Attachment Measures -or- The Girl-Friends

Attachment Theory -or- The Other Girlfriend

As a University student, I heard John Bowlby speak about his experiences and his psychological theory of "attachment". Bowlby's ideas have been part of my thinking ever since. We can apply attachment theory to dreams, in the sense that we can measure the cognitive-emotional degree of attachment (measure) in relationships, both individually and collectively. Many dreams received by the International Institute for Dream Research (IIDR) speak of our attachments such as those found in the IIDR dream interpretation "The Closet Girl".

The dream interpretation "The Boyfriend", finds a matching counterpart in the "The Girlfriend". First, I will convey a humorous anecdote. Having taught College students for 10 years, I asked one class to write down and hand in their top 10 stressors in their life. One male student wrote down in 3rd place, "the girlfriend" and in 8th place, the "other girlfriend". Reading the list out to the class, found a good deal of laughter from both the boys and the girls. 

Here are the dreams;

Jason, 18 

Well my dream started out fairly descent. It took place at the high school i graduated from. And it was me with a bunch of my friends. Well in this dream i kissed a friend of mine, well i actually made out with her romantically. It didn't go any further than just kissing. And i was liking it. She has been a good friend for about a year. I had feelings for her but they were very short due to urge to just be her friend. I have been in a relationship with my girlfriend and i thought it was odd that i was kissing my friend rather than my girlfriend. And also very weird in the sense that i was actually enjoying our kissing. 

Mr Hagen's Reply; Friends with Benefits -or- Fickle Attachments 

The attachment pattern in this dream points to emotional ambivalence and being fickle. The idea that Jason was with his "friends" (peers) may have emotionally figured into his behaviour. The fact that Jason finds his behaviour "odd", tells us that he feels his actions are "out of character". For an 18 year old to realize that his sense of pleasure and his desire ("urge") is inconsistent with his "boyfriend" role, is a step in the right direction towards developing a mature and "monogamous" relationship.  

Harry, 18 

I'm sitting on the street corner and an old girl friend of mine is there girlfriend like. Paula (my girlfriend right now) passes by and says HI. She stays and talks then she leaves. Then she asks who that was. Then i respond my old friend Elisabeth from school. Then we go eat at some pizza place. It was weird. It was like i never dated Paula. But i had the feeling that i wanted to be with Elisabeth instead of the other girl. 

Mr Hagen Reply: The Grass is Always Greener on the Other Side of the Fence 

The proverb "The Grass is Greener on the Other Side of the Fence" seems to apply to this dream. Harry seems to desire what he does not have, once he has it, it is no longer an object of desire. Petula Clark's "The Other Man's Grass (Is Always Greener)" fits the sentiment. 

Victor, 25 

I keep seeing my ex girlfriend in my dreams, i see her in tears, and recently saw her again in my dream she kept calling at me, come, why won't you come out loud with both arms open and she was in tears. What could it mean? And i see her continuously like so, and every time she's trying to pull me by her (but not literally). 

Mr Hagen's Reply: More Ex-Files -or- Fear of Intimacy?

Evidently the separation had no emotional closure. The fact that "she's trying to pull me by her (but not literally)", means that she wants to be emotionally close. Isn't this one on the core emotional problems and road blacks in so many relationships? Regulating the interpersonal boundaries of emotional closeness and distance? Closeness can be physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual or all of the above, which amounts to that which has been named "intimacy". Perhaps that's where the relationship "poetically" failed? Victor wouldn't, and/or was afraid to let his Ex get emotionally close? 

Juan, 27

I had a dream about my girlfriend and she brought me in a Nipa hut. Inside the Nipa hut it was very dark and i saw my ex-wife with our two kids. 

The Nipa Hut -or- The Cultural Icons of the Philippines 

The "Nipa Hut" is a cultural icon in the Philippines, why the girlfriend brings Juan there to see the ex-wife and two children is uncertain from the manifest dream. However, we could speculate, that she (Juan's girlfriend) is trying to help smooth out and resolve some of the familial problems so that there still is a spirit of cultural unity

Norman, 29 

I dreamed that my girlfriend and i were old and we were sitting under an oak tree. We were holding hands and talking, when an acorn fell on my head. My girlfriend laughed sweetly, picked the acorn up, and opened it. Inside there was a little strip of paper, like what is found in a fortune cookie. I took it out and read it. It said; "You will be happy". I said "i think this is for you" and i kissed my girlfriend and gave the paper to her. I stood up and turned to face the tree, and i kind of melted into it, so that i was the tree. I could still move, and i picked her up. That is all i remember.

Mr Hagen's Replay: The Family Tree -or- The Fortune Teller 

People somewhere on the planet today will visit a "fortune teller", your fortune cookie can be seen as a stand in by proxy of this role. While no one can really predict with certainty what will happen tomorrow, it seems a very romantic gesture to think and hope that you could grow old together with your partner. 

The dream has all the essential ingredients of a romantic fantasy; sitting under an oak tree, holding hands, talking, and kissing. The dream has the feel of nature and being "natural". Much as the ancient Greek "Oracle at Delphi", nature appears to be giving you the gift of a "prophesy". The poetic prophesy; "You will be happy" and grow old together. 

Norman's anthropomorphic transformation into a tree, can be seen as taking on the genealogical significance of the "family tree". The song by Tom Chapin "The Family Tree" may not sound very popular for does fit the sentiment of the dream. 

Tom, 31 

I dream that I found my ex girlfriend dead in my closet. 

Mr Hagen's Reply: In the Closet -or- Haunting Secrets 

Many people use psychologically repression and hide stuff, their past "in the closet". While the cultural idiom "in the closet" often refers to hidden sexual orientation, it is not fixated solely on that idea. Michael Jackson's "In the Closet" alludes to a hidden heterosexual relationship between lovers. While Tom's relationship may be dead, the "skeleton is closet", implies that there is some sort of undisclosed shameful secret. 

Walter, 49 

I have a recurring dream that my girlfriend who I have been with for two years leaves me for another man and moves me out of her life completely. 

Mr Hagen's Reply: Insecure Attachment -or- If You Leave Me Now 

Separation anxiety is a prevalent feeling in many dreams and nightmares received by the IIDR. Often such dreams point to "emotionally insecure" attachments for whatever developmental reason. Chicago's "If You Leave Me Now" (watch music video)

All material Copyright 2006 International Institute for Dream Research. All rights reserved.