Your Subconscious: Are You Dreaming About An Ex?

By Jon Jaehnig|Updated June 13, 2022

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 in your current life, and online therapy can help. These dreams 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.

girl waking up

Identify The Reasons You Keep Dreaming About Your 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 in the waking hours of your current life.

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 dream 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.

These are a few reasons for dreaming of your ex of many possible explanations. Dreaming of a former romantic interest is a common dream, like pregnancy dreams, and there are endless reasons why. Dream analysis is complicated and uncertain. These dreams can be a wish fulfillment dream, represent unresolved feelings about a recent ex, and many other factors. Most dreams have no significant meaning, and a healthy dream is your brain filtering out information so that you can proceed with real life, pursue mental health, and fully explore a new relationship or future relationships.

person journaling

Identify The Reasons You Keep Dreaming About Your Ex

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.

You probably spent significant time acting romantic with an ex, so it is normal for them to come up in your brain from time to time. For a future episode, remember that this does not necessarily signify bad news, and depending on the dream, maybe it is able to reflect good news. For one example, love represents passion, and the dream could mean that you are passionate about a job, hobby, or relationship, so your dreams might be reminding you of old feelings of love because of your current passion.

While dreams have different and convoluted explanations, some dreams may be troubling you. One example would be negative feelings towards an abusive ex. If a dream is inhibiting your ability to lead a full life, discussing this with a therapist may be a good option.

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."

"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.


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