Ghosts of Boyfriends Past

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I had some unexpected visitors the other night. As pleased as I was to have their company for a short amount of time, their visit left me thinking about a lot of things, as it usually does. Most of the time, it’s only one of them visiting; rarely do they visit as a group. You see, three ex-boyfriends visited me in my dreams. Well, technically only two of them are ex-boyfriends, but I digress. These visits have been going on for decades and usually come at a time when I need some sort of reassurance or comfort. This last visit was no exception.

Before I continue, I feel some “introductions” are necessary. Boyfriend 1 was my boyfriend in junior high. I had had a crush on him for quite a while, but never thought he felt the same way. We had the typical junior high, nervous boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. We both got teased, him probably more than me, but for the most part it didn’t matter. Boyfriend 2 was a friend in high school who I carried a torch for for what some might consider an unhealthy amount of time. We never actually dated but we did spend quite a bit of time together. He was the one friend I felt I could always rely on. I didn’t hide my feelings either. In college, he was the guy all other guys were compared to, and in my eyes none of the other guys matched up. Boyfriend 3 was a high school boyfriend. We didn’t date long, but remained good friends throughout high school, much to the chagrin of his other girlfriends. He and I had the kind of friendship where we could flirt and hang out but it didn’t mean anything. We just enjoyed each other’s company.

This last visit by all three got me thinking about all their other appearances. Usually it’s just Boyfriend 1 or 2 visiting. The visits by Boyfriend 1 are almost always the same. I’m in some relationship that is ending, but it doesn’t matter because I’m supposed to marry Boyfriend 1. With Boyfriend 2, he’s always with someone else, but we both want to be together. Boyfriend 3 tends to just visit as a friend and offers me some sort of comfort or reassurance. When they appear together, it’s usually a combination of all of the above. When I wake up, a part of me is sad. I often wake just when something interesting is about to happen. Will Boyfriend 2 and I finally be together? Will I actually marry Boyfriend 1? Of course the irony of all of these scenarios is that I’m gay. But it doesn’t matter in my dreams. In my dreams, I don’t have to be the one taking care of everything. I’m not dealing with a bipolar partner. I’m not dealing with irritating coworkers. I have an escape from reality, one that is often needed.

All of these dreams over the years come at a moment in time when I need them psychologically. These three men offer me some sort of security and reassurance that I seem to need at times. Even though I don’t really talk to any of them anymore, they still remain with me. When I’m stressed out, they come to offer me their help. When I’m insecure, they are there to comfort and reassure me. When I’m lonely, they are there to keep me company and remind me I am loved. They seem to offer me some indescribable hope, some lifeline when I need it most. This last visit served just that purpose. Life has been difficult and disappointing, especially lately. But they all came to offer me some reassurance. I feel secure when they visit. Maybe some of that security is nostalgia, a wish to be back in a simpler time in my life when the burdens of adulthood didn’t weigh me down. They will continue to visit me, whether together or separately, and I will continue to find comfort in their visits. But as usually happens, I will curse the alarm clock when I wake because it has taken me away from a place where for a short time, I feel secure.

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