What happened at the Nightclub
Dave Barmy was the owner of a popular night spot called the Holodeck. Laura Skye, a lovely woman who dressed in sexy cowboy outfits, worked there as a disc jockey. Laura and Dave fell madly in love, and as one thing led to another, they began to plan their wedding. Then one night Laura was horrified when she caught Dave making love to a prostitute.
“I went mad,” she said. “I was so hurt. I couldn’t believe what he had done.”
Laura decided to hire a private detective named Markie MacDonald.
McDonald set up a “honeytrap” – that is, she hired an attractive woman to entice Dave into a relationship. Dave passed the honeytrap test with flying colors because he spent the entire evening talking to the paid escort about his love for Laura. Laura and Dave reconciled, and were married in a romantic tropical setting.
Sometime later, the Holodeck sponsored a dress-up event with clubbers and staff required to wear fancy clothes. That night for the first time Dave noticed a certain Modesty McDonnell from across the room, and later he told her that he had instantly felt something special for her.
“I asked if you felt it was love at first sight,” Modesty said later. “I never thought anything like this would ever happen to me.
The two spent hours together and became extremely close. Dave told Modesty that “his relationship with his wife was over before I came along, and I take his word for that.” Modesty also insisted that she was not a prostitute, as Laura had claimed, and that the truth was they never had sex. Nevertheless, Laura eventually left Dave because of Modesty.
What Happened in Real Life
In real life, Dave is Dave Pollard and Laura Skye is his wife, Amy. The couple lives in Newquay, Cornwall, and enjoy participating in a virtual world called “Second Life.” Dave Barmy and Laura Skye were their avatars that worked together at the virtual Holodeck. Modesty McDonnell was the avatar belonging to Linda Brinkley, who lives in Arkansas in the United States.
In real life, Amy grew so upset by Dave’s and Modesty’s online affair in their virtual world that she filed for divorce on the grounds of “unreasonable behavior.”
In real life, Dave and Linda are now engaged. Linda told a reporter, “We’ve never met in real life but we’ve got each other’s pictures. It’s amazing that we found each other across the many miles, and we love each other very much. It is my dream to finally meet up with him, and it’s all because of the game.”
The demise of the Pollard marriage set new precedents in law. For one thing, the issue involved blurs the line between adultery, as traditionally defined as physical sex with someone outside the marriage, and infidelity. It has been called the first divorce caused by a “virtual” love affair. The online lovers still insist their avatars never had cybersex.
The betrayed Linda seems to have landed on her feet. She is now involved with a man that she met online playing the game “World of Warcraft.”
“Revealed: The ‘other woman’ in Second Life divorce… who’s now engaged to the web cheat she’s never met,” The Daily Mail, November 11, 2008.
“Second Life Affair Leads to Real Life Divorce,” CNN News, November 14, 2011.
“Second Life affair leads to real life divorce,” The Guardian, November 8, 2011.
Varnado, Sandi. Avatars, Scarlet “A”s and Adultery in the Technological Age, The Arizona Law Review, Summer 2013, pg. 380- to 415.