Second Life romance costs first life marriage

November 14th, 2008 - 12:34 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Nov 14 (IANS) A British couple in real life is getting a divorce after the wife discovered that her husband was having an affair in cyber life.Come to the world of Second Life, the unreal, virtual world, a craze among Britons which is leading to broken relationships in the parallel, real world.

Second Life is the brainchild of an American company, Linden Lab. Players create a virtual alter ego, or avatar, which can move around the imagined world, meet people, socialise, and buy land and property and set up businesses with the game’s virtual currency.

Amy Tailor, 28, and David Pollard, 40, met in an internet chat room in 2003. She moved from her home in London to be with him in Newquay in Cornwall, England and at first they had fun together, in real life and cyberspace.

In Second Life she was Laura Skye, a club DJ dressed up as a cowboy. Pollard was a bearded Dave Barmy who lived in a chalet with a Cobra helicopter gunship parked outside.

When home, each nurtured and lived their fantasies through their alter egos in Second Life. One day, Amy woke up from an afternoon nap to see Pollard at his computer, watching his virtual character Barmy having sex with an online call girl.

She fumed. She said: “I went mad - I was so hurt. I just couldn’t believe what he’d done. I looked at the computer screen and could see his character having sex with a female character. It’s cheating as far as I’m concerned.”

They made up eventually and got married in Cornwall in 2005. Barmy and Skye held a lavish party in their world to mark the occasion. But then, last April Amy caught Pollard once again, this time watching Barmy cuddling a girl.

That was it. She filed for divorce and even changed her maiden name. It is to be finalised next week. Their virtual characters already got a cyber divorce in May.

Pollard defended himself saying it was after all an affair in the unreal world. He said he began the cyber affair because of his wife’s addiction to a computer game.

He told The Independent: “Amy never did anything around the house. She just played World of Warcraft all the time. If I wanted to spend time with her I had to ask, but it was always too much trouble for her to come off the game to spend time with me, so the marriage was a bit of a joke.”

A British charity, Relate, has that its counsellors were coming across an increasing number of people whose real-life relationships were falling apart because of what was happening in their parallel, unreal worlds.

It is now becoming a trend in Second Life of the virtual characters taking on roles of private detectives to keep an eye on the affairs of their cyber mates or act as cyber relationship counsellors.

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