Dream Meanings: Why Do I Dream About My Ex?
By: Donna Stannard
Updated October 04, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Laura Angers
Dreaming About Your Ex
The things you dream about can say a lot about you. Your dreams can indicate the intense emotions that you are unwilling to face or express when you are conscious. The emotions that are represented in dreams can run deeply and may have more of an effect on you than you realize. Such strong feelings can include joy, stress, fear, sexuality, even anguish – and any or all these emotions can lead to dreams about your ex. However, it is the context of these dreams that explain why you are dreaming about them in the first place. A licensed mental health professional can be a powerful tool to help you figure out the underlying causes for dreaming about your ex (such as unresolved trauma or feelings of physical attraction).
Why Do I Dream About My Ex?
There are several common interpretations regarding dreams about exes. Some are self-explanatory. For instance, if in your dream you want your ex-boyfriend back, it signifies that you miss him. On the other hand, it could also mean that you miss being in a relationship or feeling loved. You could have dreams about your ex-boyfriend proposing to you, but that does not mean that you wish to marry your ex or get back together with him or her. Instead, it could mean that you want to feel safe, happy, and complete again.
In other circumstances, you could dream that your ex-boyfriend has been hurt. If he was hurt in a hospital, then it could mean there might be something still going on between the two of you, but if he was hurt outside of a hospital, that could mean that you are over him.
For guys, if you dream about your ex-girlfriend being pregnant, it can mean one of two things. If the baby is yours, it might insinuate that you wish to start the relationship again. On the contrary, if the baby is not yours in the dream, it suggests that you have moved on.
Having dreams about ex-husbands or ex-wives may not necessarily imply that you have any feelings towards them. It could mean that you are facing difficulties in your life or you feel as if you are making the same mistakes in your current relationship as you did from your past relationship.
As you see, there are many reasons why you would have a dream about your ex, most of which can seem overwhelming to absorb and quite confusing if you try to interpret them by yourself. If you want to talk to someone about your dreams, you can always speak with a certified therapist at BetterHelp, perhaps to express your feelings about your dreams or to look for answers that they can provide.
How Dreams Were Viewed in The Past
Egyptian and Greek societies as far back as 3000 years ago attached special meanings to dreams. Dreams were thought to be omens of future happenings and could offer predictions of the future. Prophets and shamans were revered for their special powers to interpret dreams and were sought by rulers who made military decisions based on the meanings of dreams. Artemidors, a dream interpreter, was engaged to interpret the dreams of Alexander the Great. He predicted Alexander would lead his troops and conquer foreign lands to the glory of Greece. The ancient Greeks believed that the sick and injured could be cured by paying attention to their dreams while they slept in temples for the sick, called Asclepieions.
In the Middle Ages, many Muslim scholars, such as Ibu Sirin, Al-Kindi, Al-Farabi, Ibn Shaheen and others wrote books of dream interpretations. The idea that dreams had meaning spread throughout their societies. In the 16th century, Chen Shiyuan wrote a book on the traditional dream-interpretations followed by early societies of China. Questions raised by early Chinese scholars are the basis of modern cognitive neuroscience.
By the 19th century in Europe, interpreting dreams was part of psychoanalysis. One of the most important works on dreams was written by Sigmund Freud and is still followed today. In 2009, a paper written by C. Morewedge and M. Norton was published in a psychology journal. In their scientific studies, they determined that most people, regardless of their nationality and education, believed that their dreams reveal hidden truths, and those dreams are more important than their thoughts while awake, a very Freudian view. However, not all dreams have the same importance; people tend to give more importance to dreams that confirm the beliefs and morals they hold in an awakened state.
It has never been determined why we dream; that is still an open question that no one has been able to answer, although some try. We all dream, maybe not every night, and not all dreams can be remembered. Some believe that we dream of snippets of ideas that we had the day before or of some anxiety we have. Some believe that it is our brain’s way of processing events and ideas of what happened before they went to sleep. Our dreams are sparked by an event, a word, a conversation, something we saw on television or read in a book or newspaper.
Most modern theorists do not believe that dreams have hidden meanings. That has not stopped people from offering interpretations of dreams, and it has become a source of entertainment. It would be wrong to base your life on trying to find the meanings of your dreams. However, it can be fun to do. There are a host of books of dream themes and meanings. None are to be taken too seriously.
How to Stop Bad Dreams
Getting enough sleep is essential in stopping bad dreams. Many people often try to avoid sleep when struggling with this issue, but it makes the problem worse. If you are exhausted, your brain will be overloaded when it is time to go to bed. This causes you to have more active brain patterns while you sleep, causing dreams to occur more frequently.
Taking a run or doing some light exercise before bed can help drain your batteries enough for a restful sleep. Exercise has also been shown to release endorphins to your brain, making you a happier person overall.
If the dreams you are having are causing you great anxiety, try deep breathing exercises. This can help lower your blood pressure and puts you at ease. There are many different exercises you can try, making it easy to find the one that’s going to work for you.
If nothing you are trying seems to work, it may be time to get a professional involved. The guidance of a trained counselor or therapist could be the key to stopping bad dreams for you. The counselors at BetterHelp are trained to help people develop healthy cognitive function (which includes dreams). These counselors have thousands of hours of experience and have chosen to dedicate their lives to helping others. With BetterHelp, you don’t need to worry about sitting in traffic or taking time out of your workday to drive to an appointment. You can access BetterHelp from the comfort and privacy of your own home. Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp counselors, from people experiencing similar issues.
“Rachia is not the type to just tell you what you want to hear. She has helped me face a lot whether I like it or not, and I do feel enlightened, stronger, and sleep better.”
“Julia is a very open-minded, understanding and warm-hearted person. She listened with kindness and without judgement. Her advice helped me tremendously through a bad break up and ensuing personal problems. Her advice and understanding has been very helpful in guiding me to a healthier mind frame.”
Although dreams about an ex can be confusing and frustrating, they don’t have to take over your life. Understanding the reasons why this occurs can offer a lot of comfort to you. If you still need help after trying to solve problems on your own, a therapist can help. With the right tools, you can enjoy truly fulfilling relationships. Take the first step today.
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