Monday, October 3, 2011

ASK Acu: "Loving in 2 Lives"

Originally appeared in Teleport Magazine (2008) No Longer Published

I am currently married real life (RL) and my husband is unaware of a relationship I have developed in Second Life (SL). I have been struggling with feelings of guilt around my SL Relationship and it is affecting my mood and social interactions in RL. Although my RL marriage is ok, these feelings I am having confuse me so much. I know I am only supposed to ask one question, but I’m hoping you can help me with a few. Traditional morality aside, what are the harms associated with SL relationships that are secret from RL relationships?   If no harm is done to the RL relationship is it a problem?  Is it possible for no harm to be done by SL affairs?  Is this any difference if there are affairs of the heart, secret from one another, in SL?  
~2X the Love
Thanks for writing, 2X the Love, and being willing to explore this openly. Let me begin by saying that SL relationships, especially when you are already in a committed relationship RL, can become a challenge when they turn romantic. This is not uncommon, as many people who immerse themselves here, often do so because they are missing something in their real lives. It has been described to me as a  “hunger for something more,” that is fed here. The positive to this, is that Second Life gives each of us an opportunity to explore ourselves in ways that are sometimes unavailable or unrealistic in RL for a variety of reasons. The challenge, as we make new discoveries about who we are and/or want be, becomes how to balance that with our real lives. If the SL exploration experience involves a romantic relationship, and we are already committed RL, feelings of guilt often emerge as we place ourselves in an “either/or” scenario. Keeping the relationship a secret then becomes a good alternative to making that difficult decision.
In my opinion, secrets are rarely a good thing. Secrecy, by its very definition means that we are hiding something. Hiding it means that access to you is limited, not only to the person/people the secret is held from, but from ourselves as we are forced to withhold information or make excuses to cover ourselves. Beyond the obvious harm that can be caused to another, by not allowing them access to information that might ultimately impact their lives, the greatest harm is in the impact of the guilt that you feel. Morality is really more about the judgment of right and wrong as you see it. Traditionally, we have each been exposed to varied ways of living and as such, what might be viewed as “right” for you, may be viewed as “wrong” by me. Self judgment is far more harsh than the judgment others, as thoughts about ourselves are the only ones we control and therefore who we say we are to ourselves, manifests in the way we live our lives and interact with others. As a generally rule of thumb, when making judgments that impact another, I ask myself if the choice is made in love without intent to harm. This has not meant that 100% of the times things go in my favor, but more often that not, this has lead me to a choice that has ultimately only benefited and enriched my life. It is important to allow our feelings to be our guides. They tell us what is true for *us*.  Judge based upon whether or not it feels “right” for you, because, only you can define your truth and if it doesn’t “feel” right for you, it probably isn’t.
With love, peace and blessings…


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