What does it mean when you dream about your ex? Has that question been keeping you up at night? Well, that makes the two of us! It’s been over a decade since I moved on from the last bad relationship, eventually found someone new, got married, had a kid – the whole gamut. Even so, there are times when my exes pay me a visit in my dreams.
Needless to say, I spend the better part of the next day (or days, depending on the context), wondering what does it mean to dream about an ex. Sometimes, the dream is so real that I can almost feel that it happened IRL.
During the course of therapy, I casually brought up dreaming about my exes – one more frequently than the others – every now and again. My therapist took it a lot more seriously than I could’ve imagined. I’m glad she did, because it helped me decode the mystery of ‘what does it mean when an ex appears in your dream?’ I’m here to share some of those insights with you.
15 Reasons You Are Dreaming About Your Ex – And This Is What It Means
Dreaming about an ex, no matter how distant or recent, can lead to a host of confusing emotions. If you’re still pining for them, you may start looking into the spiritual meaning of dreaming about your ex. Is it a sign that your ex is thinking about you? Does it mean the breakup was a mistake? Are you destined to be together?
Well, as fantastical as it may be to attach a deeper significance and look for the biblical meaning of dreaming about your ex, it’s not the truth. A dream about an ex is not the universe sending you a sign to get back together to rekindle the romance. Primarily, it is just your subconscious mind’s way of processing the latent emotions of the past and present.
It’s often said dreams are the way your unconscious mind communicates with your conscious one. Judging by how we immediately seem to forget the vivid memories of our dream a minute after waking up, we’d say it’s not the best mode of communication! Even so, having dreams about an ex can leave you sitting in the middle of your bed, trying to shake off that confused look off your face.
To put it in perspective better, let’s explore 15 common reasons why you are dreaming about your ex and what they means:
Related Reading: 18 Proven Ways To Get Over Your Ex-Boyfriend And Find Happiness
1. If the dreams coincide with a new relationship, you’re worried
When you dream about your ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend just as you’re at the cusp of a new relationship, it’s a sign that you’re worried about history repeating itself. Perhaps, the breakup has left you with insecurities about relationships, and a part of you is scared that your potential new partner will hurt or abandon you the same way your ex did.
Bad dreams about ex, the kind where you two are fighting/mean to each other, signify that there are some unresolved emotions from that breakup and you’re worried they’ll pop up in your life again. This one will feel particularly confusing, since you were convinced you’re falling for this new person you’re head over heels about. Suddenly, a dream about your ex calling you gets in the way, making you doubt if you ever really moved on.
These dreams are a way of your psyche trying to weigh the pros and cons of a new relationship and partner. Perhaps, even compare them with your past to solve the puzzle of whether or not you will be a good fit for each other.
2. When you dream about your ex getting back together, it’s a manifestation of your desires
One of the most common and recurrent themes when people dream about their exes is of rekindling an old romance. The ex comes back into your life, they beg for your forgiveness and want you back. You bury the hatchet and together, you embark on a new journey.
It’s also common to look for the spiritual meaning of dreaming about your ex in such situations. However, this is just your mind’s way of manifesting what YOU want, desire and long for. This dream indicates that a part of you still wants to be with them and through your dream, you’re exploring what that would feel like.
When you do dream about you and your ex getting back together, it could signify a few things. Perhaps you’re developing feelings for them again, which mostly just means you’ve forgotten the reasons why you two broke up in the first place. Or, you’ve learned all you needed to and you want to bury the hatchet. What it means to dream of an ex-boyfriend/girlfriend couldn’t get more confusing!
3. You dream of falling in love with an ex when you miss a part of yourself
Dreaming about falling in love with your ex is different from when you dream about your ex getting back together. In this case, you are reliving the same emotions and feelings you experienced when you first fell in love with them.
As we all know, the experience of falling in love is characterized by a sense of new dreams, excitement, passion, desire, and hopes for a dreamy future. Perhaps, you acutely miss feeling those emotions. This typically happens when you have been in a stable relationship long enough for the novelty and excitement to wear off. Or when you’re going through a bit of a dry spell sexually. So, if this particular thought, “Why do I keep dreaming about my ex when I’m happily married?”, has kept you up at night, this might be the reasons why.
The dream is your mind’s way of refreshing those feel-good emotions and making you experience them first-hand. This can also be a recurrent theme when you dream about your ex crush. In this case, because you never got to see those emotions materialize.
Related Reading: 8 Things To Do When An Ex Contacts You Years Later
4. When you dream about your ex 2 nights in a row, your mind is processing the breakup
If the breakup is still fresh and you’re trying to get over the heartbreak, you may dream about your ex more consistently. Naturally, with your emotions still all over the place, when you dream about your ex 2 nights in a row or more, it can leave you very, very confused.
What does it mean? Is it a sign? What do these dreams signify? Well, it’s your mind’s way of coping with the loss, accepting and processing it. Having dreams about an ex usually happen when you have unresolved feelings about the breakup. Your mind is literally telling you you need to process those emotions better and it’s time to figure out what you need to confront within yourself.
It’s preparation to begin the process of healing after a breakup. So, all in all, recurrent dreams about an ex soon after a breakup can be considered good news. You may not have moved on yet, but on a subconscious level, your mind is laying the groundwork for it to happen.
5. If your ex apologizes in the dream, you’re looking for closure
Did your ex show up in your dream and profusely apologize for hurting you? In this case, the ex doesn’t plead to get back together nor do you want them to. They just sit you down, offer some sort of an explanation for their actions and seek your forgiveness. Maybe, it ends with you wishing each other happiness in life and going your separate ways.
To understand what does it mean when an ex appears in your dream in this manner, take a moment to reflect whether you have more questions than answers about why the relationship ended. It’s possible that you desperately crave closure, to be able to put your past behind and move on. Except, your ex hasn’t given it to you.
To compensate, your mind is making up scenarios where they say exactly what you need to hear to get that closure. Perhaps you’re still not over the way things ended and you’ve convinced yourself your ex must feel sorry for the things they did. This is when lucid dreams about an ex can get quite intense. Since you literally know you’re dreaming, it’s basically your mind screaming at you that you need to either let go or work on acceptance.
6. When you dream about an ex kissing you, you crave intimacy
When you dream about your ex-boyfriend kissing you – or an ex-girlfriend or ex-partner, for that matter – it reflects your longing for an intimate connection in real life. Perhaps, you’ve been single since the breakup or had a string of flings and casual hookups, but nothing deep or meaningful.
You crave that intimacy you shared with your ex-partner and your dream is a way of fulfilling that need that has gone unaddressed for far too long. Since this partner might be the closest thing to physical intimacy you’ve had recently, it’s obvious they’re the first person you’ll dream of when you crave it.
Don’t misconstrue this for you developing feelings for this person again, however. It might just be the lust that’s making you dream about your ex calling you in the middle of the night, telling you there’s no one at his/her place right now, so…
Related Reading: Can you be friends with an ex? Do you tell your partner about it?
7. Dreams about getting along with a spouse indicate a desire to build bridges
When you dream about your ex-husband or ex-wife, and see your equation with them surrounded by a halo of positivity, it indicates that you have a desire to build bridges with them. Well, not necessarily, to revive the marriage you lost, but perhaps to hold on to some part of the journey you shared.
These dreams are typically more pronounced and frequent, if you and your former spouse share custody of the children. Maybe for their sake, you wish to get along with your ex. If it isn’t happening in real life, your subconscious offers you solace by conjuring up that slice of an imperfectly perfect family in your dreams.
It’s possible it could even happen when you’re currently married to someone else. While married, trying to answer “Why do I keep dreaming about my ex when I’m happily married?” isn’t something you thought you’d be doing. However, it could just be because you’ve had children with that person.
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8. Sex dreams about an ex can indicate either longing or healing
So, you dreamt of indulging in hot, passionate sex with your ex. Understandably, this would lead to a host of confusing emotions, leaving you unsettled and shaken up. Even more so, if you’re already in a relationship (speaking from *cough cough* experience). You may be left riddled with guilt, almost as if you’ve cheated on your partner.
Now, what this dream means depends on where you’re at in the healing and moving on process. If a part of you wishes that your ex would come back to you, then this dream could mean trouble. It’s a sign that the desire to get your ex back is amplifying and taking up a lot of your headspace. You must make a conscious effort to rein in those feelings as soon as possible.
On the other hand, if you’ve truly moved on and have no desire to let your ex back in your life, then this dream could signify that you are done beating yourself up about your past relationship choices. So if you were feeling guilty and wondering what it means to dream of an ex-boyfriend while you’re in a relationship, it’s possible you’re just burning some bridges.
9. Your ex, your partner and you – unresolved feelings at play
What does it mean when an ex appears in your dream alongside your current partner? To answer this question, you need to delve deeper into and understand how, you feel about your ex.
Dreaming about your ex, your partner and you together in any scenario – be it pleasant (all of you chilling together on a beach) or stressful (you trying to hide your ex from your partner) – points to unresolved feelings at play.
When I say unresolved feelings, I don’t necessarily mean romantic feelings. Even if you still hold anger, hurt or grudges toward your ex, these emotions will have an impact on your present life and relationship. The dreams you’re having are just a reflection of that fact.
Although it may not seem like it while all three of you are chilling together, certain bad dreams about the ex, like these, are basically telling you that the unresolved feelings are affecting your current relationship. Plus, your current partner being completely cool with your ex shouldn’t be happening in the first place. No matter how much they say “s/he seems nice”, they better be a tad bit jealous.
10. When you dream about your ex texting you, you want to text them
Have you been controlling the urge to drunk text your ex? Is it taking every ounce of self-control in your being to not ‘U, Up?’ them at 2 am? When you dream about your ex texting you, it’s your mind’s way of channelizing that unmet desire.
This usually happens more often when you’re fresh out of a relationship and trying to cope with the breakup. Even more so, if you’ve been trying hard to stick to the No Contact Rule and have no idea about what your ex has been up to since the breakup or how they’re doing.
Perhaps you liked the way they texted you, or you wish they texted you again a certain way. If you’re the kind who has lucid dreams about your ex, you can bet your bottom dollar that you’re finally going to make those wishes come true by dreaming up a full-fledged conversation with your ex on texts.
Related Reading: 15 signs you are still not over your ex
11. Dreaming about being back in a toxic relationship signifies trauma
Were you in a toxic or abusive relationship? Do you dream about still being stuck with your abusive ex, reliving the pain and trauma over and over again? First of all, I’m sorry that you had to go through that. And more power to you, for reclaiming your life.
A lot of people who have been in such damaging relationships, dream about being stuck there all over again — being beaten, abused, locked up in a dark room by their ex. These dreams that you’ve been having could be a sign of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In lay terms, you have been traumatized and are carrying the effects of that trauma with you.
As hard as it may seem to have to reach out to someone and talk about those painful experiences, I speak from experience when I say going into therapy can be liberating. It helps you get in touch with and process a lot of latent emotions in a manner that they don’t hold sway over you anymore.
12. Dreaming about breaking up all over again indicates a sense of loss
What does it mean when you dream about your ex breaking up with you all over again? Well, for one, it is absolutely brutal. There is a good chance the emotions you experience in your dream will leave a bad aftertaste for days.
To understand what it means, you have to assess the dream vis-à-vis your present circumstances. If the breakup was recent, then it’s your mind’s way of coping with the loss. You’re not over the breakup, the pain of being dumped. Your mind is releasing some of that pain through these conjured up scenarios.
If the break up happened a long time ago, then it’s possible that you’re still carrying some of the residual pain with you. In such a situation, take a closer look at your circumstances. Have you faced rejection in any form recently? Perhaps, you didn’t get a job you had interviewed for. Lost a promotion. Your pitch for a project didn’t get accepted. It could be any number of scenarios.
Since your mind associates the pain of rejection with that breakup, the dream is a way for it to process the other setback you’ve recently experienced.
13. Dream of an ex in a new relationship means you’re letting go
What if you dream of your ex being in a new relationship that too with someone they always said you had no reason to worry about? You dream of crossing paths with them, stop by to say hello, perhaps even share a drink, and then, you go your separate ways.
Well, the dream can feel oddly liberating. If you’ve had it, you know what I mean. A strange sense of relief washes you over. Well, that’s exactly what it signifies. When you dream about your ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend in a new relationship without being affected by it, it’s a sign that you’re letting go of that part of your past.
Related Reading: How To Win Your Ex Back – And Make Them Stay FOREVER
14. Your ex is in trouble and turns to you for help – you still care about them…A LOT
If you dream about your ex being in trouble and leave everything at the drop of the hat to rush to be by their side, it is a strong indicator that you still care about them a lot. It may have been years since you broke up, but you still cherish the bond you shared with them and value them.
This happens in cases where the breakup was amicable, and driven by external circumstances – such as the hardships of a long-distance relationship – than your feelings for each other.
You may have since moved on, but somewhere you’ve held on to that part of your life.
15. If you dream about your ex dying, you’ve healed from the breakup
Ever dreamt of your ex dying in front of your eyes while you do nothing to save them? Or maybe about killing them with your own hands? Breath easy, such dreams do not mean that you’re a sinister, evil person wishing death on someone.
On the contrary, these unpleasant dreams about your ex could actually be good news. This means that you’re finally free of all the resentment, anger, frustration or grudges you may have held against your ex all along.
You’ve forgiven them for whatever wrong they did to you. And you’ve forgiven yourself for whatever part you think you played in the relationship going awry. You’re free from the clutches of the past. Ready to turn over a new leaf in true earnest.
What does it mean when you dream about your ex? The answer to this question is always contextual. It depends on the quality of your past relationship, your current state of mind, how long it has been since you broke up, and so on. That said, dreams about an ex are always about you and not the other person.