Game Over: Which Online Video Games Cause the Most Arguments Among Couples

6 min read

Various COVID-19 lockdowns across the world have meant a big boost for video gaming online. Let’s be honest, there’s not much else to do. And, what better way is there to spend your downtime than immersing yourself in another world or in an alternative life while playing with real people online?

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However, we know that gaming can cause relationship rifts. In fact, according to Iain Macintosh’s book, Football Manager Stole My Life, the titular game was cited as a factor in a whopping 35 divorce cases back in 2012.

Here at CardsChat, this got us all wondering which online games are causing the most arguments in relationships right now. We decided to find out by asking more than 1,000 adults in the UK.

Whether you’re a Fortnite fanatic, the put-upon partner of a Call of Duty devotee, or simply annoyed because you can’t get on the console yourself, this one is for you …

Big Turnoffs — The Top Online Games Causing Tiffs

So, which online games are the most likely to cause an argument with your partner? The top four feud-causing games we investigated should be no surprise to anyone: Call of Duty, FIFA, Fortnite, and Football Manager.

Online games most likely to cause an argument

Famous war game franchise Call of Duty is most likely to create a domestic dispute, rolling into first place with a ginormous 38%.

FIFA friction isn’t far behind, however, as the football game grabs second place with 34%, while stuff-of-legend Fortnite causes 21% of arguments.

Despite the stats we mentioned above linking Football Manager to 35 divorces, we found that the addictive game came fourth with 15%.

So what’s behind these rows? Chris Pleines, a dating expert from, says forgetting important dates and a lack of quality time can contribute:

“Being preoccupied with gaming will most likely let you forget what day it is, especially if you pull an all-nighter. Instead of preparing something special for your partner, you are busy leveling up on your game.”

Well, there you have it.

1 in 50 Couples Row Over Games Every Day

Out of the 1,000 UK adults we surveyed whose partners play online games, one in 50 couples said they argue over gaming each day. Wow. We guess at least one member of each pair is pretty passionate about playing time.

How many times per year do couples argue over online gaming

One in 25 said they squabbled a little less at just 250 to 300 times per year, while three in 25 ‘fessed up to gaming-related rows 150 to 200 times a year.

But it’s not all bad; one in four couples said they argue over games just 50 to 100 times a year. By comparison, that’s pretty peaceful.

Overall, one-quarter of gaming couples said they live harmoniously. Congrats, guys, you’ve reached the next level.

Controller Issues — Is it Guys or Girls Who Give Gaming the Red Card?

We dug deep into our research to find out who is trying to ban gaming in these households. The girls edge it slightly, with one-quarter of female respondents admitting to unsuccessfully trying to ban gaming in their homes.

Who is trying to ban gaming

Conversely, one-fifth of men who responded said they tried unsuccessfully to put a stop to gaming in the home.

We also spoke to Susan Trombetti, leading matchmaker, relationship expert, and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking, to delve even deeper into the impact of gaming in relationships.

“Gaming is a way to be connected without really connecting with people thus, sometimes, increasing your social isolation,” Trombetti said. “This can cause issues for relationships.”

Her advice? “Some things you can try are limiting time spent on the game instead of banning them altogether. Opposed to making your household a gaming-free household, if your partner enjoys it, consider limiting the time gaming, similar to how you may set boundaries like no phones while eating dinner together. Small compromises may work for you and your partner.”

Hmm … if at first you don’t succeed, just ask them to pass you the controller.

Who Needs Console-ing? When Gaming Threatens Relationships

Now on to the more serious side of things, when gaming rifts become so bad that couples could split up.

We asked the big question and uncovered some sobering stats.

Gaming causing breakups

Our data reveals that 25% of men have thought about breaking up with their partner because of online gaming-related arguments.

That’s compared to 17% of the women surveyed who admitted they’ve considered calling time on a relationship for the same reason.

“When people play online games, they become a part of something that involves responsibilities, loyalties, and interactions,” Dainis Graveris, a certified sex educator and relationship expert at SexualAlpha said. “These interactions, however, don’t spill through with their relationships offline.”

And why does this seem to bother more men than women? Dainis says it boils down to the male gamer’s motivations for playing online games. “That’s why you can find that most of them get into serious fights with their partners and have thought about breaking up with them.”

Dainis adds that some male gamers believe that playing online games helps alleviate stress, serves as an outlet for negative energy, and/or helps them regain a sense of control. “When their female partners don’t understand their motivations, they take offense and get into serious arguments”.

Remember that next time you reach for the controller.

Peace of the Action

Considering how many relationships are on the ropes due to online gaming, we started thinking about how couples can avoid the agro. The simple solution?

Get gaming included in your vows. Or if you’re not married, write some up into your living arrangements. We had a go at penning some for you — what do you think?

  • Do you [insert name] promise to play only an hour of gaming a day?
  • I promise never to ban gaming in the house
  • I vow to always put you first, even when I’m playing Fortnite
  • I promise never to keep score, even when I’m beating you at FIFA
  • I vow to never let the PS5 come between us
  • I [insert name], take thee, [insert name]….forsaking all others…’til COD do us part
  • What’s mine is yours and what’s yours is mine … except the Xbox


Wondering how we came up with these cool infographics? We surveyed 1,000 UK adults whose partners play online video games.

Our aim was to find out which games cause the most arguments between couples, so we gave every person the same five questions and recorded details about the respondents, including their age, gender, and the region in which they live.

Our research primarily focused on some of the most popular gaming titles, including FIFA, Football Manager, Fortnite, and Call of Duty.

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