This recent "most viewed" and "most e-mailed" article from the Wall Street Journal tells the story of "the toll one man's virtual marriage is taking on his real one and what researchers are discovering about the surprising power of synthetic identity."
In a nutshell, the man profiled in the story has a second wife in Second Life, and his real wife is not amused.
It seems that the millions of people who use social networking websites like Second Life are indeed living second lives, which unbeknownst to to their real wives, girlfriends and partners include fantasy wives, girlfriends and partners - who are themselves real people living the same fantasy online.
But is it cheating? Byron Reeves, a professor of communication of Stanford University, told the WSJ that "people respond to interactive technology on social and emotional levels much more than we ever thought." Translation - it may not be physically cheating, but emotionally and mentally it is.
According to the Journal article, "family law and marital counselors say they're seeing a growing number of marriages dissolve over virtual infidelity," and that such cyber affairs are increasingly being sited as the cause of divorces.
This also brings up the fascinating question of married or committed couples flirting online with strangers on sites like Facebook, MySpace and other networking communities and chat rooms. Is it cheating?
You be the judge. Click below on "Comments" and tell us what you think.
How many of you people out there
Been hurt in some kind of love affair
And how many times do you swear that you'll never love again.....