To begin with we discussed the question of whether it is possible to keep RL and SL completely separate, or if it is inevitable that RL will creep in. It was a general consensus from most of is that it is almost impossible to keep RL out; even if roleplaying, there would be elements of our RL personality found in the SL avatar. We then discussed how important it was, and it was decided that if a relationship was involved then it became more important. The question was asked, whether falling in love in SL also meant that you were in love in RL, and most people felt that the answer was yes.
We then diverted away from relationships (a topic which will return very soon!) and we discussed one member's idea that avatars can be separate characters, like a novelist's characters in a story. In the end we discovered that this was not true for anyone else present.
Someone suggested that the virtual world was “easier” because it is not real, and we talked about that but did not come to a consensus, and then it was asked whether it works the other way round – does our SL show up in RL? People then talked about ways their SL experience has impacted on their real lives, in ways such as increased confidence, healing past hurts and being more appearance-conscious. It was certainly a positive experience for most people.
There was one last suggestion that maybe our real life bodies are avatars for our souls... but that's a whole different topic altogether.
Next week on 19 May we'll be revisiting an old favourite topic, "Relationships in Second Life". Partnerships - marriages and all the associated drama. But can they work? Or should they be avoided at all costs? Whats your experience of relationships in SL? Hope to see you there.