When Dreams Change

For the longest time I wanted to learn to sail. It was a dream of mine to live on a sailboat in the Caribbean. Being able to just sail where I wanted and live simply, obtaining supplies from different islands, lying on the deck under the Milky Way being rocked to peaceful slumber…now, that was a dream. 

Photo by Andre Furtado

At that time, I was newly divorced, working two jobs, taking care of three kids, while trying to live my life more authentically. It was one of the most challenging times of my life. I experienced a ton of growth, even though it was definitely not the ideal circumstance. Looking back now, I realize that maybe it was just a fantasy in order to mentally escape from what I was going through? It’s definitely possible. Especially considering the fact that I’ve never been on a boat in the ocean because I’m scared of being away from land. Like… I won’t even consider taking a cruise. 

There are things in life that are realized only when prompted to think about what our dreams and goals are, where they come from, and how they change over time and through all the different circumstances that shape our future. Having left my oldest child in another state recently to continue his education, there is no way I can imagine now not being available to him while being adrift in some far off land. It’s hard enough just being the next state over. 

My dreams now have a similar theme, isolation. Perhaps, COVID impacted me in more ways than I’d like to imagine. Living on the land on a sustainable homestead, growing my own food, raising chickens, and sharing a future with my family. This is my newest dream and something Christopher and I have been working toward. 

What does this have to do with Polyamory or Relationships?

Well, dreams change. Some recent clients of mine have similar dreams; however, one half of this couple is struggling to continue that dream upon learning that their partner wants their other partner also on board. How do you come to terms with your dreams that once connected you to a future with your partner, having been, in essence, hijacked by others? How do you process that? Better yet, in how many ways would this impact the future feasibility of both of their dreams? 

I know in my case, certain circumstances have led me to this new dream of resourcefulness and more environmentally and family- friendly opportunities. My client, however, is struggling with this new change in plans. When you’re coming from a place of monogamy, of forever, of one and only, the dreams of the future that you aspired to when you exchanged wedding vows have now been upended. Grief and loss take over, along with insecurity, and that feeling of being “special” to someone. 

One of the things I remind my clients of is that their partners ARE allowed to grow and change. They are allowed to change direction and change their minds. It IS painful and can hurt the other partner, but it is still the right of any adult human. The question then becomes, what do YOU want YOUR future to look like? How are your dreams similar and how are they different? In what ways CAN your future be shared and reimagined? 

For a few years in my relationship with Christopher, my desire to be alone on a sailboat was still a possibility even if I knew it was a future without each other. What is the point of pursuing something when you are preparing for different futures? The acceptance of who your partner is and the acceptance of their dreams is reminiscent of the ideology of polyamory – why wouldn’t I want my partner to be happy? 

After recent events in my family’s lives, I finally determined that I really didn’t want to be away from my children, my partner, nor the rest of my family. I realized that my sailing dream was rooted in escapism and my homesteading dream more closely resembled the life I wanted as a child. Fortunately for us, this dream doesn’t have a sad ending. 

But what about my clients’ story? Whose dream is it, anyway? While their story is still unfolding, what about your story? What does your future look like? Is it rooted in your actual dreams, someone else’s dream, or a fantasy to escape reality?

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