Understanding Dreams About My Ex: Why Do I Keep Dreaming About My Ex?

By: Jon Jaehnig

Updated December 22, 2020

Medically Reviewed By: Kristen Hardin

Have you been dreaming about your ex?

Whether you're single or in a relationship, our ex-partners can occasionally show up in our dreams. It often leaves us wondering: does it mean anything?

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Identify The Reasons You Keep Dreaming About Your Ex
Talk Through Any Relationship Issues With A Counselor

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Why Am I Dreaming about My Ex?

Dreams about exes 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 we may have envisioned an ex-partner in a dream. It doesn't necessarily mean you want to get back together. There are many other possible causes.

Dreaming about my ex...

Because You miss what they represent

Even when dreams do have a significant meaning, dreams are rarely literal. They're usually symbolic. The situations that manifest in dreams are usually a mixture of thoughts, events, and reflections that get stored throughout the day.

If you were dreaming of an ex with whom you shared an intimate, personal connection, it may be that you miss this connection. Similarly, if your ex possessed a quality your current partner lacks, your ex's presence in your dreams could be a longing for this missing trait.

Dreaming about an Ex Because...You miss a particular time of your life

If you find yourself dreaming of an 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 from that time period.

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In this case, exes 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 from the dream, but then bring yourself back to focus on the here and now.

Dreaming about an Ex Because...It's a coincidence

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.

Dreaming of an Ex Because...You want to get back with them

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

Don't make any major phone calls just because of a dream-even if you have it more than once. Think things over carefully and move slowly to ensure you make the right decision. After all, you split up for a reason.

Dreaming of an Ex Because...You want closure

The unconscious mind is a strange place. Within it, we keep pieces of information which our conscious minds have long forgotten. Even though we may think we received closure-or convinced ourselves we didn't need it-our unconscious can sometimes tell us differently. Your ex showing up in your dreams can be an indicator you still have unhealed wounds from the relationship. Journaling about 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.

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Identify The Reasons You Keep Dreaming About Your Ex
Talk Through Any Relationship Issues With A Counselor

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I keep dreaming about my ex-can I stop it?

Do you often wake up thinking "why am I dreaming about my 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 they 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. And it's always important to remember that often dreams don't mean anything of great significance.

Dreaming about My Ex

When You Need Help

Dreams are complicated. They make us feel things we don't entirely understand. Sometimes, working through these feelings 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 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."

Addressing Your Dreams

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

How Do you Make your Ex Regret Losing you?

Relationships don't necessarily work out as expected. When you are in a romantic relationship, you feel great and fulfilled. However, the feelings you felt during that relationship would become painful when such a relationship ended. The following are ways to make your ex regret breaking up with you:

  • Try to boost your happiness and find purpose in your job
  • Try to live your life with purpose
  • Try to get over your ex (although it's not easy to get over the feelings you felt during that relationship, getting over your ex will be of great help if you're fighting daily the worse predicaments that breakup is putting through)
  • Try to become the exact person tour ex always wanted you to be (do this in the best version of yourself).

Can Dreams Predict the Future?

From different studies and research, dreams are observed to have an adaptive function in people's brains and minds. This function cuts across the promotion of healthy growth, stimulation of creative energies, and assisting individuals to respond to threats, challenges, and opportunities. Furthermore, dreams centers around emotional concerns in people's waking life or current life which become meaningful and intense in the face of uncertainty and crisis. Being with a full understanding of this helps to get the right picture of why and how dreams can predict future possibilities.

In your real and current life, your mind plans, predicts, rehearses, and prepares you for future events that relate to our significant concerns. Also, your mind does the same in dream moods at night. The difference  is in the cognitive freedom and external stimuli in exploring alternative which is much obtained in real life than in dream moods

Carl Jung, a Swiss psychologist, advocated for an idea that is valid with respect to the current psychological knowledge of brain-mind functioning which centers around the cycle of sleeping, waking, and dreaming. When you dream, according to Carl, your imaginations are directed towards the envision and future, seeing the possibility of what tomorrow may hold.

Do Dreams About My Ex Actually Mean Anything?

Most times, many people remember the dreams they had and curious if they actually mean anything the following day. There are many theories with different views if dreams really mean something.

John Allan and Robert McCarley, Harvard University psychiatrists, proposed the Activation-Synthesis Hypothesis which is a neurobiological theory of Dreaming. According to this theory, it's established that dreams don't actually mean anything. Dreams are seen only as electrical brain impulses that bring random images and thoughts from the memories that people have. Furthermore,  the theory shows that dream stories are formed after people wake from their sleep.

On the other hand, Sigmund Freund, a well-known psychologist, explains that dreams show repressed wishes or conflicts unconsciously. He further claims that dreams could be seen as imagery of an impulse or wish from childhood that has been repressed since. In sum, it's the belief of Freud that dreams are the revelation of people's repressed wishes to them.

Threat Simulation Theory is another theory which gives an explicit description of dreams. It sees dreams as a defense mechanism that people's brains put in place purposely to prepare them for frightening events. This process helps them to face their anxiety in a safe simulation. According to this theory, there is a high tendency that you will dream more when you're in a state of anxiety or fear.

Based on the fact that it's very confusing to go with a particular theory,  it's therefore important to know that people have started to be with the understanding of the conception that dreams are not just mere random misfiring of the brain, but they go beyond to tell them something significant about themselves. This implies that when you dream about a missing object, it doesn't necessarily mean that that particular object will be lost, it only signifies that something important will be missing in your waking life or real life.

Can Dreams Come True?

In some situations, dreams do come true and tell you about what is yet to happen (a future event). Experts explained that when your dreams appear in real life, it's like because of coincidence, bad memory, or an unconscious connection of information that's known. Moreover, it's important to know that at times your dreams can be a source of motivation which may prompt you to act in a specific way which may lead to some changes in a future event.

Addressing Dreaming About My Ex

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

Contact BetterHelp

For more information on where to find a therapist that can help you, you can reach out to contact@betterhelp.com. You can also find us on LinkedInTwitterInstagramGoogle+FacebookYouTube & Tumblr.

Read more from BetterHelp about Ex Dreams & Mental Health:


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Why Do I Love My Ex?

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