I Learned About My Husband Playing the Sims 4
Seeing his love in a new way
My husband's reaction was priceless. I expected him to roll his eyes or laugh out loud when he saw the sim I made. He stared at it for a few moments, and then said quietly, "Oh my gosh. That actually looks like me."
I had never made myself or people I knew in the Sims (the furthest I got was making my house in the first Sims and my pets, but the people living in the home were all made up). When I first showed my husband the game (back when we were dating), he immediately made us as the people we wanted to be. He was muscular, well-dressed, and I had long green-dyed hair. Our sims were married with a dog named Atreyu and a baby on the way. (Little did we know, we had an ACTUAL baby on the way!) We played for a couple of hours, then closed the game for years. I still haven't opened it. Though, there was a fleeting moment while I was pregnant -- and showing -- when I wanted to see who our sims' baby was. A boy? A girl? Twins? Who would they grow up to be?
I decided to make a sim that looked --mostly -- like me to post on my tumblr. It was there that I discovered the appeal. I didn't have to make myself into the person I wanted to be, but just as I was, and play out all the little and big life scenarios, and laugh. It's funny for us to see our little sim-us getting in trouble and behaving completely differently than we did.
I downloaded quite a few mods that encourage autonomous actions. I like the idea of my sims living a little life beyond my control (to an extent!) and seeing what crazy things they would do. The storyline in my head would follow their actions and piece together a narrative that was engaging, fun and unpredictable for me.
As a lover of stories, this is the kind of gameplay I look forward to the most.
Things between sim-us started off strong! I moved him into the house, directed them to say hello, and they started flirting immediately. I had no notifications for attraction or chemistry, but no alarms went off in our heads either when my husband and I first met. He was dating someone else, I was just getting out of a relationship, and we were just friends for about 2 years. Even when we did start dating, we had a lot to learn about being in a relationship, and what were were truly attracted to in each other.
I let the game run as my husband watched in between training videos for work.
How sweet! I thought, they're just like us!
And yes, they are.
Out of nowhere, sim-me started scolding sim-husband.
"What?" I said aloud. "Stop! Where did that come from?!"
My husband, meanwhile, was laughing to the point of tears.
Looking back, I expected him to be the one who noticed something next, but it was me.
"Oh no," I said, "this is totally us."
I briefly thought of our tiffs -- he didn't put his cup in the dishwasher when the sink was empty and the dishwasher was ready and waiting for dirty dishes; I left for tutoring 30 minutes before I had to start and left him alone with piles of homework and our son running around; the TV was louder than I would like; I forgot, yet again, to put a new garbage bag in the bin after I emptied it. When I remember them, I usually get annoyed. Yes, they're little actions, but it's the small things that count, right? That's what the couples say in movies when their couples counselor asks them what's wrong in their marriage.
It was a pile of little things that lead to fights, to us not speaking for hours, and questioning our decision to get married.
And, right on cue, sim-husband had a solution.
That giant rose made sim-me's sudden anger dissipate faster than her moodlet could expire.
"Ugh, this is even worse," I said. "Why is this totally me!"
I crumpled under the shame. To be soothed by a rose was the most terrible, stereotypical thing my female sim could do. Before I left the game to search for realistic feminist sims 4 mod, I thought of something.
Recently, whenever I blew up on my husband about dishes, my prefered schedule, and being too busy to remember to replace trash bags, he does what I always wanted him to do.
He makes me laugh. It's usually silly things, but perfectly timed and in a response to a tiff. When I approach him with actual concerns, he does what I want him to do too -- be quiet and listen.
He knows me well enough to see when I'm just stressed, overwhelmed, or underqualified, feeling like the world is on my shoulders, and how to make the burdens I put on myself are unnecessarily heavy by turning my attention towards something fun. After he sees me smile, he will direct me over to the couch if I need to sit, ask me what creamer I want as he starts a pot of coffee, take over the cooking or baby care, and assure me that I can (actually!) come to him if I need him.
The response he needs from me is a little different. We have to actually sit down and I have to remind him that he is, in fact, a good person and order some DQ or Starbucks.
When I realized that, I tapped my husband's shoulder and pointed at the screen. "This is so us, honey!"
And as real-husband does, sim-husband, after offering the rose, left to go start a fire inside. It was a cloudy day, sim-me was outside without her jacket, and she was starting to feel chilly.