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Ever heard of Candy Crush Saga? According to an article in The Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/games/2019/jun/26/more-than-9m-play-candy-crush-for-three-hours-or-more-a-day-addiction
a top executive at King (the developers) revealed that more than nine million players spend three to six hours playing the game. That’s a big number!
Imagine having dinner with your significant other and taking out your phone every few minutes to up your score. That’s bound to cause problems in the most solid relationship. If you’re an avid gamer and are sensing a pattern with failing relationships, perhaps it’s time to question if gaming is the cause.
Can intense gaming really be a factor in my failing relationship?
In 2019, a British website Divorce Online conducted a study that looked at the correlation between couples divorcing over the popular game Fortnite. They found a whopping 5% of applications that listed the game as the reason behind the divorce, further stating that the time spent on games by their partner was the deal-breaker. A spokesperson for the company said that addiction is often the reason for many relationships breaking down. In previous times, this would probably refer to drugs, alcohol or gambling, but the digital age comes with its own problems. In fact, a disorder related to gaming has now been classified by the World Health Organisation https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/gaming-disorder#:~:text=Gaming%20disorder%20is%20defined%20in,the%20extent%20that%20gaming%20takes).
It is defined a pattern of gaming behavior, (computer games, video, and casual games included) in which increased priority is given to gaming over other interests, such as daily activities, socialization, education, or occupation. For Gaming Disorder to be diagnosed, the pattern must be linked to significant disruption of lifestyle and be evident for at least 12 months.
Most gaming companies admit to creating and tweaking games so they have an element of addictiveness to them. Millennials spend hours on their phones switching between apps and use it as a buffer in social situations. It’s natural that they may turn to games to redirect anxiety or stress and find relief in their digital worlds.
Some signs of gaming addiction can include:
- Increased amount of time spent gaming
- Desire to check consoles/apps constantly and a feeling of anxiety when this is not possible
- Spending hours gaming, resulting in disrupted sleeping schedule
- Neglecting work, study, family, and friends
- Negative reaction when people comment on the above symptoms
The reason for many troubled relationships often comes down to the amount of time couples spend together. Hours wasted on gaming takes away from quality time spent with your partner. If you’re engrossed with your computer or gaming console, the lion’s share of housework, or dealing with other situations falls on their shoulders, causing conflict in the relationship. Lack of communication is another cause, and various studies have shown that those who spend a lot of time playing video games have poorer relationships, not just with their partner, but with family and friends too.
So how do I mend my fragile relationship?
It’s important to understand that the time you spend gaming is your choice. It’s a fun hobby and can help you relax after a stressful day when you just want to switch your mind off for a bit. Of course, when two hours of driving around in circles turn to six hours, your partner might not be so forgiving. Here are some tips that could be helpful:
Communication is key
Not only useful when it comes to excessive gaming, good communication is the foundation of a strong relationship. Try to get your partner to understand that you’ve had a long day or just want to try out a new game you’ve been wanting a while. Make sure they are okay with you switching off for an hour or two, and don’t need help around the house. You may even consider buying an additional console so both of you can spend time playing games you enjoy together.
Don’t let it take away from other responsibilities
Make a checklist of things you have to do and reward yourself with an hour or two of gaming when you’re done. If you’re not one for lists, discuss with your partner what they need help with, then maybe plan a time when they want to watch a show you don’t like, or chat with a friend. This way, you’re both involved in other activities and it doesn’t take away from time you could be spending together.
Make weekly date night a thing
Think about when you first started dating and couldn’t wait to spend time with each other. Dressing up and making an effort, going out or eating in, keep the romance alive in your relationship and use it as a time where you resist the temptation of powering up your console, computer, or phone app.
Set limits on your gaming applications
Yes, phone companies know how much time you’re spending gazing at your screen, and they might be trying to fix it. Most Apple devices come with a function where you can set a time limit on your app. While you can ignore the limit, seeing you’ve been playing Angry Birds for three hours might just be the wakeup call you need.
Relationships are great when two people have the same interests and make mutual decisions. Even if you don’t, having a partner who understands when you need a break, and gives you the space you need is important. At the end of the day, we could give all the relationship advice in the world, it comes down to what works best for you and your partner. Why not explore together and find a game you both love playing?
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