I can’t seem to let go no matter how hard I try. My first love (from nearly a decade ago) and I long parted hearts, yet she still turns up in my dreams. The relationship didn’t end the way I wanted it to and we don’t talk at all. I’ve moved on geographically and emotionally (I’ve found my amazing life partner). I don’t willingly sit around thinking about her, but she still drops a line in my psyche sometimes- this bugs me, and I can’t figure it out. H E L P. (The Windeater)
She obviously has great meaning to you. First loves usually do. But just because you feel the connection, does not mean you have to act on it or feel worried about whether you should meet up with her again. It is very normal that she appears in your dreams because she is a significant stimulus for you.
Remember that your dreams are your mind’s access point to your unconscious. Something about her, your interaction, and the way it ended feels unsettling to you and therefore your mind is trying to work it out. Your dreams indicate that you are still grappling with something that needs to be resolved. Understand that you may not have to directly involve her in order for this to be resolved for you. Try and explore for yourself what it is about this interaction that held such meaning for you. Perhaps there is some emotion that needs to be expressed, accepted or even let go. Letting go is a really tricky thing. Of course there are various structured methods available such as letter writing (and burning), meditation, rituals/ceremonies, or talking it through with a therapist.
But perhaps you need to do some introspection to find out what about yourself you need to learn about, accept, and let go of in order to move on. Ask yourself what your desire is? What is the fantasy? If you were to see her now, what would you say and what would you hope she would say? These answers will give you clues to unlocking the lesson that you are still trying to learn. Maybe you need to let go of hurt and feelings of rejection, which in part have something to do with the ego but are very real and meaningful. Maybe you need to let go of some guilt. Is it more about lust or desire for someone whose presence was physically and chemically stimulating to you? It could also be a control issue?
At the end of the day, relationships are toughest because we cannot control another person, how they choose to behave or treat us, and that is what scares us the most. So be kind to yourself while you work this all out. There are no hard and fast rules and relationships are risky, you can only do your best to remain conscious and try and make decisions with the intention to not do harm. The rest is up to [ ]…
First published on Carly’s blog Oct. 22, 2013. Carly Abramovitz is a clinical psychologist from South Africa. She started her blog as a way of communicating to the world– especially to young people– that psychological concepts can be cool, too! She enjoys discussing the more intricate and complex aspects of interpersonal relationships and welcomes all comments and questions on Carly’s Couch.