I don’t usually remember my dreams but in the last week I had two about Ralph.

Dream 1.

I am in a school building with Ralph When he heads to the boy’s bathroom, I can’t follow him. But he doesn’t come out, and he doesn’t come out. I decide I must have been pre-occupied and not noticed him come through the door. Or maybe in the dream I am pre-occupied, enjoying myself, and then I realize I have  I missed him coming out the door. I start to search for him, walking down various corridors but stopping along the way to have small happy adventures. I never find him and wonder how I’ll explain to people that I mislaid him. When I woke I felt unsettled, as if the dream needed to be finished. I felt the need to double check that Ralph was indeed in the bed, safely asleep.

Dream 2.

Ralph announces he has fallen in love with another woman and asks my permission to get a divorce. The woman and I talk. I ask if she is prepared to take care of Ralph if/when his condition worsens. She says yes. She seems perfectly nice and normal, but I find it odd that Ralph says this woman, whom I evidently know slightly, is his intellectual soul mate. I feel a little hurt since before we married or even dated  we were intellectual buddies.

My stronger reaction, though, is curiosity. I ask Ralph what he talks about to the woman, who wears a 1950s-style black dress and wide brimmed hat. After all,  he and I don’t have more than perfunctory conversations most of the time. Ralph tells me they talk about real estate, the subject that used to obsess him but that he now avoids discussing—somehow in the dream I think to myself about our awake life. We are in a room together, maybe a restaurant, where I begin to worry about the woman’s motives–is she after his money [that part of the dream probably comes from reading Anne Patchett’s The Dutch House in which a second wife cuts her husband’s kids out of their inheritance]. Suddenly I realize Ralph’s kids are protected by his will. Relieved, I decide to let the divorce happen. He and the woman are very grateful. I am glad to be making Ralph  happy and also happy that now I can move to a smaller house and live alone.

One dream of losing Ralph physically, one of losing him emotionally. Losing or chasing to lose. What these dreams reveal is both obvious and murky:  ambivalence, ambivalence, ambivalence.


  1. It feels like we always have to try be “on”. Being responsible, handling things maturely and calmly. Most times I feel I can come close to being that way. Other times, well, it is probably best I don’t remember my dreams…

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  2. Although I haven’t been asked to help interpret your dream, I’ll put my 2 cents out there: my feeling is that your mind is working on a way to accept the fact that you’re losing your husband. By allowing him to divorce you and remarry someone else, you’re also relieved of the burden of caring for him. Not at all unexpected, considering the circumstances.

    Blessings to you … do take good care of yourself.

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  3. I think we mustn’t put too much stock into dreams. Has anyone ever learned to accurately interpret them? I think about them, find them interesting and entertaining and even exciting but beyond that I quickly move on.

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    1. I agree Frank, but shared because unlike most dreams which I forget immediately, these clearly represented what I feel consciously without needed much interpretation. Thanks for writing.


  4. Yes, I’ve had similar dreams, and similar thoughts. So not fun.
    As time goes by, the ambiguity of the situation grows, and the ambivalence as well. Spouse is there, at times, and not at others. Our roles are in constant flux.
    Chin up, you’ve got company!
    Thanks for writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I rarely remember my dreams actually. These were particularly vivid and disturbing, not because they were unhappy or frightening but because they were so calm and matter of fact. I get a lot of compliments on how “well you are handling things” but sometimes I wonder if that calm ability is saying something about me I might not like…..

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