Relationships are tricky things to get right, even the most successful ones tend to have their fraught moments and times of misunderstanding and mistakes, and many people will have been involved in relationships that have required an enormous amount of hard work and effort just to make them succeed. Of course, some – despite such efforts – do not, and the life lessons we learn as a result inevitably have an impact on how we view ourselves and ultimately how we involve others in our lives.
There are, of course, those who never seem to be in this position… People who grow up marrying their childhood sweetheart and stick it out together through thick and thin, seemingly impervious to life’s little challenges, until death do they part. Needless to say, I’m not one of those people – my life is a battlefield of broken and fundamentally flawed relationships, which have left me in a very strange place in my life and state of mind. My current relationship status is what most people would consider bizarre, unlikely, unworkable and as far from the norm – whatever you presume that to be – as is possible. It works for me though – even though, I’ll admit, it can throw up some ‘interesting’ challenges, I’m actually very happy with the arrangements.
Given that RL relationships can be so demanding, I find myself constantly surprised that so many people are more than happy to mix things up even further by pursuing relationships inworld too. There’s always the temptation to think that being part of a virtual relationship is a lot less challenging than its RL equivalent – after all, it’s not real, is it? – but many have found to their cost, that the virtual variety can be just as demanding, fulfilling and difficult to negotiate, and that this is compounded even further when you’re trying to juggle priorities and partners in both worlds at the same time. Yes, some do indeed choose to tread the moral and emotional minefield of dual-world relationships, with varying degrees of openness and success – rarely, in my experience, an easy path to take.
Even the most straightforward and benign inworld romance can lead to difficulties. They have a habit of becoming far more meaningful and important to us than we might imagine was possible, and they can be just as deep, life-changing and intense as anything the real world can offer. They can even make that transition from the virtual to real, crossing that boundary that so many profiles staunchly protest should never be breached.
The trouble with any relationship, whether it be romantic liaison, partnership, marriage, flirtation or fun buddy, is that it involves (at least) two people. Each have their own understanding of that relationship, and each have their own needs that will be met through that relationship and interaction with the other party – when cracks start to appear, or priorities change, any relationship can become as damaging as it was once uplifting, and as toxic as it was once nurturing. Either that, or one or the other of those involved decides it’s time to move on. Difficult times, bringing emotional upheaval. Whilst it’s easy to think that these are only RL considerations, we shouldn’t fool ourselves that relationships in the virtual world are any different.
My own view, borne from experience and observation, is that those sort of relationships are best kept out of the virtual arena and reserved for the real world, (although the terrible cynic in me would say that they’re best avoided in RL too!), and whilst it’s true that attraction is something over which we have no control, we most certainly do have control over how we act on it – but it is a very personal thing, and I would never tell anyone not to follow their heart, whether in the real or virtual world. However, I myself have a heart of stone: A heart that precludes me from any desire to put myself in that position.
I fully understand that, for some, finding a virtual significant other can be the icing on the virtual cake, but I would sincerely hope that if you do choose to pursue such a situation, you will do so in the full understanding that such things may be far more meaningful than you may ever have expected, and you should probably be mindful of that from the outset.
Just remember, there’s a real person behind the avatar… And that person may well be you!
Chill out, what you yellin’ for?
Lay back, it’s all been done before
And if you could only let it be
You will see
Remik – Complicated