Tuesday, April 16, 2024

What Does It Mean When You Dream About Your Ex?

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Dreaming about an ex can be incredibly confusing. Even if you think you’ve moved on from the relationship, it can resurface old feelings and prompt questions like: What does it mean when you dream about your ex? Why do you keep dreaming about an ex? Does this mean you should get back together?

Before you break your no-contact rule and take your dream as a sign to text your ex, however, it’s worth considering the context of the former relationship. It could be that you have unresolved feelings about the breakup that still need to be addressed, or perhaps you may be unhappy in your current relationship. It may also have nothing to do with the past relationship at all.

“Our dreams very often bring up elements from our past in order to give us a message about our present,” dream expert Lauri Loewenberg, author of “Dream on It: Unlock Your Dreams, Change Your Life,” tells PS.

For this reason, understanding your dreams about an ex is important — if not to reveal more of your inner psyche, but to also save you from rekindling a relationship that should absolutely not be rekindled. Below, Loewenberg explains more.

What Does It Mean When You Dream About Your Ex?

It depends on the dream, which ex you are dreaming about, and the interaction you’re having with your ex, Loewenberg says. “Every single part of your dream is a piece of the puzzle, therefore every single part is important to pay attention to if you want to get the entire message and benefit from the message.”

To help, Loewenberg breaks down some of the more common dreams about exes, and what they could mean below. For starters, let’s look at the ex you’re dreaming about in particular:

If you’re dreaming of a recent ex, Loewenberg says it could mean you’re still sorting through what went wrong and dissecting the reason for the breakup.

If you’re dreaming of an ex from years ago, it’s less likely to be about that particular relationship. “It can mean something is at play in your current life or current relationship that is similar to when you were with that ex,” she says.

If you’re dreaming about your first love (which is “the ex we tend to dream about the most,” Loewenberg says), the dream could be more about what that person represents, like excitement and desire. “You may be in a dry spell or your current relationship has become too routine and lost its spark,” Loewenberg says.

If you’re dreaming about a toxic ex, it could be because you’re feeling insecure or not good enough — regardless of if you’re in a relationship or not. “There may be something or someone that is making you feel that way right now. Or, if it was a particularly traumatic relationship, it could be a telltale sign you have not healed,” Loewenberg says.

Knowing which ex showed up in your dream is important, but understanding what’s happening in your dream may be even more important to understanding the dream. Below, Loewenberg offers a few examples:

If you dream of breaking up with your ex (or even killing your ex), it means you are either “ending an attachment you may still have or ending a pattern of behavior, like a tendency to keep falling for the same type, for example,” says Loewnberg.

If you dream about getting back together with your first love, it could be because you want to feel excited or desired in your current relationship or as you’re navigating the dating scene.

If you dream about being in a happy, healthy relationship with a toxic ex, “you have come to terms and are at peace with that part of your past and no longer hold it in your mind or in your heart as a wound or something to be ashamed of but rather as a building block in your pillar of strength, a lesson learned, an invaluable pearl of wisdom,” Loewenberg says.

If you dream about an ex who left a positive impact on your life, your subconscious wants you to “recognize that positivity within yourself,” says Loewenberg.

If you dream about an ex who you no longer talk to anymore, your dream is likely not about your ex, says Loewenberg. It could be because someone you’re dating feels similar to them and your subconscious is reminding you why the relationship didn’t work out.

Why Do You Keep Dreaming About an Ex?

There are many reasons why an ex will show up in your dreams. Most of the time, though, dreaming of an ex will show you “how much you have grown or how much you have not,” says Loewenberg.

Your subconscious will borrow elements of your past and present them to you in a dream because “something is going on in your current life that feels similar to back then” or because “you need a reality check — a compare and a contrast moment so you can be thankful for where you are now or a reminder that you are essentially stuck in the same damn place psychologically and emotionally,” says Loewenberg.

Another reason why you could be dreaming about an ex is because you are subconsciously wanting to see how well a new partner fits into your life. For example, you may dream of an ex that made you laugh but it didn’t work out because they moved across the country. If you dream about them again, “it may be that your subconscious wants you to have someone in your life that makes you laugh the same way that particular ex did,” says Loewenberg.

The same goes for an ex’s negative qualities. If you find yourself dreaming about an ex who didn’t show you affection or give you words of affirmation, it could be your subconscious reminding you that you want to find someone else who does.

Does Dreaming About Your Ex Mean They Are Thinking About You?

Contrary to what your best friend saw on TikTok, you’re not dreaming about your ex because they are thinking about you. “Your dreams are your creation and are all about what is going on in your head,” Loewenberg says — it has nothing to do with what someone else is thinking.

How to Interpret Your Dreams About Your Ex

In the case that you want to interpret your dream yourself, Loewenberg encourages you to ask yourself the follow questions:

  • What three things stand out the most when you think about this ex, and is there anyone in your life that feels similar to those three descriptors?
  • What were you like when that particular ex was in your life?
  • Have you grown since that relationship or are you still stuck on it?
  • What was said between you and your ex in the dream?
  • What is the big lesson you learned from being with that ex, and how can you apply that lesson now?

If there is anything or anyone in your life that feels similar to how you initially described your ex, the dream could be a way of letting you know “you may be back with the same type of person or that you are repeating a pattern,” Loewenberg says. Also, depending on what is said in the dream, the situation “likely applies to you and to your life right now,” she adds.

Regardless of how you answer these questions, try not to get too hung up on why you’re dreaming about your ex. Of course, you can always use it to analyze your current situation, but you could also just acknowledge that sometimes a dream is just that: a dream.

For more dream analysis, here’s why you could be dreaming you’re pregnant or having lucid dreams.

Taylor Andrews is a Balance editor at POPSUGAR who specializes in topics relating to sex, relationships, dating, sexual health, mental health, and more. In her six years working in editorial, she’s written about how semen is digested, why sex aftercare is the move, and how the overturn of Roe killed situationships.

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