The Great Guilt Trip

When Sims 2 came out, the first sim I created for the game was a young woman named Amelia. I had a plan, you know. I was going to create a male and female — all young adults — for each letter of the alphabet. Next, I created Andrew. The idea, of course, was that each “matching set” would become a couple.

I put Amelia in a nice little starter house, and I moved Andrew in next door. Even though I chose careers at random, it turned out that Amelia and Andrew were both pursuing medical careers, so they quickly began carpooling to work each day. Soon they were taking time to chat a bit after work each day, and before long Andrew’s “wants” were all about the girl next door. He wanted to chat with Amelia. He wanted to call Amelia. He wanted to flirt with Amelia. All was going according to plan.

As they spent more and more time together, they naturally grew closer. They had dinner together each evening, watched television, put on music and danced, or just sat and talked long into the night. Finally Andrew decided it was time to propose. Amelia accepted, of course, and the newlyweds moved in together.

It wasn’t long before Andrew wanted a child. Amelia wasn’t quite sure she was ready for motherhood, but soon the stork was on the way. Their son, Zachary, arrived nine months later, and that’s when the problems began.

Amelia had taken time off from nursing school, and since Andrew was doing well, he convinced her she should quit school and be a stay-at-home mom. She agreed, but she wasn’t happy. Amelia, you see, had always been very ambitious, very driven to have a meaningful career and make a difference in the world. She soon became very depressed.

Of course, she wanted to be a very good mother, so she devoted all her time to Zachary, shutting her husband out. Andrew did his best to keep Amelia happy, but each day the distance between them seemed to grow.

Now, all the while I was watching Andrew and Amelia live out their lives, I was playing other sims, as well. I’d created Belinda and Brett, Chelsea and Collin, Darla and Dave, and Erika and Evan. My original plan of “matching up” couples wasn’t happening quite as I’d intended, but that was all right. I was having fun following the lives and loves of these young adults as they made their way in the world.

And so it was that one bright, sunny Saturday morning, Brett and Collin came strolling by while Andrew was doing a bit of yardwork. “Hey, Andrew, why don’t you come over to my place?” Brett asked. The three young men were good friends — a bit like the “Three Musketeers” — always getting together to hang out and do “guy things”.

Andrew knew Amelia wouldn’t miss him — they barely even spoke much anymore — so he went off to spend a little time with his buddies. All was well…until Collin’s girlfriend, Erika, showed up.

Now, thanks to the Nightlife expansion pack, we had an “attraction” system in the game, and was it ever powerful! When Erika walked into the room, Andrew took one look at her, and wham! There was a “4-bolt” attraction between them, and an attraction that strong could not be ignored.

Andrew and Erika started flirting shamelessly. Never mind that her boyfriend was right there! She quickly informed Collin that he didn’t own her and that she could do whatever she pleased. Collin walked out, Brett tried to smooth things over, and all the while Erika and Andrew kept flirting. They couldn’t help themselves. That’s how powerful their attraction for one another was.

Back in the 1970’s there was a song by England Dan and John Ford Coley called “It’s Sad to Belong to Someone Else When the Right One Comes Along”. Here’s how it begins:

Met you on a springtime day
You were mindin’ your life
And I was mindin mine, too

Lady, when you looked my way
I had a strange sensation
And, darlin’ that’s when I knew…

That it’s sad to belong to someone else
When the right one comes along…

I felt Andrew’s pain. I realized what had happened to him was a common experience. He’d done all the “right” things in life, following the expected pattern. School. Dating. Marriage. Family. Amelia had been the first young woman he’d ever had a serious relationship with. Of course he’d thought it was “true love”. It was only when he met Erika that he realized what love was really all about.

I hated to see it happen, but nothing can stand in the way of a 4-bolt attraction, and soon Andrew and Erika were embroiled in a heated affair. Night after night, Andrew would slip out of the house — he was an intern “on call” at this time — and he’d head to Erika’s place. Amelia never questioned him, but he did feel a little pang of guilt each time he lied to her.

But not enough to break off his relationship with Erika. He couldn’t stay away from her. She was always on his mind, and he couldn’t wait to see her.

One night, when Andrew was at Erika’s place and the two were engaged in some serious woo-hoo, I was horrified to see Amelia strolling past the house. Oh, my goodness! She’d followed her husband. She knew of his affair. And I knew that Andrew knew she knew.

What an awful mess! I hated to see anyone hurt, but how else could it turn out? I quietly returned Andrew home that night and exited the game. I just wasn’t ready to deal with the inevitable confrontation that would soon come about.

For several days, I avoided playing Andrew and Amelia’s household. I didn’t want to face Amelia’s wrath. I felt so awful for her. How angry would she be? Would she immediately throw her husband out? Would their marriage be over? And what would happen to little Zachary?

Finally, I could put it off no longer. Holding my breath and dreading what was about to happen, I loaded Andrew and Amelia’s house. I was shocked when Amelia quietly got up and chatted with Andrew. She came up with a “want” to fix his favorite food, and the two of them had a pleasant breakfast.

What was going on? Why was she being so nice to him?

Later, after Andrew had gone to work, Amelia called a nanny to come watch Zachary while she went shopping. She headed to Cold Issue — I loved that store — and bought a few new things for Zachary, and a few new things for Andrew, too.

She returned home, cleaned the house, fixed a special meal and put on a bit of soothing music. By now, I was beginning to see her strategy. She had no intention whatsoever of confronting her wayward husband. She knew what he was up to, and he knew that she knew. Of course, she knew that he knew that she knew, too, and instead of making matters worse with a huge fight, Amelia cleverly let Andrew torment himself with guilt. The poor guy was a mess! He’d expected argument. He’d expected tears. He’d expected to be tossed out on his ear.

Instead, he got his favorite foods, new shirts in his favorite color, an immaculate house, and a smiling wife. Yes, indeed, she’d set him off on a great guilt trip that ultimately brought about the end of his illicit affair. He saw Erika one more time after that. She’d just installed a romantic new hot tub and wanted Andrew to share it with her. He did, but then he thought about Amelia. It wasn’t worth it, he realized. He got out of the hot tub, said good-bye, and hurried home.

That 4-bolt attraction remained between Andrew and Erika, and there was always a touch of sadness in his life. Truly it is sad to belong to someone else when the right one comes along, but as the years went on, his affection for Amelia deepened and became the enduring sort of love from which strong marriages are made.

It would never have happened though without Amelia’s quiet understanding of how to best handle the situation. From that day forward, I saw her in a new light. I’ve always admired her for her wisdom and patience. I doubt that many women could have dealt with the situation as calmly as she did, but in the end, she did what she set out to do and saved her marriage.

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2 thoughts on “The Great Guilt Trip

  1. I’ve been thinking about the different types of love myself. In my game, Arturo and Chana had an immediate and strong connection. Sam too, had an immediate desire for a sim. Only in Sam’s case it wasn’t meant to be. But sometimes that four-bolt chemistry isn’t the right kind of love. Other loves may be stronger in the end. Like with Amelia and Andrew.

    Liked by 1 person

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