Monday, 20 January 2014

Project X

This is going to be a difficult post to write, so bear with me as I try to clarify what it is I'm going to say.

My dreams have been a bit disturbing recently because my exes have been in all of them. All my exes, that is, except Catherine. So... two of them. Including Rebecca, who's been dead now for a while. Although she hasn't really been taking centre stage.

In the dreams (nightmares, really) I used to have about my exes, they all ended up cheating on me; in reality... well... this actually did happen more than once, which is probably what precipitated both it and my general mistrust for girls, something I've been working on and through ever since. Jilly appears in my dreams too; she doesn't cheat on me in them (as far as I can remember), which I can only construe as a positive thing.

For years, though, including the one-and-a-half-years in which I was in a relationship with Catherine, the drinking girl from my previous relationship continually turned up in my dreams seemingly in order to cheat on me. That relationship didn't end very well (although on better terms, I suppose, than that with either Rebecca or Catherine did), but there was absolutely no indication of infidelity on either side, so my brain managed to do so in its absence.

A couple of weeks ago I read a book of poetry that reminded me of TD and how she was doing a Ph.D. on the subject (and how I've said on multiple occasions that one of the things I missed about not being with her any more is that I couldn't go to any talks about the poetry in question!). Considering how a quick Google search didn't yield much, I had no idea if she was still working on it. I took to Google Chat to ask her directly and she told me that she had finished it, yes (so she's a doctor now), and that she was now living in Brussels with her boyfriend.

With my boyfriend. How strange those words sounded or even looked on the screen. That used to be me. (In case you're wondering, I suddenly envisioned Peeta from The Hunger Games.)

And yet I'm someone else's boyfriend now. I'm in a happy, stable relationship with my girlfriend, who I also live with, so I can't begrudge that statement. And yet, for a moment (a split second), I felt desperately unhappy, as if the intervening years between January 1, 2011 hadn't happened, and neither had a multitude of the things I mentioned in my previous post.

So, yeah, she's back in my dreams now, as is Rebecca. Jilly is present there, too, and (thankfully for me) she is always ensconced in her rôle as girlfriend, but at the same time, I'm an onlooker to something which has/is happened/happening, with both girls at points, and although I'm aware of it in abundance, something in my dream-self screams: cheating! cheating! cheating! I wake up, I feel ashamed, depressed, sad, fraudulent, like a failure... and I fall asleep again. Or I don't want to get up.

Why is this happening? 

I'm in the middle of what is probably my best relationship yet and rebuilding a life that took a bit of an emotional tumble since the first of 2011. I flatter myself when I'm saying that I think I'm doing pretty well, considering.

I don't want to have dreams with my exes in. I particularly don't want to have dreams in which they're cheating on me with other people. And I don't want my dream-self to still be in a relationship in which I'm not (apart from the few dreams where Jilly is present, as I've mentioned). It's disturbing. It's upsetting. It's frightening. It brings back all those old feelings I had before, those of not having closure - those of not ever getting closure. No resolutions, no explanations. I'm willing to bet everything I own, including my reputation as a hopeless social misfit, on the lack of closure being the reason my brain keeps bringing me back to this point.

Words of comfort would be nice right now.


Anonymous said...

Well, if I was asked to pick it apart I'd say that ex-partners frequent your dreams more often when you are at the beginning or ending of things that are emotionally difficult or demanding (there have been studies, believe it or not. So at the very least you're not alone!).

You've said yourself that you've been rebuilding, and I know a few things have changed for the lovely two of you recently as well. Positive or negative, whenever you don't know where you are going your brain is biologically inclined to use your past as a reference to establish some sort of firmer emotional ground. Which isn't always a good thing... Especially when your past is upsetting.

... And this might seem silly, but somehow it often reminds me of those double doors; where you can't go through the second set when the first have not yet closed. And closure isn't really something someone else can give you. Yes, they can help you by offering information and filling in some blanks, but there will always be more questions, but then it's still you who has to decide if that's enough to make sense of things. Often it's not. There will always be more questions... Maybe one of them should be if you're in a better place now than you think you would be if you and whoever would still be together.

Knowing you and knowing Jilly (although not as well as I'd love), I think you are.

I don't know if any of this makes any sense. In any case: *big, big hug*


Innocent Loverboy said...

The thing is, I think that (in some ways) former girlfriends of mine do hold the ability to give me the closure that I've been looking for. I ask myself the question "why?" over and over again and yet that doesn't get me any answers, because I don't know them.

I know not all questions will be answered, and there will always be more. But I at least want some answers. I've even asked questions in the past and they've been turned back on me to make me look bad. I just want to understand; I don't want to either wound or be wounded.

A good example is the question of why TD decided to dump me. It came out of nowhere; it was a very sudden switch. I saw no hints leading up to it and was thrown out without a reason at all. She could have at least given me a reason.

I still wonder what the turning point was which made her take that decision. Was it a specific moment? Something one of us said or did? Personally I can't think of anything that happened. It was New Year's Day. Seemed like a normal one. She must know, so why didn't she tell me?

Maybe I am in a better place right now than I otherwise would be. There's no way of knowing, really. But wherever I am now, or wherever I may have been otherwise, there would still be things unresolved, and that drives me mad.

But thanks for the hugs. They are very much appreciated.

Harper Eliot said...

Sadly I'm more tough love than I am kind words… but as this is a week old, perhaps you've gained some perspective anyway.

You need to find a way to be okay with the fact that for many of the relationships over your life, you probably won't get the kind of closure you want. In my experience, it's pretty rare.

You also need to be okay with your dreams. I ONLY have nightmares, never dreams. Serial killers, rapists, monsters, apocalypse… you name it, I've dreamed it. And in the end, it's very possible to wake up and go "shit - that was intense", brush it off, and move on with your day. Hope you manage to do that!

Innocent Loverboy said...

I'm not one to respond too well to tough love, but you actually make a lot of sense here.

The reason I sort of expect (or wish for) closure from relationships is that I always try to provide the same myself, because I think it's common courtesy. I've said to several people that if they want to ask me anything to explain my actions at any point, they can. Nobody has said yes.

When I broke up with Catherine - undeniably the toughest thing to do in my life, and something that made me feel like a terrible person - I made it incredibly clear to her that if she wanted me to explain anything, she should ask. I tolerated a couple of months of raging and storming from her as a result - in short, I paid dearly for my actions. But I acted in a way where there was a channel for any wanted explanation.

I may expect the same from other people. But those with an axe to grind probably don't want to give one. I never got any explanation from all those bullies throughout my life either, so I don't really know why I'd expect anything. It's part of my "there's good in everyone" psyche, I suppose.

There was a large period of my life where I only ever had nightmares - often the same one involving a robotic hand. My dreams which involve real people affect me more because they're so realistic and prey on my biggest fears - rejection, loneliness, betrayal, and so on - although (as you say) I am able to brush it aside, although that does take a while for me. I've spent a lot of my life immersed in my own thoughts, and that doesn't always have good results - realistic, horrific dreams come back to me at those points. You're an intelligent person too, so I'd guess you understand where I'm coming from there?

Although, having said all that... since I wrote this post, I've had none of the same dreams at all. So maybe doing this helped exorcise them in some way. Who knows?

In any case, thanks for the comment. This was a bit of a long-winded reply to it, but you still helped a lot by showing you read it and cared enough to comment.