Is ‘Pokémon Go’ Ruining — and Creating — Relationships?

Gotta catch ’em all! (Photo: Getty Images)
Gotta catch ’em all! (Photo: Getty Images)

For as long as there have been hobbies, sports, and especially video games, a (sometimes) gentle tension has existed within romantic relationships between those who are obsessed with the aforementioned and those who suffer the consequences. And in recent memory, there has been no phenomenon that has put that precarious balance between lovers to a more meteoric test than the recent debut of Pokémon Go.

Initially released in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, and the U.K. on July 8, the augmented reality game — which superimposes Pokémon characters onto actual surroundings — has already driven fans to the streets and all over their environs in search of these massively popular virtual pets. In the process, relationships have been stressed, lost, regained, and even birthed — in just a few days’ time.

A brief review of where people go to vent emotionally on social media, aka Twitter, reveals many a romantic drama revolving around this game:

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It’s not just venting going on, according to recent reports. Evan Scribner of New York City confessed to one of the city’s papers that his girlfriend caught him cheating because he took the extra time to capture a pet while on a tryst at his ex’s apartment.

But perhaps it’s not all lost love that’s happening via Pokémon Go. Some enterprising enthusiasts are using the app — instead of Tinder and the like — to actually find dates. After all, what brings people together more than being in the same place at the same time in search of a nostalgic Pokémon creature from your childhood. As one successful Pokémon pickup artist recounted to the Wall Street Journal (of all places), “I’ve never met a stranger and felt so connected. It’s like you shared the same childhood.”

While your relationship may be suffering from the emergence of Pokémon Go in your life, based on the $7.5 billion the game has added to primary investor Nintendo’s valuation, we don’t think those creatures will stop hatching anytime soon.

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And yet, if your significant other has succumbed to the Pokémon Go craze, what can you do? Given that the game actually encourages players to get out and explore — you know, the real world — perhaps in this case, it might be better to join them rather than beat them.

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