A recent study conducted by Divorce Online, a UK information site dealing with divorce, found that 5% of the 4,665 divorce petitions filed in that country since January, 2018 cite the internet game Fortnite as the cause.

It is widely believed that gaming and social media are just as addictive as drugs, alcohol and gambling, which are also common causes of divorce. Not only does Fortnite appear to be highly addictive, it is also time consuming and can be quite costly.  70% of gamers on the Fortnite site purchase digital items for their characters with the average spend being $85 at a time. The violent aspect of the game is also questioned as to whether those playing for hours at a time not only spend less time with their partner but also view them differently.

It is not uncommon for women in a relationship to feel ignored or less important than a fantasy game.  Is this your story? It is difficult to reason with the idea that your husband would rather spend time on a computer game in an unreal situation rather than with you.  The resentment, anger and lowered self-esteem are all a consequence of this behavior.

As new technology develops, the concern is that this issue is going to get worse, not better.  Video games have been around a long time and existed as a competitor for a spouse’s attention well before this study in the UK was published.  Now, more than ever, these games are becoming increasingly addictive. This is concerning. Design, ease of use, interconnectivity with a community of other users and a focused competitive nature form a combination that is clearly difficult for anyone to compete with, much less a spouse.

When the era of augmented and virtual reality is upon us, we will have reached a new threshold of immersive technology that may pose challenges in all relationships, including marriages.  This is not to say the future is doom and gloom and the enemy of romantic partnerships. The first step is remaining aware of the role this technology plays in your and your partner’s lives.  It can be an opportunity to create a shared hobby or interest together. At the very least, keep the lines of communication open and try not to let video games or forays into virtual reality be a taboo topic. That way, you can have an open discussion in the event it becomes an issue in your marriage.