Monday, January 28, 2013

Ask DrFran: Caught Between Two Worlds

By DrFran Babcock

Dear DrFran: I have a feeling what I am going to tell you is not uncommon, but I haven’t seen it yet in your column so I thought I would bring it up.

I am a long time Second Life resident, and I joined originally because my kids are grown, my husband works long hours, and I don’t really enjoy the stuff that other women my age are into in their daily lives. Sharing recipes and talking about clothes is just not as exciting to me as building castles and raising Lindens for the American Cancer Society. My creativity is expressed in the things I make here, and although I have usually given them away for free, or donated them for charity events, I am fulfilled by what I do.

My question for you begins during last year’s Relay for Life events, when a newcomer joined our old and established team for the first time. His avatar was a very handsome male, and he almost always wore suits, and took pains with his appearance. His building and scripting skills added a dimension to our team camp that really struck a high note for the team. As one of the main landscapers and vendor monitors for the team we were together often while planning out and working on things. We chatted amiably for a few weeks, neither of us revealing any personal information—until we started to share. That was when I noticed I was starting to have feelings for him. For the first time I didn’t feel sorry for myself that my husband, a surgeon, was rarely around. Max, as I will call him, was a professional (keeping some details vague here), and lived in another continent from me.  I kept our conversation light, despite my growing sense of intimacy, and worked hard not to let him know I was falling for him.

A few days before Relay opened officially, we were at one of the many pre-RFL parties, and he asked me to dance. While we were dancing, he asked me in I had voice, and for the first time we chatted in voice while we danced. I had never been so entranced, or so engaged in Second Life. I still tried not to let on about my feelings for him. His English was flawless, but his slight accent was a thrill to me. We talked and talked, and before I knew it my husband was home, so I logged.

From then on, no matter what we were doing, building, at a meeting, planning to run Relay, etc., we were in voice, talking and talking. He started to make statements related to having me come to visit him. I still had no idea what he looked like, nor did he know what I looked like. That didn’t seem to matter, because our friendship had been built on talking and sharing, and that seemed to get more intense and revealing each day. Finally, in what by this time was no surprise, he told me that he cared about me as more than just a friend. My heart literally leapt out of my chest, and out of my mouth poured all the things I had been holding inside. We were like two kids jumping up and down with joy. To this day it’s the highlight of my emotional life.

From that day on, Max and I have been inseparable. We have shared everything about our stories, our lives, and all our little secrets. He wanted me to come to his continent to visit. We now knew what each other looked like, and we were even more in love. When I had to log out I would feel empty and alone. I was happy that my husband was never around.

Finally, I decided to go visit Max for a week when my husband left for two weeks for a medical conference in Houston. I knew he would never know I was gone, because he rarely calls, and with my cell phone it would not matter.

Suffice it to say that Max and I hit it off better than I even imagined. I went home to my husband, dejected and missing Max. Since then Max has been begging me to come back and live with him. Now, Max not a rich man, like my husband, but I love him. I am so tormented. Should I leave my husband for this man, Max?  Undecided

Dear Undecided: I wonder why you have written to me, when it seems that you have already made up your mind? That said, I do have opinions, my opinions, on the subject of infidelity, love, and choices.

I am not a fan of infidelity. I understand just how easy it is to be attracted to someone other than the person with whom you are married, but it speaks to a lack of commitment and integrity. However, I am not judging. It does seem as if Max is way more attentive than your husband, who seems most like a good provider, and nothing more.

True love is something that is very rare to find. In Second Life we often form very close and intimate relationships, because lacking the visuals, we have to communicate verbally. We can’t fall into bed with someone and develop the relationship after (note: We can virtually, but that is a different thing. ).
By the way, you didn’t say whether or not you slept with Max when you visited, but that would serve to make the relationship stronger. Did you know that lovemaking releases chemicals that make women desire their man even more strongly? (How Oxytocin Works )

Let me address the question of making decisions, as that will remove me from my obvious bias about fidelity. Undecided, there is a somewhat objective way to decide what to do. Make a list of the pros and cons of each decision. Do not do this in your head, but put it on paper, so you can see it in black and white. Often, this simple task, when completed honestly, can give you the answer you seek.

I wish you luck in your decision, whatever it is. Please keep us posted here about what happens.  Thanks,


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.

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