Opposite sex avators can help us understand our hetero partners better.
Ever said something like "He doesn’t listen," "She can’t remember my hockey schedule," or "How can you be 5 minutes late to the daycare every day?"
It’s common to feel like your partner doesn’t understand you. This is especially true in hetero couples where men don’t understand women, and women don’t understand men. And why should they? Priorities, values and general outlooks are often different due to gendered learning and experience.
The trick to understanding your partner lies in developing empathy for them. When you put yourself in someone else’s shoes their behaviors and emotions start to make more sense. You stop feeling puzzled or annoyed with them, and start feeling open to seeing the world through their eyes. This is the idea behind virtual transgendering.
Virtual transgendering refers to a process that happens in computer games like SecondLife, where you can easily create an avatar and go about your virtual life as an alternate gender. In some cases, it is helpful for a couple to recreate their relationship within a computer game, and recreate their real life experiences from the position of their virtual character. When a woman becomes her virtual man, and a man becomes his virtual woman, both partners can experience their simulated relationship from the other’s viewpoint. You can practice new behaviors, and your avatar can demonstrate how you would prefer your partner to handle relationship issues.
Virtual transgendering may not be helpful for every couple. Like real life, it often depends on how much you are willing to put into the virtual relationship. And of course, 2 avatars relating to one another, can never provide as rich as an interaction as 2 people could. But it might be a good place to start to build empathy and understanding.