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19 June, 2007

A Virtual Affair

A new twist on the online affair:

It started out as a friendship, as many relationships do. But gradually Sam's feelings for Kat, a beautiful, smart and confident woman, had turned romantic.

Hang on — there’s a catch. Sam and Kat met in the virtual world Second Life. And although they shared all kinds of intimacies in Second Life, the real people have never laid eyes on each other.

That didn’t seem to matter to Sam. He fell pretty hard for his avatar sweetie. They bonded intellectually, emotionally, and yes, thanks to Second Life animations, even physically.

Here’s where it gets complicated. Unlike his avatar, which is female, in real life, Sam is a man. A married man. And the person behind the blonde, curvaceous Kat? Married. And, quite possibly, a man, too.
The article asks: is this cheating?

Of course it is.

You might just be romancing someone online, but if the guilty pleasure and or satisfaction you get out of it is real, if you develop an attachment to the point of hiding and lying about it, and if you expend time and emotional energy on it then yes, it's cheating.

Infidelity can be both physical and emotional, and seeking satisfaction for either one from someone else at the expense of intimacy with your real life partner counts as cheating in my book.

Now, do I think it's as damaging as a real life affair? It depends on the degree of attachment and involvement. A virtual affair may indicate that someone's needs aren't being met in a relationship. If the person sees it as such and is willing to walk away and work on the problem, there may be hope. But if the online affair is a prelude to something more, then obviously it's no less devastating than an affair in real time.

Label(s): Thoughts

posted at 4:01 PM by City Muse

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