Will you be my pixilated wife?

On my morning drive today I heard on NPR’s Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me! that a man is having a virtual marriage with another woman as his real life wife stands by and fumes about it. Feel free to click the previous link, but below is an exerpt from the The Wall Street Journal.

He’s [Ric Hoogestraat of Phoenix] never met the woman outside of the computer world of Second Life, a well-chronicled digital fantasyland with more than eight million registered “residents” who get jobs, attend concerts and date other users. He’s never so much as spoken to her on the telephone. But their relationship has taken on curiously real dimensions. They own two dogs, pay a mortgage together and spend hours shopping at the mall and taking long motorcycle rides. This May, when Mr. Hoogestraat, 53, needed real-life surgery, the redhead cheered him up with a private island that cost her $120,000 in the virtual world’s currency, or about $480 in real-world dollars. Their bond is so strong that three months ago, Mr. Hoogestraat asked Janet Spielman, the 38-year-old Canadian woman who controls the redhead, to become his virtual wife. The woman he’s legally wed to is not amused. “It’s really devastating,” says Sue Hoogestraat, 58, an export agent for a shipping company, who has been married to Mr. Hoogestraat for seven months. “You try to talk to someone or bring them a drink, and they’ll be having sex with a cartoon.”

First of all, I died laughing. Really? A virtual marriage? If I were in a virtual world of sin and fantasy, I’m not sure if I would pick marriage as my place to romp. Although those virtual motorcycle rides the couple takes sounds fun. But why in the world of fantasy land would you want a mortage and a ball and chain — even if it isn’t exactly real? However that really isn’t the point.

In this brave new world of technological improvements on products from yesteryear and the Internet being arguably the lifeblood and pulse of recent existance, isn’t this kind of like cheating? Isn’t it really like trading up for a virtually “better” version of what you already have? Kind of like a software upgrade?

Mr. Hoogestraat’s real-life wife is losing patience with her husband’s second life. “It’s sad; it’s a waste of human life,” says Mrs. Hoogestraat, who is dark-haired and heavy-set with smooth, pale skin. “Everybody has their hobbies, but when it’s from six in the morning until two in the morning, that’s not a hobby, that’s your life.”

Time to leave Mrs. Hoogestratt, time to leave.

10 responses to this post.

  1. Wow… I felt so guilty laughing. Poor woman…


  2. Oh I know. WordPress got glitchy for a moment, so I’ve edited this since you read it I think. What really is weird is how she sits by and takes it! Why continue hating life, staring in front of the Boob Tube while your husband is virtally making love and fun with another lady across the nation?


  3. Posted by Peter Hoppa on Saturday, August 18, 2007 at 4:32 pm

    Maybe binary Janet is really a binary Jake?!


  4. ah! never thought of that. but if you read all of the article, the person in fact does exist as a REAL woman…so it says anyway!


  5. I laughed too…and then decided that I’d dump the jerk. It sounds like she’s (real life wife) has only been married to the man for seven months? I don’t think that I’d put up with that from my new husband – I’m amazed that the sparkle has gone out of the marriage so quickly that he sits on the program, chatting with another woman, for 20 hours a day. Excellent post – thank you!


  6. Thanks Charleen! I enjoyed the Wall Street read and just had to share it!
    And I hope this woman decides to leave before it’s their year anniversary! I can’t believe it has only been 7 months.


  7. J –

    I could never put this on my blog (people would surely get upset about me airing their dirty laundrey) so I will respond to your post and tell you my feelings and experiences with internet relationships……

    I’ve never been big on the whole internet relationship thing – you know, dating, sexual hook-up, making friends. It’s never been my thing… until recently when I started my blog and now I enjoy the interaction, but it will stay right where it is and none of my new-found acquaintenances qill morph into some torid love affair.

    With that said, the internet has become the electronic Dolly Levi for many people I know – whether it be dating or internet hook-ups. I have innumerable friends who wouldn’t have a sex life without their keyboard and wireless connection.

    Two women in my extended family have devastated their families due to their internet dalliances. These two women are half-sisters, to each other – not me, and both left their husbands and children for their internet princes charming – only to discover they were kissing frogs – but some people like frogs……………..

    Sister One, married with two children, started her internet affair, sneaked off for a bliss-filled weekend, thought it was the real thing, came home and left again. She flew from New Mexico to Windsor, Ontario, Canada only to find that her cyber-hunk was a loser who was unemployed and lived with his mother. Contrite as can be, she called her husband, begged to be forgiven, and returned home a broken woman. She remains there today.

    If your sister went through this you would think you would have insight and know better, but no – and Sister Two did it bigger, better and more bizarre.

    Married with three children, Sister Two started her cyber love affair, and under the guise of visiting a relative 2000 miles away, left her children and husband. A few days into the visitation, she disappeared into the dark of night to rendezvous with her internet Romeo. The honeymoon hit a snag soon after when Sister Two dumped Romeo for his friend Mercutio.

    Like the real thing, internet love cannot sustain itself without money for food and rent so Sister Two and Mercutio placed a call her mother asking for forgiveness and a place to stay while they pursue their life and love.

    Within two or three month Mercutio becomes less important. They move in with her parents and Sister Two is forgiven by her now ex-husband and after she has a secret abortion and her ex fathers a child out-of –wedlock they reunite and ultimately remarry – with the stipulation that she stay clear of the family computer.

    One would think this is where the story would come to its natural conclusion and every one lived happily ever after. It ended this way for Sister-One , but not for Sister Two.

    Fast forward five or six years and Sister Two, who has had a surprise fourth child, secretly starts her cyber life anew and meets Romeo Redux and tells her husband she is not happy and has met someone. Her children, all but the little one, are now grown or near grown and they want nothing to do with her as she drives off(alone) to find Romeo Redux in South Carolina (the home state of her original cyber Romeo).

    There is no moral or happy ending. This is real life as of this past June. I’m sure the story doesn’t end there but until I know more all I can say is Tsk Tsk Tsk – people are crazy!!!

    I did mention these aren’t blood relatives… RIGHT?


  8. Holy cow…that was spectacular. I was just going to share about quitting a prominent online dating service after reporting my FIFTH match-up that was looking to stray on an existing marriage. I might have even shared about a friend of mine who uses WoW as a personal booty call…but that just eclipses everything that I could have really said. I think that I might turn off my computer now. 🙂


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