Psychological and Emotional Baggage of the Great Pretender

The Great Pretender's Five O'Clock Shadow -or- More Ex-Files

The Ex-files, divorce, dissolution of intimate relationships, emotional baggage are dominant themes in many dreams sent to the IIDR. Dream interpretations like "The Ex Files" attest to the fact that we live in a "Divorce Culture", for which we can see the psychological effects of failed relationships and loving in dreams.

Many are walking wounded (psychologically), many others pretend as if the relationship was still real, that reconciliation is possible, they cling to any sign of hope even if it is in their dreams. It is sometimes very difficult to move on, a great deal of grieving is often necessary. Many remain as Freddie Mercury shows us in "The Great Pretender" (watch music video) dreaming all alone, "pretending that you're still around".

While it is often said, that time heals all wounds, we can see from your dream (below), that this relationship still hurts six years later. You state that you believe that the dreams are about unresolved emotions. You may be carrying baggage of feelings such as rejection, anger, hurt, unforgiving, feelings of inadequacy (his shame at being "seen" with you), the desire to reconcile. Other women, who have sent in their dreams to the IIDR, seek "revenge"(read "Revenge is a Dish Best Served Cold").

Forgiveness seems to be a key theme, in that your most recent dreams show you how immature he was, you were? Today you seem to be looking for an older type "bad boy" who is a "buttoned downed guy", a mature version of your old boyfriend to move in with. Is this not dangerous for any new relationship, in that women (and men) who are comparing their old boyfriend (or girlfriend) to the real new one? Isn't that where the Freudian slip comes into "name" play in those "intimate" moments? The imaginary road to emotionally mature relationships is often met with psychological conflict and turmoil. Are we faced with another dream of "Groundhog Day in the Global Village"

Vivian, 29

I've been having recurring dreams about an ex-boyfriend of mine fairly regularly over the past six years since he and I broke up.  At first, the dreams were typically about running into him out somewhere and feeling angry and hurt when he either pretended he didn't see me or blatantly ignored me -- we never spoke to one another in the early dreams.  Then time passed and the dreams changed a little, to where I would see him out somewhere and he would say hello to me and we'd catch up like old friends, until someone he knew arrived.  Then he'd say something like, I told you, I never want to speak to you again, and would get up and walk away without a backwards glance, so that whoever he knew that came in wouldn't realize he had been associating with me, like he was ashamed to be seen with me. 

Then more time passed and in the dreams, I would run into him at a party or something and he'd try to apologize to me for treating me the early versions of this dream, I wouldn't forgive him, but the more times I had the dream, the more forgiving I became to him.  Then more time passed and in the dreams, he began trying to win me back.  I would wake up and feel happy that he was chasing after me, but wistful because by the time I'd wake up, we'd never have gotten back together. Recently, the dreams have changed tone again, and I've had a version of the dream where we got back together and I resisted his persuasion to move in together. 

The most recent dream had us moved in together and fixing up the house we lived in.  My ex was an older, more grown-up, mature version of himself, but while we were working in our yard, a younger version of him showed up.  One was the mature, buttoned down guy ready for a relationship, and the other was a carefree bad-boy with the 5 o'clock shadow and an attitude.  The younger version asked me if we could talk, and when I looked at the older version that I lived with, he looked upset.  I took the older version of my ex's hand and led him into the house so I could try to talk to him and calm him down, and explain that I wasn't interested in the younger version, that I chose to be with the older version. The older version was jealous and told me to tell the other version of himself to go away.

It's been six years since we last spoke, and the relationship ended abruptly.  Initially, I didn't try to figure out what the dreams meant, assuming that I was still subconsciously working out unresolved emotions. However, I'm starting to wonder why I'm still having these dreams and what I can do (if anything) to help myself move on.

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