[Two Pronged] Dreaming of Mel
Rappler's Life and Style section runs an advice column by couple Jeremy Baer and clinical psychologist Dr Margarita Holmes.
Jeremy has a master's degree in law from Oxford University. A banker of 37 years who worked in 3 continents, he has been training with Dr Holmes for the last 10 years as co-lecturer and, occasionally, as co-therapist, especially with clients whose financial concerns intrude into their daily lives.
I met this girl back in 2009 during my first years of college. And like how young people are, it was love at first sight.
Mel was your typical average looking Filipina woman. She is not that pretty but she has that simple but cute image. Not surprisingly though, a select few of the boys in our class like her. These are the men that I would classify as the serious ones that are looking for a long-term relationships.
During the first year of college, I decided to make my move. It was a party night in our class as our school's way of having us have fun and mingle with other students of other courses. After a few hours everyone got bored so we decided to go home. It was 11pm and Mel lives further down south of Metro Manila. With this information, I used this as an excuse to volunteer to take her home despite our dormitory's curfew policy. Every trouble was worth it.
During this year, it was also that time that I am focusing on my studies as I am totally serious about it, so courting her became 3rd priority as I have my family to take care of and still struggling to manage my time.
It was on the second year when I finally got the hang of college and was able to manage my time that I was able to once again revisit my feelings for Mel. Luckily, I was able to have her join our group of friends. This is when I started converting myself from just a friend to a potential suitor.
Courting her took me some effort. Like a foolish young boy, I tried to change myself just to be suited to her, which eventually I really liked. She likes a particular music and I tried to listen to it, love it, and even get updated to it so I can have a conversation with her that only we can talk about. I also, on a daily basis, provided her with breakfast and an afternoon snack. I also tried to change some of my ways that I thought would turn her off, but I think that did not go well
After 3 months, I finally asked if I can court her and what I got was a NO. I asked why and her answer was something I really considered. Aside from telling me that it is only through “friendship” we can go through with our relationship as she needs to take care of her studies and career so she can provide for her family. I agreed. But deep inside, I really think I will have my chance with her someday.
On my final years of college, I met my present girlfriend. We clicked and we are going strong for 5 years now. But recently all of a sudden, I dreamt about Mel and she has been going on in my mind for quite some months now.
When my present girlfriend [and I] became officially in a relationship, I already moved on. We keep constant communication ever since I left the country more than a year ago. But despite all that, my dream about Mel bothers me.
My dreams about Mel started at 5 months ago. In that dream as I vividly remember, we are talking to each other and I listening to her telling me how much she regrets rejecting me.
This went on-and-on until recently, it was my turn to speak to her in my dream. I dreamt that I was talking to her at my own house, alone together and there I will go and say all the things I wanted to say, questions I wanted to ask that I did not have the chance to ask. And when I wake up, I feel sad until I get to work.
These past few weeks, I tried and started reaching out to Mel with the simple “kamustahan” (how are yous) and tried to be a friend as a way to validate my feelings. She responds pretty well and just recently I do not know if this is a valid observation but she recently interacts with my posts on social media frequently, as I do same.
These dreams are bothering me a lot and I want to know which path I should take. I love my girlfriend, but I want to settle things with Mel.
What should I do?
Thank you for your email.
Your main issue seems to be an inability to distinguish fantasy from reality, so let's start with the facts. You knew Mel in college, you were attracted to her and wanted to court her. By your own account, courting was your third priority and thus Mel turned you down, saying that friendship was all that was available but also being kind enough to cite the need to concentrate on her studies and career maybe there is a lesson here – offering someone the chance to be the third priority in your life is not the way to most women's hearts). Time has passed and now you are 5 years into a relationship with someone else.
So much for the facts. Now we enter the world of dreams, otherwise known as fantasy. You have begun to dream of Mel. This Mel is full of regrets for turning you down and now you get your chance to tell her how you feel.
It is no surprise that you are suddenly anxious to interpret the meaning of these nocturnal transmissions (not to be confused with nocturnal emissions!) so you re-establish contact with Mel via social media and she responds. Unfortunately here your account suddenly ends and we are left bitin, uncertain whether her response is just a standard polite kamustahan or something more positive which could give some credence to the content of your dreams.
Perhaps you yourself are not sure, hence your dilemma: to stick with the girl you love or go for the girl of your dreams, figuratively and literally.
Now we could attempt to analyze the content of your social media exchanges and the extent to which your subconscious is revealed while you are asleep etc. etc. but there is a more direct and effective alternative: ask Mel herself if she is interested in a relationship with you. Once you have that information, you will at least know whether you have a real choice or not.
All the best,
Thank you very much for your letter. There is no doubt in my mind that you should pursue your potential relationship with Mel for all it’s worth. This will finally give you the closure your recent dreams have made necessary, not only for your well being, but mainly for your current girlfriend’s (let’s call her Vivian).
Many people would hate to be in the pampalubag loob (consolation prize) category and I have a feeling Vivian would be one of them. Yet clearly, this is the category she is currently in. Only 55 of your 746-word letter is about your relationship with Vivian; more than 93% of it is focused on yours with Mel (whether based on reality or fantasy). You owe it to both yourself and Vivian to see what this is all about.
This is not what I would recommend to everyone who wrote me about a former crush he dreamed about, but you’ve imbued your dreams about Mel with some magical, almost mystical imperative and in fairness to Vivian, you must check out what these dreams are telling you.
Otherwise, you will always consider Mel as the soul mate that got away, and your relationship with her the might-have-been-perfect one. How can Vivian compete with a fantasy that you didn’t have the courage, commitment or ability to work hard enough to see through?
If you are the type of person who puts his needs ahead of everybody else’s, then in all likelihood, you will not tell Vivian about your messages etc to Mel. You will keep Vivian in reserve (even if she doesn't know about it) until you know for sure where you stand with Mel. If you are particularly selfish and in fact, quite sociopathic, you will not tell Vivian anything even if Mel is willing to have a deeper relationship with you.
I can only hope that you are none of these things.
You see, you cannot control who or what happens after you shut our eyes and go to sleep, but can definitely control whether to be an asshole or not. I am hoping you make decisions that sit right not just with you, but with everyone else you are involved with. All the best and good luck!
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