There's a little discussion going on on a forum I frequent. Now the beginning of it was simple enough. Are there good men in SL? But it has ended up being a "How can you call it love if it's just a game?" debate.
Personally, I think of SL as being more than just some game. It's many different things to many different people. But I absolutely believe that you can love someone that you meet in SL, whether it's romantic love or friendship love.
One girl [she sounds extremely young, so we'll not call her a woman] stated that love in SL is not real and ask any "therpist" and they'd tell you the same.
What makes SL love any different than any other kind of love? I have online friends that I've known for a number of years that I've never met, and possibly never will meet, but that doesn't make my love for them any different than the love I have for my family that I never see. We share secrets, dreams, our daily lives. I love them as if they were my family. I am growing to love my SL friends very much. They're the ones who let me fill their IM boxes with nonsense and with problems. They're the ones who make me smile when I think about them. How is that love not real?
Most of my "real" world friends are married or in committed relationships. Most of them are unhappy. A few have told me that they're no longer in love with their significant others. Why is that better than loving someone online? Just because you can touch someone physically doesn't mean that it's any better!
We are living in a world where online friendships and relationships are very common. I truly believe that for some people, without the aid of technology, they would go throughout life not speaking to anyone if they didn't have to. There are people who are so shy they can barely say hello to the checker at the grocery store. There are people who cannot leave their home because they are scared, or disabled. But with things like chat rooms or SL, they have lives. They have learned to love people. They have learned to interact and talk to others. I know that my daily life has changed because of SL because I have learned that it's ok that I speak to others.
Confession time. I'm exceptionally shy. I know, chatterbox me. :-p I have real world friends, but trust me, it is more their doing that we are friends than mine. I'm incredibly lucky to have them. But since coming to SL, when I go out somewhere now, I smile at people. I talk to them. In fact, if you get me going now, I don't shut up.
[Really, Ali? We never would have guessed.]
[Oh, you guys be quiet. LOL]
I guess what I'm getting at is that love, whether first life or second, is real if you believe it is. The love I hold for my friends is absolutely and most definitely real. And how can that be a bad thing?
As far as romantic love goes - Do people really fall in love in SL? Of course they do. Heck, it may be even better than falling in love with someone you meet in a smoky bar when you're drunk on cheap beer.
I'd love to hear more opinions on this, good or bad. :)