Meet Ajay and Syn
Can real people find true love in a virtual world? It’s happening every day in Second Life and our “Love Made in Second Life” series explores how romance and long-distance relationships can thrive in the metaverse!
Ajay McDowwll and Synapse Zabelin met in Second Life, fell in love, moved together in the physical realm – he from Mississippi, she from Florida where they still are today- got married and, spoiler alert: Ajay and Syn are still together today, after almost 16 years!
The story begins on the original Help Island, where Syn volunteered when newbie Ajay dropped in. They struck up a friendship and the rest, as they say, is Second Life history!
We asked them more about the history of their relationship.
How long have you been together?
We met in 2007 and have been married since August of 2009.
What was the initial spark where you kind of knew that you were possibly “meant for each other”?
Ajay: Honestly, I can’t remember some sort of “Aha!” moment. I’ve been divorced twice, and I was very straightforward with him that I was never getting married again because picking an appropriate spouse was clearly not in my skill set. Syn was okay with that; he said he’d still be right here. And he was… and he is.
Syn: I knew when I would log in and felt disappointed if she wasn’t inworld.
What does Second Life mean to you?
Ajay: SL’s influence on my life is wide-ranging, from social activities to music, to creativity… I can actually build things inworld! I loathe Blender with the fire of a thousand suns and still, rage quit it regularly, but using the built-in tools SL provides, I’m able to create any number of things. Shoot, I finally actually put something up on Marketplace (there is one entire item in my store), and someone who doesn’t even know me purchased a copy!
For the arts scene, the diversity of both visual artists and musicians in SL who perform live is phenomenal. Many of these people have become acquaintances and friends in the physical world also, thanks to random meet-ups and organized events like the SL Live Music Jams.
Syn: SL is a creative outlet, a place to meet new people with varied interests.
What advice would you give others who meet someone in SL and are not sure if they should pursue a relationship?
Ajay: What I would say is it’s totally reasonable to give an SL relationship the same chance as you would a relationship that started in the physical world. You already have one thing in common, and SL is a stronger tie than just bumping into someone in the produce section at your local grocery store.
Syn: Go slow. Friends first, then the rest will happen if it’s in the cards for you.
You guys left SL at one point. Why? And why come back now?
Ajay + Syn: We left SL primarily because we were newly married, I had young kids, and we just had a lot to concentrate on in the physical world, both with our relationship with each other as well as our respective jobs and the children’s schedules and academic needs. But we maintained our premium membership so we always had a home to pop back into and it was that home that brought us back into SL.
I checked my email one day to find a note from Quianna Greymist of Angels asking about the 1024 we had, and if we were interested in selling. It turned out that all of the land surrounding our plot (512 for each of us) had been purchased by Angels, and we were literally on an island in the middle of a runway. We came back inworld to complete the land sale in October of 2019, looked around, and asked each other, “Why did we ever leave?” 😃
Nearly a decade’s worth of stipend being saved up made it very easy to update ourselves to mesh!
Video Production by Draxtor Despres
Logo by Marianne McCann