Welcome to MMO couples

Every one who is familiar with MMOG's (massive multiplayer online games), knows the stories of people who are so addicted to playing these games that it costs them their real life friendships and relationships. There are also stories though of people who meet in a MMOG and fall in love, like my boyfriend and I. 'MMO couples' is a tribute to our lovestory, but also an invitation to share your story and experiences with others.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

To Be In Two Minds - the online flirt at the wrong moment

It has been a while since I opened my MMO mailbox to check for messages. Last night before going to bed, I decided to have a look. There was one message from one of my readers waiting for me, a private one. The content kept me from falling asleep.

MMO couples is a blog meant to celebrate the wonderful mystery of finding the love of your life, or a very special friend, through a MMORPG. Of course it is not always a pretty story, especially if other people - like the partners we already have in real life - get hurt. Maybe it seems I have been 'promoting', i.o.w. giving preferences to exploring the virtual flirt over working on the real life partnership. I want to make clear that is certainly not my intention, so I have decided to give you a few thoughts on dealing with a situation like that.

Unless you believe in happy, so called open relationships in which polygamy is not an issue, meeting someone else while having a partner is in my opinion a very important eye-opener. You have come to a crossroad and need to decide which direction you take. Consequently you are forced to reflect on your relationship, and on yourself.

I truly believe people stay in unhappy, unsatisfactory relationships way too long. Why? Because it is easy and convenient. Because people are scared of being alone, of not being able to find someone else. Because people don't like change. And because people don't believe true love really exists. We rather stay in a situation that is maybe not making us happy but that is known and familiar to us, than take the big, scary step into the unknown and maybe find the happiness we have been fantasizing about all our lives. Life is not making it easy on us though, and so we meet other people who can turn our lives and loves upside down. They will come when we least expect them, when we - maybe secretly, maybe not - hunger for them and when we are vulnerable.

If you find yourself standing at the crossroads, you can come to three possible conclusions:

1. you know you are happy with your relationship, but you find out you are not the monogamous type/you can love more than one person.
In this case, obviously, you need to discuss this with your partner and find a way to deal with it without hurting him or her.

2. you have come to realize that your relationship is not making you happy at all, you know it has bled to death and repairs don't make sense anymore. It is time to end it.
For me it was like this. Therefore I did not feel confused, sad or guilty - I know this sounds hard but what can I say. Meeting my hunter helped me see what I was ignoring and looking away from or many years.

3. you love your partner, but there are problems that make you unhappy and therefore susceptible for something, c.q. someone else.
When this is your situation, the online seduction is probably even more dangerous than a real life one. Because of the safe distance it is a lot easier to get carried away, to go in a way further than you maybe would with someone flirting with you at the pub:

"I can flirt with him and say certain things I otherwise would not say that easily, for he/she lives in another country/state and can't reach me anyways."
"Cybersex is innocent, I am not really being unfaithful."
"It is just a game/it is just online, I can't get attached to someone like this (or he/she can't get attached to me)."

Don't think you can fool yourself; it can start simple and superficial like that, but the heart works in mysterious ways. Don't forget you can't control the person with his/her emotions on the other end of the cyber line either.
Lacking lots of real life information, your imagination and curiosity also make it a lot more thrilling - not to mention the possibility to flirt at home under your partner's very nose, and the fact that it is easy to get it, for you only have to switch on your computer and log in.

Being in this situation, I can imagine the confusion and mixture of feelings raging through your body. All I can advice you to do, is to take distance from your MMO lover or flirt immediately, take a good look at your partner and the relationship and ask yourself the following questions:

What exactly is making me unhappy?
What is lacking?
What do I want from a relationship/him/her?
Do I truly love him/her?
Do I really want the relationship to work?
Do I think solving the problems is possible?

If you can answer those questions, it is time to talk. Maybe you two can solve the problem(s) and find that the relationship has become stronger and better than before.
Maybe it won't be solvable and that may hurt, but at least you have the opportunity - a new chance - to find what you want and need. Both ways, it is a gift.

Don't stop believing!