Is this wrong or bad?

virtual Ice skating
A girl who’s boyfriend is on imvu posted a comment and was upset, and concerned that this was the equivalent to cheating and wrong. I struggled with this more than my share and wanted to highlight her concerns discuss it. So I asked her to write it out and I’d post it and talk about it. There’s no one answer, but I hope that this can be a healthy and helpful discussion. So here’s Natalie.

Everything I read from psychologists, marital councelors, and advice columns…. Really any input that does not come from an imvu user, classifies this as emotional cheating. Most say it is often more damaging than physical cheating. At the very least, it is suggested that this be discussed before a relationship starts, boundaries are set, and no one sneaks or hides anything. But everything I read from the imvu world is the exact opposite.

And in every case, if you are giving time and affection to person B, it can only come from the time and affection that could be used to improve and build with person A. No one, that has not signed up for a polyamorous relationship, wants to share the one they love. And no one, in any relationship deserves to be lied to, or told half truths.

the best imvu girlsHe actually told me he hid this for so long bc he loved me so much and didn’t want to lose what we had. But what about me? He knew I wouldn’t want to be in a relationship like that. He knew I wouldn’t have fallen in love with a liar. He knew I would not be happy in a relationship where I had to share him. But he took the power of choice from me by pretending everything was as I wanted it to be. He manipulated me into loving him by being someone different to me than he really was.

So now, 6 years in. I still love him and can’t imagine myself without him. But I also don’t want to live this way. I’m torn between staying and being unhappy or leaving and being unhappy. So that’s why I ask how your hubby wakes up every morning, broken heRted and prepared to be hurt again by the one he loves most.

And not to be all attacky, but can you honestly say this is anything other than pure selfishness?

Read the full post for my thoughts and please add your own to this one!

the best of imvuThese are good points. And I wanted to put this up to really discuss it. I struggled with this a lot. I’ll be the first to say it’s a tough issue. That’s why I wanted to highlight and talk about this. I think a lot of people wrestle with this. I’ll be the first to say this is very intense and can definitely touch you. It can be a great support system and some of the best friends you may ever make. You can definitely feel a lot of love. When I first got here I admit I assumed and was afraid that the intensity of love here must take away from real life relationships too. It makes sense. But as I got into it, over time I realized it’s not the same and it doesn’t make you less loving, and can actually make you more loving.

It’s also hard if you judge it without experiencing it. I think that’s why the people you’re listening to who haven’t really seen it, dismiss and put it down while the people that’re here see it differently. Do the people in here often end up getting divorced or unhappy in their relationships? In some ways I feel like it’s kind of like people laughing at the people meeting and marrying someone they met online. How could that really last and be real!?

Side note: I bet it would be an interesting study to analyze the real life relationships and real life happiness of users of this and other virtual worlds scientifically.

happy new years dancingIt’s hard to look at things with this much emotion objectively. We all tend to see what we want to see. If you’re looking for reasons to say it’s bad and for people that support that you’ll find it. That alone doesn’t mean your point is invalid but it means you’re probably only looking at just one side. You say he’s emotional here, and that it must be taking away from his passion for you, but he still loves you and you love him. If it was really taking away from his love for you, wouldn’t you have seen evidence of that after this long? You can say that playing violent video games may or may not make you more violent, but NOBODY would ever say that playing violent video games makes you LESS violent.

You can say that emotionally doing it is the same thing as doing it, but emotionally murdering someone isn’t the same thing as murdering them. Cheating is a physical act and if you say that just wanting to is the same thing as doing it, you’re creating an impossible bar for anyone to reach. Is porn emotional cheating? Is reading romance novels the same as cheating or doing what happens in the novel? Do romance novels make you feel less loving or more loving?

Is imvu bad - bad girlsLet’s assume that watching porn is wrong to you. If he watches porn would you say that is enough of a reason to leave him? If he was into violent video games and you didn’t like them, would that be enough to leave him? I’ll agree it could be if he was obsessed with it. Certainly it would be if it was clearly affecting negatively his attitude and emotional availability to you. But if it’s not, is it really that wrong? Can you really expect guys not to think about sex and treat thinking about sex, the same as if they actually had sex with that person?

You said that “giving time and affection to person B” must be taking away from time with you. This kind of assumes that people have a fixed amount of emotion and that the more emotional they are in one area the less they will be in the others. I kind of find it’s actually the opposite. When you’re happy in one area, that spills over and makes you more likely to be happy in others. And emotions are more like smiles, the more you give the more you get. If you go to the gym does that make you less inclined to be physical? When you watch sappy romantic movies does that make you more or less romantic?

Sure, anything taken to an extreme is wrong to some degree, and you could count it as a negative against him. If he flirted with other people you could certainly say that’s bad. But if it’s not leading to actual cheating you can’t really treat it like it is. We all have issues and have to decide what we’re willing to accept. This is your decision, not anyone else’s. But it’s your DECISION, not an automatic thing. You have to look at the whole person and relationship. Is the rest of your relationship good? Does he fill your needs and treat you the way you want to be treated?

And to answer your last question, just because you don’t enjoy something doesn’t mean he’s selfish if he does. If you don’t like football but he spends all day once a week focused on football, that doesn’t mean he’s selfish. Does he put it above you? If he does, or if he’s crossing over into real life, or leaving that door open sometimes, then that’s where I personally think it definitely becomes bad. Don’t be unhappy, and don’t feel like imvu’s taking anything away from you. Make him make it up to you in other ways and hold him with your love. Nobody here’s trying to hurt you and neither is your boyfriend. Real life is always first.

That’s kind of my opinion but it’s just mine. I think this requires input from a variety of people. Where do you draw the line, and how do you deal with this often difficult issue?

7 responses

  1. I just watched the movie Austenland on the plane and it reminded me of this question. In it, women go to a Jane Austen themepark to play out an escapist fantasy in a Jane Austen novel, complete with virtual love story. That reminded me a lot of what imvu can be about. But I guess for me, my main thoughts are:

    1) That if its ok to kill in video games, then what we do here can’t be too bad. 2) That there are lots of different kinds of love. You love your brothers and sisers and parents and friends. IMVU love is just one more that doesnt’ have to detract from any of the others. 3) That if its ok to read romance novels, or write sexy fan fiction. Then imvu is sorta just doing both at once.

    Each point has holes, I agree, but taken together, I think they make a compelling point. But I agree I may just be rationalizing.

    I suppose another way to decide if something is right or wrong is whether it makes on the whole people better off or worse off. This may differ by couple, but I think a strong case can be made that imvu makes you both better off.

    January 6, 2014 at 11:08 am

    • It was such an interesting discussion based on this in the club last night. I am with you. I’m sure I rationalize some but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Your points are great.

      In the club someone made the point that what they’re partner felt mattered and had to be taken into account but that works both ways. If you think what he has to take into account what you think, you also have to take into account what he thinks. It’s ultimately something to communicate about and talk about.

      To say that it’s automatically good or automatically bad is wrong. If it makes people happy and fills in missing things, whatever that is, and allows you go get along and be happy together there’s definitely some value in that, especially if you’re married and have kids.

      January 7, 2014 at 12:30 am

  2. Natalie

    The thing is, it doesn’t make us both happy. It makes me absolutely depressed. We are not happy together bc of this. He would leave me in one room and jump online and tell some other chick he loved her.

    And I don’t see the comparison at all with video games, porn or romance novels. Those don’t involve real romantic relationships with real people. He doesn’t call porn stars the same pet names he calls me. And it’s not comparable to a hobby like football. He’s not making movie dates with his tv. He is setting aside real time from his real life to bond romantically with a real woman.

    I came home one night and he said he wanted to take me out to dinner. I had a rough day and I deserved it. Then when I went to bed he told his gf about how he went to the restaurant alone for happy hour. He took a special moment we shared and completely erased me from it. How is that not betrayal?

    When my family stayed with us to celebrate Xmas he ducked out early with some lame excuse. He went online that might and apologized to his imvu gf for getting on late. He said his roommates parents were visiting and held him up. How is that not betrayal?

    And none of the articles made fun of online dating. They only commented on dating secretly outside of a monagomous relationship.

    And when these women left jane austenland, did they secretly carry on relationship over several months?

    And you say it’s a different kind of love. Then why does he say the same things to her that he says to me? I know he loves his sister, but he sure doesn’t call her baby and talk about how much he missed her since the convo 5hrs ago.

    I don’t know how you can suggest that I am better off bc of this. I can’t eat, can’t sleep, can’t work. I’m losing weight at a sickly rate and suffering depression. I feel betrayed and taken advantage of and I feel like a complete idiot. I think you meant to say he is better off, not both if us.

    And there is evidence that the passion has been lacking as his imvu use increased. There is an obvious change in him and our relationship.

    And I don’t expect him not to think about sex or watch porn. But I do expect that no other individuals will be involved in his sex life. That is totally different.

    And I never said it was selfish to enjoy something that I don’t. It is selfish to hurt me over and over bc it makes him happy to cheat. And it is selfish to lie to me about his faithfulness bc he doesn’t want to lose me. And it is selfish to expect me to stay in a hurtful relationship bc that is the type of relationship he wants.

    January 15, 2014 at 12:33 am

    • Everything my husband does, doesn’t make me happy. He’s allowed to do things he likes and I’m allowed to do things I like. Everything we do doesn’t have to make us both happy. If you can’t give him room to do something he likes you can’t expect him to give you room to do something that only you like. That’s natural, though I don’t want to do things that make him unhappy if I can avoid it. If something does make him unhappy, I try to do it when it won’t bother him.

      Video games do involve other real people today. It’s a different type of relationship. They’re not romantic but they’re essentially still relationships. And romance novels aren’t real people but they create romantic feelings. So you can say it’s not exactly the same but they each have similarities. And if you don’t think football is like a “date” (specific time set aside dedicated just to that, taking that time away from you) then maybe he’s not as much of a fan as a lot of people I know. Some have season tickets and make the whole day of it. Yes, it’s different, but that’s the point. It’s not the same thing as loving you any more than loving your family means that he can’t love you.

      I’m not saying you’re better off because of it. Your reaction to it is certainly hurting you. But I think it’s really the reaction that’s hurting you, not the actual act itself. So I think the question becomes can you separate your reaction and attitude toward it from the act. If you can’t then you have to make a decision, whether you can accept this, which apparently you can’t, then you’re making him make a choice between you or imvu.

      You have to be careful here though, because he has to look at that and wonder if you’re going to react like this to other things too. Plus just to say that will cast doubt on where you are in the relationship. In some ways by the time people get to that point, the relationship is already kind of damaged.

      The point of the discussion here though is does IMVU hurt relationships?, and for whatever reason, other people clearly don’t all react like you are. Some do, and I’m not trying to criticize you. You can say it’s because of IMVU to make it easier for you to justify, but it’s more your reaction to it, than IMVU itself. It’s kind of like saying guns are evil because some people misuse them, but a gun is an inanimate object and it’s how it’s used that counts. Besides it actually doesn’t sound like he’s the one leaving or threatening to leave because of it.

      I could tell you about a great friend who’s fiancé comes in and says Hi and we’re friends with too. I made him an avatar. He isn’t that into it, but he does say hello and we love to talk to him once in a while. He knows how important it is to her and how much it’s helped her and he encourages her. And guess what, she loves him that much more because of it!

      You can take anything too far, and I’ll be the first to say it’s easy to take this too far. You do have to be careful and balance things. And you have to work extra hard in your real life to make sure things are good there, because any issue in real life will be blamed on imvu when someone’s upset. It’s an easy scapegoat. How your partner reacts to it or thinks of it is also a big factor that has to be considered very heavily. But we’re not talking about how it’s affected his behavior very much, it’s much more your reaction that I think is hurting things. The good news is that if it’s your reaction, you ultimately control that.

      If you’ve already decided to say it’s IMVU you can blame IMVU. But if you’re going to try to make it work, realize that he’s in imvu and still loves you. And if you allow him to have his thing, you can have your own things too. And if you yank his chain and put your foot down, you probably have to give him the right to do that about things with you. A happy partner is a valuable thing, and as much as I might want to be my partner’s only reason for happiness I also realize that real life doesn’t usually work that way. My marriage isn’t the perfect fairy tale happily ever after. And if my husband has something he likes, even if I don’t like it or want to share that with him, I still get some benefit from him being happy.

      The one thing that you HAVE TO BE VERY CLEAR ABOUT is whether or not any of it is allowed to cross over into real life! To me, that’s when it becomes cheating and then it can turn from being ok into being an instant big issue and problem. There are clearly a lot of tough personal decisions and issues here and I don’t mean to over simplify or minimize any of it. I hope it helps a little to talk about it and see more perspectives.

      January 17, 2014 at 10:39 pm

  3. I laid in bed and thought about this the other night. If you really want to yank your partners chain and put your foot down that they can’t do this, what legal things do you want them to be able to force you out of or not to do? There are a lot of issues like this in marriage and life. And you have to realize that you will be on the other side of the situation at some point too. On the other hand, by giving them some latitude it gives you brownie points you can use at some point too. So it’s probably not so much a question of it being totally right or wrong, but whether it’s better for you to make an issue of it and give them something they can hold against you when you, or to give you points that might get you what you want more of too. One way to look at it makes your connection stronger, and the other makes it weaker. So is it worth weakening it. If you think it’s really harmful go ahead. If you think it’s in everyone’s best interest to be more understanding, you might find that what goes around comes around and you get more from that than you would by fighting over it. Just a thought to end on?…

    March 12, 2014 at 6:41 pm

  4. Ziggy

    After reading all your posts about cheating or not in IMVU i can honestly say you have a valid point and i would agree to said point up until the IMVU ” online rp ” moves over to Skype , Kick, and texting where the said couple talk like they are in a relationship with actual feelings. Then i consider this cheating , not only is there the sexting but in the actual text you can read the emotional attachments. I personaly am in a committed relationship with a woman who has been in IMVU for several years. When we got togeather i told her i didn’t care what she said online but no Emails,texts, and stuff of that nature… defently no skype calling or video chats… Anyway as our relationship grew she left IMVU and we gave eachother promiss rings and was talking about our future togeather kids and the whole thing. Within the last couple months she wanted to get back on IMVU to see her friends and to catch up with them. Needless to say i agreed , not thinking about the sexting and what nots. Seriously thought we were in a committed relationship. So one morning i get up to get ready for work like usal and find her phone to charge it so it is ready for her, as i plugged it in the phone started to recieve a couple messages which we all know is on the lock screen, and here i see someone sending her sex messages and telling her i love you and so on. I admitted to her i opened the messages but was not prepared for what i had seen. She had spent the evening online with the guy then let it come over to offline so they could spend time togeather. So instead of destroying the house and upsetting the kids i let her sleep and took her aside later in the day to discuss this and to let her know how i felt. Her words is that it is not a real relationship and to her she was just typing words because her friend pays her credits for everytime she dose this. I stood my ground and said i was not happy and i wanted this to stop, she then told me that we had set guidelines at the beging of the relationship for IMVU. I said yes but now you got a ring on your fingure and it is different. So all was ok for a couple weeks , until i came home from work to her napping and our youngest handed me the phone saying daddy someone is messaging mommy. so i looked and again here it is worse thasn before. So after we have this talk once more i admit i have atleast went to check her phone because my trust level in her is almost gone. I found she has all her messangers locked so i can’t see anything. I am seriously confused on what to do and am about to the end of my rope on this . I just want a honest opion from someone who is open minded and plays on IMVU..

    March 25, 2015 at 8:37 am

    • Well I agree that is a reasonable place to draw the line, and came to that conclusion. It’s easy to say you have to talk to her and discuss it. I know more than anyone how hard that can be sometimes though. I agree that’s wrong and you can’t help but feel if it’s outside of imvu it’s crossing a line and a sign of issues. Maybe it’s a sign that she wants MORE love and you can turn it into a positive? I don’t think there’s any single answer to something like this. It’s gray and you have to figure out what you want to do and where YOU “both” are with it. It’s got to be something both of you talk about and decide how you feel and what you need together. i wish I had a perfect answer, but there probably isn’t. Hopefully you can both live with the conclusion and move forward together.

      March 27, 2015 at 3:53 pm

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