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Saying No to John E...

Fell back asleep and had somewhat of a repeat of the earlier dream. This time, I was being visited by John E. He had stopped in to see me once more before he went back to New York. We were casually hanging out but there were other people around. His girlfriend, perhaps, my mom, and another male. I was trying to play it cool, not really giving John my full attention. Like Ben, I have a magnetism with him that seems beyond my will or control. I have to keep my distance (emotionally and physically) in order to keep the lingering pain at bay.
I had a couple of colorful comic panels that I had drawn. I wanted to show them to him, but as I handed them over, I realized that I wasn't sure which were which and some of them had been written about him. I didn't want him thinking it was an underhanded guilt trip, so I tried to get them back from him. He read them, but it turned out they were safe. But the other male in the room had a copy of the full comic book and there were most certainly references to John and our relationship. He handed it to John and I was mortified. I didn't want to bring up the past at all, but it seemed as if we were fated to be dragged through the shit once again.
But John was kind. He didn't read through it, rather he pulled out some art supplies and found an unfinished comic panel that I had been working on. He set it between us and said that he wanted to work on it with me. It was a gesture of trying to make good on the past, but I sensed something beneath it. He had that seductive sparkle in his eye - that twinkle that said he knew how to reel me back in and he would, only so far as to let me taste the sting of the pain once more, then he would be gone again. This time I put my foot down.
Like in the last dream, I said no. I pushed away. I actually got angry at him for even going this far. I ranted and raved and took back my shit and ended the dream.

I feel like the earlier dream about Ben was more of a metaphor for my situation with John E. When I fell back asleep, it was John who took his own form.
When I met up with John a week ago, it was the first time in the seven years since we've been apart, that I didn't indulge myself in missing him. Over the years, I had spent so much time pining for our lost love, I'd lost perspective on the situation as a whole. This time, I had tools for handling the situation. First of all, I focused on my appreciation for him as a person, rather than my sadness that he wasn't mine any more. Second, his lovely girlfriend was with him so I was able to focus on appreciating her and their care for one another, rather than thinking of the past. Third, Daniel was strong by my side and reminded me that I've found a deeper love than I've ever known. We prepared our humble home to have John and Karen as dinner guests. It was nice to share a meal and also really comforting that it was on my turf and therefore I held control.
For the first time since we had been together, I saw my relationship with him through new eyes. I saw his interactions with Karen and remembered that was how he had treated me. For the first time I realized I didn't like it. I didn't like his controlling nature. I didn't like the way he had talked to me. And I finally realized that I didn't like his seduction. His eyes were so pretty and so heart-tugging. When I looked into them, I saw the world I couldn't have, like it was taunting me - urging me forth, while remaining just out of reach.
I suppose if I really fed the flame of sadness or regret or victim-hood, I could re-find the pain that haunted me for so long. But this time I've found the strength to let those connections in my heart and my brain wither and die. I'm done with it. Honestly, I'm not sure where I stand with John. It's hard to know if I'll be able to be active friends with him over time, because I'm scared that the hurt is just under the surface. I'm scared that if I look into his eyes, I'll remember.

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