He popped up in my dream

Please spend some time with yesterday's updates. They're good.

Dear Meredith,

My ex-boyfriend and I had gone out for about six years and things were not great. He found someone else. I have not met anyone else since. I spend time on a dating site but haven't had any success (chatted with some of the members through the site or thru e-mail, but I have only met one member in person). I'm a single parent/workaholic, so my personal life and work life keep me busy. I try to relax by watching movies at home or shopping. On occasion I volunteer for an organization. I have also become involved with a "Meet Up" group. Basically, I'm not twiddling my thumbs.

I'm currently reading a book titled "Conversations with God," and so far what I've taken from it is that you create your own reality. So yesterday evening, I decided to not think about my ex. After I made that decision, I immediately stopped thinking about him and I felt comfortable, at ease, and OK doing so -- no issues. What do you know? I went to bed, fell asleep, and "dreamt" about him. He was in my dream the entire time, sitting at a table with someone else (another male figure?). I was occupied in my dream, maybe 50 feet or so away from the table, running around doing things here and there. I never had contact with my ex in my dream. I just knew that he was "there."

I have to also mention here that he did tell me, in real life, not to contact him after we broke up.
What is the significance of him appearing in my dream when I made a conscious decision to let go of him in "real life." Maybe the answer is as clear as day -- but I don't see it right now.

– Bothered and Bewildered in Boston (BABIB)

The answer is as clear as day, BABIB. Just because you tell yourself not to think about your ex doesn't mean that he's out of your subconscious. In fact, by forcing yourself not to think about him, you're thinking about him, aren't you? It reminds me of my favorite lines by Edna St. Vincent Millay.

And entering with relief some quiet place
Where never fell his foot or shone his face
I say, "There is no memory of him here!"
And so stand stricken, so remembering him!

Poetry is cool. Sometimes.

My point is, the dream doesn't tell you anything that you don't already know. You think about your ex, especially when you close your eyes. You can create your own reality all you want, but you can't control your brain once you fall asleep. I had a dream last week that I made out with Steve Martin. That's not me creating my own reality. That's just me watching too much TV.

My advice is to keep doing what you're doing -- and maybe meet a few more of those online suitors in person. It's tough to get to know someone over email. See if you can fit some more dating time into your busy schedule.

And know that dreams only mean as much as you want them to. Your ex is as important as the other, unidentifiable guy in your dream. Maybe it's the other guy who you should be spending your time thinking about. Who was that mysterious man?

Readers? Why was her ex in her dream? Does it mean anything? Can anyone help this letter writer make sense of what happens when she goes to sleep? Should she be having more in-person dates? Thoughts about creating your own reality? Discuss.

– Meredith