Once upon a time there was an avatar named”Skylar Smythe”, who emerged from a ten year marriage and twelve year relationship. Unexpectedly single at the age of 33, the whole thing had pulled the rug out from under me. For all my bravado and painting it as an adventure, the people who knew me best, well they knew the real story. I was shell shocked, scared, very poor and alone.
Wandering into online communities fit both my social needs and my non-existent social budget. There, I could zip about and meet people from all over the world. The value of the time that I spent truly engrossed (to the point of poor life balance in retrospect) was so essential to my divorce recovery. Inside that virtual world of Second Life, I found writers and artists and musicians. I found men that still thought I was pretty, despite the fact that I considered myself grotesque for being over weight and unattractive. It was exciting, refreshing and safe for me to learn about myself, what I wanted from a partner, and to expand and broaden my view of the world through acquaintances that I met there.
I would never knock the virtual world that gave me my business, my husband and my confidence back? The cultural environment that allowed me to learn about others and myself, explore and grow. Some of the most meaningful friendships I have, started in the MMORPG communities and in Second Life. I sent her in there with that inspiration, and of course, some warnings and caveats.
This advice goes out to the single ladies in my world. I know a few exceptional hotties who ‘might’ be looking.
1. Falling in love with someone in another country can be exciting. That person has a 1 in 10,000 chance of being “the one”, and you should always be open to the universe presenting suitable partners into your life, even by unconventional means. If you play your cards right, you’ll learn a lot. If you play your cards wrong and invest too much into a long distance relationship, you’ll end up decimated when your expectation and reality does not line up.
2. Time zones suck. Full stop. If enjoying the company of someone in Europe or Asia, expect both parties to miss out on some sleep. Be mindful of scheduling so that the whole life balance thing continues unabated. If you are sleep deprived, and making goo-goo eyes on Skype and slightly frustrated about lack of in-person access to each other, things can turn nasty. If you are talking to someone in Australia, where today is actually next Tuesday at tea time … bless you. I’ve done that too and it wasn’t easy.
3. Consider it a friendship always and nothing more. Okay a hot friendship. Alright… alright, a hot friendship with a guy you wish lived in your city and could come on dog walks with you to the lake. Fine. But chemistry and infatuation sink otherwise sane ships. Never deprive yourself of dating locally, while dedicating yourself to someone online. It is hard to maintain balance and perspective, and hearts get broken that way. (Or you end up regretting lost time… dating local talent who are in quite kissable ranges).
4. People lie. About names, ages, marital status, having children … they lie. And even the smartest people have trouble discerning a lie, when it comes out of the mouth of someone you’ve thought about having really good looking babies with. Human nature. Toward the end of my dating life, dating me practically required a resume. It required a friend request on Facebook, a connection on LinkedIn and other ‘validations’. Fool me once… well, shame on me anyhow. Gullible was my fault, and it hurt to be lied to. A few times.
5. True Love happens. You don’t have to force it. You can meet someone who is A SOUL MATE … but believe that in this big, blue planet of ours, there ARE MANY SOULMATES you will encounter. The idea that there is “just one” is really a concept invented by male playwrights and poets who didn’t want their women to leave them. Seriously… do the reading. That ‘click’ you feel first is chemistry. The click + lock down is infatuation, but love is an entirely different bloom. It doesn’t feel like uncontrollable infatuation in fact. For me, true love felt like I was already family. That ease, that understanding and alignment of values and likes and dislikes… true love feels like you are already family. That other squishy stuff is big shoulders, a deep voice and other biological triggers for mating. (Again, read up on it).