The secret to longevity

It was two years ago today.

The partnership is still there. I sent him an IM using Alt #9's email and wished him Happy Anniversary. He replied, "If I could, I'd do it all over again." :)

Well, since Alt #9 and her partner were actually put to sleep soon after that partnership took effect, you know that the title of this blog is really tongue-in-cheek.

It's like Romeo and Juliet. The only reason their secret marriage has lasted centuries is because they're ... ummm, ... dead. :D If they continued living another couple of decades, they'd be divorced already.

I *do* love him dearly, as I do every other lover who has truly touched my heart. But it's no longer a passionate crazy-making kind of love; it's a more tender cozy love between long-time intimate friends. Of course, we haven't tried to see if the passion is still there, because it doesn't really matter anymore. What we have now has withstood the test of time.

I wonder, however, how the Hitchhiker is doing. His account is gone, as is his alt that I knew about. I hope he eventually returned to SL in a new incarnation, and that he has found someone worthy of his affections.

twothreesixfive project

In November last year, I discovered this blog called twothreesixfive and I signed up for it. I specifically chose Valentine's Day. I was already working on the book "Love, Like Dim Sum" at the time and I realized that, in spite of everything else I do in SL, relationships are still a major part of my virtual life.

I'm posting that entry below.


mahal kita
Message on the chocolate heart says "mahal kita" in the Tagalog language using Baybayin glyphs. Literally translated, it means "love I-you."

Several years ago, a married acquaintance called this day "Singles Awareness Day." Yeah, it's sad (pun intended), but true (I wanted to smack him anyway). So I chose to write for this day, because it is not just a day for couples.

Valentine's Day 1999 was the most heart-wrenching day of my life, when my then-husband admitted he had fallen in love with my youngest sister. (She did not feel the same way about him.) As if I needed a consolation prize, he added that he still loved me, but "not that way anymore." So I filed for divorce. A week after our 14th anniversary, it was final.

V-Day would have been unbearable since, had I not found a way to cope. It didn't matter that I was unattached; I could still participate in the festivities. I joined a singing Valentines quartet and crooned love songs with all my heart. In the short messages that came with the songs, I bore witness to enduring love, to newfound love, to unrequited love. Simply being around so much love is heartwarming in itself.

Love isn't what I came for in Second Life, yet it found me on Day One in Orientation Island. And, as each affair came and went, I realized that the greater love is not the single thread between two people, but the web among all of humanity. The ultimate goal is the metamorphosis of the selfish binding romantic love into the generous boundless spiritual love. I do not have to call someone my own to love him. Nor be with him. Nor act on it. I simply have to feel that connection deeply; that is enough.

Falling in love, if it is true love, is just a recognition of a soul we already love for eternity. We are simply revisiting them in this lifetime. So, on this day, I remember the many loves that I have revisited even if they are no longer with me, I hold close the ones I now revisit, and I look forward to those yet to come. And if I do that every day of the year, how could I possibly feel unloved? My heart will always be overflowing.

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Opal Lei is the creator of the Mer Betta™ mermaid tails and the Ms.O.Lei-ny™ "Etched in Stone" jewelry sets. A self-proclaimed "full-time resident" of Second Life for 4.5 years, she has explored a wide range of activities and creative expression in-world, that it requires a website (www.opallei.com) to list them all. And that's just with one alt.

In real life, Opal is a Filipina living in the US Pacific Northwest. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science and a Master's in Business Administration, and worked in the software industry as a techie for almost a decade and a half. Upon discovering SL, she found the perfect medium for her creativity and decided to be an artist and micro-entrepreneur.

Her book about short-term virtual relationships "Love, Like Dim Sum" (www.LoveLikeDimSum.com) will be released later this year.

The Poet and broken promises

The Poet

It was just after midnight and I thought I'd hang out at Frank's for a couple of hours before going to bed at 2am, which would give me a good eight hours of sleep before my teleconference.

I was in Alt #11 (as usual these days) in a dark marine blue gown standing by the staircase away from the crowds. Avies came and passed right by and headed to the bar area where most of the people stood. Except one. He walked by, stopped a meter or two away.

I had seen him at Frank's before; his name was familiar. Since he was the only one close to me, I figured I'd check out his profile. I'd also perved his profile before; his RL pic was familiar. Since he had ignored me before, I thought he'd scan my profile, then move on towards the crowd. He didn't. Instead, I heard a ding-ding.

He said something about reading "the thoughtful profile of the quiet lady in green." And I emoted something about looking around for a lady in green. My gown was blue. (It was several hours later, when we went to another sim, that he realized my gown was really blue. I told him I just thought he was color-blind like 70% of men supposedly are. *grins*)

Then he moved closer and stood by me as we talked. For more than two hours, that was all we did -- talk. It wasn't hurried like my usual conversations. It wasn't lazy and laid back like the ones that bore me. Instead, it was deeply thoughtful and -- I'd even say -- hypnotic.

It was as though he always spoke in metaphors. In poetry. His words were full of colorful images, glimpses of magical moments that existed only in the mind.

There was a lot of silences in between, which is also rare in my conversations. They weren't just comfortable silences, they were comfortable pregnant silences. Full of essence.

More than twice, he had hinted at an emotional intimacy that I hadn't even decided on yet. It was as though he had already decided to be my lover. I shushed him. He said he was following his intuition.

For the first hour and a half, I wasn't connecting. I was observing this man who had so obviously fallen for me and I don't understand why. I didn't even buy it. Then he said something that wasn't even significant, except that at the time he said it, I felt a psychic switch, as though I had a paradigm shift. Suddenly, I felt a connection. Suddenly, I grokked him.

We had been talking for two hours before we decided to dance and we went out to the deck by the water. It was only for a few minutes. He wanted to talk by voice, so we went to another sim, which had lots of waterfalls.

We continued to talk. He read me a poem that he had written many years before, inspired by a dream of a green field, and describing an idyllic romantic scene. He had lost it and discovered it again recently. When he read it, it felt as though he was making love to me, and there was nothing sexual about the poem at all. It wasn't the words of the poem, but the sound of his voice and the fact that he was reading it to me. In fact, at that point, it felt as though we had already made love all night.

Much later, he said something -- I can't even remember what it was -- maybe it was a description of a touch. Something very simple and benign. And suddenly, I was very unexpectedly having my first orgasm of the night, without even having touched myself.

To my surprise, after that first lovemaking, he played "Blue Moon" on the piano for me. He said that he improvised and he always played a song a different way each time. So that rendition was unique and for my ears only, and no one else would hear it exactly that way again.

It was already 9:30 am when we started saying goodnight. He was already late for work.

In those nine hours,
* He learned about my alts.
* He sent a friendship request to Opal.
* He revealed his full RL name.
* I revealed my RL identity.
* He saw my RL picture. (He has his in his profile.)
* We had sex three times.
* We voiced.
* We webcammed.
* We agreed to meet irl in April/May.

"It's all very rl to me," he said. This is an RL affair. And I must be crazy but I agreed to give it a try.

Btw, when I logged into Opal afterwards, I accepted his friendship and was going to write the date in the Notes tab (which I do with everyone I meet), when I realized I already had something there. It said, "2009 March 10 at Apollo. Walked away with someone else as I IM'd him."

When I looked in my chat logs for that day, it had the following just after 3am:
Opal Lei: The total and perfect romance is not out there. It's all in our heads. *sigh*
Poet: hearts and souls too, if beautifully opened
Opal Lei smiles.


Broken promises

Well, in the middle of that first lovemaking, I realized I had broken a promise. Two promises, in fact.

At 8am, Lucky Bastard logged in. I told him I was with someone at the moment and he left me alone. But the Poet and I said our goodbyes, LB was still online so I IM'd him, asked if he remembered my promise to give him first dibs after my surgery, explained I had given that opportunity to someone else, and begged for forgiveness. He asked for a minute to think whether to forgive me or not. After the minute, he said, "I forgive you... because you are honest with me."

There's a lot of reasons why this man is my #1; that forgiveness is just one more of those reasons. He was himself again after that and he jokingly asked if it was another 15-hour marathon. When I said it was only nine or ten hours, he said I had a quickie then. :D

I have yet to talk to Surf about the promise I broke.


The rest of my "lovers" seem to have faded away, except Hot Wings who still says hi when he's around. Maybe the rest gave up after they found out I couldn't have sex for a while, and that's fine.

These three primary lovers cover all the bases. I think I'll stop taking on any more for now. The fact that this third one is an RL one is scary to me. So I have a lot of issues to deal with.... assuming I don't bore him before the third date.


Old bear

Another old lover pinged me last night and got caught up on my love affairs. I called him "Bear" because of a picture he used once for his profile pic. It was a picture of a brown bear, which said, "An old bear and his honey live here."

He copied out the three notes he wrote in my profile. The first one was about the day we met. The second one was a reminder to himself to take me to Simone to get me a formal gown. The third one was about the day we broke up.

Since he had to go, I promised him an email explaining why I now allow myself to have affairs with married men.

It was a very long email. :)

A day full of lovers

Facebook poke

First, there was a poke in Facebook from a lover from the distant past. I told him to quit poking and come into SL. He agreed that he should, complimented my avatar, and asked a few questions about how my SL was doing. I sent him a long reply. :)


An exchange

In the early afternoon, "Surf" logged in and spent time with me. We were just chatting about random things, like why I have a separate Facebook account for my SL and for my RL. Then he sent me his picture. I declined. He sent it again. And again. I finally accepted.

He has a sweet face with a warm tender smile and sad eyes. So I became indebted. This was the man who waited eleven months to be with me, and he still couldn't believe I consider him a lover. I couldn't leave that gesture unreciprocated. I told him that he could see my picture after we exchange RL info. So, after he sent me his picture, I gave him the link to my personal website. He crashed while browsing, as he thought he would. I waited for him to log back in. When he did, the first words he said were, "You are amazing." He had already quickly scanned my photography site as well. Then he gave me his RL name and a couple of websites linked to him, although he had shrunk his internet footprint, so that was all he had. But he promised that if he reinstates his Facebook account, he'd definitely friend me there.

There was an initial apprehension on my part when we agreed to exchange RL info. I warned him that it could ruin his fantasy. When he got back from browsing, he said that it didn't. But I'll wait and see. I've seen men say that in the heat of desire, and then never show up again.

But it felt comfortable with him. I was only worried about how it would affect his desire for me, not about anything else. It's amazing when you discover that there's already trust there, and someone could love you for who you are inside. He's an RL friend now; we've established that. And it feels nice and warm and comforting and loving.


A short respite

In the evening, "Lucky Bastard" came back. He logged in while I was with Surf and asked him if I could meet him later. He had a long day today, was very tired, and would have another long one tomorrow, but he came back anyway. He doesn't understand how something so simple as that could mean so much to me.

I've been abandoned too many times in SL. Men who refuse to say when they would be in again because it feels like a burden to them; men who say they would come at a certain time and never do. That's the norm.

But that's not him. If he said he would be in, he came in. He might be late, but I always knew that there was a very good reason why.

We talked a bit about business today. And I had to stop him from doing too much for me. I emphasized that I only needed him to give me advice, not to do my research for me too. It's just the way he is. Then we talked about animations and I showed him the Sculpties Mall. With a lot of hugs and kisses interspersed throughout the conversation.

He couldn't stay long, but that was enough for now. My hunger for him is appeased for a while.


About last night

It's strange how these two romances are in stark contrast to a conversation I had with someone else just last night. Let's call him "Spot".

He pinged Alt #11 at Frank's the previous night. He was very gentlemanly, highly intelligent, compassionate, emotional, comfortable with talking, and we had a lot in common. It was a very friendly and interesting conversation with almost no reference to sex. He didn't want sex in SL; he didn't want romances in SL. He is unattached in real life and he wanted the real thing.

However, he played with three women during his early months in SL. And he fell for another woman that he still seemed very attached to. He thought that he was over her, until he talked to me. And he talked about her constantly. I figured, since he wasn't interested in me, maybe my role was to be Dr. Phil. So, I told him the story about the monks crossing the river, and he laughed when I asked him why he was still carrying her. He had heard the story before, but I supposed it surprised him that it applied to his situation.

And I was similarly surprised when he asked if he could add me as a friend and what time I was usually in. So we agreed to meet the next night, which was last night.

At first, it was like the previous night. Lots of witty banter. Learning about each other. And then the conversation went into trust. The previous night, he had promised to be brutally honest with me and that he would keep my secrets. But last night, it felt as though he was looking for a loophole.

Suddenly, I realized that he didn't believe anything I said and I couldn't trust anything he said. And if I couldn't trust anything he said, how could I trust his promises? And that meant I was at a very vulnerable position after I had revealed so much about myself. Maybe it was a good thing that he didn't trust anything I said either, but I still felt very vulnerable. So, I started saying goodnight, making the excuse that it's very late for him anyway. I had to cut my losses.

But he challenged me. He said that it was very interesting that I would say goodnight at that point in the conversation. And as we continued arguing, he changed the dance into a slow one where he was holding me close. I commented on it.

He said that, sometimes, doing the paradoxical thing was the right thing to do. He added that "people need to be reminded sometimes why they're fighting."

I asked why *we* were fighting. His reply was, "well people in relationships are fighting to *keep* the relationship... it's so much easier to walk away."

I argued that he and I were not in a relationship. He agreed and said, "So I have no idea why I had this idea to do this."

I was ready to walk away. Why did he hold me back?

Suddenly, he was very nice and sweet. The song "My One and Only Love" played on the stream and he typed out the lyrics in chat as though he was singing it to me. I succumbed and mellowed out. Then we said goodnight.

He wants only RL. I want only SL. And he still carries one other in his mind. A lot of things would have to happen before he could be a lover:
1. We'd have to learn to trust each other. We can't even have a friendship without trust.
2. One of us would have to give in about the SL/RL thing.
3. He has to stop carrying her in her mind, or go back and carry her across the river so he could set her down; otherwise, our conversations would always be about her.
4. He has to be willing to carry *me* across the river, and, at this point, he's not willing to cross that river with anyone in SL.

So, it's not gonna happen. And that's a good thing. So I have more time to focus on my current ones. The ones who fill my heart.