Your Subconscious: Are You Dreaming About An Ex?

Updated October 5, 2022 by BetterHelp Editorial Team

What Do Dreams About An Ex Tell You?

Whether you're single or in a relationship, your old partner from a past relationship can occasionally show up in your dreams which might bother you in your waking life. These dreams often leave you wondering: “Why do I keep dreaming about my ex?”

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

Dreaming about your ex can cause a flurry of emotions (both good and bad) we thought had long passed. Dreams about a recent ex can confusea new relationship or current relationship in your waking hours. It's important not to jump to conclusions as to why dreaming about your ex and past relationship appeared in your current life, and online therapy can help. These dreams don’t necessarily mean you want to get back together with an ex in a new relationship. There are many other possible causes for why we're dreaming about an ex, such as maybe you subconsciously miss them even as a friend in your waking hours. However, as will be discussed, the interpretation of a dream depends on a wide variety of factors, and for many folks, the conclusions to draw about a dream about an ex has more than one possibility for what your subconscious giving means for your past, current relationships, and life.

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 people tend to dream about are usually a mixture of thoughts, events, and reflections that get stored throughout the past day. The reason why may be that you miss your romantic ones from your past. 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 you were feeling desired by ex people. 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.

You may dream about an ex when you were successfully killing the relationship before the relationship ended with that person long ago. In this case, dreaming about an ex can signify a time when our lives were less responsible, less complicated, or more fun before a forced end. As we get older, we rack up more responsibilities in our adult and new life. This can, at times, make us miss more simple or carefree periods, though when we keep dreaming and idealize we forget negative emotions like anger towards a past partner. 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 and old partner from time to time, consider asking yourself how often you dream of other people, like old friends or family. 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 and person 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.

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 as a person, 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. According to most medical associations, dream analysis can be very difficult. There are not many official pathways to becoming a certified dream analyst because dreams are so scientifically mercurial. One famous dream analyst is Lauri Loewenberg. Many people follow and pay attention to what Loewenberg says about dreams. What Loewenberg suggests is plastered across the web and radio, and Loewenberg is well known as a dream quote.

To summarize, Loewenberg says, “Your dreams are merely the nightly results, and honest commentary, of your actions, [sic] behaviors, and attitude from the day. The best way to have a peaceful and pleasant dream is to handle your issues during the day as well as working on having a better attitude about them.” A therapist can be a lot of help for easing your dreams, whether they be about an ex or something else in your past, present, or future life. Most of the work on dreams is done during the day, according to experts like Loewenberg, and a therapist can help with that work.

Get The Help You Need 

Dreams are complicated. They make a person feel things they don't entirely understand. You may be fretting, “Why do I keep dreaming about my ex?” 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.

Below are some commonly asked questions on this topic:

Does dreaming about your ex mean they miss you?
Why do I keep dreaming about my ex over and over again?
How do I stop dreaming about my ex?
What does it mean to dream about someone you don't talk to anymore?
Is it true that when you dream about a person is thinking about you?
Why do I keep dreaming about my ex years later?
Why do I still think about my ex everyday?
Why do I keep dreaming about the same person from my past?
Why do I keep dreaming about him?
What does it mean to dream about someone repeatedly?

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