The Russian Wife Experience

I once had a neighbor many years ago who “bought” himself a wife. Actually, two — but not at the same time, of course. The first was a mail-order bride from the Philippines, which resulted in a marriage that lasted about fifteen years and produced two beautiful daughters. But, all good things come to an end and after all those years, his now-Americanized wife packed up and moved out.

“I think I’ll get myself a Russian wife this time,” the neighbor casually remarked when I saw him one day after their divorce. He said it in much the same way one might speak when ordering a pizza. A bit like “Yeah, I think I want anchovies on it.”

Maybe he lacked social skills. He was a bit of a geek, and overall, my thought is that for him “ordering a wife” online was simply the quickest, easiest way to complete a desired transaction.

By the way, he did, indeed, get a Russian lady for his second wife. That marriage produced a son and lasted for quite some time, although I believe she, too, eventually packed up and left. This was years ago, and I’ve long since lost track of the fellow.

He was on my mind, however, as I pondered what to do with Michael Sorensen, a young adult sim who is living alone for the first time. Michael, you see, comes from a highly dysfunctional family, and if you’ve followed along on my blog for a while, you probably know that when I create sims or age them up, I choose traits for them at random. So it was that when Michael aged up to young adult status, he had the misfortune to get the new “unflirty” trait. It seemed a good addition to his gloomy personality, and certainly seemed to fit right in with his background.

But, as I saw him sitting alone in his new house, I felt sorry for Michael. Everyone deserves a loving relationship, right? I love seeing my sims find that “someone special”, get married, and start families of their own.

Of course, I knew that Michael could never manage this without a little help. It was time for a bit of “player intervention.”

How could I find a wife for Michael and yet make it part of a somewhat “realistic” storyline? As that question ran through my mind, memories of my old neighbor surfaced. Yes, the perfect solution. Michael could “buy” himself a wife.

I suppose I could have easily chosen an Asian townie to play the role, but instead I opted to go with a Russian bride. I quickly went into CAS and prepared to design the perfect woman for Michael. When I clicked “Add Sim” to Michael’s household, I was very pleasantly surprised to find this young lady.

From the moment I saw her, I loved her. To me, she somehow looked exactly as I’d imagined a good “Russian wife” should.

Because she had a very special role to play in my game, I didn’t use my “random factor” to select her traits. I gave her the following:

  • Neat
  • Cheerful
  • Bookworm

Those seemed like good qualities for a wife. I also gave her a “Family Oriented” aspiration. She’s hoping to have a big, happy family.

Finally came the moment of truth. I clicked on Michael’s household and went in to play. I found Galina sitting at the kitchen table. My imagination kicked in, of course, and I could sense her nervousness as she waited to meet her prospective husband for the first time. (In CAS, I left their status as “roommates” to give them a chance to develop an actual relationship on their own.)

Things went quite well. Michael sat down and they began a very pleasant chat. They discussed their interests, they spent time getting to know one another, and they had a few deep conversations. All the wile the specter of Michael’s “unflirty” personality was hovering over the meeting. Did I dare attempt a flirtation?

Finally, I tried. Of course, the best Michael could manage was an “awkward” flirt. I had hoped Galina would be understanding, but it didn’t happen that way. Next, I tried having her flirt with Michael. That was not good. Within a matter of moments, they were well on their way to hating each other. How could I stop this disaster from happening?

Maybe I should set a more romantic mood, I decided. I quickly grabbed an incense burner and soon the sweet fragrance of romantic sandalwood was wafting through the air. It seemed to help a little, but not enough to turn the tide. Even though they were in a flirty atmosphere, I couldn’t get any romance blossoming between them.

I almost gave up. From this experience, my guess is that it’s impossible for an “unflirty” sim to ever find love and marital happiness. I thought of letting them go right on hating each other — their bars were filled with red — but force them into marriage through CAS. After all, arranged marriages don’t always begin with love and affection, right?

Had I done that, I doubt that Michael and Galina could ever have had children, and that was the whole point of the “Russian wife” experience. This was supposed to be an easy, painless way for socially inept Michael to start a family.

So, in desperation I headed back to CAS. I temporarily changed Michael’s nature from unflirty to romantic. Oh, what a difference! It didn’t take long for these two to get things going hot and heavy. Too hot, in fact. While they were kissing passionately the incense caught fire and burned up half the kitchen. Fortunately, Galina had sense enough to grab a fire extinguisher. Once the fire was out, they picked up where they left off and headed to the bedroom for a little woo-hoo.

I figured it was all right to “marry” the couple since they were getting along. I slipped back into CAS again, changed their relationship status to pronounce them husband and wife, and then…yeah, I changed Michael back to his usual unflirty self.

Before I left, I photographed the happy couple at home. They both love reading, so maybe they will be able to make their marriage work.

Michael and Galina at home sharing their love of books.

Now, what will happen when it’s time for them to begin a family? Will Michael be able to actually have a relationship? Or will I once again have to resort to drastic measures to overcome his inability to handle romantic flirtations? Will incense help? Or will that only lead to burning down their house? Will Galina have patience enough to put up with her gloomy husband?

Only time will tell, but for now, the Russian wife has proved to be quite an interesting experience, both for Michael and for me.


Could It Be His Fault?

Depressed KatJonathan Evans is getting concerned. He and Kat have been married for a while, and although she’s trying to get pregnant, it’s not happening.

She’s moping around, feeling awful, and spending a lot of time in bed. Jonathan hates seeing his wife so depressed. Could it be his fault? It might serve him right, you know, for cheating on Kat.

But he’s not doing that anymore. He’s ready to have a family, or at least, he thinks he is. They’ll keep trying. What else can they do?

thNL9PCMR6He did give Kat a beautiful gift for their anniversary. He bought her a baby grand piano. It took all they had in savings, but it was worth it. He’s been writing music — a few modern jazz pieces for violin — so he’s making a few simoleons. He’ll have their savings built up again soon.

Kat’s been doing well with her music, too, so she’s got that to cheer her up. She’s one of the most requested performers for weddings and funerals, and while that might not seem like much to brag about, it brings in money. They’re doing all right.

But why can’t they have babies? Is something really wrong with one of them? Which one?




A Husband of Her Own

ProposalFiona Patterson was about to give up on Benjamin Brooks. He’s always late! They were supposed to meet for a romantic night in the park, and he didn’t show up. She got tired of waiting and went home, and then he showed up at the park.

He finally came on home, and before she had a chance to yell at him, she found out why he was late. He’d stopped at the jewelers to pick up the engagement ring he’d ordered.

An engagement ring!

Yes, he proposed, and Fiona didn’t want to wait. They hurried off to find a judge and got married right away. After all, they’ve been living together so it wasn’t anything to make a big deal over. Fiona was tired of listening to her mother go on and on about how sinful it was.

Is Fiona happy now? No, not really. Well, yes, she loves Benjamin, but he’s still always late. He’s late to work. He’s late getting home. He’s late getting up. He’s not making much money either, but neither is she. They’re broke. Bills are coming due again soon, and Fiona’s a bit concerned. Things will get better, of course.

And what of Jonathan? She hasn’t seen him since he broke off their relationship. He told her then that he really loved his wife and wanted to make her happy. Well, Fiona told him a thing or two! And now, Jonathan, guess what! She doesn’t need you anymore. She’s got a husband, and by the way, he’s much better at keeping her satisfied that you ever were.

So there, Jonathan!



A New Leaf

Angry FionaJonathan Evans is turning over a new leaf. He’s decided he’s not going to put his marriage at risk for a meaningless little fling with Fiona Patterson. That’s all it ever was, really.

Jonathan cares about Fiona, but he’s vowed to love Kat forever, and he’s going to do the right thing and honor that commitment. He’s going to be the kind of husband Kat deserves.

Fiona wasn’t happy when he told her, but she’ll get over it.

For heaven’s sake, she’s living with Benjamin Brooks, so she’s been cheating, too. Maybe she should stay home and spend a little time with Benjamin.

The way Jonathan sees it now, he’s been asking for trouble. So has Fiona. It’s not worth it. He wants a happy marriage, not one riddled with suspicions and doubt.

Now, his only concern is what Fiona might do. Jonathan hopes he won’t be seeing Fiona around town too often. It could get awkward. It could get nasty.

Maybe…or Maybe Not

Kat is so depressed she just wants to stay in bed all day.
Kat is so depressed she just wants to stay in bed all day.

Kat Phillips is devastated. She’s wanting to have a baby, and it’s just not happening. She thought she might be pregnant, and then she found out she wasn’t. She feels like a complete failure as a wife.

Jonathan didn’t think he wanted a family yet, but now he’s giving it more thought. What if he and Kat can’t ever have children? That would be awful. He’s still not sure he wants to be a father right now, but if Kat really wants a baby, maybe they should try again.

Or, maybe not.

Jonathan is confused. He’s been seeing Fiona Patterson, now he’s feeling guilty, and maybe he needs to re-dedicate himself to his beautiful wife.

Or, maybe not.

He enjoys the time he spends with Fiona. Sometimes he wishes he hadn’t gotten married. Maybe he really loves Fiona. Maybe more than he loves Kat.

Or, maybe not.

No, he does love his wife. That’s why he married her. He’s confused, Kat’s depressed, and at least they have their music to share.


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Graduation Day

Graduation DayIt’s the day that Jonathan and Kat have both been waiting for. They’re donning graduation caps and walking across the stage at the Academy of Performing Arts.

Jonathan is proud to have earned his Bachelor’s degree — with honors — in Violin performance. Fiona has earned her degree in Piano performance.

What’s ahead now for the young couple? Neither is quite sure. Jonathan will start sending out queries to symphony orchestras, but despite his degree, his honors, and his talent, it’s hard to get auditions. And even harder to land a chair in a major orchestra.

Katherine isn’t setting her sights so high. She’s happy being Jonathan’s wife, so she’d prefer spending her time at home, taking care of the house, cooking meals…and maybe setting up a nursery? She and Jonathan had agreed they wouldn’t start a family under after graduation day.

Well, Jonathan? Are you ready now?

Kat would love to have children, but sometimes she’s not sure how her husband really feels about it. He’s been a bit distant at times, but maybe that was just the pressure of final exams, long rehearsals, the stress of the performances he’s given, and all the worries about finding a position.

Kat hopes that there’s nothing seriously wrong in her marriage. She still harbors a few suspicions about Fiona Patterson. Now that they’re all out of school — Fiona graduated, too — there won’t be many opportunities for Jonathan and Fiona to cross paths.

Having a baby would be a great way to get Jonathan’s full attention. Kat’s hoping it will happen soon.


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 What do YOU think? Should Kat and Jonathan start a family now?






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.

How Long Has This Been Going On?

OnoHey, what’s going on between Jonathan Evans and Fiona Patterson?

He’s happily married, and she’s happily in love with Benjamin Brooks, right?

So why were she and Jonathan slipping into the corner for a few quick hugs and kisses during a recent concert?



Maybe Jonathan’s marriage isn’t quite as happy as he’s led folks to believe…and maybe Fiona’s love for Benjamin isn’t all that true.

How long has this been going on?

Kat will be devastated if she finds out. So will Benjamin.

Can Jonathan and Fiona keep their illicit love a secret? Or will the truth come out?



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From the Parents’ Perspective

Edgar and Sara Evans are thrilled that their younger son, Jonathan, has now settled down, tied the knot, and is happily married. They’re thrilled, too, that the older son, Michael, and his wife, Carole, are going to be presenting them with their second grandchild in March.

Sara EvansSara wasn’t so thrilled about the sci-fi Jupiter awards. She didn’t win, but she has finished another sci-fi novel, Electric Earth, which has also been picked up by the book-of-the-month club and hailed in the literary digests. So, she’ll probably get another nomination, but she’ll probably lose again. It’s fine. It’s an honor just to be nominated.

She’s been keeping busy — when she’s not writing — by doing a little art collecting. She loves going to Annie Caldwell’s gallery in Newcrest. That’s close to where both Jonathan and Michael live, so it gives her a good opportunity to drop by and visit with their wives, and with little Theo, their first grandson.

What will the stork bring next? Sara’s excited and can hardly wait for the new baby to arrive.

Edgar is still puttering around, feeling a little lost now that he’s on ground duty. He did hire a maid service so that Sara can have for time for writing and for visiting with the kids. He misses them. Of course, having more grandchildren to spoil will make it easier. Jonathan says he and Kat won’t be having any little ones for a while, though. Not until their education is finished. Smart boy.

Sara and Edgar have been blessed, indeed. They’re pleased with all life has given them.


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To Love, Honor, and Cherish

Kat Where Are YouIt was a lovely wedding…once it got underway. For an anxious moment, Jonathan worried that his bride might not show up.

A quick call to Kat assured him that she was on her way, just running a little late. Huh? Late? For her own wedding? Now Jonathan’s worried that it might be a bad sign. But that’s crazy, right? He and Kat will have a good marriage.

Once Kat arrived, she still had to change into her wedding gown and do all those things women have to do. Hair. Make-up. A touch-up on her manicure. For heaven’s sake, Kat! The guests are waiting. The music is playing. It’s time to take that walk down the aisle. Kat Wedding Gown


Yes, once it got underway, it was a beautiful ceremony, and Kat was certainly a beautiful bride. It was short, sweet, and it made Jonathan reflect a bit on the wonder of it all. Amazing, really, that a few words spoken between a man and a woman could irrevocably change their lives.

Marriage is forever.

A few other thoughts flitted through his mind, too, even as he was vowing to love, honor, and cherish his bride. Thoughts about Fiona mostly.

Hmmm…maybe that’s another bad sign. But don’t all men have a few stray thoughts as they commit themselves to one woman, forsaking all others?

It was over quickly. Katherine Phillips and Jonathan Evans have tied the knot and they’ll be very happy together. Right?

Evans Wedding

Yes, of course. Love is a many-splendored thing, they say. He and Kat will have a good life. They’ll finish classes at the Academy, and then they’ll be ready to start a family. Their future looks bright and beautiful.



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