Mary had just moved from the East coast to West coast. She left her family after completing college to pursue a career. She decided to not break up with her boyfriend before leaving. Probably because she was afraid to be alone.
You see Mary always had hooks in the water. A sea of boys she could turn to in order to ensure she would never be alone. To ensure she would always have someone to talk to. Love diversification.
When she moved to the West coast, she found herself quickly involved in a new relationship. Her charm and emotional intelligence coupled with a daring and adventerous character made for a deadly combination amongst men. For some reason, stable men who found it difficult to pursue women often found themselves naturally taking on a protective role when Mary showed up. She made it so smooth and easy. All the more reason, they became so attached when she did catch them with her bait.
So Mary stood with a boyfriend on the East coast and a boyfriend on the West coast, both stable and actively pursuing careers.
Most women find it difficult to foster a relationship with a single man. Mary had no difficulty and refused to give full commitment because her own mother had seen dreadful years. Mary's parents weren't divorced but it was clear they only stayed together for society's benefit. Mary decided she would never let that happen.
The problem was that Mary's West coast boyfriend travelled a lot. Mary dreadfully needed to fill that empty void. The one everyone has. Some fill it with work. Others television. Then there are the life draining void fillers like sex, drugs, gambling and everything in between. No. Mary was a relationship junkie.
When Mary's West coast boyfriend went travelling, she naturally fell into the arms of her third prize, Steven. Steven, had many of the same qualities. Stable, accomodating and ambitiously pursuing a career.
Mary loved intelligence. It was remarkably attractive to her. She could spout off in deep conversaton about life. Mary new what men needed. It was simple. Men need a wife. But at times the wife needs to morph into a mother. Other times she must morph into a sister. Men need a wife to have a daughter. Because when a man's heart runs dry and fails to have the capacity to love, he needs a daughter to grow fond of and replace the feelings of adolescent love. Mary always said, in time a man's love for his daughter would supecede his love for his wife. And as the wife strategically played the roles, she would nurture and care for the man's heart. It was this treatment that would give the man reason to give his heart fully and allow her to be his personal care giver for life.
Mary also new the seasons of a woman's heart. The man would first need to be the bad boy. The rebellious, adventurous, challenging soul. The one to capture her heart unexpectedly. The one who would do this despite the woman's laundry list of characteristics she believed her ideal man should have. A list which ignorantly appealed to the mind, but not the heart. This would give an adolescent memory of seasons of romantic notions.
In time the warrior spirit of the bad boy would take on leadership roles to be the hunter that provided a stable environment. An environment to raise kids in.
And as she grew tired and weary, he would have to slow as well. A man that in the latter years could reap the fruits of years of labor to deliver wonderfully concocted stories and provide transportation around the world. To grow old with and enjoy the golden years together.
So here, Mary was, giving her first priority to her East coast boyfriend, her next priority to her West coast boyfriend and remaining crumbs of time to Stephen. Interestingly enough, each boyfriend only knew about the preceding boyfriends. So it was the last boyfriend, Stephen who knew about the others. It was the last boyfriend, who knew Mary at the deepest level. Stephen knew Mary's deep dark secrets and loved and accepted her as she was. He provided a safety net to capture all of her thoughts, feelings and emotions.
One weekend, when Mary's West coast boyfriend came back from a business trip, Mary told Stephen she would be spending time away, because she had given her West coast boyfriend the highest priority.
Stephen knew Mary needed the freedom to explore and discover for herself what she wanted. He had spent hours trying to get to know her. Wondering what she valued in the other two. Asking what she expected from each of the relationships. Even listening in the same room as she spoke to the other boyfriends on the phone. Mary was completely comfortable being herself around Stephen. And while most men would be protective or jealous, Stephen allowed conversation on Mary's past intimacies and current intimacies. Stephen allowed it and in turn developed an even deeper intimacy than any of the relationships Mary had ever had.
At the end of the day, Mary never felt like a possession or a piece of meat. She never felt like Stephen's needs or desires came before hers.
And when she mentioned Stephen was last on the priority list, Stephen kissed her, said he wished he was her number one but understood, and wished her a week of fun. He told her he would miss her while she was gone.
The funny thing was, Mary left to meet her West coast boyfriend but came back to Stephen within a few hours. They broke up. With the love and care Mary felt from Stephen, even the few hours away felt like a lifetime. And compared to the intimacy shared between Mary and Stephen, Mary's West coast boyfriend seemed light years away. What she loved and admired seemed like a distant past. Of course, Stephen saw it all. He accepted it all. How could it be any other way?
Within months, Mary slowly pulled other hooks out of the water. Still scared. And in her own time. Stephen knew that love is patient. And patience does not demand. It simply waits.