Ghosted in SL?

Anyone who has been in Second Life for a while will tell you, people come and go a lot. And truth is, most of the time we don’t care. If we’re honest, apart from the occasional “I wonder how Jim is doing?” we hope they’re doing well, but aren’t too bothered by their absence if they’re not a close friend.

On the other hand, people we care about can stop coming around too. Even this is not too bad if it happens for a logical reason. We may miss them, but so long as they’re honest about why they’re not coming to Second Life, most of us can handle it. Even the “I just need a break from Second Life” explanation is understandable usually.

The disappearances that seem to affect people the most are those that happen suddenly, often without warning. The partner or friend is full-on into hanging out, showers you with attention, and then suddenly… poof. They just stop coming. Some have real reasons for being away and tell you the truth if you check on them, but others reply with fake excuses – or maybe they don’t respond at all.

There’s a term for it when people cut off contact like this. It’s called GHOSTING.

“Ghosting is abruptly ending communication with someone without explanation. The concept most often refers to romantic relationships but can also describe disappearances from friendships and the workplace,” according to Psychology Today. “People respond to being ghosted in many ways, from feeling indifferent to deeply betrayed. Some believe that ghosting is inseparably intertwined with modern electronic communication, and the practice is a way to cope with the decision fatigue that can accompany dating. Others believe that ghosting is emotionally troubling given that it offers no sense of closure.”

I believe the person not being around isn’t what hurts so much in a ghosting situation. It’s the way the ghost went about it so suddenly without a truthful explanation. It leaves the “ghosted” person wondering what they did wrong. They feel rejected or like a fool, and they have no closure.

I’ve read tales of woe from people whose partners supposedly stopped logging into Second Life, but were really still online using another avatar. These ghosts found other romantic interests, but instead of ending things properly they just set up new virtual lives.

I get it. Some people see Second Life as a game and the people in it as little more than NPCs. On my social media feed, some say they “play” Second Life. (It’s a virtual world, not a game; but that’s another article!) And yet, many behave this way in “real life” too.

Here’s the irony. As hurtful as ghosting can be, a person usually comes to grips with the situation and moves on. Then, just as they do, (drumroll) … guess who returns? It doesn’t always happen but in many cases, that ghost comes back.

Why? Maybe things didn’t work out with their new friend or romantic interest. Maybe they’re bored and think you’ll always be there to be nice to them. Or maybe – just maybe they need you for something. You benefit them somehow, and they want to keep you sweet. So they interact with you to an extent. Not the way they used to, but enough to keep you on board. Psychologists have a name for this too: BREADCRUMBING.

Have I experienced ghosting? I’d say twice. Once was when I was 13-years-old and my boyfriend, without showing any indication that he was unhappy, just stopped coming around – poof! No calls, no visits, nothing! Later, I learned why. He’d hooked up with a cheerleader. (Yes, I was a kid, but it still hurt!)

The other time – well, I’ll refrain from sharing the details, but let’s just say I was older than 13! It wasn’t even a boyfriend who ghosted me but it still hurt; so I have sympathy for others in similar situations.

I want to encourage those who are hurting. Unless you did something awful, having the ghost out of your life is probably best. But to give the benefit of the doubt, think about it this way. That ghost may not realize how their behavior hurts others. They may even believe they’re being kinder by not having a proper talk about whatever situation they were unhappy with. Or, and this is likely, they care more about avoiding conflict than whether they hurt you or not.

So, what do you do if the ghost comes back? Be kind to them, I say! I believe in the golden rule. However, guard your heart, because if this person ghosted you once without apology or explanation, they’ll likely do it again.

Author: Moon Brite

6 thoughts on “Ghosted in SL?

  1. I had someone ghost me. A musician whom I’d met way back in 1977 when I was a Junior in High School. I knew he’d make a great jam partner with my newly ex boyfriend, so I told him and sent him over. Sure enough, they did. We were just friends. Different circles, life went on, lost touch.

    Fast forward to the beginning of the pandemic. He finds me through a mutual friend on facebook. He’s written and recorded lots of great songs. I’ve been creating animations and dance vids in secondlife for many years. He was interested what I could do with some of his songs, even said he’d pay. He suggested what he’d like to see with one song, (various clip art that went with the lyrics, which I nailed), he gave me a challenge on another song. It was about rodeo bull riding. He sent a bunch of pics to go with the song. The other two songs, I just danced. One solo, and one ballroom with a partner. Those two were the easiest, as they were in my wheelhouse. The clip art one was fun and turned out cool. I came up with a brilliant idea for the bull riding one by making a mini screen play of a saloon, old west, the new invention television with the bull pictures in and a drifter with a guitar that also turned out pretty cool.

    I sent the links, left a voicemail, and never heard a thing back. I know in my heart he never saw them. I knew even if he hated them he would have said something. Two years later, still nothing. Other folks loved the vids. Shrugs, oh well. His loss. Whatever ghosting pays off to the ghoster, must be some ego thing in this case. I spent some money upgrading video software, plus a bit on costumes and sets. Woo hoo he made me waste time. It’s not on my regular list of dance vids, he does not deserve any exposure.

  2. If they ghost you abruptly just like that, they’re doing ghosting wrong. You’re not supposed to notice you’ve been ghosted. You’re supposed to gradually diminish contact until it feels natural to stop talking completely. You’re supposed to mimic the situation when you just “grow apart”. This strategy is closer to STONEWALLING, which is a very rude strategy to end a relationship. Ghosting is supposed to be a less traumatizing experience. Some people prefer stonewalling because it seems as though their friend died, and there seems to be a type of a person who moves on from that easier than gradually losing contact with someone who they know to still be alive.

    I had a friend quit on me once, as he got into a full-blown SL relationship with someone. He was honest about it but it still hurt, as he went in swearing our friendship was a priority. I was his second account’s friend, that he created while hiding from a previous girlfriend. (I refused to start a monogamous relationship with him as I’m a devoted poly.)

    However, I did make holding onto the friendship kind of impossible for him, too, as I REALLY REALLY REALLY didn’t like his new girl, and refused to spend ANY time with her or to pretend to be OK with her being in a relationship with my friend. She was monitoring his every move and forcing him to alter his perfectly crafted avatar to her own liking, and all this super controlling behavior and it was just… Too much to sit back and watch happen. And it DEFINITELY would have been too much to wind up in her bitches brew myself.

    So after he stood me up for 8 hours saying “he’ll be right with me”… YES 8 hours (I wasn’t online the whole 8 hours, tho, but the deal was he’d msg me when he’s free), I thought, you know. I’m done and blocked him – but told him as much.

    Then again, I knew he was… Dodgy, as we say in Australia after he revealed he had a wife and a child in real life after MONTHS of knowing him (only because I told him I needed a break from SL so he’s like “oh you know, I need to spend time with my kid anyway”) and that he also is hiding from a SL wife! 😀 He spent literally 12-hour stretches on SL, so I never suspected he had an actual real-life to go with his second life.

    The irony, his profile said “I’m a Christian as well” and I consider myself satanic so I decided to troll him when he first IM’d me, to see how much I can stir his pot… And called himself a “southern gentleman”. IF I was actually looking for a good guy, I’d be so shattered by him, but luckily, I was more amused by him than that, as I do like my super-smart but morally driven bad boys (what a glorious balance to make), and he certainly didn’t qualify, but his attention was quite intoxicating, which I found surprising.

    I’ll trust that if his new love finds this and recognizes it, it was meant to be. 😀

  3. Ghosting — when someone cuts off all communication without explanation — extends to all things, it seems. Most of us think about it in the context of digital departure: a friend not responding to a text, or worse, a lover, but it happens across all social circumstances and it’s tied to the way we view the world.

  4. Over the last 12 years in Second Life I have been “ghosted” 4 times. The first time I was a true newbie. I fell badly for my first virtual love. We were hot and heavy for a month and suddenly he disappeared. Never to be seen again. It broke my heart which surprised me, since this is “only a game, right?” It was a long time until I allowed myself to become emotionally involved in Second Life. The other three started out as creative collaborations. In two cases building an entire island. The first suddenly realized that he was starting to have feelings for me an freaked out. He had a wife and children in RL and didn’t want to risk that. Cutoff. The next was a similar situation collaboration wise. Building a space SIM. He was an artist in RL and when he stopped showing up in SL I checked his RL website and it said that he had died. Further research showed that he committed suicide. I wish I had know he was in danger. The forth was a partner in a club and other enterprises. We were romantic off and on over several years. One day I noticed that he was not around. It happened sometimes as RL kept him away occasionally. I found out after a few months that he had died in a house fire. His social media accounts are still active. I guess that three out of four are not technically ghosting, but they still hurt. <3

  5. Well I have never been ghosted, But I have ghosted. For me there are two flavors of ghosting. One is the “Ewwww bad” flavor which is when you have this person on your list, you spent time with at least once and that once was literally enough to make you run the other way so you make it so they can not longer see you online, then in about a week you message them while they are offline “Hey been ages, sorry been out of touch. Talk soon”. Then the week after you remove them from list and block. Second one is “I can not believe I am still talking to this person” Which is the friendly ghosting(Yes Caspering!!) We are hanging with this person because yes they are nice, but they are not what we thought they were because their version of nice is also your version of betrayal so you distance yourself by fake crashing, no net and right…… sorry got tied up with a friend needing my help. At present I am being ghosted but giving my own personal brand of ghosting. Is it working? Yes… eventually this person and I will remain friends but be distant. But why ghost? Why not just come out and say what you have to say and be done with it? Because we have actually either done it and got a tired and lame excuse or we chose not to because we want to keep this person in our lives and not have it be strained so we try to make it appear we just don’t have a lot of time or we have some net issues and that kills SL time. Sometimes our hearts are bigger then we think… some say “Ghosting is a horrible thing to do” but sometimes it is actually the best thing we can do when we don’t want to hurt someone intentionally too.

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