Find Out Why You Are Dreaming About An Ex

By: Nicola Kirkpatrick

Updated February 14, 2020

Medically Reviewed By: Wendy Galyen, LCSW, BC-TMH

The truth is, nobody really knows for certain why we dream what we dream. Unfortunately, even with all the new technology we have acquired, dreams are still mostly a mystery. However, there are theories about why we have certain dreams such as dreaming about an ex.


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A New Relationship

If you are just getting into a new relationship, or thinking about getting into a new relationship, your brain may be trying to sort things out. It may be that you have a lot of mixed emotions about getting into a new relationship and your mind is trying to process it all. Sometimes it is the fear of starting a new relationship, getting hurt or losing another loved one. These dreams are not indicative of whether or not your new partner is good for you. Your brain cannot tell the future. It is just trying to deal with storing the old memories and starting new ones.

There Are Things About Him/Her That You Want to Remember

Just because you are no longer in a relationship with someone does not often mean that everything about that person was bad or there is nothing about them you appreciate. More often, there are things about the people we fall for that we like or love, and we want to find those qualities we appreciate in our new relationship. It could be that if you are dreaming about a specific person, it could have less to do with them literally and more to do with the feelings that person brought out in you. Your mind wants to feel those things and that type of connection again, even if it is with a different person.

No Reason at All

This is the most common reason for dreaming about an ex, and probably the most aggravating answer. You may have been in a new relationship for years and then all of a sudden you have a dream about an ex that you thought you had forgotten a long time ago. These dreams do not mean anything important usually. It is just a memory in your brain that has popped up for no reason at all. There are things sometimes in your environment that may trigger a memory of something without you even being consciously aware of this; if your brain remembers something or someone, they may turn up in dreams.

Sometimes it could be that you have subconsciously been comparing your current relationship with your relationship with your ex. Maybe you have had a disagreement with your partner that reminded you of an argument you had with your ex. Or, you could be remembering a good time that you had with your ex. There is nothing wrong with this type of dream. It does not mean that you do not love your current partner or that you want to get back together with your ex. You have very little control over the content of your dreams, even when you are "lucid" dreaming or aware of the fact that you are dreaming. Dreaming is an automatic process of the mind, and the content of dreams is based largely on your memories and experiences. It makes sense that you would dream of people from the past that you once or still have strong emotional connections to.


Source: pexels.com

A New Relationship

If you are just getting into a new relationship, or thinking about getting into a new relationship, your brain may be trying to sort things out. It may be that your mind is confused about what your heart is thinking. Sometimes it is the fear of starting a new relationship, getting hurt or losing another loved one. These dreams are not indicative of whether or not your new partner is good for you. Your brain cannot tell the future. It is just trying to deal with filing the old memories and starting new ones.

No Reason at All

This is the most common reason for dreaming about an ex, and probably the most aggravating. You may have been in a new relationship for years and then all of a sudden you have a dream about an ex that you thought you had forgotten a long time ago. These dreams do not mean anything important usually. It is just a memory in your brain that has popped up for no reason at all.

Sometimes it could be that you have subconsciously been comparing your current relationship with your relationship with your ex. Maybe you have had a disagreement with your partner that reminded you of an argument you had with your ex. Or, you could be remembering a good time that you had with your ex. There is nothing wrong with this type of dream. It does not mean that you do not love your current partner or that you want to get back together with your ex.


Source: pexels.com

Most mental health professionals would encourage people to take caution when trying to interpret dreams and to really discourage taking dreams literally. It would probably be unwise to act on much of the impulses of our dreams because they come from a primal, emotional place instead of a rational, logic one. Your dreams are places without abandon, where there are no rules, and you can run on instinct. Sometimes, dreams just help us to outlet stress and difficult emotional experiences.

The best way to figure out what your dreams mean is to talk about them. If you feel uncomfortable talking to your friends or family and your dreams are bothering you, perhaps consider talking to a mental health counselor about your dreams. Some people find it easier to talk to strangers about personal things than it is to talk to those closest to you. Maybe you are worried about what they will think of you or afraid they will tell someone you know.

If you are interested in what the content of your dreams mean to you, you should take the first few waking moments of your day to jot them down. It is much easier to remember dream content right after waking, and most people forget almost all contents of their dreams in just a few minutes after waking.

It is important to note that dreaming is a natural therapeutic process that can get interrupted by traumatic experiences. If you are finding yourself not being able to rest because of nightmares, especially nightmares that are associated with a traumatic event, your brain likely is not able to process those in a way that is helpful you move forward right now. In that case, it is recommended that you speak to a mental health professional about the content and frequency of nightmares so that you can get some help to recover.


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