UK couple in real-life divorce over virtual affair

Fri Nov 14, 2008 9:33am EST
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By Kylie MacLellan

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - 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.

Second Life enables players to create online lives in which their virtual alter ego, or avatar, can socialize, develop relationships, buy property and set up businesses in an imagined world using the game's virtual currency.

The couple met in an internet chatroom in 2003 and married in real life and in a fantasy tropical setting in Second Life.

However, Taylor always had suspicions about Pollard's online loyalty. At one point she hired a virtual detective to test whether his avatar was cheating on her, after finding him at the computer watching his character having sex with a prostitute.

Pollard passed that honeytrap test but earlier this year Taylor found his character in a compromising position with another virtual woman.

"He confessed he'd been talking to this woman player in America for one or two weeks and said our marriage was over and he didn't love me any more," said Taylor, who filed for divorce the next day.

"The solicitor wasn't at all surprised -- she said it was her second divorce case involving Second Life that week."

(Editing by Paul Casciato)

<p>Virtual alter egos, or avatars, in an image courtesy of Linden Lab. REUTERS/Handout</p>