men coming and going

Hi Emily -

If you ask yourself the right questions, and possess the courage to face your fears, most dreams have no choice but to faithfully unfold their riddles. Your dream is highly metaphoric, but the honest background you provide contains all the clues we need to understand its poetry.

The young man who twice reminds you of his age also disappears twice in your dream. The first time he makes a sudden exit is when he drops off a ledge and literally "leaves you hanging." The second time he disappears is after he politely guesses your age to be 40, when in fact you are 51. You write to us that men have "dropped away" and "left you hanging" in relationships before. Can there be any mistaking that you suspect your age difference (between yourself and some of your younger partners) is a culprit?

The spiral pathway that you and the young man walk up together most likely represents a progressing relationship. (It leads up.) The ledge you sit upon, surprise, most likely represents an alter. The important man you came to hear speak? This would appear to a pastor, clergyman - or even God herself! How can we be confident in our marriage metaphor? The clue is provided by the young man. Before you both walk up the spiral path together, he opens a large box that contains many smaller ring boxes inside. The hope of a committed relationship is presented before you, but significantly, you do not receive a ring, nor do you ever hear "the important man" speak.

If you feel the spiral path represents your hopes for a committed relationship, then several other dream metaphors fall easily into place. The crowd of men (who act like they know you) are casual suitors interspersed between steadier relationsips. (First you climb the path, then your partner "falls off the ledge and leaves you hanging" then you are "in the mix" again - surrounded by men.) The bathing suit worn above snow boots suggests an attempt to place an appearance of sexuality and attractiveness on top of feelings that you are trudging along "through an emotional winter" Or does the bathing suit signify a period of spring and rebirth - emerging from a cold spell? You tell us that after a period of not trying - you are now willing to try again.

The birds in your dream are a curious symbol. People often find a comfort and warmth in their relationships with animals, that they do not receive from other people. Accordingly, the animals may represent a comfort you feel with the natural world, that is being juxtaposed with your difficulty finding a lasting relationship with a partner.

Emily Replies:

Dear Dream Doctor -

Thank you for your thoughts. You are so right about so many things. Yes, my relations (or many of them anyway) have been in a "round and round" and never getting to the next level, pattern or, doing all the running you can and staying in one place, as in Alice Through the Looking Glass. You were even right about the birds. I am a bird watcher, as were my mother and grandmother, and I get much pleasure and comfort from them. Birds appear in my dreams often. Yes, I am a little uncomfortable with my age, another point you were right about.

I appreciate your positive attitude and thank you for reminding me that we never know what will happen in the future.


Hi Emily -

Perhaps the birds do represent freedom and the future? For truly, they are both in your hands.

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