Giving Up

Giving up was never really Stephen’s style, but he was not sure that he wanted to try again.  One failed marriage and several disastrous relationships afterwards was enough to make him celibate for life.  He understood that he was the common denominator in all of this, so it had to be a fatal flaw in his own design that made relationships impossible for him.

The last girl, Bekka, was too much.  Stephen was determined to stay the course and marry her, because he felt that he gave up on relationships too quickly, and that he only needed time to sort out his own details.  But no, Bekka was too much.  She was controlling, manipulative, and at times spiteful.  She claimed to love Steven’s son, Noah, but complained whenever Noah’s needs got in the way of what she wanted.  She said she wanted children of her own, but Steven knew that she would not be a good mother at all.  She was too selfish and self-centered.

It was easy to blame her, with all of her obvious flaws, but Stephen chose to be with her.  He chose to move in with her, to share a home with her, to let his son share a home with her.  He knew the relationship was doomed from the start, but he was determined to give it a decent chance, just in case it was all him.  But, she swore that she loved him, and Steven wanted to believe that she was The One.

Before Bekka, he faced the same issues with Kristin.  She was manipulative and used sex as a weapon.  Kristin never believed in Steven’s abilities as a realtor, and tore him down every day he came home without a sale.  She criticized his parenting skills, and mocked his tastes in music.  She demanded that Steven and Noah move to the other side of town, closer to her, away from Noah’s school, and she tried to create rifts in Steven and his ex-wife’s already tenuous custody agreement.  But, she swore that she loved him, and Steven wanted to believe that she was The One.

It was the same story with, Catherine and Della and Marlena.  Short, intense relationships in which Steven felt controlled, mocked, and even abused.  He walked away from each of them wondering how he got there in the first place.  Even his marriage contained the same themes of power, contempt, and shame.  It wasn’t until he met Bekka that he began to believe that he was the problem.  He was the reason that all those relationships failed.

Steven had a history of falling in love women he could never have.  He daydreamed over married women, women who were not attracted to him, or, on at least two occasions, lesbians.  When he grew tired of this fruitless yearning that always left him lonely, he would jump into a relationship with the first girl who showed any desire for him.  Those relationships would inevitably fail, and then he would go back to pining over unavailable women.  He could not break the pattern, at least not before now.

Now, resigned to a life alone, Stephen felt free from the pressures of trying to please women whom he could never satisfy.  He dedicated his life to his son, and to bettering their lives.  He dedicated himself to breaking the hurtful cycles of bad relationships and desiring the undesirable.  He did not need a woman to complete his life; he was now quite content alone.  Noah had a mother who was a good female role model; he did not need another one in this other home.  Bekka was the final nail in the coffin, and Steven was now content.  He may yet pine over married women and lesbians, but he would never again get into another relationship.

He truly believed that, at least until he met Cerise.

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