Saturday, October 1, 2011

ASK Acu: "Sleepless in SL"

Originally appeared in Metaverse Messenger Magazine (M2)

Dear Acu,

I am a RL married woman who has been in Second Life for over a year. In that time I have met a MUCH younger, single man who has helped me to see life from a totally new perspective. He lives in another country (which is good or I would have been in big trouble by now) so the time zone difference means I am on really late at night sometimes. When I finally make it to bed, I feel like I’ve been out sleeping around as I try to slip into bed without waking my husband. I feel embarrassed that I am coming to bed so late and hope he doesn’t realize how long I have been awake and online. I know I probably shouldn’t be doing this, but I feel so much love for this young man. I also feel bad because I worry that the time he is spending with me keeps him from experiencing real life and finding someone in RL that he can share his life with, be intimate with, etc. I don’t know what to do, and feel so guilty sometimes. The only thing that seems to help the guilt, is being with him, if that makes any sense. Please tell me what to do!

Feeling Young Again

Hi Feeling Young,

Yes, you make perfect sense and it may help to know that you are not alone in your situation, or scenario. Guilt is only useful if it is helping to guide you toward behavior that brings your life into balance. It is your mind’s eye trying to show you that something you are doing is out of balance for you. I am asked very often if it is “wrong” to date in SL if you are committed in real life. In affect I am being asked to judge a person’s behavior without knowledge or consideration of all the variables that have brought someone into the circumstance in the first place. For many people, dating in SL feels adulterous relative to their relationship/marriage in real life. For others it is an experience that liberates them from oppressive and/or controlling relationships by exposing them to other experiences that cause them to question the health of their real life commitment. My “out”  in these situations is to remind people that every person, relationship and situation is unique and the best barometer for whether or not a given scenario/situation is “right or wrong,” is you! The deciding factor should be an honest evaluation of what you believe will give your life joy and balance, and then creating a life which allows that to manifest for you.

Guilt is that nagging voice with in us all that is like water upon a stone and says to us that there is a standard and we have fallen short, …but whose standard is it?
 Guilt is a safety valve for human behavior and seeing guilt in its proper light allows us to find resolution with it. Guilt offers a standard by which we measure what is good and what actions are worthy of deeper exploration. It calls upon us to examine our conduct and to work toward bringing it into alignment with what we have adopted as our valued behavior. Do our values change over time? Sure, as we mature and understand our life experiences better. Should you suppress guilt in favor of exploring alternate ways of living? Only you can be the judge and jury of that, because you are the only person in this world who can live YOUR life (and reap the benefits or suffer the consequences of those choices). Decide to do what feels RIGHT for you, and the clarity you seek around relationship in both lives will be yours.

With love, peace and blessings,


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