"We just grew apart." "I thought she'd change her mind about not wanting kids." "His drinking was out of hand." "She cheated." When it comes to divorce, we've heard different versions of the same narratives over and over again. But a recent study finds a new reason for divorce is on the rise: video games. Well, actually, there's one particular video game that's tearing couples apart and it just so happens to be the favorite of all of my 13-year-old nephew's friends. Yes, that's right. People are actually getting divorced because of the video game Fortnite. Elite Daily reached out to Fortnite for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.
The study was conducted by Divorce Online, a company that claims to be "one of the largest filers for divorce petitions in the U.K." They found that Fortnite: Battle Royale was cited as the reason for at least 200 divorce petitions since January. To give it some context for you, that's about five percent of all of the divorces filed on their site. While you and I may be shocked by the finding, people over at Divorce Online HQ don't quite have their jaws hanging to the floor. In fact, a spokesperson for the company simply sees the game as grounds for another addiction that winds up driving couples apart.
“Addiction to drugs, alcohol and gambling have often been cited as reasons for relationship breakdowns but the dawn of the digital revolution has introduced new addictions,” the spokesperson tells Fortune. The rep went on to cite “online pornography, online gaming and social media" as examples of these "new addictions."
Do video games seem to be driving a wedge in your relationship? Well, before you split, try out these tips from Dr. Gary Brown, a prominent relationship therapist in Los Angeles.
First, Dr. Brown suggests you have a conversation with your partner. "You need to let them know that you are feeling sad and confused about why their partner seems to be spending more time with one or more video games," he says.
Once you've done that, it's time to figure out if gaming is actually a problem for your partner. "Know the difference between a normal amount of downtime playing video games and when the amount of time playing video games becomes a problem," Dr. Brown advises. "There is no right answer other than this: you feel that your partner is more interested in virtual reality than being with you in real life. That may be different from one person to the next."
"Understand that the makers of video games sometimes hire neuropsychologists to help them design a game that will, for all practical purposes, lead to the gamer becoming addicted," suggests Dr. Brown. "If your partner is spending hours upon hours in front of a screen, to the detriment of their relationship with you, it may be time to get some help as they may have unwittingly become addicted."
Next, it's time to accept the fact that gaming really does have the power to tear your relationship apart. "Excessive gaming can lead to divorce," Dr. Brown warns. "There is emerging data that excessive gaming is a leading contributor to divorce."
Finally, it's time to take a long, hard look in the mirror. "You may also need to consider the possibility that your gamer partner may be unhappy in the relationship and is using gaming to avoid facing specific issues in your relationship," suggests Dr. Brown. "You'll know that is probably the case if your partner refuses to spend more time with you."
If you're struggling with this in your own relationship, I hope Dr. Brown's advice can help you in some way, shape or form.
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