Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Botgirl's Relationship Question of the Day (Part 2 of Series)

How are romantic relationships in the physical world affected when one or both members of a couple begin to spend many hours a week as an avatar in a virtual world like Second Life? (From Part 1)
As tempting as it is to make sweeping generalizations about the impact of virtual worlds on relationships, I think the truth is that there are no inherent consequences to the simple act of spending time in avatar form. That said, quite a few people describe problems with their significant others that are sparked by some aspect of their virtual life.

It seems to me that most of the trouble stems from taking the idea that virtual worlds operate outside the laws of the physical universe, and extending the concept to the rules of relationships. So here's the Botgirl relationship question of the day:

What (if anything) do you think is okay to do in a virtual world that would not be acceptable in the physical world?

3 comments:

Ruina Kessel said...

If it's not ok in Real Life, it shouldn't be ok in Second Life. HOWEVER, in terms of relationships, people have the right to define their own standards. For example, my husband and I are very open and lenient. We don't believe in owning each other or trying to exert any kind of control whatsoever. So, I *could* have a relationship in Second Life if I wanted .... but I could also do so in real life too. On the other hand, it IS part of my ethic to be honest. So if I were to have a relationship with someone in SL, I would be certain that they knew I was married IRL, and I would let my husband know that I was becoming emotionally involved with someone in SL.

I don't believe in having an ethical double standard - ie, one set of ethics for one world and another set for a different world. I'm not talking about personality here, I'm talking about basic ethics. If you are monogamous in RL, then you should be in SL. If you find that you cannot be monogamous in SL, then maybe you need to reconsider your RL ethics.

I should also probably mention that I do think it's important to understand that relationships ARE different in virtual worlds than they are in real life. Or, at least, I find that they are. Even so, just because they operate at a different intensity and different speed, does not mean that my ethical standard should be different.

Botgirl Questi said...

Ruina: Thanks for sharing thoughts and experiences!

I agree with you that people should define their own standards. I'm interested in how people apply whatever standards they have in RL to their virtual world activity.

Dale Innis said...

"What (if anything) do you think is okay to do in a virtual world that would not be acceptable in the physical world?"

Crash your jetski into someone's house at high speed! Vrrrrrrooommm!!

Oh, wait, *relationship* question? Hmmm...

(hahaha captcha string: "nocars"!)