|Thinking about advice|
Yesterday, in Part 1 of this Ask Eddi column, I explained how I was asking myself for advice on how to handle my recent breakup with my partner of 4 years, the amazing Jago Constantine, last week. I explained why our break-up occurred, and that Jago and I would remain friends. I also explained how empty and bad I feel as a result. You can read Part 1 here.
I ended Part 1 yesterday with these questions:
So Eddi, what advice can you give me? How can I move along with my life and stop feeling so miserable about what has happened? And what about my future in Second Life?
Since I provide advice to my readers through Ask Eddi, I thought that a record of my thoughts here could help others in the future cope with a similar relationship break. I did not realize that writing my thoughts and feeling on the breakup would have such a therapeutic effect. My first word of advice to anyone experiencing the loss of a relationship in Second Life is to write a letter to yourself just as I did yesterday. Doing so is helping to resolve several issues that are running through my mind right now. Although you might now want to share these personal thoughts with the over 1,000 readers a day this blog has as I have just done, it did help.
Saying that, here is Eddi's response to myself on how to handle my recent break-up with the incredible person who goes by the name of Jago Constantine in Second Life.
Please remember when reading this I am answering myself in the third party-- it does sound like I am a bit crazy talking to myself, but this is the best way I can provide advice to myself.
Also please take in account that my advice is appropriate to myself and my own particular situation It is by no means automatically applicable to every break-up. Other situations, and individuals, will need different time frames to move on after a relationship ends.
Dear Broken Hearted Reader:
Eddi really does sympathize with your predicament. Our feelings of love and loss in Second Life are as strong and as legitimate as any real-life relationship. However, most pioneers in this new form of love affair mitigated by Virtual Reality, as yours was, already know this. Eddi will not be condescending and explain to you what you know already -- that you are just being a regular person right now by grieving the end of your relationship
There are thousands of advice columns on how to handle the end of a relationship, advice of which Eddi will not bother repeating here in his answer to you. You can read advice on handling a break-up in these web articles. There are hundreds more that you can read.
Now, saying this, what advice can Eddi provide to you about the unique aspects of a break-up in which your means of communication was mitigated by virtual reality? There are some things to take into consideration.
Relationships in Virtual Reality move at a much rapid pace than the do in the real world. Your relationship lasted the incredible length of time of 4 years in Second Life. Although you cannot convert this into "real life" years rationally, just know that even a relationship of 6 months would be considered a virtual lifetime by many people.
You indicated yesterday that you seemed to be moving through closure with this rather quickly. This is to be expected and encouraged in cases such as yours. There are many reasons for why our virtual courtships seem to move at lightening pace, which yours did initially. So should endings. This is healthy, for virtual relationships are different than real life ones in many respects.
Please work on moving towards closure with your relationship with Jago as fast as you can, and do not listen to those who say that "it may take you months to feel better". Eddi feels that you should feel better within another week or two, and move towards closure with your loss. Move on with your life quickly, and even consider another boyfriend in a few weeks. There is no need to wait. I also think that nothing would please Jago more than to see you happy with a new boyfriend to share your experiences with.
Eddi has said this again and again in this column, and needs to repeat this point again. Unless you have personally met Jago in real life, which you have not, you have no idea who the real life person at the other end of the computer really is. Although I can assure you that Jago similarly misses you right now as he moves on with his real life (people have better things to do than to spend over 2,000 hours with you over 4 years unless they really do care for and enjoy you), you cannot know the extent of his real emotions right now.
You have no idea how hard it was for Jago to tell you that your relationship should not continue. In all likelihood that horrible meeting with you last Tuesday, in which he told you that he could no longer log in here on a regular basis, was brutally hard on him. Yet he loved you enough to face up to this and log in to tell you this knowing how hurt you would be. What a wonderful and considerate thing he did, rather than just vanish as so many inconsiderate lovers do their partners here in Second Life, leaving them waiting for months if not years for a return.
Jago may be feeling a sense of relief that you are not feeling. He may be despondent and depressed right now, which is one reason why he has not contacted you since your breakup of last Tuesday. You do not know, and will never really know, since your means of communications relied on the written word for the most part (you two communicated via chat most), and did not have the added benefit of sensual communication. You also will never know if the reasons he told you why he could not longer see you on a regular basis are complete. There could have been other circumstances which made his continuation of a relationship with you impossible that he could not share.
This is why your break-up was so hard. If you two were together physically in the same place, closure would have been easier to achieve. Our lesson is that closure is always harder to achieve in virtual reality since we are relying on our own perceptions of how our former partner feels about us and our break-up. You cannot look them in the eye and see how much they are hurting by not being with you. This is why we hurt so much. And one reason why we need to think the best and not blame any break up on ourselves alone.
You loved Jago for four years, and I would venture that he loved you too. I know you have mentioned that you will continue to love him for the rest of your life-- as a good friend -- and I would expect that he will love too. He said as much to you last week. Please give him time to cope with his loss, and adjust to his new life, before you expect much interaction inworld. You both need to move on right now, and make sure your relationship is no longer romantic, but friendly. This process, dear reader, takes some time, but does happen if we wish it to do so.
Dear reader, do what you are doing. Visit your friends inworld, enjoy real life, and make sure that your heart remains open. I can promise you that anyone who feels as much as you do has much to offer someone in Second Life, if another virtual love-affair is something you wish to happen again. Let's see what 2013 has to bring.
And that is my advice for today.