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A 30 August 2007 Wall Street Journal article titled, “Is This Man Cheating on His Wife” discusses the real life challenges of a 53 year old man and his wife resulting from his actions in Second Life.  There (in Second Life) he has a wife, owns a mall, strip club, a dance club, and a private beach club.  His “real life” wife is concerned about the large amount of time he devotes to the game and especially about his online relationship with another woman in it.

The lengthy, feature article in Wall Street’s “Weekend Journal” section discusses how lines are blurring between real and virtual life for many people. Players devote large amounts of time and energy to their online presence, and the resulting virtual relationships. A recent study of 30,000 gamers by Nick Yee (recent Ph.D. grad from Stanford) found “nearly 40 percent of men and 53 percent of women who play online games said their virtual friends were equal to or better than their real-life friends.

The article goes on to report family law experts and marriage counselors are seeing a growing number of marriages dissolve over virtual infidelity.

The “real” wife of the man featured in the story has joined EverQuest Widows, an online support group for spouses of obsessive online games.

Our comments – wonder how long it will be till there are counselors in Second Life and similar virtual worlds to help people who spend too much time in their “real” life, neglecting their virtual presence? 

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