Keep your virtual hands off my virtual man!

A UK couple is divorcing over what the wife claims was an affair hatched online by her husband, a user of the virtual world Second Life. Is this is true, the husband may have innocently confused Second Life with They’re both about the No. 2, right?

An AP story quoted Ellen Helsper, a researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute who has studied the impact of the Web on relationships.

“For a while there was this impression that as long as it’s online, it doesn’t matter. But research has shown it’s not a separate world,” she said, adding that infidelity was “just as painful, whether it’s electronic or physical.”

It could also be painful to the pocketbook, especially if the wife in this case demands real-world alimony be matched by payouts in Linden dollars, the official currency of Second Life. For the divorce lawyer involved, that would be double the pleasure.

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