Every Man I’m attracted to dies in my dreams.
Questioner: I’ve been having dreams about any man I’m very interested in dying right in front of me. It happens every time I realize how much I like someone and it’s weirding me out. It’s always very traumatic and I watch them die and it’s affecting my waking life. They’re always murdered in a shocking way from an outside force I don’t know. I never see who does it. I’m always hyper fixed on them.
Dr. Sleeveheart: The first thought that pops up for me from my years of studying romantic relationships for the textbook I published in 2000 is that women who lost their fathers through death are likely to fear the death of any man they ever love. For the first man they completely trusted and naturally loved DID die. Did this happen to you?
If it did not happen, then we’ll look further to find out if something else happened in your earlier life that might also translate into unconscious imagery of the man you love dying in front of you.
In addition, there was a very good interview research project conducted over 40 years ago that found significant differences in attitudes toward love between college age women whose fathers had died and those whose fathers had left them through divorce, and both of these in comparison to those whose fathers were still married to their mothers. And furthermore my now deceased wife’s father died suddenly at work when she was 11 and my present fiancee’s father died at the breakfast table in front of her when she was 11. But it’s still possible that something different happened in your life history, so what happened in your relationship with your father that might be out of the ordinary?
Questioner responds: My father is a drug addict who was in and out of prison throughout my life. He left us and divorced my mother when I was 11 and has been in and out of my life since then. I don’t currently have a relationship with him or communicate with him regularly. I do resent him for choosing drugs above his family.
Dr. Sleeveheart: I didn’t see the part about the man being murdered by an outside force before I wrote my response. The outside force that’s murdering your father is the drugs he takes. You keep getting retraumatized when he comes into your life and then goes again, with NO chance on your part to get him to prefer your relationship to the drugs he takes.
So this suggests to me that the most self-preserving road for you to take with every man you are attracted to would be to suspect yourself of being attracted to men who are attracted to the soul-curdling effects of powerful drugs, including also alcohol. So you would help yourself by making sure you’ve talked with the man enough to find out if he does any drugs or alcohol or has a history of doing them that suggests he could still be attracted to them. And don’t form your love relationships online, because it’s far too easy to cloak one’s lifestyle in online conversation. Do you have any more questions?
Questioner: The man I am involved with does have a history of drug abuse and currently drinks more than normal. That makes a lot of sense to me.
Dr.Sleeveheart: Your experience actually fits both types of daughters in the interview research who had lost their fathers. For those whose fathers divorced and visited occasionally had had exciting, somewhat eroticized relations with their fathers, and those whose fathers had died expected any man they would love to traumatically die.
If you’re worried about who might be murdering each man you begin to love, it’s your unconscious mind, because that part of you knows that every man you love will traumatize your heart sooner or later. But believe it or not, there are many lovable men who aren’t attracted to drugs, though they might not be similar enough to your father’s personality to attract you beyond your conscious understanding. I’d guess you’re still fairly young (early 30s or less), so it’s not too late for you to take more steps to change your patterns. And of course you’re going to give your present relationship everything you’ve got unless and until the curdling of his soul gets too smelly for your intuition. We’re not helpless, and we can learn from both conscious and unconscious minds.