Your Subconscious: Are You Dreaming About An Ex?

Updated November 24, 2021

What Do Dreams About An Ex Tell You?

Whether you're single or in a relationship, your old partner can occasionally show up in your dreams. These dreams often leave us wondering why: does dreaming about your ex mean anything?

Why Have I Been Dreaming About An Ex After A Breakup?

Dreaming about an old relationship can cause a flurry of emotions (both good and bad) we thought had long passed. It's important not to jump to conclusions as to why your dreams about your ex appeared. It doesn't necessarily mean you want to get back together with an ex. There are many other possible causes for why we're dreaming about an ex.

What Your Dreams Represent

Even when your dreams are about something significant, these fantasies are rarely literal. Your dreams are usually symbolic. The things we're dreaming about are usually a mixture of thoughts, events, and reflections that get stored throughout the day. The reason why may be that you miss your ex. Similarly, if your ex possessed a quality your current partner lacks, it could be a longing for this missing trait your ex had.

If you find yourself dreaming about your ex from a long time ago, this can sometimes indicate a longing for the past. When we yearn for our lives from years ago, what we might be yearning for is the happiness or other positive feelings about that time period.

In this case, dreaming about an ex can signify a time when our lives were less responsible, less complicated, or more fun. As we get older, we rack up more responsibilities. This can, at times, make us miss more simple or carefree periods. If this is the case, it might be okay to enjoy some nostalgia you're dreaming about, but then bring yourself back to think about the here and now.

girl waking up

Identify The Reasons You Keep Dreaming About Your Ex


Dreams can be a coincidence, not a symbol

If you only dream of your ex from time to time, consider asking yourself how often you dream of other people, like old friends or family members. It could be that you're attaching too much significance to your ex appearing in your dream. If you have trouble remembering, consider starting a journal. This way, you can write about any dreams you have to see if any dream patterns emerge.

You want to get back with your ex

As simple as it sounds, dreams of an ex can sometimes mean you want them back. Even if it's been a significant amount of time since you dated your ex, it can take a while for your unconscious desires to surface, in the form of dreams. You may still think of your ex occasionally, however, it doesn't mean you want your ex back. But the possibility is worth exploring.

It can also be important for you to avoid making any major phone calls. Think things over carefully and move slowly to ensure you make the right decision. After all, you split up for a reason.

You Want Closure For Your Mental Health

The unconscious mind is a strange place. Within it, you have pieces of information about things your conscious minds have long forgotten. Even though you may think you received closure from an ex-or convinced yourself you didn't need it-our unconscious can sometimes tell us differently. This can be an indicator you still have unhealed wounds from your ex. Journaling on these dreams and the feelings they brought can be helpful. After all, how a dream makes you feel is often more important than the dream itself.

person journaling


Can You Change This Pattern?

Have you often wake up thinking "why am I having dreams about an ex"? It could be you want your ex back, but there are other possibilities. You can put a stop to your ex appearing in your dreams by identifying the reasons for it. 

However, make the effort to address what it is an ex might represent. Whether it's something which is missing from your current relationship or something else entirely, take the steps to identify the causes for these dreams about your ex. And it's always important to remember that while it may affect you, often dreams don't mean anything of great significance.

Get The Help You Need 

Dreams are complicated. They make you feel things you don't entirely understand. Sometimes, working through these feelings about your ex with a therapist or counselor can help you gain a better understanding. BetterHelp has a team of trained, licensed therapists who are ready to help you resolve any issues your dreams about your ex may be uncovering. Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp therapists, from people experiencing similar issues.

Counselor Reviews

"Kelly has shown me how to be accountable for my thoughts and how to navigate them in a healthy manner. Though the knowledge was somewhat there she has a way of helping me understand what or why I'm going through what I am. I appreciate all the time we've spent together so far and look forward to learning how and being a healthier version of myself through our sessions."

Identify The Reasons You Keep Dreaming About Your Ex

"I tried a few counselors and almost gave up until I found Colleen. I love her! She's easy to talk to, really gets me and best of all she makes me feel like I'm talking to a friend. She's given me some great tips and I'm sleeping better already most nights."


There are many reasons you might have dreams about your ex-or there might be no reason at all. The important thing is what your ex makes you feel. Talking about those feelings with a professional therapist or counselor at BetterHelp could heal any lingering issues you have with past relationships, or any other areas of your life. Take the first step.

 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Will dreams of an ex mean they miss you?

Some people believe that your dreams are intuitive messages and that you might be tapping into what they are feeling. Other people believe your dreams are symbolic. Follow your intuition. If there's something that makes you feel like you need closure, there's nothing wrong with reaching out to the person if it won't be detrimental to your mental health. It's essential to evaluate what the pros and cons of talking to them might because you don't want to open an old wound if that's something that's a possibility or that could harm you in the long run.

How can I stop dreaming of a former partner?

There's no way to determine that you'll stop dreaming of your former partner, but you can resolve the issues that may come with these dreams by talking to friends, loved ones, or a therapist. Maybe, the more closure you have, the less you'll dream of them. It's essential to think of your goals. When you're sleeping, your feelings might include anger, frustration, or sadness. It's important to recognize your feelings and identify where they're coming from, which is part of why writing them down and talking it through in therapy can be so helpful.

What does it mean when you're dreaming of them leaving you?

Ending your relationship can be brutal. It's incredibly emotional. You might have abandonment issues from your past, or they could be from your relationship with this partner specifically. You might look into your attachment style and see if your dreams are reflective of fear of abandonment. Once again, don't judge yourself if you imagine them leaving you in your dream. You might have some issues to resolve within yourself or about the relationship. If they broke up with you, it's natural that you might have be dreaming about them leaving you, as so many dreams are reflective of your waking life.

What is the reason for Dreams of a Former Partner Years Later?

Generally,  having dreams of your partners years later even after you are in a current relationship can mean that you still ache over the loss of the romantic relationships you had with them. Breakup feels like you are wounded if you're dumped by someone. The situation you passed through left behind deep scars that might not heal easily. This consequently results in a mental anguish that runs through your mind from time to time. Your brain has a way of bringing out similar feelings you felt during the breakup which then affects your whole body.

It doesn't matter if you think about them or not in your current relationship. Since you went through tough times after your breakup, they will still be alive in your head which has an influence on your subconscious mind. This or the emotional connection between you and may consistently make you dream about him or her years later.

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