The title of today's post is, literally, the oldest excuse in the book. The Book of Genesis, in fact. That's what Adam said when God asked him why he'd done the one thing that he'd been commanded not to do.
But you know, as lame as his excuse sounds, poor Adam deserves some sympathy. Men have always been susceptible to temptation from a woman. They probably can't help it...it's hard wired into the species, part of the male imperative to spread their genes as widely as possible. Or, as some of my cruder-minded friends put it, "men think with their dicks."
Why, you may ask yourselves, is Lindal going on about this well-known phenomenon? I'll tell you in a moment. But first, let me call your attention to a situation that occurs all too often: cheating. Specifically, cheating on your partner -- having sex with Someone Else. It happens in Real Life, and it happens even more often in the virtual world.
Why more often? I think there are several factors. For one, there are not the same sort of consequences as there are in Real Life. There, cheating can lead to broken marriages, divorce, huge legal fees, alimony payments, loss of reputation, and on and on. In the virtual world, outside of upsetting one person (your partner) and maybe some of her friends, there are very few consequences to cheating. And if you are even a little careful, the chances of actually getting caught are slim.
The temptation is, arguably, greater as well. Second Life is full of stunningly beautiful, exotically dressed avatars. For anyone who immerses at all, it's almost a certainty that you're going to meet someone (besides your current partner) that you find alluring. If they seem at all willing, it's terribly easy to let one's libido rule one's actions.
So: A lot of people cheat in Second Life. We all know it, we've seen it. The next question we have to ask ourselves is, "does it matter?" After all, as I just pointed out, there aren't many social or financial consquences. We don't have to worry about the kids not having a father. For gosh sakes, even the sex isn't REAL, it's just people talking over the internet and arousing each other. What's the big hairy deal?
Well, in fact it's "no big deal" for a lot of people. "It's only a game" is an attitude I've encountered many, many times. However, I don't agree. Even though the physical, financial, and social costs of cheating don't apply in the virtual world, the emotional consequences do, or at least they do for many people. The relationships we form in Second Life are real, the emotions are real, the time and effort we invest in them are real. The hurt from a betrayal of trust is real. If you partner with someone and agree to a monogamous relationship, your promises and your moral responsibility are real.
I say, cheating on your partner in a virtual world is wrong. It's bad. If you do it, shame on you.
Having said that, let's go back now to the subject of temptation. Some people, it turns out, are so insecure in their relationships that they decide to "test" their partner's fidelity. They get a friend to flirt with their partner, trying to seduce him (or her...but men are a lot easier to tempt in this way. See paragraph 2, above.) Or they will create an alt, and do the same thing themselves. (Of course, IS it cheating if he cheats on you with...you? Ow, my head is starting to hurt.)
All too often, the partner who is tempted in this fashion will, in fact, succumb. Then his partner can feel justified in screaming at him, "YOU CHEATED ON ME, F*CKER!" Well, of course he did, dear...after you trailed an irresistable bait in front of him.
In this case, while it was certainly wrong of him to give in to temptation, the greater sin lies with the temptress...no, not the friend who actually seduced the poor shmuck, although she gets a share of the blame for participating in this little virtual badger game. No, the person who is really at fault is the Wronged Woman, the insecure and jealous partner who set the whole scene up in the first place.
To any immature, insecure folks out there who are thinking that they need to see if their partner is REALLY faithful, I have only one piece of advice: Don't. You have to let go and trust. You really do. Sometimes, your trust will be misplaced and you'll be hurt. That's a risk in any relationship. But if you put your relationship to the test, you are far more likely to break it...even if it wasn't broken to begin with. Or, to put it more simply, "If you can't stand the answer, don't ask the question."