For the past few nights, I’ve had romance-centered dreams. Not sexy stuff per se, but stuff about new boyfriends, and ex-boyfriends, and dynamics, and what not. Personally, I hate hearing about dreams. My own can be so random and pointless that I often hesitate to assign meaning to them. (Generally, I don’t want to hear about other people’s dreams unless they’re able to add some critical analysis, mythology, or narrative to the dream.) However, sometimes I do find my dreams to be meaningful. Sometimes my dreams are very clearly working through a problem or idea that’s been plaguing me.
The night before last, I dreamt about an old boyfriend who is now married with children (aren’t they all?) We were at his house, the children were playing quietly (which seems unlikely), and we reconnected easily throughout the day. His wife came home in the evening and did my horoscope charts, and I awoke feeling emotional, perplexed, but I enjoyed the dream.
Last night I dreamt that I had two new boyfriends. I did not know them from real life. They were similar in build–only slightly bigger and taller than me. Neither relationships were very serious, but both were very exciting. I was with my dad’s side of the family, getting dressing up with my girl cousins for a Halloween party. Both of my new boyfriends were at the party. I was drinking some kind of whiskey and Sprite concoction and was quite pleased with myself.
Here’s the critical analysis part: When I started dating in a more serious way, in my late teens/early twenties, I tended to spend all of my romantic energy on one person at a time. It wasn’t a conscious choice, but a naturalized/socialized practice. Now, I think I would have benefited tremendously from dating more widely and with more people simultaneously–a model that was completely unknown to me at the time. I should have taken even more risks (though I did take plenty). This is absolutely the wisdom of looking back with the experience gained in the passing of a decade.
The important thing is applying that wisdom now: take more risks. Perhaps I would do well to date more widely. As some of you know, I am in a “serious, committed” relationship, and that suits me just fine in so many ways. But, I think these dreams are about working through relationships that might be good/better for me than the typical scenarios that I’ve been socialized for. Personally, I’m very excited about some of the new, socially acceptable models for relationships that are beyond the monogamous, hetero-normative, marriage model. That’s not to say that any of those scenarios are right for me, but I like that other possibilities exist.
I’m also thinking about this article that’s been circulating on Facebook, “Marriage Isn’t For You.” At first, my religious right-wing friends posted it. Then, my more academic friends started posting it too, and I had to stop, take notice, and take pause. I’ve never been married, but the premise seems off. Or, as my mother would say, it “insults my soul.” The article is about serving a spouse, serving children, and, I suspect, serving some kind of higher power under the assumption that the higher power wants everyone to be married and reproduce. But, something tells me that a higher power might not think that marrying and reproducing is the end all be all. In a world where women too often deplete themselves giving to everyone but themselves, I think there is meaning and value in nurturing your own soul, growing, gaining, and taking from those around you. Yes, oftentimes personal growth involves loving and serving others, but, for me, relationships are also about the individual.