Why am I suddenly having these dreams?
October 21, 2009 6:31 PM   Subscribe

Why have I suddenly started to dream about other women?

Here is some background info... I am not married but in a long term relationship with another woman for about a year and a half. (I am also a chick). We recently purchased a house together and will be moving next month. Also, I just turned 29 and my parents recently divorced this year after 30 years of marriage. I have dreams about random stuff like this maybe a couple times a year, not often. BUT, in the past three nights alone I have had dreams with consecutive themes-- I am with another woman, or cheating on my girlfriend, or she simply does not exist.

The first dream I had reunited with an ex, my first "love" and real relationship, so to speak who I was with for three years and also have had unresolved issues with for the past couple of years since we split. I have since moved on but from time to time get nostalgic and/or have dreams. This dream was one of intense love.. I remember embracing my ex and saying "Please don't do anything crazy until I'm done with this semester of school" (I'm finished grad school). I am having a hard time with school, work, and remodeling our house right now I guess is why I said that. but in my dream, I felt so much love and my current girlfriend didn't exist.

The second dream was with some "weird" girl who was kind of hippy or bohemian, I didn't know her, and we just had a weird sexual relationship/friendship. She shared a house with a bunch of weird people, etc. I don't know. Again my current girlfriend wasn't present.

The third dream was about a girl in my class who honestly I had not even thought about since the 1st day of class. I just remember thinking, "man I am old" since it was an undergrad and the class had both undergrads and graduates. Not attracted to this girl in real life, and I don't think we have even spoken. But in my dream, we had a really awesome friendship and relationship and the sex was amazing. She had so much spunk (again I dont know this girl at all) and was really fun to be around. I kept telling her something like, "I can't do this, blahblahblah, my girlfriend" ...then I got really frightened she was going to blab about our affair to my current girlfriend. anyway I woke up and was like, WTF?

Why am I having all these dreams about other women.... maybe sometimes I think my girlfriend is not very fun or very spontaneous, but, I do love her very much and she is funny. The sex is OK. We are very compatable as mates, and after the whole thing with my parents, and since I was very young, I've always questioned the reality of "love" and the assignments to the word.... I ask myself all the time if it is real, have I have been "in" love, etc. But I think I just suffer from the "grass is greener" syndrome. I am happy with her, I think I may just be ready to get out of this small apartment, and done with the hectic semester. Oh, and quit dreaming about other women because it makes me feel like I missed out on something, but that may be wrong of me to thing/feel. What do you think? TIA...
posted by kleenkat to Human Relations (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
..sometimes I think my girlfriend is not very fun or very spontaneous..

Trust in Frued: "dreams are the guardian of sleep".

The reason you are having these dreams is the same as the reason you are posting here; you are bored, want someone new, and feel too guilty about the desire to even entertain the notion. This is a conflict that could either keep you up at night, or you can sleep and dream about your wish instead.

You need the sleep, so you have the dream. Living your repressed fantasies in your sleep keeps you from waking up. Simple as that.
posted by clarknova at 6:39 PM on October 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


a good Jungian would say that you already know the answer to the question, and that clarknova is pretty OTM.
posted by mr. remy at 6:43 PM on October 21, 2009


And critics of psychoanalysis would say that both the Freudian and the Jungian interpretations are a load of crap.

Besides, for an orthodox Freudian, the dream work would never be so transparent. If it's that obvious, then it must really be about something else.

I'd say that it's no surprise that you're having these dreams: you're about to make a major transition in your life. Are you happy about it in the waking world? If so, then don't worry about the dreams. If not, then the dreams are the least of your worry.
posted by brianogilvie at 6:48 PM on October 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


For fuck's sake, don't trust in Freud. Nobody really knows why we dream what we dream. I could drum up a theory (that you have been hit with a lot of relationship commitment and permanence issues recently and your brain is unsurprisingly kicking out relationship scenarios at you) and it isn't any more correct or scientific than anything anyone else is going to come up with. Whether your relationship has issues or not is an entirely separate issue: sort it out without muddying it up by attaching too much importance to the inscrutable world of dreams.
posted by nanojath at 6:51 PM on October 21, 2009 [8 favorites]


It's a bloody dream- it could be about your fantasies and fears, or it could mean nothing at all. I certainly wouldn't put any stock in Freud here. Don't sweat it. Really.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:12 PM on October 21, 2009


I'd not look to the hazy rememberances of interrupted REM sleep as meaning anything. It is your reaction to those rememberances that you should focus on. What about experiencing a non-real event like that is upsetting you? Answer that and you will have a better idea of what is going on.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:24 PM on October 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Quite. It's exactly as likely to be because you've eaten cheese at night as any of this Freud tosh.
posted by genghis at 7:28 PM on October 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Dreams don't mean anything unless you want them to mean something.
posted by anniecat at 7:32 PM on October 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

I see it as healthy internal skepticism that you are working out internally. If they upset you determine why. Is it because you think they might be true or are you upset with the thought of cheating on your girlfriend?
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:37 PM on October 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


We recently purchased a house together and will be moving next month. Also, I just turned 29 and my parents recently divorced this year after 30 years of marriage.

Also, look at your question. You described in extreme detail every aspect of the events in your dream. Yet your obvious HUGE issues like family strife and dissolution and the state of your actual relationship are two lines.

Whenever I see myself or others throwing in a whole bunch of details into a problem, I'm often finding it means that I am trying to avoid thinking about one problem by thinking about another. I'd spend a bit of time asking yourself questions about how you feel about these two events in your life. I usually find that the supposedly intractable problem solves itself rapidly when I focus on the bigger issues in my life.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:43 PM on October 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you have "unresolved issues" with your ex, you may still be trying to figure it out in your dreams. Go with it.

2nd dream you said the girl "shared a house with a bunch of weird people". Your moving out of your apartment into the house you've been remodeling. Are there questions as to whether or not this is a good move?

3rd dream seems like a control issue, as many sex dreams can be. Maybe you feel, sometimes, like you don't belong with the younger crowd?

Or the above could be a bunch of crap.
posted by Acacia at 7:54 PM on October 21, 2009


re: Ironmouth
Yeah, I think I'm avoiding one problem and focusing on another. There are other dreams I have I don't give a second thought about. Imagine that.

I wanted that third girl, dating. I just want what is new again sometimes but I know it always fades, so I just wonder if that is human nature. Yes, too guilty to act on such notions or to treat a loved one like that. I did see it happen with my mom to my dad, talk about psychological relapse! lol.
posted by kleenkat at 8:15 PM on October 21, 2009


The best dream analysis technique I ever heard says that everything in a dream is you, is some facet of you. So those other women? They're you. What part of you is your ex, someone whom you love madly but want not to do anything crazy while you're bogged down with other crazy-making things? What part of you is a hippie who comes along with a lot of other weirdos? What part of you is a much younger student in your class with spunk and verve?
posted by KathrynT at 8:40 PM on October 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


When you have a dream about buying shoes and then a naked clown runs through the store, do you start thinking it has some overarching meaning in your life? I hope not.

nanojath is spot-on. Dreams can mean something or they can mean nothing, but for the love of god don't start freaking out about your relationship because you had some weird dreams. If you have relationship issues work that out, but dreams shouldn't have anything to do with it.
posted by Nattie at 9:57 PM on October 21, 2009


re: kathrynT, thanks...that makes a lot of sense, actually.
posted by kleenkat at 10:03 PM on October 21, 2009


Honest to God, your brain uses sleep time to work out weird shit in weird ways, and when you are stressed but particularly when you are in transition, the shit is at its weirdest. I really, truly would not read too much into it. I am genuinely happily married and my exes haunt my dreams like the fracking undead when I'm going through significant changes. I pay them no mind.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:36 PM on October 21, 2009


Martha Beck has a great dream analysis technique along the lines of what KathrynT describes. Beck outlines it in her book, Steering By Starlight.

Basically, you list all the symbols (people, settings, objects) in your dream and answer these questions from the perspective of the symbols themselves:

* Who are you?
* How would you describe yourself?
* What is your purpose? How are you trying to help me?

So you might write, "I am [ex]. I am [three words that come to mind when you think of ex.] My purpose is .... I am trying to help kleenkat by ..."

It's worked wonders for me, especially with vivid, captivating dreams like the ones you describe. The important thing is to focus on the emotional content, not the literal content, remembering that every symbol in the dream is an aspect of yourself.
posted by alicat at 11:05 PM on October 21, 2009


Trust in Frued: "dreams are the guardian of sleep".

The reason you are having these dreams is the same as the reason you are posting here; you are bored, want someone new, and feel too guilty about the desire to even entertain the notion. This is a conflict that could either keep you up at night, or you can sleep and dream about your wish instead.

You need the sleep, so you have the dream. Living your repressed fantasies in your sleep keeps you from waking up. Simple as that.
posted by clarknova at 6:39 PM on October 21


Yes, leave your girlfriend because of a stupid-ass dream you had; just really excellent, clearly well-thought-out advice here.

Trusting in Freudian (not Fruedian, note) theories to guide your life is like asking your neurologist to rely on Walter Freeman's methods; in short, it is dangerous and counter-productive. Real life is real life and dreams are dreams. Don't read any more into it than that.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:12 AM on October 22, 2009


KathrynT beat me to it.

IMO, Everything in the dream is you. Some of it may be weird images you have absorbed, hidden fears and desires, too... but the relationsips and objects are all internal and about sorting yourself out.
posted by ServSci at 6:44 AM on October 22, 2009


The best dream analysis technique I ever heard says that everything in a dream is you, is some facet of you.

I have also used this technique to good effect in the past as well.

As for wanting other people, it happens all of the time. If you have agreed to be monogamous, you've agreed not to do that. The conflict between what you have agreed to and what the animal parts of you want is one that is hard to resolve. If it happens from time to time and then fades, you can watch it pass each and every time. If it is constantly occuring, I'd reevaluate the relationship, and once you decide, then stay or break up. Keeping the promise part until you do break up allows you to minimize the harm to others over the long term and allows them to not feel burned and to continue to have trust in others.

My mini-derail aside, I'd focus on some feelings you have about these big changes in your life. How do you feel about the obvious trauma of seeing your parents break up? How do you feel about owning a home with your partner? Learning how you feel about something won't wreck it, it will help you get stronger.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:52 AM on October 22, 2009


The means alicat describes is similar to what I've done when I've had a dream that I'm convinced just "means something" -- I write down each detail that struck me, and then go through it point by point and ask myself, "okay: what does THIS remind me of?" And I list each thing, and then see if I can make any kind of connection.

Because we all have a personal history of things that we associate with other things -- pickles may have a good association for me, for example, if I once spent this really awesome day making pickles with an old boyfriend and that was the day he first told me he loved me; whereas for you, they have a bad association because they remind you of the time that you played a pickle in the third grade play and threw up onstage in front of everyone and the whole school laughed and your teacher was bitchy about it and your Mom was late bringing you home because she had car trouble and you had to sit in the principal's office in a puke-covered pickle costume for an hour. Or, of course, we may neither one of us have any personal association with pickles whatsoever, they're just there.

So my dream about pickles may mean something very different from your dream about pickles. As a college professor once said during class: "what else are dreams but our own private mythologies?" The trick is in figuring out what, if anything, each of those items in our dreams means -- whether the pickles remind us of something good or bad, or whether they're just pickles. But only we can answer that for ourselves.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:56 AM on October 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Just a quick aside to chime in on the side of 'don't take it too seriously'--

I once dreamt I was an orange.
posted by BurnMage at 3:01 PM on October 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I once dreamt I was an orange.

*grins* I can top that -- I once dreamed that Mark Knopfler and I were in a crack squad of the CIA going around an giving people enforced liposuction.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:44 PM on October 22, 2009


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