I keep dreaming about my ex. The Big Ex, everyone’s got one.
Y’know, the person with whom you had the longest, most emotionally
labyrinthine romantic attachment? My Big Ex keeps sneaking into the
theater of my mind, hassling me while I’m trying to dream about cream
pies and booty calls with Lenny Kravitz.
In the dreams, Big Ex wants me again or I’m asking if he still loves
me or we’re making out like teenagers. In a dream the other night, we
were at an amusement park in Tokyo. He was wearing a police uniform
and I was riding a camel (my dreams have always been colorful). He
comes over as I’m doing a tap dance on a picnic table and asks if we
can become reacquainted in the biblical sense. I say, “Man, you’re
married now. I don’t think you should be putting your thing anywhere
near my situation.” But I do it anyway.
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Strange, because my relationship with Big Ex is ancient history,
it’s positively Byzantine in its ancientness. Besides, I was the one
who left on account of his workaholism and mélange of personal issues.
So why has he suddenly popped back into my psyche?
A few weeks ago, I dreamt of my college boyfriend, a handsome,
erudite gentleman whose greatest flaw was a slight problem with gas.
In the dream, we were drinking coconut milk out of a cantaloupe and
fighting about the woman with whom he was also sleeping. A few nights
later, I had a quite amorous dream about a 22-year-old hunk o’ burnin’
love I was crushing on back in ‘07. In it, we were in Spain and he was
my boyfriend. As we walked the streets, all the Spaniards looked
skeptically at us as if they knew I shouldn’t be dating a dude whose
greatest accomplishment in life thus far was turning legal.
After months of ex-boyfriend dreaming, I finally phoned a friend
getting her PhD in psychology. ‘Why,’ I wanted to know, ‘were these
men assailing me in my sleep?’
“Other people in your dreams are not actually themselves,” said my
friend. “They’re aspects of yourself you’re unwilling to face. The
dreams help you figure out what you want from the current challenges in
your life. When you dream about Big Ex, you’re really dreaming about
Dreaming about these men shows me what I want at this moment in my
life. So, I want to be a manic workaholic who cries every morning
during winter? I want to become a snotty academic with irritable
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My friend suggested there were deeper issues I had to extract from
the plots of these nighttime reveries. She invited me to consider what
qualities these men symbolize. The qualities I came up with were
anxiety, fear and immaturity. For certain, these qualities have been
some of the jewels around which the treasure chest of my relationship
life has thus far been built. Even more certain is my current resolve
to steer clear of any human being who would bring said qualities into
an interaction with me.
Generally speaking, I’ve never felt more on the verge of a
breakthrough. The last couple years, I’ve seen people come and go,
seen some windows close while others stay open ajar, had fresh insights
and spiritual discoveries, new dreams replacing worn-out ambitions,
unhealthy patterns exposed and toppled to the ground.