What constitutes being unfaithful?

Amy Taylor is divorcing David Pollard, her husband of three years, after catching him having sex with a prostitute again. Amy and David’s story sounds like a classic divorce case except that the most crucial part of it hasn’t happened in real life; the unfaithful part.

The British 28 year old discovered that her husband’s character in the on-line community game Second Life had been having an affair and decided that she couldn’t put up with his virtual unfaithfulness anymore. But was her really unfaithful? And what is unfaithful anyway?

Is it when you actually have sex with someone other than your partner? Or does it start way before that, in your head, when you start thinking about having sex with someone else even if you don’t act on it is that unfaithful?

Technically David didn’t really cheat on Amy it was his virtual alter ego that did. So why is he being dubbed unfaithful in real life? Check out the debate this story has created on mumsnet.

33 Responses to “What constitutes being unfaithful?”

  1. 1 Brett
    November 14, 2008 at 13:33

    Is it when you actually have sex with someone other than your partner?

    Well they’re are people who classify themselves as ‘swingers’… how they cheat on their significant others infront of eachother and whatnot is beyond me…. Besides the fact that its opening yourself and your spouse up to all sorts of other problems like ‘third party’ pregnancies, std’s, etc.
    Not my cup of tea…

    The second-life thing… thats taking it a bit far…. People escaping from reality, losing the bread crumb trail back, and getting stuck in there.


    You don’t see wives getting upset with husbands who play Grand Theft Auto and other similar games which allow you to sleep with prostitutes, etc.

    I suppose the difference is that there is someone real on the other end of that prostitute of second life. And you know what? I hope it was a guy on the other end lol.
    Homeboy gets divorced by his wife for cheating on her in an online game with a prostitute who was actually a male posing as a female. NOW THATS some Jerry Springer material right there lol.

  2. November 14, 2008 at 14:00

    Tricky subject; but the intimate relationship between a married couple is what separates “taking the vow” and promising to be “faithful.” What is left in a married life if one has sex with another partner? In a relationship where a couple love each other and are not married, there is usually an implied agreement that each will be faithful, unless they have agreed that this is not for them. If one partner is not enough, don’t get married, if one partner is not enough tell your partner that you cannot be faithful, And that you don’t have the discipline to be faithful; and you are eaisly tempted – so don’t waste your time with marriage or a love-relationship. In any relationship it takes 100% of each to make that relationship work, anything less does not cut it.

  3. 3 Nelson Isibor
    November 14, 2008 at 14:00

    This is plain absurd. The other day a lady in japan murdered a man’s avatar, then this. People should have enough brain cells to know that virtual world and the real world are two different things.

  4. 4 roebert
    November 14, 2008 at 14:13

    Venturing into metaphysics now, are we? OK, I’ll take it on:

    Being unfaithful is always, in the first place, being untrue to what you authentically know is right and good. It’s the old Polonius baloney: to thine own self be true &c. So far as this goes, we’re all of us unfaithful. In marriage we’re often unfaithful to our partners in not allowing them to flow with their own authentic truth, or in going against our own grain of truth in order to keep the peace….know what I mean?

    As for marital infidelity: it’s breaking any of the vows you made on your wedding day, innit? Or have times passed me by?

  5. 5 Bruce Sickles
    November 14, 2008 at 14:20

    Marriage is a rediculous thing. Marriage by definition is forever. Divorce is a betrayal in itself. And as far as when it should end. Any time you would rather not be with the person in a relationship then get out the door. If you have any reason to doubt that this is a person you want to be with then you need to be honest enough to say so (and honest enough with yourself) and not build any false dream castles. Relationships are hard enough without bringing insecurity into the equation.

  6. 6 Jennifer
    November 14, 2008 at 14:25

    Unless it happens in real life technically it’s not cheating. However, it is emotional cheating. You think it; you might as well just do it. Being unfaithful is anything that would make your significant other feel like you are cheating.

    In the article, it states that the woman was addicted to one and the man was involved because she was. What gives? You are an adult sitting around playing video games? And you want to be married? Maybe you should try to actually spend time with your significant other in real life instead of in a video game? I would be more concerned that I was spending time with my significant other in a video game and not “in real life” than anything else…..Maybe the woman’s husband wouldn’t have cheated if that was addressed.

  7. November 14, 2008 at 14:28

    Ok, I had to think about this one for a while. I’m still not entirely sure this constitutes being unfaithful, but in my book it would fall into the strange fetishes column. You never a person until you live with them. Some things a person can learn to live with and then there are things that are in conflict with personal values that are deeply held, it may be time for one or both people to move on with their lives.

  8. 8 John in Salem
    November 14, 2008 at 14:37

    This is one of most important things that has to be discussed (and rarely is) before people commit to each other because everyone has a different concept of what constitutes fidelity in a marriage. For some it comes down to simple honesty and trust and the acceptance that one’s partner has a fantasy life just as you do. For others it is totally black and white – you’re not to look at anyone else or allow yourself to even think about someone else.
    Being unfaithful is a betrayal of trust on whatever terms it has been defined at the point of commitment. The problem is that people tend to ASSUME their partner defines it like they do and the difference is usually found out too late when someone’s line has been crossed.

  9. 9 mOHAMED
    November 14, 2008 at 14:37

    Having something good or bad in Mind is not a crime.But doing it if it’s extramarital relation is very bad.

  10. November 14, 2008 at 14:42

    This ranks up there with a story I posted on awhile back. Online divorcee jailed after killing virtual hubby

    This is a sign that our world has lost touch with reality. The problem with the global media exchange and the shrinking of our social world is that every little nut case can make world news. Most of us would agree that this is a video game and doesn’t constitute “cheating”. Nor does killing ones Avatar constitute “murder”. However, there is a perfect storm of unstable, weak minded individuals with mental issues and greedy, unscrupulous lawyers who are willing to take any case that can get them fame and fortune. In some legal disputes, the mere act of being sued causes more damage then actually winning and loosing. These are just such a cases.

    “Cheating” is something that must be defined at the beginning of any relationship. It is considered different for everyone. What constitutes infidelity in a conservative traditional relationship is different then that of swingers.

  11. 11 DENNIS@OCC
    November 14, 2008 at 14:46

    Cheating on one’s spouse is being unfaithful!


  12. November 14, 2008 at 15:16

    Cheating is what the couple deems it is. A couple in the beginning of a relationship sets their own “rules” as to what is off limits and out of bounds. Only that couple can determine what cheating is.

  13. 13 Steve
    November 14, 2008 at 15:40

    Err, this story sounds more like someone wanting media attention. So if I kill someone playing grand theft auto should I get charged with a crime? It’s shocking to what levels people will go to get their 15 minutes.

  14. November 14, 2008 at 16:01

    First off, this story is very funny at a first glance! However, questions of faithfulness and or the lack thereof are real. So, let us try and respond.

    I do believe that the act of being ‘faithful’ to one’s partner can include having sex with other people, as well as not, in part, because it is about a bond of trust that is being negotiated. Whether that ‘bond’ is violated or not is not really the point, at least in terms of the conditions of agreement between the parties. Can we, or should we be having extra-marital relations, etc.? That has to be answered by the people in the relationship, I think.

    I am not sure how I feel about all this, however. I do know that there is a clear question of emotions which go into the act of doing something. So, I don’t really believe in “casual sex”, in the main, as there almost always a relationship of sorts that is transacted between two or more people who get into situations like this. What does all that mean? If, I breach an emotional trust without acting on the motivations, then, I am also in breach of the relationship, at some level.

    If you have to look outside of a relationship to get an emotional need fulfilled then that is a clear question that the relationship is not fulfilling a particular need or set of needs. That requires examination. Is that a premise on which to dissolve a marriage? Maybe! But, I would not be too eager to say yes!

  15. November 14, 2008 at 16:03

    The first line of the last paragraph of my earlier post should read: “If you….an emotional and or sexual need…”.

  16. November 14, 2008 at 16:03

    Tell me again how we heterosexual people value the sanity of marriage so much we can’t allow LGBT people get married. What a joke!

    @ Brett and Nelson

    Right on Point!
    @ Steve

    LOL! However, he is not going to jail. Law enforcement is not punishing him.
    @ Julie P


  17. November 14, 2008 at 16:10

    well, if we can be charged with murder from GTA, I’m a mass murder and so are my kids!

  18. November 14, 2008 at 16:25

    Most marriages fail when these rules were not clearly defined, or the flexibility of those boundries are undersestimated. There are olife changing events, such as a child, that will redefine those boundires that must be re-agreed upon.

  19. November 14, 2008 at 16:30

    @ Jessica in NYC!

    Very funny! I wondered when ‘Prop Eight’ would be discussed here. That should be the next topic for discussion, Ros. What are the implications of ‘Prop Eight’ for the Civil Rights Movement? Why are straight people the only ones who get to act stupid, as evidenced by the case above?

  20. November 14, 2008 at 16:40

    While this sounds like the classic nutcase story, there’s actually a twist to this one: the couple met over the internet. So I think that the woman felt a real threat from this virtual cheating because she already experienced that virtual behaviour can become real behaviour. What’s more, the husband is real-dating the woman who he cuddled up with virtually by now.

    So while this may not technically be unfaithful behaviour, the consequences may well be.

  21. November 14, 2008 at 16:59

    @ Katharina,

    A most insightful analysis! LOL!

  22. 22 Bruce Sickles
    November 14, 2008 at 17:20

    A vow -“til death do we part” constitutes an unending commitment not based upon behaviour of the participants. I don’t care the reasons. If you make a vow, especially one of such signicance, should you not stick with it. Marriage may not have been rediculous in it’s beginning but it is obviously rediculous now.

  23. November 14, 2008 at 17:26

    Could it be that the wife in this has wanted a way out of the marriage and used this?

  24. 24 selena in Canada
    November 14, 2008 at 17:41

    The question I would ask is: what exactly are they looking for in a relationship?

    If a person is not happy with his/her life situation, then s/he will look endlessly for that something that is usually undefinable. They know they want something but they will never find it because they don’t know what it is.

    Vows and marriage are just a means to make people feel guilty about not following society’s dictates.

    Many people vow to love and remain bonded forever only to find forever is a long time with an abusive partner. It is even a long time with a partner who is there but not there, if you know what I mean.

    Everyone has a right to be happy. And I applaud any woman or man who leaves a person for having sex in Second Life. S/he is acting out a fantasy that does not include his/her partner. That is not a relationship; it is an arrangement. Some people can live in an arrangement. Others can’t and if you can’t out is the only answer.

    Anyone who agrees to live in such a partnership/marriage because of societal pressure will only be miserable.

  25. 25 archibald in oregon
    November 14, 2008 at 18:41

    Sounds like a great marriage. ” My husband is shagging this virtual hooker and spends more time online than he does with me”, though not “unfaithful” in body, certainly distracted and not focused on the relationship. “Till death do us part” is outdated religious dogma, but even a fraction of the duration referenced is significant and worthy of focus, if not, time to divorce your mentally “unfaithful” partner……

  26. 26 gary
    November 14, 2008 at 18:47

    My wife and I now have 43 years together, and I could certainly spend another 43 with her (though whether she could stand my company so long is a valid question). So personally, I define marriage as a lifetime contract.
    Many people don’t see this contract as being unbreakable. For them, infidelity is often a valid reason for unilateral termination. In this case the question is; is this virtual infidelity predictive of real life infidelity, or is it merely indicative of an uninhibited fantasy life.
    The core of the contract isn’t sex; it is communication. The virtual affair is more probably a consequence of poor communication (about sexual needs and desires), than it is about a willingness to be unfaithful. Chatting about needs and perhaps an enjoyable alternative to the on-line activity would probably have been the wiser first course for both parties.

  27. 27 viola
    November 14, 2008 at 19:09

    What constitutes unfaithfulness in a marriage? Whatever is done in direct contradiction to the marriage contract, which are the wedding vows and the laws concerning marriage in the society in which the marriage takes place. Marriage is often not taken very seriously. In the back of everyone’s mind is the thought, “I can always get a divorce if I don’t like it.”

  28. 29 Jennifer
    November 14, 2008 at 19:20

    @ Bruce: “A vow -”til death do we part” constitutes an unending commitment not based upon behaviour of the participants. I don’t care the reasons. If you make a vow, especially one of such signicance, should you not stick with it. Marriage may not have been rediculous in it’s beginning but it is obviously rediculous now.”

    Very true!

    @ Gary

    Your post gives me hope that there are still people around who see marriage for what it should be. It’s a shame that people my age (in their 20s) and even beyond don’t seem to see marriage as anything special. We are too busy making a mockery of it…..

  29. 30 bjay
    November 14, 2008 at 19:35

    What constitutes being unfaithful?

    YE !
    The tugs between your gland(an organ that synthesizes and secretes chemical substances for the body to use)
    and the clean, cool, lucid mined.
    For that, we might even be going to war as the consequences.


  30. 31 roebert
    November 15, 2008 at 08:00

    Bjay, I fully agree…I think.

  31. 32 Shakhoor Rehman
    November 15, 2008 at 16:53

    The human mammal is naturally promiscous. Punishing people for doing what is in their nature and expecting a positive response but would be comparable to issueing speeding tickets to Lewis Hamilton in Formula One. Its all a matter of intellect and mutual understanding which many couples do not have. My marriage has lasted for 3 decades and has not resulted in the kind of brouhaha that bedevils many a break-up. There is no line to be crossed which divides ‘fidellity’ from ‘infidelity’ unless you are talking about who gets what money in a divorce settlement. Its infantile really but that is what relying on money renders us.

  32. 33 jamily5
    November 16, 2008 at 21:58

    Scott thought or felt that he was doing something wrong, though. Otherwise, they would not have had a reconciliation where she forgave him, the first time.
    He justifies it by saying that she, plays games all day and they are not really married.
    It does sound like she would rather live in a fantasy world.
    And, since she lives there most of the time: I could understand that she felt betrayal when her online character was cheated upon.
    I know many men and women who started chatting with someone from the opposite sex on the internet. If you are putting your internet connections before your spouse or if you hear yourself saying: “I wish my spouse was as … … kind, comforting, understanding, outgoing, talented, ….. …”
    Then, you know that you are in dangerous areas.
    It is about a relationship: physical or emotional with someone other than your spouse.
    I am not saying that people can’t have other relationships: but if you make a commitment to a person that virtually says that you value their relationship above others, then you need to honor this.
    And, if you know that your spouse would be hurt, if they found out: then, you probably should not be doing it.
    There is something to be said about respecting the person who you are involved with and honoring the relationship.
    Yes, all of these things should be talked about before getting together.
    But, in Amy’s case, it seems as if she socializes and is more involved in her fantasy world.
    I would suggest that she take him to court (in the game) and charge him with “virtual infidelity.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: