Changing the premise

Wolfgang: what we did is good
Alt#27: what we did?
Wolfgang: yes
Alt#27: what part?
Wolfgang: everything we managed to do together ... we [solved] many obstacles
Alt#27: With much more difficulty than any relationship I've ever had in SL!
Wolfgang: and succeeded to keep it alive since long
Alt#27: /me nods.
Wolfgang: so, better when difficult than easy
Alt#27: LOL
Wolfgang: but also we created challenges, goals ... imaginations ... we did a lot
Alt#27: /me nods.
Wolfgang: and we continue to do
Alt#27: oui
Alt#27 and one of his female alts were supposed to go out to a BDSM club. But Alt#27's collar was locked, so he had to log in his male alt (her master) to allow the female alt to hold her leash. Something about the RP felt as though he was giving Alt#27 away, and I told him I felt sad. So he logged off his female alt and continued to hold me with his male alt.

I had been feeling insecure because our pairs have been moving around, all within the "family," but he also knew that I saw the original pairings as the glue that kept the whole "family" together, like screws that bolted two metal pieces together at key points. So with the alts "cheating" on their partners (of course, it's still just the two of us) in our RPs, I felt more insecure, like the screws were loosening. Or like the big screws were being replaced by smaller screws. And although there were more smaller screws, it felt as though their total strength didn't add up to the fewer big screws.

Of course, I didn't explain that to him in so many words. I just said I felt sad because it felt like his male alt was giving Alt#27 away. His initial response was "pfft" and that assuaged my insecurities, but we continued the conversation anyway.

After we logged off, I had an epiphany.

Since childhood, I learned to expect the worst, but hope for the best. I did the same with my SL relationships. And since Wolfgang never actually told me that he loved me, I chose to go by the assumption that he didn't, although he argued that his actions said enough.

So, during today's discussion, we had an argument about logic. He claimed that I don't think logically, because my emotions are based on nothing. I replied that I have logic, but my assumptions, my premise, could be wrong, and I start conversations to verify my assumptions. Of course, he calls those conversations "arguments."

Then something occurred to me after we logged off.

I realize that I tend to be insecure, a lot. The more vested I am in a relationship, the more insecure I became. Makes sense, no? But he always says that those insecure emotions have no basis. And he has said it in so many ways. ... "You keep your place with me." ... "I don't give you up." ... "Pfft."

And he expressed it in his own actions. He made sure I felt good in whatever we did or he wouldn't do it. He kept the conversations going. He showed an interest in having a future together. And he showed up. Like he said, we "succeeded to keep it alive since long."

Why am I still insecure?

So, I'm thinking of doing an experiment. This time, I'm going to change my premise. This time, I'm going to go with the assumption that he loves me deeply. That he adores me. (He did say that once, after all.)

This time, I'm going to expect the best.

Opal Drew

And if you're faced with a choice and you have to choose,
I hope you choose the one that means the most to you.
- Rascal Flatts

Something caught my eye in Flickr yesterday. Actually, a lot of things catch my eye on Flickr, and I just fave them. ;)  But this one was different.

Without going into details, I'll just compare it with previous experiences. Two, in fact. The caption was the name of a song that was "given" to me a long long time ago. The first thing I thought of was an old incident when a former lover said that a certain song reminded him of me, and then he later dedicated the same song to his bride at their reception which HiHo attended as the best man. I thought it happened again. But reading through the description, it wasn't the case. Then I wondered if the caption was a very discreet message, which reminded me of another incident where what seemed like an encoded message was "mistakenly" sent to a group chat.

I don't know what to think about this. Or even if I should even think about this. There are enough clues to figure out what happened. And I wondered if karma had anything to do with it. If it did, I don't know if I'd rejoice or if I'd sympathize.

Wolfgang repeatedly reminds me to stick with reality and stop imagining things. (This, from a guy who RPs with me every time we meet.) That's what he usually says when I'm being insecure. But, maybe he's right. Maybe I imagine myself as Nancy Drew and see clues of "mysteries" everywhere. Well, my avie already has the auburn hair....

Soon after midnight, I met with Rapido, who is now partnered. He said it went very fast. But being partnered didn't change how he flirts with me anyway.

He asked me to fix up his alt Rapido#2, who is exclusive to me. I asked what for, since he is now partnered.

"[Alt#31] would be your mistress?" I asked. I think he misunderstood, because he asked if Rapido#2 would be my master.

I replied, "I already have a dom. I don't want any more."

"Not like me," he countered.

"But I promised him no more doms or masters after him," I said. "I'm a terrible sub.... I give him headaches."

Then he claimed, "You are mine.... sl and rl."

I had to change the subject. :)

"Connecting: 365 SL Lives" repost

The following was posted in the "Connecting: 365 SL Lives" blog. It looks like it was just copied and pasted without making the URLs into links, and they didn't pick up my pictures. So, this is the intended version of that post.

UPDATE: The "Connecting:365 SL Lives" blog has been updated with pictures. Yay!

Profile 20130707 - Crazy Horse

Seven years.

My real life seems to be divided into segments that are factors of seven years. I was married soon after I turned 21. I was divorced 14 years later. I worked in Corporate America for 14 years. I owned my first condo for 7 years, and I’m about to transfer another family property after holding it for almost 14 years.

Opal is seven years old today. Come October, I would be 49 years old. Come November, I would be divorced for 14 years. Would this year be significant for me? Or would it mark only the halfway point of a cycle?

Profile 20130324 - Morning bath

For most people, SL is just a diversion, something to do in their free time, while they worked day jobs and took care of their families in real life. But it was different for me.

I chose to immerse myself. Fully.

It was an experiment on myself. Like people who sealed themselves in biospheres in the name of science. Like the thousands clamoring to be among the few to be sent to live in a Mars colony. Except my little experiment wasn’t so extreme.

For me, SL became work and play, public and private. I created a wide variety of content, I started businesses, I helped non-profits, I analyzed relationships, I blogged, I wrote a book, I walked runways, I ran trails, I burned temples, I taught, I explored, I danced, I hugged, I talked, I laughed, I cried, I loved. In many ways.

"Love, Like Dim Sum" book cover

When I joined SL in 2006, the whole concept of virtual worlds was incredibly exciting. It held so much promise in so many areas and at so many levels. I met the most interesting people from all over the world. I did things I would have never done. I experienced situations that I would likely never encounter in real life.

Those of us who invested our time and effort on the platform have been called many things – addicted, marginalized, irresponsible. At times, I wondered if the critics were right. I wondered if I had wasted my time. I wondered if I should have stayed with a secure career that I abandoned to search for a more meaningful life.

Yet, I still believe that we are only at the infancy of something big, a slow cultural shift toward greater globalization at the individual level, enabled by technology. People who have never lived in a virtual world cannot truly comprehend what it’s like to confide in a friend whom you’ve never met. Or to fall deeply in love with someone who lives in a different continent and barely speaks the same language. Or to collaborate with people whose real names you don’t know.

We are not addicted, marginalized, or irresponsible. We are creative and adventurous early adopters, who see potential where others see a sinking ship. Time will either prove us right or wrong, and it’s too early to tell. Maybe, seven years from now… or fourteen years... or twenty-one years, someone would read our words and view our works. And they would realize that we were, in fact, visionaries.

Where's Dim Sum? #037b - Dominoes


The digital avatar Opal Lei is animated by the biological avatar Lea Tesoro, author of “Love, Like Dim Sum,” a book about virtual relationships ( She is also the human behind the ever-wandering photographer Dim Sum the cat (, and the creator of Mer Betta mermaid tails ( and Ms.O.Lei-ny miscellany ( You can find her complete virtual-world CV at .

On all fours

Wolfgang is on a holiday with no access to SL. We've been communicating by email mostly. Very short ones from him, because he could only use his phone, and he hates to type long emails on it.

In the past, I've sent him seductive photos (after converting them to very small jpgs). This time, I am working on a seductive machinima, instead. He knows it's for him. I had been working on it for a long while now, and before he left for vacation, I said it was better for him to see it when he comes back so he would have something to look forward to.

So I wasn't thinking of sending him any photos so I could work on the machinima. But today, he explicitly asked for one.

"Send me [a] nice sexy pic if you wish and can... pick who. And [tell] me why the choice." He meant I could pick which of my alts to take a picture of. We had talked about folding in a fourth alt into the family, one who had once belonged briefly to a lover. But Wolfgang is actually chasing after Opal lately.

I told him I'll let it simmer in my head and send it to him when I get a good idea for one. He said it was simple. "Just to pick [an] avy and sexy pose with a meaning." And he added, "Like... student on [all] fours waiting [for] her roommate..." He was referring to a roleplay we were doing.

I replied that I had to finish the machinima. After a few emails back and forth with pretend tantrums on both sides, I complied. :D

Pick an avy... Done.
Sexy pose... Done. (I suppose boy cats find it sexy.)
On all fours... Done.
Waiting for her roommate.... Oh, yes, hurry home, darling.  :D

He said, "Send me a nice sexy pic... pick an avy... on all fours"

Dove: Good question

I was searching YouTube for something when I found an ad at the top of the search list for Dove's newest ad. Here it is, then I'll talk about it:

Did you see the question at 0:43? ... Yeah, ... that simple question ... it brought tears to my eyes. ... When, indeed.

I am reluctant to post my RL picture anywhere; I am reluctant to have my RL picture taken. When I travel and someone offers to take my picture with the scenery, I decline and say, "It would just ruin the picture." When I look back at old pictures, I think that, in the ones where I looked great, I didn't look like me.

I justify my avatar's beauty by saying that I compensate for my RL with my SL avatar. How many of us compensate for our RL with our SL avatars? Maybe it's easier to count how many do NOT.

Of course, I realize that having a pretty avatar makes it even harder for us to accept ourselves. I doubt lovers who say that they think I am attractive irl, because it was my avatar that attracted them and my avatar looks nothing like my RL. I worry what a lover would think of me when I use the webcam on Skype with him. Would he lose interest? Is he looking at the RL me in Skype, or is he looking at my avatar in SL?

If a lover asks to see me in Skype for the first time, I am incredibly nervous. If he asks again after he had previously seen me in all my un-glory, I am ecstatic.

Do I think that people should make their SL avatars look like their real selves? I still think it's a personal choice. It's more than just a matter of confidence. It's more than just a matter of beauty. It's also a matter of experiencing something we cannot irl. What does it feel like to be beautiful? To be fought for? To be flattered? To have more confidence? To be desired like that?

Now, I know.

Would I want to be as beautiful as my avatar irl? Not really. I've seen the shadow side of beauty too.

I gave him more

"my sub gave me so much of her it is difficult for her to imagine to share my affection"

Wolfgang's stalker returned, and we were talking about the risk of Alt#27 being linked to Opal. He was concerned about his sub finding out, because she is very possessive and she wants to be his only lover. She became aware of Alt#27 a long time ago, but she now thinks Alt#27 is no longer in his life.

What she doesn't know is that I have given him much more than she has. Not only have I given him so much of myself, but I have also given him what I was not. I was not submissive, yet I gave him Alt#27 as his sub, rebellious though she is. I was not bisexual, but I gave him Alt#32 who is partnered to one of his female alts. I loved my sexual freedom, yet I gave him Alt#6, who is now practically exclusive to him, even though he still allows her her freedom.

What I did not have, I created for him. What I was not, I became for him. Even if it was difficult. Even if it was painful.

And more importantly, I give him his freedom. Even if I feel jealous. Even if it hurts me to think of him enjoying the company of another. I give him his freedom, because his happiness is important to me, wherever he might find it. Even if he finds it in the arms of another.

When his sub was gone, I was happy that he spent more time with me. When she returned, he looked forward to seeing her, and I saw less of him, and my heart broke. But I accept it, even if it pains me.

I worried that his sub would find this blog and put two and two together, and she would realize that I am his lover that she felt jealous about a long time ago. If she does, I hope she understands that I accept her presence in his life, because she makes him happy, or else he would not be with her. And I hope she accepts my presence in his life, because I still make him happy somehow, or else he would not be with me.

I allow room for her in his life. I allow room for his other lovers and friends in his life. Because that is how I love him. And because that is how I define love.

Cherished Magdalene

When Wolfgang went on a 10-day holiday, his absence made me very, very insecure. Actually, even before he left. When I said that I felt like he was bored with me, he said it's just my imagination. Logically, I have no reason to doubt us.

Life feels desperate these days, and tears come too easily. And I feel even less secure, in spite of facts. In spite of his concern about my well-being and my mom's well-being. When I'm insecure, I don't see things in a balanced way, and I feel insecure about everything else in my life. So he points out the cold facts. He explains patiently, even when explanations tire him. He had gone through the same experiences, and he described how he saw it and dealt with it. Logically. Brutally honestly.

It shocks me. But it shocks me out of my depression. I asked for brutal honesty, he is one of the few who actually gives it to me.

I know that I'm projecting my RL insecurities onto our relationship. I know it's my current situation and my own insecurities from past affairs. I have not had an SL relationship that lasted this long, and I keep wondering if I'll know, if I'll see the signs, if I'll be blindsided. But he always reminds me that he isn't my other lovers.

Recently, he logged out one of his alts after he logged in one of his other alts that was dedicated to Alt#6. I commented that the first alt must not like me much because she left quickly. It was a silly comment because I was with his other alt. But it bothered him. It bothered him so much that he had to sit me down the next day with the first alt, and he emphasized that he cherishes Alt#6. It was the first time he used the word "cherish."

He made sure I understood how much he wanted her. And he said that, if he could be with only one of my alts, she is the one he would prefer to be with. She, who is my dirty throw-away sex object. She, who is my Magdalene. He cherishes her. I had rarely felt as wanted as I did at that moment; I was so overwhelmed that I cried.

If he could cherish that lowest darkest filthiest side of me and if he thinks of her as virginal in spite of who she was, then maybe it's a given that he cherishes the rest of me.

In other news, mfpwtff sent me a private message after he read my Facebook post about my mom needing bypass surgery almost a couple of months ago. I didn't expect him to respond to it. After all, he had been mostly offline for months too. His short message felt like one of those warm hugs he used to give me inworld, even long after we officially ended our relationship. He is in a new RL relationship now, and he honored me by letting me know. There will be no more anniversary dances, but I retain a very good friend.

Remembering a sweet scent

Four years ago today, I learned about St. George's Day from The Captain.  And each year since, I still remember the giant gardenias he gave me and the ancient ship that we shared as a home.

When we finally parted, he was my longest romance in SL, at ten months. He kept trying to return, but we never really got back together again. And I want to talk about those two facts.

His record (in terms of the lengths of my relationships) has been broken by Wolfgang. But I still remember him with much affection.

However, I've noticed that, regardless of the connection I had with a lover, getting back together never really happens, even if we both wanted it. Situations change. Our schedules change. We change. The connection changes. The relationship changes.  It is difficult to get the same magic back or the same commitment.

But we look back at what we had and remember those moments fondly. And we say hi once in a while. On birthdays, on anniversaries, and on St. George's Day.  :)

Petons, el meu capita.  :)

La Belle et la Bête

La Belle et la Bête (Beauty and the Beast) in SL

A couple of years ago, Yes Man bought a minotaur avie to wear for me, because I had seen a minotaur copulating with a human slave and the scene was surprisingly very erotic.

Wolfgang knew about that minotaur.

We had been talking on and off about what to do with Alt#27 and Wolfgang#6. He felt that we were stagnating there, because we were walking a fine line. We weren't entirely into BDSM and we weren't entirely out of it either. There wasn't much room to move. I would have been fine keeping them as they were, even if they were stagnant, but he figured that, unless they grew, they would eventually disappear.

One day, I mentioned that I missed Wolfgang#2, who was the first of his alts that I met. I missed the connection we had and I wanted to go back to the old roleplay to relive it again. He refused because parts of BDSM hurt me, even if I assured him we would be fine, because we've developed more amiable and more tender connections with each other through our other alt pairs. He still refused.

He didn't want to go back to the past. He preferred to move forward. And, among other ideas, we revisited the beast, which would be a very erotic roleplay. I wasn't sure it was the right idea though. He once refused to wear a hamster avie even if it was just for fun. He reasoned he's not a hamster, and I argued he wasn't female either but he has female avies. I didn't want him to do it reluctantly, so I didn't mention it again, although we explored the Marketplace to see our options. Although he later insisted he already agreed to it, I wasn't so sure.

Deciding what to do next with those alts was a very frustrating argument that took several days, and we both got very frustrated and irritated and angry whenever we talked about it. Even when we were in our other more tender alts. And that's when we finally admitted to ourselves that how we felt in one alt pair would affect other alt pairs.

One evening, he mentioned that he  transferred some L$ to Wolfgang#6 for the beast avie. He wanted me to choose, even the color. And I was surprised. To him, his avies were representations of the real-life him. And yet, here he was, allowing me to define who he would be. He wanted to please me. He wanted me to be happy. And I was overwhelmed.

Maybe he's reciprocating, because he saw how I allowed Alt#6 to split into four characters for him: a cat, a furry, a neko, and the original human and he saw how those alternative avies added very interesting complexities to our interactions. Whatever his reasons, the beast was a wonderful gift.

Then he came up with a wonderful premise for a background story. A curse that turned him into a beast. A love that was torn apart because of it. Souls reincarnating through time and lovers finding each other again in their new incarnations and the curse being invoked again. The story is very promising but still has holes that we'll resolve as we go along. And it was still a form of D/s, but more "excusable" because of the wild nature of the beast.

The other day, we made love with him as the beast for the first time. It was very potent. He could simply take me. And being taken like that (of course, with implicit permission and our safe word) was very arousing.

As we were reflecting on it, I realized that this wasn't like the minotaur at all. The minotaur was a sex object that Yes Man wore, only when we decided to do that sexual scenario. On the other hand, the beast is an ongoing roleplay, and it already has a background story, so it has the beginnings of a "soul."  Wolfgang thinks that makes a big difference, and I agree.

It seems so "natural." After all, he has been calling me his "beauty" for a long while now.

"... Barely even friends,... then somebody bends... unexpectedly...."

What's the point?

Wolfgang wondered why I took a long time at a store to purchase a single lingerie set. He was with another lover, but he kept me in IM.
Alt#27: I'm stuck in emails.
Wolfgang#2: what mails ?
Alt#27: Impy email.
Wolfgang#2: oho
By that time, Impy and I had already exchanged a few replies, since he initiated the conversation a few days ago after a two-week silence. Something in the tone of his first email made me livid. I couldn't understand why he even bothered to email me again. I thought it was a done deal. Was he trying to ease his guilt? Was he trying to put the blame on me? What more did he want from me?

I was writing up what I hoped would be the last piece of mail I'd ever write to him, and that's when Wolfgang's interest was piqued because I took too long to buy an outfit. So I had to update him, while avoiding names and details.

But he didn't take my side. "i know you and i m sure you are in bad road," he said, "arguing about little points, forgetting the main."  Throughout the conversation, he took Impy's side.
you could write [an email] just to say you are both stupid to fight on some details
tell him you didn't stop to love him
just that

When I love someone, I don't stop loving him.  I've told him that.  I told you that.

that is not known in fight

But I can choose to not be with him anymore.
/me sighs.

if you want to stop the fight, [tell] him that and forget the fight

what for?
So I'd keep hurting?

fight hurt you

So I have to pretend I'm not hurt because he prefers to be with someone else than with me?
He doesn't have much time.
She gets whatever time he has.
And besides, he already left me a long time ago, remember?

don't pretend you are not hurt
you just say that because it is true

what is?

that you didn't stop to love him

But for what purpose?
Impy said that he realized he wants exclusivity now, which he didn't ask from me. That meant he wants exclusivity with her. And I am definitely not willing to give up Wolfgang. So what's the point of telling Impy I still love him?

"i just know you," Wolfgang said. But he was comparing this fight with the fights I had with him in the past, when I would leave and come back sooner than I said. But this is different. In my fights with Wolfgang, I was the one who was pulling away. In this case, Impy was the one who left. He came back to SL, but not to me. So, again, what's the point?

Wolfgang remembered an argument we had a long time ago, when I sent him an email that calmed him down as he was about to reply angrily to an earlier email. "You saved us some time ago with something like that," he said.

I still couldn't see what for, but I got the feeling that he would keep bugging me unless I did as he "suggest." And he was right; Impy replied more calmly. I suggested to be away for three months to heal and Impy agreed.

At this point, I don't think three months would make a difference. I don't think a year would make a difference. If I didn't make Impy happy enough to stay before, what's the likelihood I can make him happy in the future? So, again, what's the point?

And, yes, I am INTJ.

Love, Like ... the Main Entree

A year ago yesterday, I surrendered.

It was in roleplay. The culmination of an intense two-week chase para-RP by email and offline messages. But that day, we met inworld for the capture part of the RP.

In the RP, he found me in my secret hideaway.
In the RP, I shivered from nervousness because he was so close.
In the RP, I realized that I had fallen in love with him.
In the RP, I cried when he leashed me.
In the RP, he fed me bread and I tasted his fingers.
In the RP, he changed his mind and wanted to release me because he felt protective.

But I felt all that, as though it were real. As though it were a wedding.

He too felt it strongly. "I felt like that man who gave you bread in your lips and from whom you caught fingers... loved, wished, and that you wished to be his," he said.

Then, yesterday, I surrendered.

With a different alt. To a different alt. To the same man.

I had asked if I could take Alt#6 out because I needed to vent, then I realized I couldn't. I met Impy through Alt#6, but I know that when I log her in, it would be Wolfgang that I would be reminded of.

Because he wanted her. Not in the way that other men wanted her. He wanted her to be part of our "family," to be cared for, to be protected, while allowing her her freedom, like the baker's cat.

He was already thinking up solutions to help me find my balance after losing Impy. He was convinced that I need another lover for balance, because he couldn't fulfill all my needs. (Sometimes, I'm surprised that he pays attention to what I say and remembers them long enough to repeat them to me later.) He reasoned that it would be good for us, because, if I'm happy, we'd get along better. He  tried to convince me to get another lover, because he knows me well now. But I think he just doesn't want to be blindsided. And he doesn't want to be the reason why I look for another.

But I already made up my mind the night before. I decided I don't need another lover. Not for a while. Maybe a couple of months or so.  We spend as much time with each other as we could, and I don't want to give that up. Besides, I don't really have a reason to grieve, because Impy never really came back. I lost him a long time ago, not this time. And I already grieved for him then. All I lost this time was my pride, but it's all my fault anyway, because I chose to be blind.

On the other hand, I gained two more pairs with Wolfgang. Three different relationships with him where we explore different possibilities, different roles, different ways of relating. If relationships were umbilical cords, I'd have more cords linking me to Wolfgang than with any other lover in all my SL. Relationships that were made stronger by our arguments and honest discussions.

Maybe I'll eventually find another lover or two. Who knows? But right now, I'm happy as we are.

Alt#31: You are definitely changing my SL.
Wolfgang#6: sl is not in one way only
Wolfgang#6: there are people inside :)
Alt#31: yes, but I had plans!
Wolfgang#6: hmm difficult to keep plans in human [relationships]
Alt#31: /me smiles.
Alt#31: Actually, I thought it would always be a certain way.
Alt#31: My SL, I mean.
Alt#31: I even wrote the book about it.
Wolfgang#6: you'd maybe change some things now you are more [experienced] ;)
Alt#31: LOL
Alt#31: "Love, Like ... the Main Entree"
Wolfgang#6: lol

Bon appetit!

The taming of the stray

A while ago, I wrote about the other cat, Alt#6.

Alt#6 had a special purpose that is darker than I had previously admitted. I had always said that she was just for one-night stands. She was my sexual outlet with no attachments to allow her to experiment and explore.

When Wolfgang started his "campaign" to win her, I had to explain the deeper darker reason for her existence, because I wanted him to understand that I wasn't denying him capriciously, that I was preserving her for when I would need her. And that need is not necessarily sex.

After a heartbreak, I would log into her for a few days, not to find comfort and solace in a stranger's arms, but to take my revenge on the male species while I also destroyed myself for being a fool. I used men while I allowed them to use me. I objectified them, in spite of my protests about women being objectified. And at the same time, I allowed them to objectify me.

In a sense, Alt#6 was a throw-away persona. The perfect persona in which to feel miserable and self-pitying. The perfect persona in which to thrash around in anger and throw tantrums and have rough sex and be mean. And I felt justified because I did it to men who only wanted me for sex anyway. I'm pretty sure it was more damaging to me than to them, but I imagined I was taking them down with me.

It was like going through mud to be cleansed, ironic as that might sound. After the rages dissipate, I wearily come back to "normal" life and move on.

Alt#6 was a coping mechanism.

But Wolfgang wanted her. He wanted her because she is my shadow side. He wanted her because she has more of my soul. He wanted her because he resonates with her. "What i didn't want was to lose you again," he said one day. I argued that he couldn't have lost her because I never gave her to him, but he remembers an incident when we were arguing about her place in our relationship "and it ended bad ... you left my arms ... and left."

"Do you feel me now?" he asked, meaning if I could feel his soul through that alt. I said yes, he was slightly different, more serious. "And i feel you also," he added. "differently, but i feel you."

Then he said, "I feel your wounds also ... and the distance you keep ... to keep [Alt#6] secure."

He gave me another quasi-dormant alt to be Alt#6's companion and consoler. But he promised that I would still have my freedom as I had before. Like a stray cat. I could go out to town and have fun, then come home for my bowl of milk and the warmth of his arms. I took it in stride; I took it for granted.

Then yesterday, I realized a betrayal that had long been going on. And I needed to take Alt#6 out again. I needed to thrash and to throw tantrums and to fight and to objectify and to self-destruct. I had my freedom; I could have just gone out. But I didn't.

Instead, I emailed him and said I needed to be with Alt#6's companion, then took a nap before I met with him. The nap mellowed me out. And when he found out the reason for the heartbreak, he understood. He saw it coming, months ago, even with the scarce information he had, but he felt it wasn't his concern, so he was discreet. Then he took me in his arms.

He reiterated that he wouldn't have minded if I took her out. He could close his eyes willfully and ignore it. As long as he wasn't the cause for my rage. All I have to do is tell him that I need to take her out to vent and he'd "kiss your lips softly and change milk bowl for later when you'll be back and prepare towel to bathe you." I nearly cried.

I resisted changing Alt#6's home position. She's a stray, her home is out there. But, yesterday, I set her home position to the home we shared. She's no longer a stray cat, who occasionally visits for milk. She's now a family cat, who occasionally strays.

No one in SL has given me the tenderness and the care that he started giving me since Alt#6 became a cat. No other lover has spent as many hours with me for as long. With what he gives me, Alt#6's old purpose becomes obsolete. At least until he and I part ways. If that happens, I'd probably be too devastated to come into SL at all anyway.

Embrace arguments

About a month ago, I was chatting with a dear friend (whose name I will not mention to preserve her privacy as well as her partner's), and she said that her partner was tired of her arguments, and she was afraid that he was pulling away because of those arguments.

I told her about my numerous arguments with Wolfgang during the start of our relationship. Very violent arguments, full of fire and brimstone, full of anger and passion. For him, arguments sour the relationship; every argument takes something away and eventually there would be nothing left. For me, arguments are like a literal storm with pouring rain and strong winds and, when it's over, the air is clear and fresh and sweet-smelling.

My relationship with Wolfgang has been the hardest and the most painful of all my SL relationships. With all those arguments, it was highly improbable for it to have lasted this long.

But surprisingly, he kept coming back. Even as angry as he was. And so have I.

A long time ago, in the middle of a difficult argument where we were just going around in circles, I called for a timeout for two weeks. He reluctantly agreed. I was ready to leave. But after a week, I decided to go back. When I returned, he was a very different man. He was less serious, he was actually happy, almost giddy. I remember thinking it was the first time I saw him say "lol". I didn't think much of it; I just thought one of his other lovers made him happy that day, and that I luckily caught him in a good mood. I refused to think that his happiness that day had anything to do with me. Maybe I was wrong.

After our last argument, he said that he was ready to walk away. He was taunting me to get me over the edge and push him hard enough. I didn't take the bait; I called for a timeout for three days. If he really wanted to leave, he would have just left. Instead, he left it up to me. In an email a couple of days later, he said that, if I was taking that long, I had already decided to leave. That's when I realized that being away from me hurts him as much as it hurts me to be away from him.

The relationship is a lot of work. There's still a lot of pulling and pushing. Not as many arguments anymore, but many discussions. But he actively participates in analyzing our relationship, just as we analyze our roleplays.

We now have one "rule of engagement" that we abide by when we argue. We agreed that we would always keep in mind that we each have good intentions and good will toward each other. And if anything sounded the opposite of that, we would clarify, because it's likely the wrong interpretation.

There are still no reassurances. No promises. He could walk away any day. And so could I. We could have an argument that could violently tear us apart. And we are both aware of that. Because we both know about the transience of SL. Because we've both been here a long while.

He took the time to argue with me, and that's one of the best gifts a man could give a woman. He fights for me, so I fight for him, and we fight for us. What are the odds I would give up on a man who allows me the storms I need to clear the air, even if he doesn't like them?

Spot once said, "People in relationships are fighting to *keep* the relationship... it's so much easier to walk away."

I recently read an article that said, couples who argued a lot in the beginning tended to stay together for a significantly longer time. According to the article, that's because they have worked out their differences in the beginning, so they know what to expect and how to deal with those differences. On the other hand, couples who avoid arguments for the sake of peace tend to sweep problems under the rug, and the resentment slowly poisons their relationship until they finally give up.

Yesterday, life unfolded just like that.

To be special

"i don't like to not be 'special' for someone i have sex [with]"

That was Wolfgang in his typical indirect double-negative way, talking about Alt#6 a while ago.

I always knew that each relationship is different, because the pairing is different, particularly in open relationships. Each partner is different, so the dynamic is different.

However, in a world of cookie-cutter parts, we all tend to look alike and move alike.  The differences are not in how our avatars look or move; the differences are in what we -- the puppeteers -- say and do.

Where's Dim Sum? #036 - To be special

Even with the admittedly large number of relationships I've had in SL, I've always tried to differentiate each lover. A different term of endearment, a different way of saying "I love you," a different "nest," a different shared activity. In that way, I make each one special, at least until the relationship ends.

One French lover used to say, "Bisou, bisou."  Another French lover says, "Je t'embrasse."  I called one Spanish lover "carinyo" and another "querido."  With one lover, I shared a NY skyloft. With another, a tree house on a floating island.  With another, an antique ship.  With yet another, an ornate pavilion inside a globe with an elephant in the room, which he, of course, ignored.  ;)

There are many ways to say "I love you" and there are many ways to express it wordlessly.  And there are many ways to make a relationship special and unique.  If you remember to differentiate.

During one serious argument with Wolfgang, I suggested that maybe we should just be friends, because I was afraid that we would violently argue one day and we'd lose contact entirely.  To my surprise, my suggestion angered him even more.  The reason was that he knows that I don't make an effort to maintain my friendships.  I pretty much leave encounters to chance or the other person's efforts, and I don't stay for long conversations.  (There's an unfortunate reason for that.)  On the other hand, I would willingly lose sleep for a lover and I do.

In my earlier years in SL, the only difference between a friend and a lover was that I had sex with a lover.  These days, there are many more differences, because, not only do I have to differentiate between a lover and friend, I also have to differentiate among my different lovers, past and present.  It is how I honor my relationship with each of them.  By keeping them unique in some way.  By keeping them special.

That, however, does not guarantee that I remain special to them.

Like Wolfgang, I don't like to not be special in a lover's life.  But, as he also often says, sometimes it is what it is.

The other cat

I started a 365 project a week ago. And to make it interesting, I decided to add a character -- a white cat named Dim Sum -- who will appear in each picture.

But, Dim Sum is not my first cat avatar. A week before I even thought of the 365 project, another cat was born as a result of the same argument I talked about here.

The other cat

During the argument, Wolfgang compared Alt#6 to a cat who could come and go as she pleased. Like a cat, she would have her independence and she wouldn't be forced to stay with us in our home. Maybe he got inspired by the little RP we did, where I pretended that she hated taking baths.

He kept trying to convince me that Alt#6 would still be free to do as she pleased, but he wanted to offer her a "home." I kept trying to convince him that if Alt#6 had a home, she wouldn't be her anymore, because she has a specific purpose and she can't be emotionally attached in any way.

So, he told me of a French movie called "La Femme du Boulanger" ("The Baker's Wife"), where the wife left her baker husband and ran away with a young handsome lover. In the end, she went back to him and, in the same scene, a black stray cat came into the room. The baker started talking to the cat, and he essentially said that it's fine for it to wander around and have fun, but this was her home and hearth, where she is fed well and she has a warm fireplace to sleep next to. And, on hearing that, the wife sobs, realizing that the message was as much for her as for the cat.

Then I had an idea. In an RP, Alt#6 doesn't have to follow her predefined rules, because it's just RP anyway. After all, she had done a husband-wife RP before.

At the end of that conversation, I said, "Ok. Keep a bowl of milk out." At first, he was confused, then when he realized I was going along with his metaphor, he promised, "i ll keep a milk bowl out and will replace milk every day."

The next day, I was sitting on the bench with a ginger cat -- Alt#6.

"You're earlier than I expected," I said with a smile.

"you are sillier than i expected," he replied with a wink.

"the world seems to stop"

I gave him a hug for a short while and then logged off to take care of RL.  In the past, Impy was usually the one who did the countdown and I was the one left behind.  This time, I did the countdown.

Not long after, I got an offline message that said, ...
"wow, now i know how is that feeling...when you go and the world seems to are filling my mind and the seconds keep running while i have that 'lost look' to the clear blue of the sky...."

When you finally understand someone's experience or when someone finally understands your experience, that's when your souls touch.

And when someone tells you that the world stops when you leave, that's when you swoon and thank your lucky stars.

"i fought for you"

While Wolfgang was on a holiday, I sent him some seductive photos and links to "entice" him back.  It was a way for us to stay in touch by email, since he couldn't have access to SL during the entire time.  The last one was a simple group photo with Alt#27, Alt#32, and -- for aesthetic reasons -- Alt#6.

I had used Alt#6 for a seductive photo with Alt#27 in the past.  At that time, he wanted her to be his.  I refused, but I said he could have a one-night stand with her.  It was his turn to refuse; he said that he didn't want emotionless hard sex.

But this time, he thought that, by adding her to the photo, I was offering her to him in the way that he wanted.  I wasn't; I was just planning to include her in one of our RPs.  He wanted to "meet" her before the planned RP, so I logged her in and we did a quick impromptu RP about forcing her to take a bath because she was muddy.

His reaction to her, taking her side while Alt#32 was the strict aunt, bothered me to the point of jealousy.  It seemed odd because she's my alt, but I later realized that it reminded me of an old RL incident where I felt the same way, where I felt that I was being pushed out.  Meanwhile, Wolfgang was trying to convince me to allow Alt#6 to "stay" with us as a "niece."

I argued that Alt#6 was meant for a specific purpose and she needs to be free from attachments.  I explained that, when I had a lot of anger and when I hated myself, I logged into her to use men and to be used by them.  He argued that he wasn't trying to stifle her.  At some point during that conversation, he finally understood the reasons why she couldn't be his or anyone's for that matter.  But he expressed his sadness and disappointment.  And that made me more jealous.  Why was she more important to him than Alt#32, who was partnered to his alt?

    you are my special one, and nothing and none can replace that
    you must know that and be sure about [it]
    we could fuck the entire sl world [of] women [avies] together, you'd keep your place with me.
    i don't release you
    You like her too much.
    i like her
    and it is nice i do
    i like opal also
    You fought for her.
    i fought for opal
    i fought for [Alt#27]
    i fought for you
    in fact, i fought for "you"
    in your representations here
    We argued.... that's not the same as fighting for me.
    you are wrong
    we argued
    and i fought
    and exactly same about [Alt#6]
    we argued, and i fought
    difference is just i lost ;)
    like with opal

He fought for me. He fought me for me. He's still fighting.