to be tied to reality to feel real. I wanted to be "in love" because sl is built around partnerships and couples, just like rl and because I was on sl to escape the pressures of my rl and being in love feels good and is a great escape.

For those of you that are struggling with sl relationships and how real they feel to you. Ask yourself this: Would you love this av if he started walking around sl in a 400 lb two headed sumo wrestler, anime av or a super hero av, etc? Would you love this av if they couldnt spend as much time as you online and you only saw them a small fraction of your time online and saw other people much much more? Would you love this av if instead of taking you dancing and flying and surfing and world cruising every nite, you sat in front of a virtual television and you did the virtual dishes while they zoned out watching virtual sports? Would you love this person if their xcite penis ejaculated too soon, or didn't work sometimes? Or if their flexi-prim hair started falling out? In my case the answer was resoundingly "NO". I was not in love with the people who were my partners, I was in love with the mutual fantasy that we created together, or in some cases the single fantasy that I created myself and projected onto them.

In taking my last partnership as far as several long weekends together in rl, I learned(again) the hard way that rl and sl relationships are different. I had nothing to say to the person in rl and his world view, prospects, behavior, etc were light years away from mine. We simply didn't click the same way in rl. I had a very hard time accepting this and tried to pretend to myself it wasn't true. Without the context of the fantasy we were very ackward around each other and didn't have much in common. The things about the person (like his unemployment and his passivity and ambivalence towards adult responsibilities)that I was able to shrug off in the fantasy context of sl, really really bothered me in rl.

Anyway, I am rambling again, but I just wanted to put my perspective on sl relationships down here, since its really a topic of its own and kind of got buried in my first post.

lgt

Igt .... wow!!! you are strong!

well done, you show true creativity in reavealing your amazing decernment with such a passion. I am impressed.

Dont look at is as time wasted as much as something learned. Most of the time when something is to good to be true it is. You seem to have a great grip on what the truth is, so I am glad that you have come through this with an eyes wide open look at the game.

I appluade your abilty to stay away of something that can be very addictive.. So again I say good luck and best wishes I hope everything works out for you, and please keep us posted if you want...

Thanks Dave and DrTime for the support. It hasn't been easy making a cold turkey break from sl but it definitely has been worth it. It feels good to feel again. SL made me numb and indifferent to my real life.

In the spirit of rambling, I have a few more comments to make about my experience on sl.

"Creativity" and denial:

I put the word "Creativity" in quotes because I have found that it is very difficult for me to be truly original and creative on sl. I am a VERY creative person in rl but in sl the learning curve is so steep, the audience is so small, and the temptations for wasting time other ways are so many, creative projects often get downsized, dumbed down, become derivitive of other things on sl, or never get finished at all. I started out on sl as a strong member of several large creative projects. These creative projects included television, video, music, interactive art, sl movies, fashion and interactive live sound. They were staffed with creative professionals in rl like me who were drawn to sl by the media hype and wanted to use the new medium to create and collaborate. One by one I saw these projects fizzle out and die as all of the project team members started spending more and more time on the addictive aspects of sl, ie the sex, shopping and fantasy. A few of them got realized, but nothing like what I wanted to achieve when I came online in April of 2007.

I constantly used the excuse that I was on sl for the "creative aspects" as a way of justifying the long hours I spent there. Trust me, there was NOTHING creative about my club and mall in the end. It was visually interesting and unique, but was run exactly like every other club in sl, and achieved exactly the same results. My addictions took over any drive I had to truly create something completely different.

SL is seductive and the temptations take hold gradually. I had a close friend on sl who was a video editor in rl. He was married in rl. At first he just came on to create some interesting multi-media projects. He avoided the temptation to get into a relationship, but within a few months he was having sl sex regularly and spending most of his time on sl "dates" and not on his creative projects.

By the time I left sl, i had left ALL of the creative projects I was initially involved in. There simply was no time for it. I was too busy running a pretend club that had the same contests, themes and patrons as every other club on sl.

For me, instead of sl adding to my creativity and fueling it, it took away from my creativity. The energy I would have spent on creative projects both in sl and in rl went into my compulsive relationships and my club. Since leaving sl I have gotten some of that energy back and it is healing to create again but also very painful to feel the loss of what I could have accomplished with the time I wasted on sl.

I and many others is what I ment to say LOL

lgt, I have found that this is a good place to vent and share what is going on, it has helped me and several others. So please do not feel that you are rambling. I and my others on here would like to see how your life gets better as time goes on. I am glad that you picked this place to tell you story it will help alot of people. So good luck to you, all though you seem to have it going you way. Again good luck, and please keep us posted...

lgt, please don't apologize for rambling - you bring a very valuable perspective to this blog, and you raise several really good points. I am pleased to hear you have stayed out of SL, and that your RL is falling back into place. Please feel free to post here any time you might need support to stay out - many of us, I am sure, will be happy to spend any time it takes to work with you if you start feeling the pull again. Congratulations on making a clean break; I am just sorry to hear it came with what sounds like a pretty stiff dose of heartache.

Hi all,

I am new to this blog and this is my first post. I have read the whole blog. I totally relate to all the stories here. I am an sl addict that has been off of the game for three months. I will never go back. Here is my story.

I joined sl in april of 2007 and quit in May of 2008. During that time I was partnered several times (the last partnership lasted over 7 months). I took all of my three partnerships into real life, talking on the phone, im and email with all three of them, meeting two of them in person. My last parter and I were deluded enough to think we had a "real" relationship because we met for a couple of long weekends. He lives in a different state than me. In my opinion, the relationship was nowhere near real. We only talked about sl when he was with me in rl and engaged in addictive sex. He is a female av in sl and a man in rl. I am a woman in rl and was a woman av in sl.

I was the owner of a very successful and popular music club and mall on sl. Many of you who play sl and have been around will definitely have heard of it.

I have a very good job in rl and am single. I had just broken up from a rl relationship when I joined sl. I have not had a rl social life since joining sl, my entire free time went into the game. I live in an urban area with many things to do so there is no excuse for me not having a rl except that I was an addict and was isolating in my fantasy sl world.

Many people have said on this blog that they love sl because they could be their ideal, "better" self. Maybe they mean this physically. I found out the hard way that I became my WORST self on sl. Greed, paranoia, spitefullness, grandiosity, pettiness, dishonesty, manipulativeness all became very strong traits in my avitar. I am NOT like that in rl. I designed my club, sim and mall and worked very hard to make them popular on sl. I did this as a creative project. I was drawn like many people, into sl because of the media hype and I wanted to try to create something interactive in this new medium. What I ended up creating was a 3-d chat room, filled with cliches, that I developed a lot of nasty personality traits to keep running.

Let me break down some of the negative changes that took place in me while i was on sl.

Paranoia and general nastiness:

Everyone steals good ideas on sl. It is the nature of the environment. I had a good idea and it was popular. I became absolutely paranoid trying to hold onto the intellectual property and to keep people from copying my idea. It was an impossible task and it turned me into a tough, ruthless av, who banned people on site, sent flame ims and notices, spied on people, hired hitmen to hurt other avs, etc. It was horrible. I am NOT like this at all in rl and to see myself turn into some sort of club owning nasty mafia queen is pretty embarrassing.

Sexual addiction: I am not a sex addict in rl. I have had a series of long term, mostly monogamous relationships (the occasional affair just before a breakup being the exception, etc...) On sl its almost impossible to not become obsessed with sex. It is literally everywhere. And when you own a club, the main reason people are coming to your club is to hang out and have sex in im, or at least to flirt. My partners in sl were all sex addicts of one sort or another and I became the co-dependent to their addictiveness, doing things I didnt want to do to keep the fantasy relationship moving forward (bdsm, public sex, etc) Eventually i was no longer doing this just to please them and was into it myself as a way to relieve the stress caused by my paranoiic (sp) hitler-like behavior regarding my club. If I saw the word "slave" or "pet" in my rl I would run. In sl wearing a scripted collar was as common as wearing scripted hair, and I fell into behavior that I didn't like or enjoy but was internally compelled to do like any addiction. I had fake orgasms, although my partners always thought they were real. I pretended to enjoy the sexual roleplay when most of the time I didnt, and towards the end, I was even multitasking during the cyber sex and running my club in other ims as I had sex with my partner. This is NOT healthy behavior or the way I want to be in rl.

Opportunism, Ponzi schemes, and Manipulation:

The SL economy is essentially a ponzi scheme. Older, wiser residents try to recover the money they lost as newbies by preying on new newbies. This happens in several ways. In a club and mall environment like the one I owned, it happened by constantly begging for tips and donations, by having rules in my covenant that allowed me to kick people out at any time for any reason and keep their money. I was not that opportunistic compared to some, but still, I was a far cry from the innocent newb that started out, giving my money away to anyone who asked. Just the act of begging for donations and tips is pretty interesting to me now. If I were on a street corner in rl begging for money to support my crack habit, I would know I had a problem. But in sl it is very socially acceptable to beg for money on a regular basis. I had scripted huds that I made my staff wear that constantly hounded people for donations and tips. All clubs do this. This is REAL money people were paying me, and I was begging for it, something I never would do in rl.

Losing myself in the fantasy:

I truly came to believe that my sl life was somewhat real, even though I have a very real, very high pressure job and have friends in rl, etc. I let them all suffer as I became more and more addicted to sl. I would sneak on to sl during work towards the end and believe me I do NOT have the type of job where this is acceptible. My work suffered, my rl social life became non existent, I gained weight from the slow down of my metabolism caused by sitting around for 16 hours a day.

SL Relationships:

Are NOT real. Period. I took all of my partnerships to rl, having rl sex with the last two partners and talking on the phone and in email and im with all three partners. There is a certain status and prestige in taking your relationships to rl in sl. There is pressure to cross the boundaries, serious pressure. What makes these relationships not real in my opinion? Well, first of all, these people are NOT people I would have connected with in rl. Two of them were married, the last one lived with his parents and was unemployed. The relationship totally centered on the sex which is NOT how rl relationships develop (if they are healthy) Problems discussed with partners all center around sl. (who is an alt, who has been griefed, who departnered, who partnered, etc) RL has real problems and these were never really discussed with my partners (examples, I never asked my last partner when hew as going to get a job and move out of his parents basement, etc...) I never talked about my rl much with these people. It wasnt relevant to our mutual fantasy.

Now I am in my late thirties so i have had a lot of relationships in rl that I am basing this on. NONE of my sl connections had anything in common with my real relationships except for the emotions. But the drug is stong, I convinced myself each and every one of these relationships were real and was devastated when they ended. But I would fall into a new one with a week or so. Again this does not happen in rl for me.

The end: I ended my sl life after a fight with my partner over something stupid. I was going through some rl stress at work and my partner was not being supportive. He just wanted to play in sl. I needed a rl shoulder to lean on. It wasnt there. I was sick of being a toxic, paranoid club owner, and was sick of the pressure of keeping the sim going. I just decided that it all had gone to far, that I was not dealing with my rl and i broke up with my partner, derezzed the sim and quit sl. There was drama around this, but I didnt get drawn into the pleas to go back and I have been away for three months. My ex-partner repartnered within two weeks. There is no mention of me or the 7+ months we spent together at 16+ hours a day anywhere in his profile. His sl life goes on, and I my rl life is getting slowly back on track.

sorry for the rambling, but I really wanted to post.

lgt

Ty Dave ;) we may see things in a different way, but in the end we are trying to do the same thing...

Way to go, HA(nl) - I think we all knew you could do it.

It's still funny to see DrT and me mentioned in the same breath. We should do some kind of point-counterpoint advice show - opposite perspectives coming up with the same answers - I hate to admit it, but I've developed a measure of respect for the guy. ;^)

wow... that last story was sooooo much like my own!!!! by the way lol... I am still not on sl and have not reinstalled it... still under some temptation...
Dave and Drtime... your still amazing at advice!!!!!!!!

Goodluck with all the future has to bring you. I hope it will be full of happiness and joy... Stay true to yourself and you will be ok. Again goodluck...

I spoke with a counselor today and told her the entire story. Between her and the advice I have gotten here I am going to leave sl and not look back. I know it will be difficult but it is the only way to move forward in my relationship.
Thanks for listening.

My guess is that if you discuss the situation with your boyfriend, and you are willing to do what it takes to make him OK with it, you will land on your feet and walk away wiser, stronger and better for it (not to mention feeling more like you deserve him, which will make you feel better about everything in general). Your SL friend had to know that he could never have more than a part of you. He will miss you, you will miss him, but if he really cares about you, he will want what's best, and allow you to go on with your life without guilt trips or temptation. Sounds like you're doing all the right things - I congratulate you for your wisdom and bravery. I hope we hear from you soon, saying it's all worked out and you are not being torn apart by the conflict. Thanks for letting us know this - my day is brighter for your good news.

Thanks for the advise. I really appreciate it. I stayed off of sl last night. It wasn't easy. The opportunity was there for my boyfriend fell asleep early. He works very hard. I resisted all urges. I also stayed away from alcohol. The two combined (alcohol and sl -don't mix).
My sl friend is also saying he misses me so that makes it tough. But what do I want? I want my boyfriend. I'm learning where the problems stem from in our relationship and taking steps, one at a time, to correct them. I cannot say I will uninstall sl or that I will end my friendship with the other person. But I will discuss what has happened with my boyfriend and the reasons I believe it has happened.

You know when it is all spelled out, in the end you must make a choice, what do you want more a SL man or the one in Real Life? I have been in heated debates on the rights and wrongs of sl. As I become more involved on both ends of it, being the one who felt betrayed, and then taking advice and trying the sl swinging sceen (and yes I have tried it)I just could not get over the fact that my Real Life wife was all that I ever needed or wanted. When it all started out I was mad and hurt, then I begain to read and post on here. I said what the hell lets try the sl thing. To me I felt like I was cheating even though I was not doing the sex thing just the fact that I was talking to someone other than my wife felt bad, really bad. I guess what it all boils down to is this what you really want you life to be like? I mean sliding between a game and Real Life? I have said this before what if the shoe was on the other foot? Would you like how it made you feel? I know others can deal with the way of life that sl has to offer, but I can not. Again it is all about what do you want more, someone in sl or someone in Real Life. I am going to steal a line from (do something about it) it is that 98% of all sl realinships end and about 60% of the people on sl saying that they are women are in fact men. Sorry if that was not a direct quote, but it is close. So about 60% of the people are lying about there gender what eles are they lying about?

Posting on here could be seen as an addiction it could also be seen as a sounding board. So take it for what it is just a place to vent, and try to find the light at the end of the tunel...

Here's a radical thought. If you think your RL person is already onto you, what do you have to lose by coming clean? Tell him what you're doing, lay it all out, and let the chips fall where they may. If he's really smart, he's probably scared stiff you're going to leave him for some mirage you met online - show him you trust him enough to tell him the truth. Treat him like he's smart - right now, you're treating him like an idiot. If you think you don't deserve him, either let him go or start behaving in a way that's fair to him. Does he deserve you?

I feel better when I post here so it helps me. I’m just amazed at how I will not uninstall it.
How I make excuses for my behavior. How I have acted in ways that show I am willing to throw it all away, my real life for what? I have gone between believing I am in love with a man in sl one day and then realizing the next that this is a problem I must overcome. I do very well for awhile and then I’m back to my old tricks with the same man. I tell myself he is my best friend. We flirt endlessly. We talk about meeting as friends of course. Yeah whatever. I tell myself that he somehow completes me. I have to wonder what is missing within me to act like such a jerk. I’m a jerk because I have a man that loves me completely, flaws and all.In the real world.
And I continue this game with someone else. Hiding our conversations. I’m sure that he knows what I am up to, he is smart. He knows I’m online late at night talking to someone else in secondlife.
Fortunately this online person is taking a break. The funniest thing is that he’s not always nice. Sometimes he’s outright rude to me and yet I risk everything for him. Why? That’s all I want to know. What the hell is wrong with me. Why am I being so selfish and stupid. I dont deserve my boyfriend. At all. Ihave to give up sl and this person but I know I won't. I just won't. That is messed up.

QUOTE "What is worse? Being addicted to SL or being addicted to reading about yours or your loved ones addiction to the point of fighting about it? I mean come on, how is all this hostility going to help anyone"

I truly think this is a place for people to vent out emotions they can barely understand, let alone deal with. Our common bond is that we have all had this experience, some survived it, others did not. This is such a new state of being for the human race, we are still trying just to define our feelings on the subject. Does bantering over points of view help anyone, maybe. Do I feel better after I have posted to the blog, yes. So, it has done some good after all.

His Angel (no longer):

Your post made my day - I'm so glad you've navigated your way through this thicket and come out, from all indications, stronger for it. You deserve 100% of the credit (along with your understanding RL person), but if I was able to say anything that helped you make it work, that just delights me to no end.

What is worse? Being addicted to SL or being addicted to reading about yours or your loved ones addiction to the point of fighting about it? I mean come on, how is all this hostility going to help anyone?

I am still SL free.. and the pain of missing SL man is totally gone:)- I am supprised at this!! And yes Dave you are right....about your interpretation of my writing mmmmmmmm- Thankyou for what you wrote it really helped me to internalise what happened (and was healing to me). I do agree that sl man must have been a creep to do what he did SL... Since he was suppose to care. Anyway I am feeling very happy again... I have been getting out more with work friends and feelling like I am back to my normal self:)).... Dave you'll never know how much your advice and kind comments have ment too my life.

do something about it I joined you site today and I think it is a great site. I hope it helps alot of people. You seem to be on the right track as far as what I have to say counts... Anyway cudos on the site...

dsai: As you point out, the nature of my continuing involvement in SL gives me a perspective that is, as far as I can tell, unique on this blog. Without delving into a discussion on the meaning of marriage, I will say that my circumstances were thrust upon me, and forced me to reevaluate my comparatively traditional views on the subject. I agree that the fora on http://www.secondlifeaddiction.net/ are probably a more appropriate setting for an extended discussion of this subject - I have not yet discussed my story in detail there, due in part to a desire not to dominate the discussion (believe it or not), and in part to the changing sections of the site - I could not tell for certain where "here is my story" posts were to go. I have written a draft of my story for the site (though [surprise!] it is wordy), and await the proper place to put it.

In answer to your direct question, I think I have touched on this a bit, above, where I said that "swinging" in RL was something I knew my wife would enjoy, but that I lacked the ego strength to allow her (I lack the confidence to be compared so directly to others). SL affords her an opportunity to experience some of those feelings in a setting where I feel less outclassed and threatened by her partners, secure in the knowledge that it is only me with whom she sleeps. It's precisely the difference between SL and RL that allows me to give her that.

At the same time, I refuse to call SL a "game," for several reasons, including that the feelings involved are too real, personal and profound to be made the subject of mere entertainment. I would modify your statements to include that any SL relationships should be fully disclosed to RL partners ahead of time, and subject to any rules partners need to impose in order to accept the situation.

Thank you for your kind words. I have the utmost respect for your views, and for your efforts to help others with these issues. I will make every attempt not to consume more than my share of space on this blog (though I am certain many would be happier if I never posted here again). I hope to contribute to the discussions on http://www.secondlifeaddiction.net/ as that site develops. I post here as a victim and survivor, and I appreciate the fact that you seem to understand that.

I can see that, to an extent. But I see so much sexually charged banter and material in so many of the places I have been in SL, even in the PG sims. It certaintly does not mirror what I see in RL.

You mentioned in a post you have an SL girlfriend, is this something you would ever consider doing in RL? I would think not! When I got married, I took a vow, part of that vow was "...forsaking all others", and from the pain I have experienced myself and read from others on this blog, any SL relationship should be held to that vow.

If you want to play in SL, that is great, there are a lot of neat things on the grid. But treat all your relationships as you would in RL. Too many people don't think it counts because it's a "game". To those people, I provide this blog as evidence that it does, indeed, count.

Dave, I find you to be a learned and thoughtful individual, and I don't want this to devolve into an extended debate, I feel that would detract from those posting here to seek advice. Perhaps we could continue this on the forums?

"I am most distressed that given the mantle of anonymity so many people submit to their most animalistic desires. Without the constraints of a normal, moralistic society, is this what we would choose to be?"

Not too surprisingly, I see it differently. Being one who views hurting people as the measure of immorality, I see very little evidence of people in SL sinking to truly reprehensible behavior. I see a lot of loneliness, and people reaching out for connections, and while that does often end up hurting people in RL, I don't think it's inherently either animalistic or immoral. Ultimately, to me, it is evidence of people's continuing desire for positive human contact, however badly some people handle it.

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