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article imageGaming Widow Woes

By Samantha A. Torrence     Aug 21, 2007 in Lifestyle
The world is being invaded by technology at an alarming rate. We as people are offered whole new realities within the virtual reality. The invasion has abducted groups of people, and thier families are left with only a lifeless shell.
What is more addictive than a fantasy realm where you have the opportunity to be more than just a mediocre, par, average Joe? Could you resist the pull of games like World of Warcraft where you can be a sexy powerful and skilled individual? Would Second Life give you the ability to be an actress, or a dancer, or fulfill other dreams that you as a person could never hope to accomplish in the real world? Sadly, in the world today virtual reality is. in reality, far more appealing than reality. Really.
Gaming Widows are the unfortunate spouses to gamers who have been embraced by the virtual world. Usually they are left in a hollow marriage where most of their time is spent keeping busy and waiting on the addicted gamer. This classification also extends to gaming widowers, however for the most part it is the men who are the addicted.
Last year on an episode of Wife Swap, America was introduced to a gaming widower whose wife was addicted to the Star Wars MMORPG. Her family lived their lives without her in them, and when she was finally forced into reality she realized she needed to become a wife and mother again.
This woman was lucky, but what happens to those who cannot face reality again? It is a disturbing trend, but there has been an increase in divorces due to gaming addiction. Some of these divorces are due to online infidelity.
When a gamer wife does not share an interest in the chosen game of her spouse less time is spent in an important part of marriage, spending time together. When loneliness sets in, gamers tend to find people on their chosen venue to bond with. Just as in real life sometimes these relationships invoke feelings of trust, love, and companionship.
A recent AOL article cited this study, as well as a personal interview with an addicted gamer and his widow. Nearly 40 percent of men and 53 percent of women who play online games said their virtual friends were equal to or better than their real-life friends, according to a survey of 30,000 gamers conducted by Nick Yee, a recent Ph.D. graduate from Stanford University. More than a quarter of gamers said the emotional highlight of the past week occurred in a computer world, according to the survey, which was published in 2006 by Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press's journal Presence.
Online infidelity is a result of these relationships, and while courts have not officially ruled acknowledged online infidelity, the tide will be turning in the near future.
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