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.
He 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?
I don’t mean it necessarily in a bad way, but even when everyone is pulling in the same direction you still have so many personalities and relationships and characters twisting and growing and sharing together that it is NEVER boring. It’s so funny, because even between two people that love each other very deeply, it’s still interesting to watch how they twist and playoff of each other sometimes.
Katy has often said that a certain amount of twinging is necessary. I guess I wrote recently the same thing in a different way, that we all have drama, meaning ups and downs in IMVU. Sometimes it’s more like swings from side to side rather than ups and downs. Sometimes it’s loops and spirals. It’s all more than a little crazy but I wouldn’t change a bit of it. It all takes energy but it’s part of being real and it definitely makes things
I dislike imvu drama like most people. But when you have relationships with real people it doesn’t feel real unless you share some of the ups and downs too. You don’t have much drama when you just wander through rooms and just meet new people randomly all the time. The more you open yourself up and connect with people the more at risk for drama you become.
Life is a struggle, we all have ups and downs in real life. Unfortunately the only way to avoid the downs is simply not to go up. I know that sounds a little silly and may be overly simplifying it, but it’s the truth. Falling in love requires opening yourself up and tearing down walls which also makes you vulnerable.
Enjoy the ups, there are actually more positive things about imvu drama than negative things though the bad things can be extremely intense. Sometimes we have to step back and get some space. Take a longer-term view and don’t react or beat yourself up too badly or let anyone else.
If this feels like a roller coaster too much get off and take a break, or just go back to the bunny slope. The bunny slope is just the things you used to do earlier when you first got here. Maybe it’s shopping, or maybe it’s making some new unrelated friends or just hanging out with people who are safe and you don’t have any issues with.
I know it’s hard to stay on track when everything is falling down around you and even the smallest thing can really mess you up. Just try to remember that it’s only temporary and don’t overreact and it will get better.
That’s a line from the movie, La Femme Nikita, but it’s also important to remember in here too. Sometimes no matter how close you are, no matter how in love you are in here, little things can come up. And it’s amazing how such a tiny little thing can change or affect your mindset. Maybe it’s because this is so much more emotional and in your head, that even a small attitude change can sometimes change your feelings and affect your relationships in here more than you realize.
I know little things start big fights even in real life, I understand that. But I kind of think that little things can somehow cause more damage in a virtual relationship then real life. Maybe it’s because a real-life relationship has more momentum, more baggage, more dependency and routine to it, and that makes it more consistent, even if it’s not as much fun sometimes.
So what do you do or how do you handle these little bumps that come along and keep them from getting you off track? The answer is Communication, Openness, and Love! (though not necessarily in that order) I don’t just mean that in general, they are really the answer, along with just taking a deep breath sometimes.
The point is though that you have to be more careful in here, because these little things can disrupt and hurt even the best relationship more in here then they do even in real life. And ironically, sometimes the strength of the relationship is what makes you susceptible to disruption if it comes from the person you have your walls down to.
Also realize that, sometimes the little ripples give you a great chance to prove yourself, and strengthen your relationship too! A relationship is in many ways the sum of all the emotions you shared, and sometimes sharing this type of emotion and being there for each other definitely does make you stronger.
So remember, love them totally. Communicate and be honest about how you feel, listen a lot and focus on their intentions. Focus more on the bigger picture and love even more! We all make mistakes or just say or do the wrong thing sometimes. Sometimes things just come out wrong. These things are going to happen. But when you both want the same thing, being open sharing and loving your way through things is what makes this so real, so intense, and so special!
One of the most amazing things about IMVU has got to be the happiness. I never realized or expected to be so happy in imvu. I don’t think anyone would ever expect to be this happy. I don’t see people being this happy in real life short of someone winning American Idol or maybe Hue Heffner or someone like that.
I know everyone can’t possibly be this happy. If they did nobody would leave. Oh wait, people don’t leave. Well some do but it is pretty addictive. I also realize that as good as it feels if things go wrong losing something that good is extremely painful. It’s not just the love that makes you feel so good but that’s definitely a big part of the intensity in imvu.
Reading books, watching movies or going to parties is fun. But no other hobby makes this type of connection or has the potential to make you this happy. And interestingly it doesn’t matter what your real life is, or what’s happened to you in the past, at all. Just having the potential to be happier than you’ve ever been in your life is really special. Stick with it long enough to experience some of this. I promise it’s worth it!
After a little while after you start to get comfortable in here with how to move, how to dress and the etiquette, you’ll start to let your thoughts flow straight to the keys. That’s when it’s fun and you’ll understand the potential. You’ll open up and maybe even talk more than you do in real life. I don’t feel like I can be this open and just let things flow as much in real life. It’s just more freeing here, but wait it gets better.
As you let your thoughts flow you start to share things you wouldn’t usually share with anyone, and let emotions flow and all of a sudden you realize you’ve opened up and let your HEART flow. You can’t do this with just anyone. You have to take some time, to be sure they’re trustworthy. Tearing down your walls has to be done one brick at a time at the same time the other person does. If you tear down your walls but they don’t as much you won’t be balanced or have as good of a relationship. You have to really get to know their heart in order to build that heart felt connection.
You’ll know when it happens. You can’t rush it but it does get easier the more you do it. In that regard I think this is a great training program, to some degree. It’s not just your thoughts but your heart and you have to protect that sometimes, but also learn to share it with the right person. All of this is easier to say than to do, and you’ll make some mistakes and get hurt. And when you get hurt in here it hurts more than most other things because it hurts straight into your heart. That’s why you have to protect it at times, but also open up and share things. All of this may sound crazy and make no sense if you haven’t been here a while. If you think this is dumb or fake, just learn to let your thoughts flow into the keys. You’ll have fun and don’t have to share too much else… yet.
Stop trying to hard.
Go to the gym.
Spend more time with real life family.
Go outside more, go to a park or some place beautiful if you can If you need to talk, talk to just one person in here who won’t talk to everyone else. Cut back a little on how many people you talk to in here, especially people who are closer to the other person.
Listen more talk less.
Put on your game face because success is the best revenge and smiling and waving will often hurt them more inside than fighting back Hug a lot!
Go out and meet new people who don’t know any of the issues.
Reconnect with or send a loving message to an old friend not involved in any of it.
Apologize, and mean it
Don’t Respond to hostile messages.
Slow everything down.
Don’t blame anyone to much.
Don’t wine and complain to much.
Don’t dwell on it.
Don’t do anything hurtful to yourself or anyone else Know when talking about it become unproductive and stop.
Don’t report them for anything.
Don’t try to win points or an argument.
Don’t keep rubbing their nose in a mistake.
Also read The White Rose
Issues come up. We are all human. We make mistakes and can even hurt or get hurt by someone we love. It could just be real life things getting on the way. We have two directions we can go when things happen. We can react and be upset and pull back or complain about it. Or we can CHOSE to respond in love and use it as an opportunity to prove your love and try to make them feel even closer.
Now of course this is easier to say than to do. But that’s kind of the definition of character and the right thing. It’s always easier to say than to do. This is where a best friend is important because you may have to vent a little and talk to someone you can trust.
I’ve also learned something else recently, your first reaction when you are dealing with drama is almost never the right answer. It’s important not to react to fast, to give yourself time to cool down and think about things sometimes.
Remember that in here your heart shows a lot more than in real life. And the more you want to react and pull back, the more valuable it is to respond with love. You will always gain more by responding in love.
Looking at problems as opportunities is NOT easy. But it’s easier than the alternative.
One of the worst things in here is jealousy. It will eat you and your relationships up. So what do you do when you feel that? One thing I learned from Susan is to use that. If you feel jealous of someone, get to know them.
It’s harder to be jealous and upset about someone that you know and is your friend. You may find that instead of being hurt you wind up making a great friend. If your partner likes them there’s a good chance you will too.
It’s also important to be friends and close to the people that are important to your partner. It adds strength and stability to your relationship. And your relationship is the most important thing you have here. So treat it like that.
The exception to this is if the other person requires exclusivity and is therefore pulling him or her away from you. If someone does this they are only going to hurt somebody probably very badly, whether it’s themselves, or you or the person in between, or probably all of the above. And not wanting your partner to go with someone that requires exclusivity, isn’t jealousy actually, it’s really just not wanting to lose them.
This is one reason why I really like to see friends that I know already more than just random people which I don’t do as much anymore. It’s not that I don’t like meeting new people, I do. But it’s easier to connect and feel something more with someone you have been close to before then it is to start from scratch.
Conditioning could also be another explanation why each relationship tends to be even more exciting and fun than previous relationships, at least in general. I definitely think that’s why its also so easy to have a great time with someone you care about and why there’s a momentum to a relationship. Some people just seem to reach right into me and grab me by the heart, and I love that.
We get more and more conditioned to open our hearts and learn to let go more and more easily, the more good relationships you have and the more passionate things you share. On the other hand, if you have bad experiences, you tend to get more and more conditioned to have bad experiences. So it spirals and builds on itself. But it can work both ways. So don’t get jaded, find your own passion rut.
First we have to start with the understanding that an online only relationship is NOT cheating. If you define cheating as watching porn or a sexy movie or fantasizing about somebody you meet, then almost everything is cheating. So for the purpose of this point, let’s define cheating as sexual physical contact. (If you think just thinking something sexy is the same as doing it, then everyone’s cheating and this whole discussion is pointless and you might be perfect but you may also be very lonely.)
I searched on the internet and found an article in Psychology Today that listed the following eight most common reasons given why people cheat. It was based on a survey conducted on an online dating site. I think I fall into numbers 4, 2, 8 and 1 (in that order of priority).
1. Lack of sexual satisfaction in your primary relationship. (This was the most common reason cited by individuals in their study.)
2. Desire for additional sexual encounters.
3. Lack of emotional satisfaction in your primary relationship.
4. Wanting emotional validation from someone else.
5. Falling out of love with your partner.
6. Falling in love with someone new.
7. Wanting to seek revenge.
8. You’re curious and want new experiences.
I would say that IMVU or a virtual relationship like this can help address at least six out of these eight issues. I don’t think these things necessarily make you cheat because we all have some of these things at times. I recognize and felt several of them, but have never had any real desire or inclination to cheat. But I do think that if there’s a safe way to address these issues without risking or hurting anything it certainly could say that it may reduce real life cheating.
So even if you can’t say IMVU actually reduces cheating it certainly is a good way to address some of the issues that can lead to cheating. The down side is that if you cross over into real life, it suddenly turns into cheating and can lead to serious real life issues and hurt your relationship.
I was thinking a lot about family here and in real life while I was away recently. We don’t have a choice who our real life family is. Your real-life family is important because you only get one and you know you can count on your family. There’s something very lasting and important about that.
Your virtual family kind of feels similar in terms of importance in its own way, but is much more of a choice. It’s literally family by choice. You become a family when your friendship grows to that point that there’s no other way to describe it. I tend to be able to share more heartfelt emotional things with my virtual family.
Real family is important for your real life and your virtual family is just as important to your virtual life. They are both special. Real life family is special because its permanent. Virtual family is special because its by choice.
I tend to be able to share a lot with family in here but I also try to be more careful in some ways with them too. There are reasons why we don’t mess around in your real family just like there are in here. I Love my virtual family in a very pure kind of way.