Q You don’t need yet another editor, but I thought you missed a subtle point in SLINORLA’s letter. There’s nothing wrong with his Second Life existence, or what he does in it. And it’s sad that his wife can’t be more understanding of his needs and supportive of his hobby. The point you may have missed, though, is this isn’t a little white lie to keep the peace. He’s not covering up the fact that he was the one who didn’t replace the toilet paper roll before she visited the shitter. She has made it clear to him that she considers his actions adultery and she’d probably leave him for it if she knew. While we may not agree with her, they both deserve to be with someone who treats them with the proper respect they both deserve, but neither one seems to be exhibiting.
—Frozen but Free to Disagree in Fairbanks, Alaska
A I don’t believe SLINORLA’s wife truly regards SL wankery as the moral equivalent of adultery, FBFTDIFA. It’s much likelier that she dropped the “A” bomb—“That’s adultery! Case closed, conversation over!”—to win an argument that she knew she would lose on its merits. She’s become more sexually conservative over the years, and less GGG. And her husband has fantasies, some of them pretty bizarre, that she isn’t interested in accommodating, fantasies that make her uncomfortable.
But guess what? There’s an outlet for him to explore those fantasies. And so long as SLINORLA follows the rules he’s laid down for himself—he won’t form a partnership in SL, no emotional relationships with other avatars, only goes on SL when the wife’s not at home, doesn’t spend time in SL when he could be with her, their shared sex life doesn’t suffer—exploring his fantasies on SL doesn’t harm his wife in any way. Yet, the wife declares this outlet out-of-bounds and ends all discussion by labelling SL wanking as adultery.
And why would she do that? Because SLINORLA’s wife feels threatened—not by the wankery, FBFTDIFA, but by the existence of her husband’s fantasies. By declaring SL wanking adultery, by disallowing it, SLINORLA’s wife is attempting to will his fantasies away, to erase them. That’s unfair, irrational and controlling. SLINORLA has a right to his fantasies, a right to an outlet and the right—we all have the right—to work around his partner’s irrationality with a little gentle, loving deceit.
Q My husband and I walked the SL sex road, and I think you missed the mark. Honestly, whether or not it is adultery doesn’t matter. The real issue as I see it is this: SLINORLA said that he loved his wife twice in the letter, but he spent the rest of the letter screaming that he doesn’t give a flying fuck about her feelings so long as he is getting what he wants.
My husband included me on some of his SL adventures, in the “18 and over” worlds. Maybe I’m naive, maybe I’m insecure or maybe I’m just old-fashioned, but it really hurt me to think that my husband would rather fulfill his sexual desires with a cartoon than with me. I told my husband this, and he stopped. I didn’t nag or scream or pout or try to make him feel like a 2 year old. I didn’t order him to give up SL, or even to give up the SL sex. If he wants to keep doing it, I won’t be able to stop him and he knows that. He chose to stop because, in addition to loving me, he respects me. Odd, I know.
I don’t know anything about SLINORLA’s wife. Maybe she’s a controlling, emasculating bitch. Maybe she woke up one day and looked at SLINORLA’s potbelly and thought that she would vomit if she had to have sex with him one more time. I don’t know. But you can’t tell me that she doesn’t sense on some level that her husband is hiding something from her.
A Well, TW, it sounds like your marriage is more functional in some ways than SLINORLA’s marriage. I’ll betcha it’s less functional in other ways, however, because all marriages—all relationships—are mixed bags. Different couples have different strengths and different weaknesses.
And I don’t see how SLINORLA’s love for his wife can be called into question simply because he finds her frustrating in other ways and, like all of us, wants what he wants. You wanted your husband to stop messing around in SL, and you got what you wanted. (Or you think you did, at any rate.) It’s possible to love and respect someone and hide something from them, too. Like I said in my original response to SLINORLA…
“This is a marriage, not a deposition. You don’t have to tell your wife the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you god. No marriage—no civil union, no domestic partnership, no semiregular hookup—would survive long if each partner made A full confession of the previous day’s minor betrayals at breakfast.”
Q The letter from SLINORLA really angered me, Dan. It’s just sickening how many men there are pretending to be lesbians on lesbian dating sites! Most of the time, it’s easy to tell who they are, because if you ask them to talk on the phone they refuse. But I had one guy try to disguise his voice! It’s very violating. I know people lie on the internet all the time, but to think that guys are getting off on our attempts to find potential mates, it’s sickening!
—Tired of Imposters
A Are lesbians really trying to find potential mates on Second Life, TOI? Gawd, I hope not. And is there a better way for men that fantasize about being fantasies to indulge themselves? It’s not a personals site; it’s a place where people create alternate personas, right? If you’re going there expecting people to be “real,” well, you have bigger problems than straight men pretending to be dykes.
Q Your advice to SLINORLA was to have fun fucking anyone he wanted in Second Life, while lying to his unsupportive wife—with whom he has “a normal sex life,” though she is “more conservative” than she was 15 years ago (which sounds absolutely normal, too). I would, however, note you missed the opportunity to point out that the hot lesbian avatars SLINORLA is bonking are most probably other real-life 42-year-old married men like himself. That might cool his passions.
—Life is Absolutely Real
A Man, I pity folks who regard the narrowing of sexual possibility and pleasure as a normal component of a long-term relationship. My boyfriend is less sexually conservative than when we met 13 years ago, and so am I. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
Still, your point is a valid one, LIAR. Most of the hot lesbian avatars SLINORLA bonks are probably other men. But if SLINORLA’s wife was down with a little lesbo-on-lesbo role-play action—if she was GGG and not DDD (dour, dismissive and disgusted)—SLINORLA could explore his fantasies with the wife, not other married men in Second Life.