I Want a “Virtual” Divorce

Posted on: 11/14/08 3:28 PM | by Jonathan McKee

This sounds like a Coen Brothers film (Fargo, No Country for Old Men, Burn After Reading…), but no, unfortunately, the story is very real. Reuters reports:

A British woman is divorcing her husband after discovering his online alter-ego was having an affair with a virtual woman in the fantasy world of Second Life, media reported on Friday.

Amy Taylor, 28, said her three-year marriage to David Pollard, 40, came to an end when she twice walked in on him watching his online character, Dave Barmy, having sex with other virtual women.


Yeah, you read it correctly. And if you peeked at the entire article linked above, you’ll find that this couple met online; then the wife had suspicions about his online activity, so hired a virtual private eye, who spied on him having virtual sex with a virtual prostitute. That’s a lot of “virtual!” 

Yeah. You can’t make this stuff up.

Funny enough… the story is getting a lot of press with a lot of people blogging about it. I’m in my hotel in Harrisburg, PA right now and I just saw this story running on CNN. The reporter was actually pretty sharp. After making fun of it a bit, he talked about how people should “get a life” instead of wasting so much time in virtual worlds. He went on to talk about the fact that this affair was probably a true emotional affair. I think he’s right on all accounts (they do need to get a life, and it was a real emotional affair)

Second life is a popular virtual world where kids and adults create characters called avatars and explore virtual worlds, meeting people, picking up on people, etc. Much like www.IMVU.com, the site that David and I wrote that Youth Culture Window article (The Hotest Virtual Teenage Hangout… a Little Too Hot) about a few months ago.


(ht to Alec in Scotland)

2 Replies to “I Want a “Virtual” Divorce”

  1. Wow. I found a story like this for doing a simple report for current events at my school, here’s the article.

    TOKYO: A 43-year-old Japanese woman whose sudden divorce in a virtual game world made her so angry that she killed her online husband’s digital persona has been arrested on suspicion of hacking, police said Thursday.

    The woman, who is jailed on suspicion of illegally accessing a computer and manipulating electronic data, used his identification and password to log onto popular interactive game “Maple Story” to carry out the virtual murder in mid-May, a police official in northern Sapporo said on condition of anonymity, citing department policy.

    “I was suddenly divorced, without a word of warning. That made me so angry,” the official quoted her as telling investigators and admitting the allegations.

    The woman had not plotted any revenge in the real world, the official said.

    She has not yet been formally charged, but if convicted could face a prison term of up to five years or a fine up to $5,000.

    Players in “Maple Story” raise and manipulate digital images called “avatars” that represent themselves, while engaging in relationships, social activities and fighting against monsters and other obstacles.

    The woman used login information she got from the 33-year-old office worker when their characters were happily married, and killed the character. The man complained to police when he discovered that his beloved online avatar was dead.

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