Have you ever dreamed that you slept with your father? Or rode a mechanical bull while a coworker watched? We have and were disturbed for months. Fortunately, dreams don’t always mean what you think they do, and having sex with your father is nothing to worry about, so long as it only happens in your subconscious. Here, we ask psychologist Veronica Tonay, Ph.D. to decode your crazy dreams each and every week, so that you can sleep at night, and dream some more.
THE DREAM IN QUESTION: For several years I’ve had a reoccurring dream about a guy I dated ages ago. In my dream, he is the perfect boyfriend and he even looks better, with a gorgeous body and amazing hair. He is totally and completely amazing—smart, funny, loving, and easy to talk to. I have been having this dream for years since I dumped him. Why? — Boyfriend BaffledANSWER: Recurring dreams are really important—if a dream happens more than once, it contains a message that you should listen to and try to decode. When we have romantic dreams, we’re dreaming about the opposite gendered side of ourselves, the side we are coming to know through our relationships. We all have the capacity for both sides—masculine and feminine—and how much we express both sides changes as we grow older. (“Masculine” means action and goal oriented, the side that helps us get along in the world. “Feminine” means receptive and seeking harmonious relationships within and without. We need both within us.) When you dream about someone you’re attracted to, their qualities are qualities of your own that you need to develop to meet a current challenge. Forget about who your ex-boyfriend really is or was, and focus on what kind of perfect guy you created in your dream. What attractive qualities did this dream man have? You said he was smart, funny, and easy to talk to. This indicates that you are unaware of how smart, funny, and easy to talk to you are! Try purposely acknowledging and developing your sense of humor. Be aware of the ways in which you are a good conversationalist and have things to offer in conversation. When you develop your own sense of humor, intelligence, and conversational skills, you probably won’t be as attracted to guys like this in real life. (This also works when you have a crush on someone you’d like to get over. Develop their qualities in yourself, and wham! no more attraction!)
Veronica Tonay, Ph.D., earned her doctoral degree in psychology at the University of California at Berkeley and has conducted and supervised research on the meaning of dreams for 25 years. She is the author of The Creative Dreamer: Using Your Dreams to Unlock Your Creativity and Every Dream Interpreted.