August 13th, 2007

A friend sent me this Wall Street Journal article about a Second Life user who, much to the chagrin of his real-life wife, is married to another woman in-world. It seems Ric “Dutch” Hoogestraat has not only diabetes and some Mormon-style spouse balancing to do, but also a Second Life addiction. He started playing in January, and is now on for what seems to be more than 12 hours a day. Granted, he’s got in-world businesses in addition to his in-world wife. Still, his real-world wife says she feels totally neglected. (This all reminds me eerily of my surfer experience. “Oh no, my wife totally doesn’t mind…” Yeah, sure.)

Whether you think cybersex and cyber relationships are cheating or not, it’s clear that something is off here. For me, the biggest thing is the article itself. Part-way through it makes the claim, “A typical ‘gamer’ spends 20 to 40 hours a week in a virtual world.” I don’t know how they decide what counts as a “typical gamer,” but that number seems ridiculously high. Also, why can’t the mainstream media understand the difference between people with issues and the rest of us users? Still, the fast turn-around in Second Life does make me wonder what percentage are “full-time” players. It seems to be the kind of space where being a casual user is hard. But has it really come down to being obsessed or absent?

Tags: avatars, mainstream media, MMOs, virtual relationships

6 Responses to “‘His Secret Little Wife’”

  1. Cybersexy Says:

    Actually, 20 to 40 sounds about right, at least for me.

    As for the guy in the article, I feel sorry for him. His wife will complain about what he’s doing, but she won’t leave him? One thing I learned in marriage years ago: If you wouldn’t leave your spouse because of an issue, then don’t constantly complain about it.

    But I will say this in her defense: He should have told her he was getting married in SL. My husband and I have always been honest about our online activities, including cybersex.

    The reason cybersex has such a bad reputation in society is because spouses aren’t honest with each other when they do it.

  2. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    That’s a good point, Cybersexy. IMHO, cheating really depends on the person being cheated on. If she’s uncomfortable, then there is indeed something “wrong” going on…

  3. Jade Reporting » August 18 Says:

    […] ‘His Secret Little Wife’ Is This Man Cheating on His Wife? […]

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    So true…

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