Friction over Fantasy - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, Florida-

Friction over Fantasy

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By Emily Pantelides - bio | email
Posted by Rachel Leigh - email

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - For many of us, hearing that there's a new Xbox video game doesn't mean much. But, in some cases, these new video games are ending relationships and even marriages.

Too much video game playing is leading to divorce, and it's happening all the time in our area.

"I lost part of my life," said Graham Anderson. "I wasn't going out, no social interactions, really just sitting in my room all day."

Graham was addicted to video games. "I remember when I got the game for Christmas. I didn't open my other presents. I played the video game all night. [And I] proceeded to play the game 14 days straight"

It was about that time Graham's life really started to change. "We had a great relationship till this came out."

Another new video game pulled him back in. "She put up with it for a month."

Then, he lost his girlfriend and potential future wife. "I don't think I would date someone if they played video games 10 hours straight."

Think this story sounds weird? Maybe it's just Graham, maybe he's a strange, isolated case. "I've seen this, and I've seen it destroy people," said psychiatrist Mark Agresti.

"It may start slowly, but, in time, the relationships can become intense and real, and you react to them emotionally."

Not only does Agresti say it's common for people to be addicted to video games, but, he says, it's actually breaking up marriages. "What destroys a marriage? They are not there. It's almost like they are on drugs their entire world, and they are not in the real world."

"There are gold course widows, football widows, video game widows," said local divorce attorney Robin Roshkind.

She's seeing the problem, too. "Video games is one aspect of technology that is affording the spouse to avoid the other spouse."

So is there a solution? "The key here is insight. You need to talk to this person and say are you aware you are neglecting your relationship."

For Graham to come out of his video game addiction, it took months of therapy. "Now, I'm good."

He can play one game and walk away, but, for so many others, their ending isn't as happy as Graham's. "Video games can seriously do damage to your mental state. I feel like they do blur the lines of reality."

But there is nothing more real than divorce; although, Graham's case didn't come to that, he did lose his girlfriend.

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