By Mylie Foxclaw
I have often seen people panicking when their partner has suddenly stopped logging in. I have reacted the same during my first years on Second Life too. We imagine the worst, a real-life problem, a death… but in many cases, that person is fine, so why do they just disappear?
Sometimes people fear to hurt the other or expect a bad reaction. You can’t say you won’t react badly if your partner suddenly tells you that he wants to part ways. You will be hurt, you will probably vent out your anger without realising it. The next best option is simply to just leave without a word; without drama.
People know when you start distancing yourself. They can sense it even if they may not admit it. Sometimes they are just waiting for you to confront them and tell them the truth. And you will be surprised. I see some people who remained friends even after breaking up or who are on good speaking terms. Some argued and distance themselves but later, they patch up and stay good friends.
Second Life relationships are not always easy. A good friend of mine once told me that certain people just ran off because they told a tiny lie at the beginning but now that the relationship grew and they formed a bond, they felt that they would hurt their partner but felt like this lie became a big issue. So they preferred to disappear suddenly, without a word. What could the lies be? Claiming to be single when they are married, being of the opposite gender from what they play in Second Life, faking their age. If you put yourself in the shoes of someone who lied and imagine what they go through as they realise that their lie is becoming an issue, you may probably react the same way and leave too.
When you find that your partner has suddenly left, you may want to consider these reasons as well. Give it some days or weeks, then try leaving a message or an e-mail or something to see if they respond. Keep it simple and civilised. Remember, you can’t force someone to be with you if they don’t wish to be. If they want to leave, let them go. Give yourself time to digest the fact. Take some time off Second Life or explore new facets of the virtual world to distract yourself.
Announcing bad news and knowing you are going to hurt someone is not easy. But when you leave like that, you’re not making things easy either. Your partner has no idea and will worry. He/she will wait for a while, months maybe, especially if the feelings on his/her side are deep enough. Later they may move on, or not. Spare them the worries and the waiting. Break it to them, let them get mad. If it gets so bad, restart afresh but at least you know you done your part. No regrets, no guilty conscience.
Whether your partner have left or you wish to leave, put yourself in the shoes of the other party and imagine what you would go through. Don’t leave someone hanging and don’t make them feel guilty. When it’s over, we eventually have to move on. No need to drag it on. You will only hurt yourself. Isn't it better to end things in a civilised manner and remain friends?