NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Many parents say excessive online gaming is a problem for their children. Now, some married people say it’s an issue with each other, to the point where addictive games are being cited in divorce papers for ruining the romance.
Worldwide, more than 100 million people play “Fortnite,” the multi-player survival game. But some marriages aren’t surviving when one partner becomes addicted to the action.
A divorce facilitator in the United Kingdom says it reviewed almost 4,700 petitions filed so far this year. About 5 percent cite “addiction to Fortnite and other online games” as a cause of the marriage breakup.
“I’ve had clients maybe not cite Fortnite particularly, but say ‘he’s always on the couch playing games. He’s always involved in it,'” said Katherine Miller of Miller Law Group. “They feel so distant from that person.”
Attorney Miller has written about poor communication as a major factor in divorce. She says technology is behind some of that.
“You see more online pornography or online gaming, texting, the inability to maintain a personal relationship because the digital world is so present and so pressing,” Miller said.
Relational therapist Gwen Mancuso said excessive gaming is like any other marital issue that requires open honest communication to address.
“Any activity that takes away from time spent together gets in the way of the quality of the relationship,” Mancuso said. “When you have something difficult to talk to anyone about, it’s important to remember to talk to that person without a great deal of emotion. Speak to someone very clearly about what it is that you need.”
If you need your partner to put down the game controller and it doesn’t happen, it may take professional counseling to head off a trip to divorce court.
This summer the World Health Organization added “gaming disorder” to its compendium of mental health issues. The group says the diagnosis involves significant impairment to important areas of functioning over a period of at least a year.