Slate has noticed infidelity in second life.
I'm shocked, shocked I tell you.
The reality is that infidelity, both virtual and headed for real, is the national passtime of second life. People may chatter about the direct sex industry of dancers, cam girls and escorts, but it is the indirect sex industry that is much larger. The world of couples doing things in private homes, or groups....
And many of these couples are not married to each other rl.
I've known many flavors of married sex on second life, the mirror what couples do in real life. From couples who have relationships that assume a wide variety of experience, to the more usual expectations of fidelity. But what is fidelity? The answer is very simple: if your partner thinks it is cheating, it probably is. The great infidelity only culminates in sex, it is the heart being unfaithful is time and attention.
I think that this lies at the heart of guilt and marriage. At a certain point, it seems that almost all marriages become about worry and disappointment. And hope, even such a hope as virtual worlds provides becomes alluring. I think any relationship dies, when the ability to get through to that soft comfort of another human being becaumse fraught with the perils of disappointment. When aman turns his gaze away, and grunts that kind of grunt that says his attention is elsewhere. You have lost him, and are no longer his precious.
For me, in my position, it isn't my part ot ask whether what you are doing with me is "cheating," that's your business, and I can't pry. I also have many people who are divorced or separating come to me, to heal the pain, and find solace.
In all of these i find that the common ingredient is simply this: that the partners have put other things in front of intimacy, and sexual intimacy in particular. They have made it a reward for good behavior, rahter than the basis for being together. Women throw dogs a bone. Men pet the cat just enough before heading back to their private obsessions. Each turns away.
And what is left behind is the lost sense that there once was.
Falling in love is as painful as fallling out, the difference is that our bodies are feeding us good drugs that send pleasure rushing to the far distant reaches of our brains, to cover over the pain of missing, longing, insecurity, jealousy and crawling need.
I think we will realize soon that the nuclear family and the pair bonding myth need to be revised. Yes human beings form deep pair bonds, often for life. But we should not build our society on the artificial expectation of absolute fidelity for ever as the precondition for any form of marriage.
But times are going to work, I think, toward pushing people together physically, while peeling them back from each other virtually. I think we will see more and more people huddled together for the need of money and stability, while feeling less and less at home with them personally. Holding on, but holding out.
It is an unhappy future we face, unless we let go of our inhibitions, nad really talk about what is, and is not, the boudnaries of a relationship. I think also we need to realize that the grinding away at the soul of America, a grinding away I see and feel all around me, must also end, because it drives peopel to despair who otherwise would not feel it.