Even though I am very attracted to older, more mature women and have dated a few in my adult life, I don’t wish to say what one of my other dreams about this voice actress is because it’s not appropriate, and I have not even met her before or gotten to know her personally, for crying out loud. I am not sure if she is slightly older than my parents, or slightly younger than my ex-girlfriend, as many Internet sources give conflicting information on her date of birth, and while I don’t know if she is married or not, I would love to meet her for real some time in the future. Am I going completely out of my mind? Should I seek professional help for this type of constant dreaming? — Young Cougar Loving Weirdo
I know readers are going to think this letter is fake, and maybe it is, but the issue isn’t really all that unique when you remove some of the weirder details. Essentially, you have a crush on someone you’ve idolized for a long time, someone who was a comforting presence in your childhood and with whom you’ve now attached sexual feelings, and, in the past five months, you’ve had numerous dreams about her. None of that is so strikingly out of the ordinary. Where things verge into more worrisome territory is your desire to meet this woman and the language around your description of her and your dream that suggests that a borderline obsession could develop. I also wonder if these feelings have intensified recently, if they may be in response to a triggering event or occasion in your life, and whether they are interfering with your ability to maintain real-life relationships. I suspect at least some of this is the case or why would you write to me for advice.
I don’t think you’re necessarily “going completely out of your mind” unless there are more concerning details than what you’ve shared, but I do think a few appointments with a therapist could help you direct your energy toward pursuing healthy relationships, keep your expectations in check, and address anything that might be triggering these dreams or feelings since you say they began five months ago. We know dreams are a way for the subconscious to sort through what we aren’t able to completely work out consciously. A good therapist could absolutely help you address what it is your subconscious is trying to explore and get you to a place where you aren’t questioning your sanity. Until then, I’d probably avoid cartoons that feature your older, mature voice actress.
During the pandemic, I have been hanging out with my soccer girls and have developed feelings for one in particular – “Cheryl.” As I got more distant from my husband in recent months, I have recognized that I have fallen in love with Cheryl and am no longer in love with my husband. I told my husband last month that I had feelings for Cheryl, and he and I separated. Since then, I feel so much anxiety because I have been straight all my life and the confusion and the guilt over hurting my husband are so hard to handle. Cheryl has shared her feelings for me too,and we have been seeing each other since my husband left. Everything feels good with her, but when I come back home (the house my husband and I have), all the memories hit me and I want to fight for my marriage. Still, there is always something pulling me back to Cheryl, and I remember what my husband did and how there was nothing between us anymore. I had a good life with him, and I don’t know how to start all over again after so many years depending on him. — In Love with a Woman
You’re already doing it – you’re already starting over again without your husband. All the fear, confusion, and apprehension you feel is normal, and it doesn’t mean that ending your marriage is wrong or that you should go back to being the only one fighting for a marriage that seems to have long ago run its course. You will get through this transition as you get through any transition – one foot in front of the other, leaning on your support system, pursuing paths that bring you joy or that have potential to enrich your life and your security. One of those paths may include Cheryl. Maybe the path will be long enough to take you out of the starting gate of your new life. Maybe it will go further. Maybe you are each what the other needs and wants right now but not necessarily forever, and, who knows, maybe she’s what was always missing for you.
Don’t worry about putting a label on your feelings, whether they are grieving the end of your marriage or pursuing a relationship with another woman after identifying as straight all your life. The labels don’t matter; the feelings do. If being with Cheryl feels good, great. As long as she is emotionally and physically available to you, your heart is open to exploring what’s developing between you, and she understands that you may need to take things slowly as you continue to process the end of your marriage, go for it. Where the relationship with Cheryl might cause some concern is if you’re using it/Cheryl as a distraction from your grief – as a way of avoiding the pain that comes from the ends of relationships. That pain isn’t going anywhere. You have to address it to heal, move on, and be fully available for someone new. That doesn’t mean you can’t process grief and pursue a new relationship at the same time. I think this can especially be done if you’ve already been processing the end of a relationship for years. Sometimes, calling it quits is a formality for a relationship that actually ended long ago. I suspect you’ve already been putting one foot in front of the other for a while, and if you just keep doing that, you’re going to arrive at the next phase of your life sooner than you might currently imagine.