One day some months ago, a man named CyFishy Traveler broke off a romance, which is not usually a pleasant thing to do. To make it more painful, however, this relationship extended into both worlds he frequented. (It "happened to have an SL component", as he tells me.) Worse, the breaking "utterly gutted me."
Which is probably why he found himself creating an alt account, as a respite from being CyFishy. He'd previously created a series of tips to help new users, and out of curiosity, he also wondered how he'd do, if his new avatar followed them. And since he did this on the day before Friday, a woman named "Beginning Thursday" was born.
"Initially, it was a bit awkward," he remembers, "because I felt a bit deceptive about pretending to be newer at this than I actually was." He confessed he was CyFishy to several Residents, "especially the person who was kind enough to shower me with a bag of gifts when they saw my rez date."
Then things began to get a bit more strange. Because shortly after that, CyFishy Traveler fell in love with himself.
He ran a hack that let him launch two instances of Second Life, and logged into one as CyFishy, and the other, as Beginning.
"Initially, it was to get screenshots of the teleport process." But once they were together in-world, "I went ahead and offered myself a hug."
At that point, "Something shifted," as he puts it. "At the time, I-as-CyFishy was in my boyshape. So the hot guy I wanted to be with was embracing my fledgling second self." Something moved him about that moment, so CyFishy did the next logical thing.
"We started dating."
And just as you would with any new love interest, they introduced themselves to CyFishy's friends.
"The first time we went to Quantum Fields, I-as-CyFishy introduced Beginning and urged everyone to 'welcome her as you would welcome me.' (The one person in the room who knew the truth snickered, but didn't spill the beans.)"
Their romance continued in Instant Message. "I would talk to myself, tell myself the things that I secretly wished a lover would say to me, assure myself that I am beautiful and loved. (I talk to myself a lot in Real Life, as far as that goes, so this isn't entirely unusual.)
"There would be times, in Real Life, when I would be feeling a bit down and I would reassure myself with the thought, 'Beginning loves me.' Strange as it may seem," he says, "it did cheer me up."
Things progressed from there, "So I offered a Partnership and she instantly accepted. I gave her a ring I'd made from a DIY building class kit. She still wears it." He enjoys looking at the "Partner" slot in his SL profile, and seeing Beginning's name there. "Even if it is, technically, [my] own."
And while this is mainly a psychological exercise, it has some day-to-day advantages, too. "On a practical level," as he puts it, the partnership "spares me the trouble of dealing with the drama of coupling and de-coupling that I've seen so many others go through. On a deeper and more curious level, it's become a means to explore how to give myself the kind of love I was constantly seeking from outside of myself.
"Whether this path leads to liberation or madness remains to be seen. But the possibilities intrigue me greatly."
Find out where their relationship goes on the blog they write together. Last time I visited, they were talking about the nature of virtual marriages.
But one last thing to note before you go: In real life, CyFishy Traveler's owner is actually not male. "I'd shifted genders as an experiment and discovered the joys of having a hot guy to stare at any time I wanted to," explains CyFishy, who as it turns out, is just another woman imagining herself as a man imagining himself partnered to another woman who's really herself.