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Plugged In

Study: Video games cited as key cause of divorce

Plugged In

Communication and financial problems are the two leading causes of divorce today, but a new study shows that video games are quickly climbing the list.

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World of Warcraft (Activision/Blizzard)

Conducted by Divorce Online, the study breaks down the reasons couples split. Of the wives that pointed to "unreasonable behavior," 15 percent said their husbands put gaming before them.

One year ago, that figure stood at 5 percent.

So which games are the biggest home wreckers? Perhaps unsurprisingly, Activision's mega franchises World of Warcraft and Call of Duty get the lion's share of the blame. Such is the price of success.

Relationship experts say excessive gaming is actually a symptom rather than a cause, though. The disconnect between family and fantasy is often less a matter of neglect and more about the controversial subject of game addiction. And while it might be easy to simply walk away from the problem, it's one that can be fixed (and, subsequently allow the marriage to be saved).

"Often men take to playing video games as a stress buster and as a filler to fill a vacuum in their lives," said Dr. Kamal Khurana, a psychologist speaking to the Times of India.

"It's wrong to play the blame game, and place the onus on the creators of a particular game. The fact is that there are serious issues and there is something missing in the relationship, that is pushing the guy to resort to escapism to deal with them. … A non-addict cannot see why it's a compulsion for the addict to play the game everyday no matter what."

While online games are most frequently cited in the study, some couples saw troubles arise because of seemingly less invasive titles like Angry Birds and Doodle Jump. But those small, mobile games can be played anywhere at any time — and can add to communication problems.

That, in turn, can make your spouse feel isolated, which often leads to them walking away…and 'game over' for the marriage.

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