By DrFran Babcock
I never thought that I would
be someone who would write to you. I mean, I have never really had much in the
way of problems in my life, and haven’t really had the need to ask for help. I
seem to have become another person lately.
It’s funny, in a way, because
many people believe that Second Life™ is the place to become someone other than
the human you are—to try on a new persona. The new “me” should have been someone with better values and
qualities to admire. Yet, I have become someone I would look upon with scorn.
I was not looking for romance
in Second Life™. I was at a concert of a performer whom I like a lot, when I
received an IM from someone I didn’t know. They asked me about something I had
in my profile that had to do with an interest in railroads in Second Life™.
Instead of jumping to the conclusion that it was a pick up line, I responded,
and we chatted happily while listening to the music. It turned out that Carl
liked this singer as much as I did, and that we had a few other interests in
common. He was involved in the mainland railroads, and we shared about sims we
had visited with active trains. He mentioned a few other places to which I had
never been that had great train sets on them. I didn’t think anything of it, and
logged when the concert was over.
The following day, Carl IMed
me, sent me a friend request, and asked me if I wanted to see some of the
beautiful train sims we had chatted about. I agreed, and we spent a very
pleasurable few hours visiting the NY Healthscape sims, which have a long train
ride on them, and a group of Japanese sims that had a monorail.
Fast forward to three months
later, and Carl and I are spending most of our time in Second Life together. I
never realized how close you can become to someone when you only have voice or typing for commnication.
Slowly, I found myself
becoming very dependent upon Carl for passing the hours in world. It was such a
gradual transition, that it took me by surprise when he didn’t log in one day,
and I found myself in a sad and angry state. This was so not me. I am not someone
who moons over guys, and Carl wasn’t even a flesh and blood presence in my
life. What the heck was going on?
I couldn’t believe that I had
been moved to such an extreme of emotion, so I was not prepared for what
followed. Carl was not about much any more. I remembered that he had told me
the name of an alt he used, he said, when he was working on the mainland train
and trolley lines. I searched for the name of the alt, and was surprised to
find that the alt was online.
What I did next was shameful.
Even now, as I think of it, I redden and dislike myself. I logged in an alt,
and IMed Carl’s alt. I made up a silly excuse about a trolley on the mainland
line malfunctioning and his name was on the vehicle. He asked for a TP, and we
spent a few minutes chatting. I
scrutinized his profile and saw a pick for his home location. I went on the Marketplace and spent a
lot of Lindens on a spy HUD.
In the following days I hung
out near Carl’s alt’s home sim, and waited with the spy HUD. It only took two
days before I found him several thousand meters away on his sim. There was
another green dot on the map with him. Knowing that he might not even remember
my alt, I TPed over to his location, and spied behind the walls to find him in
an embrace with another female avatar.
I teleported away, but
frankly, I don’t kno whether to be more upset about his infidelity, or the way
I behaved. This jealous, stalking behavior—where did it come from? In truth, I
haven’t stopped. I keep stalking both avatars whenever I can. I have map rights
on Carl, and check out where he is whenever I can. It takes all my willpower
not to teleport right up to him and confront him. I have been so ashamed that I
have stopped speaking with him, and log on at times when I know he cannot be in
Help me to make sense of
Sign me: Jealous Fool
I can see how Carl’s behavior
was hurtful, and could have brought about the response that you describe. I
don’t really have a lot of information about Carl from your letter, and will
have to speak in generalities. I congratulate you on the bravery it must have
taken to write to me about this.
Human nature is odd, and we
can never know when something will happen that will trigger a response in us
that seems out of character. A good example of this is when people behave in
extraordinarily brave ways when a crisis occurs. Conversly, the worst in us can come out in certain
situations. We all have a dark side; all of us. It is impossible to be human
without it. Most of the time this side of us doesn’t surface. The response to
Carl pulling away from you must have reminded you of some long ago loss of a
Psych 101 quickie class:
Whenever I have a strong reaction to a seemingly neutral or upsetting
situation, there is information I can learn. For example: I grew up in a home
where mistakes and failures were just not permitted. If I came home with a 99%
on a test, I was asked why I hadn’t gotten a 100% on the test. Of course, as an
adult, I have come to understand that a 99% is a damned good grade. However,
any time I feel that I am being criticized, or told that my work is not up to par,
I really start to freak out. I am able to say to myself: “That was then, and
this is now,” and I avoid a melt down. When I was younger, it was not so easy.
What I think you need to
think about, Jealous is if you can make a connection with Carl’s infidelity. As
I said, I don’t have enough information to even make a guess as to what it
might be. However, I do think that someone in your early years did something
that you may have interpreted as a betrayal.
Stalkers often behave as they
do because they feel a loss of control, when someone pulls away from them. The
more the person detaches from them; the stronger the urge to cling, and to
demand information. This only pushes the person further away. Therefore, the
only suggestion I have beyond looking into your past, is to stop the behavior
immediately. If you can resist checking up on Carl, you will find over time,
that the impulse to know what he’s up to will fade. I know it doesn’t feel that
way just at this moment, but it’s so. Please don’t confront him. This will
never turn out well.
Please let me know how you
make out, if you uncover any past betrayals, or if you have an update on your
relationship with Carl.
Obligatory disclaimer: The
column Ask DrFran is the work of DrFran Babcock, and may not reflect the views
of SL Newser as a whole. Please direct any correspondence to DrFran Babcock. I
look forward to hearing from you.