World of Divorcecraft

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SonyPS2controller.jpgCan video games instigate a divorce? According to a study by the website Divorce Online, the answer—in a small but growing number of marriages—is apparently yes.

The study found that 15% of women filing for divorce cite their husband’s compulsive video game habits as a reason for dissolving their union, a number that’s up from 5% just a year ago.

Jessica Ellis, a 24-year-old from London, said of her husband’s gaming compulsions, “He was addicted to World of Warcraft but played other games now and then. The amount he was playing gradually increased until I could not take it any more. When it became serious he was playing up to eight hours a day. I was constantly trying to get him to cut back but he didn’t think he had a problem until I told him I wanted to leave. But by that time it was too late.”

In addition to Warcraft, an online fantasy role-playing game that’s been described in addictive terms so frequently over the years that some have sarcastically dubbed it World of Warcrack, the study singled out popular console shooters Call of Duty and Halo as damagingly addictive.

Video game addiction expert Ryan G. Van Cleave said of the study’s findings, “The problem spouses encounter with video game addiction is that the non-gamer doesn’t appreciate that it’s an addiction. This means it’s not a choice to spend so much time in a virtual environment versus time with the spouse and family. It’s a compulsion.”

For his part, Divorce Online managing director Mark Keenan commented, “I was surprised by the result at first, but I would expect the number to be even higher next year. The increase could be a consequence of people staying indoors more because of the recession, or it might be being used by men in particular as a means of escape from an already unhappy relationship.”

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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely fed up with husband playing Destiny for hours! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Nicole :

My husband has a gaming addiction.  But it is not the first entertainment addiction he has had.  He goes to work but when he gets home it is all about the games. His game of choice is skyrim.  We have always had problems with our relationship.  I don't think he ever really wanted to marry me but we were pregnant and at the time we wanted to try to make it work as a family. I still want it to work.  He has generally been dissatisfied with life.  So if it was movie after movie or making electronic music it was always more than a hobby.  It was work and "hobby".  He has rejected God and tells me that it is all a bunch of bs.  He has really gotten lost in this alternate world of games.  He has always liked the free roaming type of games where they have no end.  I don't even know how to talk to him anymore.  According to my husband I am boring and stupid. My son has said he doesn't think his dad loves him. My daughter tells people all my dad does is play games and the little one is too small to notice. I know the real problem is that he needs to open his heart to God.  I don't nag him we barely speak.  It is hard to live with someone and feel so alone and I am sure he feels alone too but I don't know how to reconnect with him.  We don't get along and it is generally easier to live two seprate lives in the same house.  I know things can't stay this way but......... I work, pay bills, and take care of the kids mostly on my own or with help from other family members.  I can't tell my husband what to do.  I don't want to be divorced because I don't ever want to be away from my kids even when they are driving me crazy. I also want to obey God and stay true to the commitment for better and worse.  It is not easy when they abandon the famliy. I know my husbands father walked out on him when he was little. So I guess is what I am saying is that you are not alone. Pray and hopefully we can win our husbands back. without nagging but by behavior 1 Peter 3 1 Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  ChristinaFOTF:

Dear Praying for My Children,

My heart breaks to hear your story! Gaming addictions are devastating to marriages and families. I'm so sorry it has affected your family! Please know that we are praying for you and your family.

As with any addiction, you have to focus on what you can control and let go of what you don't have control over. At this point, you cannot control what happens at your husbands house. It is not fair that you have to deal with the fallout of your childrens behavior. It is heartbreaking and you will go through a grieving process, as you are already aware you are in.

My encouragement to you is to get in with a Christian counselor that can support you and help you during this time. There are also several resources that may be helpful to you during this time: Losing Control and Liking It, Ron Deal material (note: says step families, but really talks about how to parent when two households are involved, and you don't have control), and Foolproofing Your Life. You might also consider a support group like Celebrate Recovery which can offer you a community of support during this time!

Please know we are praying for you! If you have further questions, or need encouragement, feel free to contact our counseling dept.

Many Blessings,

Christina MSW, LCSW, FOTF Counseling Dept.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  b a:

"It's a great bonding experience. I don't deny we both are addicted to different degrees, and sometimes it does interfere with our relationship as a couple, but remember, ANYTHING can become addicting."

Would you say the same thing if it were crack meth, alcohol or porn? 

"There may very well be underlying causes for a partner to withdraw into something else. One should take a step back and evaluate one's own actions and behaviours before placing blame where blame is not due."

Telling the family of a computer addict that they are to blame for their loved one's choice of escapism is the same as blaming the wife for her husband's fist on her face or a child for his parent's alcoholism.

You can talk all you want to a person addicted to escapism, but they won't answer you ha but that doesn't mean their partner owns the escapist's issues.

You're forgetting that the empathy part of the brain is affected by gaming, thus making it even harder to get their attention bc many are just not interested in 'talking things out,' hence the very reason they 'escape.'

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Praying for My Children:

My husband of 20 yrs recently abandoned our 9 children and I due to his long-standing addiction to computer gaming, he would never get help for it though the children and I repeatedly begged him to seek help.  He was not like this when we first got married and hid most of his usage for the first years; when it was discovered he pretty much said 'wahtcha gonna do about it?' and so I busied myself with the babies while he courted his tech mistress.Over the years I have learned the church is totally ill-equipped or unwilling to help us gamingwidows bc they don't want to offend their relationship with the man they see offend his own family relationships right unde their noses.  It is so easy to hide in the numbers of a church and make their concerned wives look like crazies when they do speak up so they can further hide their 'heroinware.'  The advice I'd get would be to submit to him in his sin . . . "Are you willing to lose it all so that God can get ahold of your husgand's heart?" and "you'll win him to Christ by your patient witness" all the while my children grow up angry that daddy is in the basement choosing a game over them.  But, Christ said we are to protect the abused and oppressed, not teach them to put up with it.The 6 months before he left he started luring the children into a computer addiction of their own, which they loved bc they weren't allowed to game before and they were tired of the years of his rejection over the computer (if you can't beat 'em join 'em) so this gave them a new acceptance from their dad by keeping them up until 1am on school nights to game with him.  It was disgusting and soon the boys staring cursing at me and our daughters and my husband would allow them to mistreat their siblings and totally disobey me.To make matters worse, the last pastor I went to for help blew me off for 8 weeks and wouldn't meet with us either caliming he was looking for 'jsut hte right time' even though I ahd told him my hsuband was getting volatile, marching around with his guns as if acting out the gaming combats in real life and I was getting scared; finally, a dear friend from church saw my worried face one day and asked and when I opened up and told her how I can't get pastor to help, she gathered several familes together to have the men talk with my husband.By then it was too late, my hubby had stopped going to church, was avoiding everyone, and was totally engrained in his complusion, which now included an affair and cyber socializing = cleancut profession al by day but deadbeat fahter/husband by night sinking into his darkened gaming for 5-8 hours a night.  He left several weeks later while we were at church.He took our life savings of $100K, poof gone, anything he could sell like tools etc. and stopped his paychecks from auto-deposit to the bank account.  Friends fed us and paid our utilites for 3 months until I could get the court to order provision via child support.  He stopped paying all bills and is letting the house go into foreclosure not bc he can't afford it with his 6-digit income, but bc he's keeping it all to himself (and legally according to several attny's I've counseled with) - - - if he can dominate on-line in a game why not do as he wishes in real life?  No one can convince me there is not cross-over behavior from gaming, some can just mask it better than others.And now?  I get to hand my chidlren over to M+17 gaming at their dad's place to return home angry and acting out in the most unimaginable ways from the content of witchcraft, cannibalism, gratuitous murder and mutilation and other seedy content from the Skyrim, WofW, MW3, Call of Duty and other alien fantasy games as he allows the children to multi-play with strangers on-line.  My littlest children (the baby is age 3) have abondoned their love for normal child play and can now only amuse themselves with re-enacting gaming combat scenes and various ways of dying on the battlefield.  I do not have gaming at my house or cable TV so the derogatory language and pornographic terms coming from their mouths to our daughters and I are clearly from the p*rn and lustful content that are in these games (I researched it (watch out for Skyrim) and pray to break their evil ties and magick with the Blood of Christ).  I got the kids Christian counsel to help but she is frustrated bc everything she does to get them to move foreward goes back bc of his influence of gaming with the kids.  I pray God will bring foreward a computer addiction expert for my hubby's upcoming divorce trial that he forced on me (lovely no-fault divorce doesn't help any).There is not enough room here to list the terrible affects his addiction and indocrtination into his gaming has had on our children's grades, personal interests, and relationships/friends not to mention eating and mental health as some confess to the images of the gaming/murderings affecting their sleep.  He gest to keep them up until 2am on schoolnights and have gaming all nighters during visitation so when they come home they are spent, good for no school and grouchy and depressed from the Dopamine letdown.Those of you who think you can 'manage' around the gaming time your loved is doing are fooling yourselves - once they hit a spot in their life or a trouble area in the road, once the satisfaction level they have with their game no longer satisfies, that is the time you will have wished you intervened and put your foot down.The kicker of this is that we no longer live in a world where being a SAHM supporting her family and man is valued, and now my husband gets to keep 3/4 of his income while we live only on 1/4 for the 10 of us - - - all for the love of gaming.Do your families a favor, shoot the Xbox and play boards games . . . toss out the text phones and start a family hobby . . . crush the TV and go for walks, talks and snuggles, insist on a date night . . . and ladies, don't ever let someone tell you you must submit to his hiding money and keeping provision from you under the guise of submission so he can be saved by your witness - that is abuse, that is not being a 'joint heir' or 'submit yoruselves one unto another.'For the love of the children, give your spouse the gift of an 'intervention' and computer addiction counseling if they are on WoW and the otehr addictive games or their daily use is over 2 hrs of non-work related computer entertainment and dont let work-reated work eat your marriage.  Our spouses are to cherish us, not their motherboard.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  TyTBone:

Games need to get "back" to being about having fun (although most have always been frustrating in later levels) rather than being a "second job," as Ben Croshaw called MMORPGs.

Speaking (belatedly) about a certain game, is Duke Nukem Forever going to be reviewed? I've already seen the walkthrough online, and it didn't look /too/ fun (the "Alien" references were the thing I found most disturbing, personally), but at least it was different. Anyway, I can understand if you don't want to waste time on it as kids shouldn't be allowed to play it, but it is significant in gaming history and has been making waves through the gaming community.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  tina:

My boyfriend and I play WoW together. It's a great bonding experience. I don't deny we both are addicted to different degrees, and sometimes it does interfere with our relationship as a couple, but remember, ANYTHING can become addicting. However, for those who initiate divorce over a video game should not have entered into any kind of relationship. That just gives evidence to the selfishness of that person. There may very well be underlying causes for a partner to withdraw into something else. One should take a step back and evaluate one's own actions and behaviours before placing blame where blame is not due.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Colton L.:

I understand where this is coming from but in all honestly, it's completely untrue. Back in the 20th century, comic books and rock and roll were blamed for the same things and worse. Society has always needed and will always require a scapegoat to blame. If you're kids are into drugs or sex, chances are, your parenting skills may be lacking. If you're husband or WIFE (yes, women play games too!) is playing too many games to your liking, TALK to them. Don't blame inanimate objects for your own failures or inability to communicate. Gaming is a hobby, like watching movies or reading books. You can even participate if you want to...my good friend's girlfriend plays Call of Duty and such with him and is often better than both of us.  Don't cast blame until you've questioned everything about why you're casting the blame. Like guns and weapons, games are not harmful in the slightest of themselves. It's what people do with them that can be potentially harmless.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Joey:

This has come up before on a Slashdot discussion, which was really interesting to read. However, the study doesn't surprise me, either. Think about it: if .001% of game players become addicted in a drug-like sense, the number of gamers who divorce over it will increase as 1.) the number of married people playing the game increase, and 2.) the number of people playing the game and get married increase (though in these cases the addiction would necessarily set in after). When sea level rises, so do the boats.Joey

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Erin:

This doesn't surprise me at all.  My husband, though a great husband and father, spends far too much time online playing WOW and other games.  Fortunately he doesn't neglect his responsibilities, but I feel left out a lot of the time, and I think our kids do, too.He says playing these games allows him to relax and gives him a sense of control, which is especially nice after a stressful day at work.I feel like my husband makes it more of a priority to get his game time in than making sure he has regular time with the kids and me.Would I divorce over this?  No.  I love my husband and we have a great marriage.  I pray that God will help him to see what he's missing out on.

On another note, I'm pretty disappointed at how scantily dressed some of the female characters are in these games.  For men (or women) who are escaping reality, unhealthy fantasies could be formed and could take the place of real relationships.  Not to mention how the female characters could be a source of temptation for something more serious, say, pornography.