Hi, got the game Tuesday night and thoroughly impressed with it. Thought I’d add my thoughts on this matter.
I’d agree that the automatic jealousy doesn’t fit well, as it’s a little too black and white. Putting aside the heavy implementation problems of it, I think a trust system would be excellent as well; each person has a level of trustworthiness, that not only means how much a person trusts you to remain faithful, but also how faithful your partner would remain to you. I don’t like to mention Alter Ego, because this is an entirely seperate game going in a different direction, but that mechanic worked pretty well there.
Trustworthiness isn’t static, though. In life, you can start out honest and end up a crook. Simplistically, this could be done as a general trustworthiness; if you remain faithful, then it slowly increases. If you cheat a lot, people tend to see you as a bit of a ‘player’, so to speak, and trustworthiness goes down. (Side-note: Is trustworthiness even a word?)
The only problem with this is that trust isn’t ever that simple. Even in somewhere like Slough, I don’t think if you cheated on one person, the whole town would find out, and it certainly wouldn’t effect the relationship you had with your friends, at least in the same way. If you really wanted to be ambitious, you could make it all relative; if you’re unfaithful to one partner, their friend’s will obviously trust you less, and those who are in their social circle would also trust you less, but little Jackie/Jack on the other side of the town that has no relation to anyone else is none the wiser.
Further point - trustworthiness in other people, specifically partners. What would you think if you knew they weren’t altogether trustworthy, and at the end of a social gathering you recieved the message, “[partner’s name] spends all night talking to Glen/Glenda about pop music”. I haven’t played through the game enough to know if the following pops up, but do you ever get rejected for dates / social meets with your partner that go along the lines of, “Sorry, I’m seeing my friends tonight”? It’s perfectly legitimate in relationships to get that response, but what happens if Glen/Glenda says the same thing? Oh no! Better start dividing that CD collection now! Or should you?
Erm. Yes. I’ll stop there now.
EDIT: Tidied up typos and revised poor explanations, because my hands type faster than my brain thinks