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Why your relationships fail, according to your 'Stardew Valley' spouse

Jul 26, 2019 · 7:45 AM
Chrissy Montelli
00:00/00:00
This audio was generated using Microsoft’s artificial intelligence.
It’s one of the burning questions every Stardew Valley fan, and every person who hopes not to die alone, must eventually answer: Who are you going to marry? With 7.5 billion people in the world, and 12 eligible singles in Pelican Town, there’s someone out there for everyone. What’s stopping you from finding the partner of your dreams?
The beauty of dating and marriage in Stardew Valley, a role-playing game sold on multiple platforms and available as a mobile app, is that your favorite bachelor or bachelorette can easily become your soul mate, so long as you have the patience to keep them happy.
The only way your relationship will fail is if you make conscious choices to push your spouse away. Unfortunately, in real life, relationships aren’t as simple as giving someone flowers twice a week or choosing the best of three dialogue options.
They’re messy, complicated, and often painful, and most of them don’t end with “happily ever after.” Here’s what your Stardew Valley spouse choice says about your repeated relationship failures.

Alex

“*grumble*… I just woke up and I’m hungry for some protein. –Alex
Image via Stardew Valley Wiki
Your ideal partner, who definitely peaked in high school, is what Planet Fitness would call a lunk. But worse than that (maybe), such an individual cannot stop living in the past, indulges in delusions of grandeur, and has little self-awareness.
You might really believe that they truly can achieve their dreams by making no changes or improvements to their behaviors whatsoever. You might not, but want to help them work toward something more realistic and attainable.
Either way, neither of you can do anything to make the other person change. Better get used to sleeping with a football in your bed every night.

Elliott

"I came to the valley to find the ivory tower from which my talents could reign supreme. But what I really found was a dungeon of loneliness. You saved me from that." – Elliott
Image via Stardew Valley Wiki
In a Venn diagram of men who are (or think they are) good writers, have amazing hair, and are completely and utterly devoted to you, only Elliott is in the center.
You’re a huge romantic, and you have a tendency to place your beloved on a pedestal untouched from criticism, like they’re the most important, most perfect person in the entire world. Eventually, the rose-colored glasses have to come off—or maybe even break—for you to realize that that person is just as flawed and human as you are, and your idealized version of them isn’t doing them any favors.
Your problem is that eloquent men with gorgeous locks who live only to love you, like Elliott, don’t actually exist. Except maybe Jonathan Van Ness. But since you’re not dating him, you gotta settle for two out of three.

Harvey

“I wonder if Maru could use some sunscreen on her shoulders?” – Harvey at the Luau Festival
Image via Stardew Valley Wiki
You are a walking lawsuit waiting to happen. Completely ignoring the fact that he’s creepily infatuated with his teenage assistant, consider the ethical dilemma involved with DATING YOUR DOCTOR.
Maybe you’re using him for prescription meds, or maybe you just don’t care about professionalism. Your relationships keep failing because you are making bad decisions. Find a different doctor!

Sam

“I’m thankful for my guitar and my skateboard. Oh, and my family I guess.” – Sam at the Feast of the Winter Star
Image via Stardew Valley Wiki
Your partner of choice is sweet but immature. He’s good with kids but will only ever cook you pizza and chicken nuggets. He does lots of community service but only because the mayor makes him do it to amend for putting weird things in the luau soup every year.
He’s in a band, but his musical ambitions probably will never amount to anything more than a hobby. If you want to settle down, you’re better off finding someone a little more grown up. Maybe a lot more.

Sebastian

“I was *this* close to moping in bed the entire day. Kinda wish I had, now.” – Sebastian, after you say hello
Image via Stardew Valley Wiki
You had an emo phase when you were a teenager, or wanted to, and didn’t admit to it because “it’s not punk to label yourself.” Now you want nothing more than to indulge in your repressed love for novelty belts and My Chemical Romance and all the drama and angst that come with. And the haircut! It’s enough to make you forget that your partner’s depression, dysfunctional family, and self-medication are totally separate from their Hot Topic rewards membership, you living MySpace page.

Shane

“buhhh…” – Shane, passed out on the floor after getting blackout drunk
Image via Stardew Valley Wiki
HOO boy. You are the fix-iest fixer to ever try to fix someone. You repeatedly put others’ needs before yours and believe that, with enough love and positive influence, anyone can overcome their problems.
The thing is, love can’t cure alcoholism and depression, no matter how deeply you feel it, and you can’t convince someone to get professional help if they don’t hold themselves accountable, too.
A shed full of kegs and basement full of wine casks probably don’t help either. Poor Shane. Poor you. Poor hypothetical children you may or may not have.

Abigail

“Last night I dreamt that my left hand had turned into a gigantic wig. Does that mean anything?” – Abigail
Image via Stardew Valley Wiki
You want a Manic Pixie Dream Girl.

Emily

“I come here to smell the fruit.” – Emily in Pierre’s General Store
Image via Stardew Valley Wiki
You want a Manic Pixie Dream Girl with a job.

Haley

“Haley is ignoring you.” – Actual in-game text
Image via Stardew Valley Wiki
The moment you looked in her eyes, you knew. It was, without a doubt, love at first sight. That was back in high school.
Now, you’re older, grayer, and totally uninterested in everything she enjoys. As the old adage goes, sometimes growing up means growing apart, but if we’re being honest, you and your partner did very little of the former and a whole lot of the latter.
Though you have nothing in common anymore, you fight all the time, and your bedroom is full of dustbunnies, you refuse to break up. Because divorce is for quitters! True love means sticking together, no matter how incompatible or unhappy you get. Right?

Leah

“Once you get past the outer layers, the true nature starts to show…” – Leah
Image via Stardew Valley Wiki
You can try to run from it. You can gallop away from your past as fast and far as you can. But you’ll never escape the horse lover. Whether you were one or fell hard for one, Leah is the adult incarnation of the horse girl of your dreams.
She lurks in the woods, eating leafy greens, her braided mane flapping in the wind. Something about her just brays “run away with me.” She makes you feel wild, untamed. Before you know it, she’s carving the entire forest into saddles and bridles. They are just your size. You cannot escape the horse girl.

Maru

“Come to my room if you ever want to tinker with my gadgets.” Maru
Image via Stardew Valley Wiki
You consider yourself “sapiosexual”—but your attraction doesn’t stop there. She’s cute. She’s smart. She builds sentient robots. You really like the robots.
You kind of maybe want one for, like, sex and things? You have arguments about the ethics of robotics. You break up when she catches you with the power drill.

Penny

“It’s so peaceful here. I used to have the most horrific nightmares, but now I sleep like a baby.” Penny, after marriage
Image via Stardew Valley Wiki
A big part of Penny’s appeal as a spouse is the fact that marrying her allows her to escape a miserable life of poverty and abuse.
A sweet, sad girl who reads relentlessly to forget her troubles, Penny is not unlike the heroines of old fairy tales like Cinderella: the epitome of goodness, treated unfairly by fate, dreaming of a better life but unable to grasp it without otherworldly help.
You want to save Penny, not because she needs saving—she’s a character in a video game—but because when you look at her, you see yourself. You save her because you want to be saved. Honey, you can’t be sitting around waiting for your farmer in shining armor (or overalls). No lover, or person, can save you but yourself.

Chrissy Montelli is an independent creator and not a representative of Bing or Microsoft.

Written byChrissy MontelliChrissy Montelli
Chrissy Montelli is a poet & freelance writer originally from Long Island, New York. An alumna of the UMass Amherst MFA program, she is the author of two chapbooks, Heart Float (Bottlecap Press, 2017) & Going to Ithaca (Ghost City Press, 2017). Her poetry can also be found in Noble / Gas Qtrly, The Adirondack Review, Atrocity Exhibition, Gandy Dancer, & elsewhere. She was once bullied by The Washington Post for blogging about poetry not being dead. Find her online at chrissymontelli.wordpress.com.
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