I received an emaiil today made me want to share this. Repeatedly, studies find that Internet use has a negative impact on marriages. In my first study on Internet addiction, over 50% of respondents said that they suffered marital problems because of their Internet use. It is how I first got involved with this study, as a friend of mine's husband became addicted to chat rooms, which led to their divorce.
In the email, Maggie has been married for 3 years and they do not have children. She writes, "We are both 28 and I thought we had a strong, open and honest relationship; other than the normal marital issues. He started playing World of Warcraft and finds playing this game takes his mind off his concerns, but it has become a problem, he plays all the time. Everything we had together seems to be slipping away."
"I mentioned to my husband that I didn't want to be replaced by a cybergame, and I think that is finally penetrating. After I mentioned that I felt intimacy between us was difficult (to put it mildly) with a computer in the way, he seemed to realize that I was seriously feeling pushed aside. For the past few weeks he hasn't been spending as much time on it. Now I hope this continues, but it is early to tell! I don't want his GRUDGING attention, so I guess I will have to be patient and persistent. I know our relationship IS first for him, so I think he will fight this "addiction." I will suggest we play together - in real time, not online! I do have a backgammon board somewhere (now why didn't I think of that myself...)"
Even if online relationships aren't sexual or involve cybersex, they can still lead to marital problems. Just the basic neglect of the marriage can impede intimacy and trust for a couple. Maggie feels confused yet hopeful that she can regain his attention in a meaningful way.