Is Gaming as Bad as Cheating?
Some compare video game addiction to infidelity.
We all have our vices, and when you hear that cliché, you typically think of someone's penchant for alcohol, their soft spot for gambling, or something equally addictive that causes one to lose control. But for millions of people, that vice is gaming, and some believe the addiction may even be detrimental to relationships.
A Harris Interactive Poll released in 2007 showed that 8.5 percent of youth in the United States are addicted to video games. While the statistics aren't out on adult video game addiction, I think it's safe to assume it's not just restricted to kids. Overall, people spend three billion hours a week gaming.
It seems like an innocent enough hobby, but renowned therapist Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil believes gaming can be dangerous to relationships.
"Anytime someone spends more time with something or someone else than with their loved one, that's an affair," Dr. Bonnie said in a statement. "In this sense, gaming can be an affair—it can take the place of love and romance."
I'm not sure about the spending more time argument, just because that would mean we're all cheating on our spouses with work, but Dr. Bonnie says the idea behind addictive gaming is escapism.
"This escapism can easily take the form of a video game; the alternate worlds and experiences lend themselves to thrill-seeking behavior. The problem is that it's a vicious cycle."
She encourages people not to sacrifice their personal relationships for a hobby. Her solution? Couples need to have more fun together—exercise together, have sex more instead of gaming, and cuddle. According to the statement, these things apparently cause the same adrenaline release people get from gaming. I, for one, can't wait for Playstation to release Xtreme Cuddling.
On a related note, one study found that people who cheat in gaming might be more likely to cheat in a relationship. Earlier this year, North Dakota State University polled over 1,200 adults in the US and UK and found that about half of those who admitted to cheating in a game admitted to cheating in a relationship, too. They also found that cheating in gaming can result in being 3.5 times more likely to cheat at everyday things in the real world.
“It’s not surprising that online cheating parallels real-world cheating, even if people are just experimenting with the possibilities,” said Dr. Mia Consalvo of Concordia University.
But as one commenter put it:
"They make it sound as if the in game cheating leads to real life cheating. The most likely scenario is that these people were already cheaters, and the in game cheating comes easy to them because they're used to it."
Back to the addiction issue. For adults, some signs of video game addiction include neglecting to eat, sleep or bathe; calling in sick to stay home and play games; and lying about video game use.
"The key to avoiding such destructive behavior is communication," Dr. Bonnie says. She also advises couples to set boundaries with the gaming.
Not to say that I don't think gaming can cause issues in relationships, but I think I'd be a bit more hurt if my spouse cheated than if he took up a video gaming hobby. What do you think—have you argued with your spouse about gaming? Can gaming "be an affair"?
Photo: Jamie Grill/Getty Images
More on love & sex from MSN Living:
Do we ban books, TV, art just because we enjoy a little/ lot of time with these mediums of escapism?
Yes there will always be those who do become addicted to things, But it's not fair to single out games. How about you write an article on addictive personalities instead of fear mongering and gossip.
love: friendships, dating, sex & marriage
How to flag her little fibs. By Laura Tedesco
A new study on attraction may help explain why fashions change.
As a general rule, any island that offers great weather year-round is going to attract the most visitors in the winter (high season) when we’re all trying to escape the snow. Once summer rolls around, many islands see a sharp drop-off in tourism since many people have beach weather right in their own backyards.
And how you can attack the issues together.
A wedding is an exceptionally special day. Sometimes, an opportune photo flub makes the occasion even more memorable. Here are 25 awesome wedding photo bombs.
Somewhere between the first few butterfly-inducing dates and the committed-for-life stage, there’s the period of wondering if you’re both on the same page about how serious you feel about a future together. If you’re not quite at the point of "that talk" but you’re looking for a few clues you’re heading in that direction, here are some signs he’s in it for the long haul as your relationship progresses.
What’s that sound? It’s white noise blocking out the well-meaning person proclaiming groundbreaking news about where you can meet someone, asking why you’re still single, or bugging you about when you’re getting married already. Don’t be that person. Here are 15 annoying things all single people don’t want to hear.
With just a few days left before the big day, you already have a mile-long checklist of to-dos—now meet the don’ts! From impromptu skin treatments to all-night movie marathons, here are 11 things to avoid at all costs.
A new study shows that watching and discussing romantic films can drastically reduce your chance of divorce. These flicks more than fit the bill.
These seemingly innocent phrases still have the power to wound… big time.
Making "I do" last forever is one of the biggest challenges you'll ever face—and it's normal to worry about how you'll do it. But, if your connection involves any of these things, rest assured that you're in it for the long run.
Ultimately, as hard as it may seem at the beginning, a marital affair can be a turning point.