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Significance of Dreams, Love, and the Soul

Strange tale below, I know. The mind, heart, and soul are truly uncharted territory. But let me know if you have any thoughts on this or have gone through a similar situation.
1Faith No More
Who Cares a Lot?

Easy. First, let me establish that I am a happily married man. Been this since 2006. My wife and I love and respect each other, and predominantly work together as a fine-tuned machine. And over our 16 years of marriage, we have raised a puppy (first), are rearing three boys, and are now onto our second puppy. We are quite opposites; but we work together as a team and rarely have any need for a fight. We give each other space, as we both have some introverted qualities, and support each other's focus on our own likes. To boot, she has kept her youthful beauty and shape over the years. I would not change this.
Venus Doom

Dead Lover's Lane. However, I have become resigned that I will have two loves in my life. One my wife. The other, an apparition (of what was and what could be) that visits me periodically in my dreams. To explain, let me take us all briefly back to Fall 1997.
Fashion Nugget

In Fall 1997, I was a Junior Peer Leader living in a Freshman Dorm. At some point during this Fall Quarter, I met a young, forward and flirtatious Freshman girl. Though I was already in a good relationship, she slyly and coyly pulled me out of it. While we sat on a bench, she told me that she would be mine. Of course, I did not leave kicking and screaming – the reverse actually. We had a great 2 years together. We loved hard, lost our innocence together, and were the king/queen of PDA. God forbid, put us both in a pool, hot tub, or lake together.
4Jars Of Clay
Jars Of Clay

We complimented each other in many ways - mentally, physically, musically (at least at first), and with the soul. Musically, I always leaned towards heavier content. Sexually speaking, she was kinky, which was a huge turn on. But neither of us was experienced enough to truly fulfill each other. Spiritually, we diverged. She was a strong Southern Baptist (in her mind), but weak of loyalty (a bit of a flirt with other guys and eventually a cheat). And I was a Backslider, eventually sliding into darker territory (e.g., Black Sabbath) and into proud agnosticism. Part of my backsliding came from her (and a general distrust of organized religion). We were not meant to be in the long term.
5Five Finger Death Punch
The Way Of The Fist: Iron Fist Edition

Succubus. Although she wanted to marry, I hesitated to commit (given her flirtatious nature) and she found another man that would. Ultimately, I found the two of them in her apartment one night, after I had driven 2 hours (through dense fog) to get there. Nothing was happening at the time, but one could tell there was chemistry working. God, I wished I hadn't made that trip or had camped out along the way.
6Circle of Dust
Circle of Dust

Less than a couple of weeks later, I made that trip again to end our relationship. I can still remember the tranquil 2-hour drive back from her house after we let each other go (and the music I listened to). I truly wished her happiness and the best in her her life. In my mind, even if we had married, I am certain she would have eventually left me for another.

The Struggle Within. For 6 years, from 2000 to 2006, I struggled. I had loved to an extent that I would only know in future marriage. And perhaps more, as we all become more guarded with our heart as we get older. I have always dreamed and had vibrant dreams, many of which I could remember (depending on the wake cycle). My dreams during this 6 year period were off and on – but the tortuous dreams were those where my ex-girlfriend was still in my life, as if nothing had happened. I used to wake from those dreams – absolutely depressed. I had brief relationships with other girls, but none would last or were lasting. But then, unexpectedly, I found my wife in 2005 and was married in 2006. I truly expected these dreams of my ex-girlfriend to go away subsequently. But alas, they did not.
8Secret Sphere
Sweat Blood Theory

From a Dream to a Nightmare. Shortly after becoming engaged to my current wife, the nightmares started. For our 6 months of engagement, the nightmares were so intense. Lucky for me, I can't recall their content. But each night, I would wake from horrific nightmares – feeling exhausted, sick, scared, and despondent. It was torment. I really suffered during this time – it was as if some supernatural force exerted it's will during the night and did not want me to marry my Wife. I persevered and, funny enough, after marriage these nightmares stopped.
9Scott Reeder
Tunnelvision Brilliance

As I'm Dreamin'. But dreams of my ex-girlfriend never stopped. They are not every night nor every week; but she visits me frequently. During the day, I am with my wife and family. At night, my dreams take me to an alternate timeline where my ex-girlfriend still exists in my sphere. Her role varies greatly. Sometimes she is with me fully as a lover, sometimes she is coy and uncommitting, and sometimes she is cold. Other times, she is just in my dreams as a passerby or friend. Although my wife is in my dreams, it is more rare.
10Fu Manchu
Start the Machine

Tunnel Vision. Somewhere between 2009 and 2012, I was driving back from work on the nearby interstate. All of a sudden, I had a strong feeling and looked to my right. There, in the car next to me, was my ex-girlfriend. Before I could honk and wave, she took the exit and was gone again. She never looked my way; but somehow I had known she was there. Almost like a fragment of my heart and soul had been cut out and remained with her, so that when it was near I would recognize it.
11Suns of the Tundra
Bones of Brave Ships [Vinyl]

Ghost of Our Mothers. A year or so back, I was in the process of going to bed. Before slipping into sleep, I had a strong feeling that her deceased grandmother was visiting me. You see, her grandmother fed us and took care of us for those 2 years, after my own grandmothers had passed away. It was a great feeling – to have her near. Subsequently, however, I had many recurring dreams of my ex-girlfriend. She would be in my dreams, but at arm's length – never letting me fully in. In some cases, she was just a friend during these dreams and we had great adventures. But in my dreams, I always wanted more – her committal to me. At some point, in one my dreams, I recall (in my dream) asking her to leave me alone. At which, her presence in my dreams ceased (for a while).
12Shadows Fall
Fallout From The War

Haunting me Endlessly. She still comes and goes in my dreams, but more sporadically. In 2021, after more than 20 years, I suspected that my dreams of her would pass. I hoped that after 20 years, it could move on. But no – just last night I had a vivid dream of her. In this dream, we cuddled in the bed, were happily around my family, and vowed to have her children (she has 4 I think) meet with my 3 boys.
13Black Sabbath

Damaged Soul. My hypothesis is as follows. My mind and heart, I believe are quite sound. Although, my heart was once broken, it has mended. I am quite content with my current lot in life. But my gut feeling is that I have a damaged, or fractured, soul that yearns for what it lost.
Black Sun

Broken Hearted Soul. My soul was naive and unguarded in younger years. Perhaps a portion of my soul was fractured when we separated, to cope with the hurt and loss. Perhaps this portion of my soul couldn't accept the breakup and that my life moved on, and thus splintered off. Perhaps it joined with and remains with her; my sensing of her while driving (see above) would suggest this may be the case. Regardless, it seems that my damaged soul sits in the background, outside of the mind and heart, and covertly and consistently yearns to be-reunited with that fragment. These dreams may be manifestations of my soul yearning to be whole (or achieve oneness) once again.
15Alice in Chains
The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here

Phantom Limb. To put it into perspective, let me provide an analogy. My dog had his tail cut off (by others) days after birth. And he does not appear to recall or miss it. But what if that tail had been cut when he was older – he would have known the pain and loss of removing his tail. And we would have seen how beautiful his tail could be whole (I say this because we previously had an un-docked puppy of a similar breed). Like a phantom limb, the tail should be there and can be felt, but it is not.
By the People, For the People

King of Pain. Honestly, I am resigned now that the dreams will remain – no matter the passage of time. This is a pain that I can live with. They are indeed only dreams. Not sure what could keep a fractured portion of a soul viable; but I am hopeful that someday, perhaps, it will come back into the fold.
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