25 Reasons Why You Dream About Your Ex And What It Means

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When you dream about your ex, what’s your very next thought? Do you think there is still some connection between you and your ex, or is it just random? Some dream analysts at the American Sleep Association have said that every dream has a symbolic meaning associated with your desires in real life. So, maybe the dreams signify something or show you patterns. If you wish to get into the details, reading our post on what it means to dream of your ex could help you. However, there are some dreams that you may just let go of and not ponder over much.

Dreaming About An Ex: 25 Reasons

Sigmund Freud, in his book, Dream Psychology, Psychoanalysis for Beginners, mentions a study on one of his patients where he analyzed him and his actions in every way. He concluded, “…there was in every dream the attempted or successful gratification of some wish, conscious or unconscious.” Here are a few other reasons that could be behind your dreams about your ex.

1. You have more leisure time

Everyone’s lives have become quite individualistic, and the amount of socialization has become considerably less. This has given you more leisure time, and as a result, you tend to contemplate a lot of things, including your past relationships. These thoughts then get manifested into your dreams.

2. Your sleeping hours have increased

Having a busy schedule is quite normal, and hitting the snooze button after your alarm goes off or sleeping in during the weekends is pretty common. Now, with the change of lifestyle, you may tend to be lazier, which is why you might not be waking up in your usual hours, leading to a deeper sleep cycle. Dreams occur during the REM cycle, so if you have been reminiscing about your past relationships during your idle time, you are bound to see your ex-partner in your dreams.

3. You feel despondent

If you’re sad with everything around you, it is not uncommon for you to dream about the previous people that were in your life. Therefore, a familiar face or your ex is who you end up dreaming about.

4. You feel lonely

The lockdowns might have led you to spend little to no time with your loved ones. Also, you may bein a state of loneliness even if you are amidst people. Your subconscious is trying to comfort you by reminding you of those times when you felt loved and were happier. Thus, you may be having dreams related to your ex.

5. You feel anxious

With the worldwide chaos around, it is quite natural for you to worry about your loved ones or those you care about. If you were in deep love with your ex, you might fantasize about them even now, and so you may still get dreams about your ex.

6. You require closure for your mental health

Your subconscious mind tends to project things from your real life into your dreams in a manner that can make you quite confused. If you constantly dream about your ex in different scenarios, then it means that you have not fully recovered from the breakup. Keeping a dream journal and writing about those feelings might provide you with peace of mind.

Now that you know some common reasons behind your dreaming about your ex, we have found some co-relations for some specific dreams.

7. You miss your ex

If you continue to have dreams about you missing your former partner even when you are in a new relationship, it would mean that you are looking for your current partner to fulfill specific requirements.

8. You get dreams of your first love

According to dream analysts, dreaming about our first love reflects a symbolic meaning. Not only does your first love represent the feeling of passion and desire, but also those butterflies in your stomach that we get when we first fall in love with somebody. It may also indicate that you are not happy in your current relationship and are subconsciously yearning for the beautiful times with your first love.

9. You dream of fighting with your ex

If you dream of fighting with your ex-partner, then you are probably beating yourself up for the things that might have led to you guys breaking up. It means that you are getting rid of any hold your previous relationship had over you.

10. You dream of your ex dying

The simple explanation for this is that any feelings you have had previously for your ex-partner are now gone. It is a metaphor indicating that you have moved on and are ready for a new start with someone else.

11. You dream about an abusive ex

Dreaming about an abusive ex is often a sign that you’re still experiencing the trauma left behind by your previous relationship. If your subconscious mind keeps on bringing your former partner into your dreams who was abusive to you, then it is because they are still affecting you to the present day. Also, you might have PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) as a result of it. Thus, the dream may be a sign that you should seek therapy.

12. You dream about being near your ex

Experiencing dreams where you are just present in the scenario with your ex from not long ago, be it in the backseat of the car or somewhere in the background, could indicate that you are still carrying some remnants from your past relationship. But if your ex is someone from quite a long time ago, then it could mean that some actions from your present relationship might have triggered those memories.

13. You dream about your ex in another relationship

Another scenario of you dreaming about your ex-lover having an intimate relationship with another person is quite common. It is the subconscious mind, which is trying to tell you that your ex-partner has moved on with their life, and so should you. It could also reflect a breakup or a conflict.

14. You dream of a recent ex

Experts refer to this kind of dream as the “wish-fulfillment dream.” If your former lover is constantly apologizing or fighting for your attention, then your subconscious mind is living out its desired situation. As weird as it might sound, this is just a way your subconscious mind is telling you to get into a relationship as soon as possible.

15. You dream of a long-time ex

Dreaming about a partner from quite a long time ago could mean there were certain aspects of that relationship you may need in your current relationship. Or, it could also mean that certain qualities that you admired about your former ex are not present in your current partner. If that is a good or a bad thing, it is completely up to you to decide.

16. You dream about your ex wanting you back

This can have a significant meaning since these dreams might reflect what you are facing in real life. It could indicate that you are giving in to the temptation of getting back with your ex who you have broken up with. It is the time when you should have a conversation with yourself or seek advice from someone else.

17. You dream of becoming pregnant with your ex’s child

You need not freak out if you have had a recent dream just like this one. This dream is quite symbolic since it means that the wisdom you had gained from your previous relationship is growing inside you, making you more responsible and wiser. Dreams like this could also mean that you have unfulfilled wishes from your distant past or present.

18. You dream of stealing from your former partner

As absurd as it might sound, this dream is quite recurrent with several people. Dreams of you stealing from your ex have quite an interesting metaphor to them. If your ex has broken up with you without any closure, then this dream could mean that you are trying to get inside their mind to understand the reason for the breakup.

19. You dream of being intimate with your ex

In a psychotherapy session, it was seen that several people tend to have dreams about your ex, which are mostly “negatively toned” compared to the dreams of your present partner. Moreover, when you have intense experiences that are emotional, they are known to play a major part in your dreams. Many dream analysts feel that when it comes to a dream of you having sex with your former partner, it could mean that you want to reconnect with them or are in the process of doing so.

20. You dream of your partner cheating on you or vice-versa

In reality, if your previous partner had cheated on you and you are dreaming about it, then it means you might be having trust issues with your current partner. However, if your former partner had not cheated on you, yet you still end up dreaming about it, it could mean that there might be something in your current relationship that might be making you feel like dead weight.

21. You dream of your ex murdering you

Our wishes and fears that take birth from our instincts lay the basic foundation of our dreams.Our instincts of race proliferation and self-preservation lead to a lot of our desires, thoughts, conducts, and feelings while we are asleep and awake. When you are asleep, the sensations on your skin, dyspnea, or viscera can lead to self-preservation, which in turn can lead you to dream about choking, murder, hanging, or impending death. So if you dream about your ex-partner murdering you, this could be the reason why.

22. You dream about breaking up with your ex

If you have been having recurring dreams about breaking up with your ex all over again, it might be because it was quite recent, and you are still processing it. Ensure you talk to someone about it.

23. You dream of your ex being in danger

If your ex is playing the part of being a damsel in distress in your dreams and you have not played your part of a knight in shining armor, then it could be a sign you’re letting go of all the remnants left behind from your past relationship. However, if it’s the opposite, you might still not be over them.

24. You dream about falling in love with your ex

You might be feeling lonely, which makes it normal for you to crave love and affection. However, your subconscious mind could be projecting those needs into a dream such as this one.

25. You dream about your ex ignoring you

If your former partner has blocked you from all of their social media profiles quite recently, then this could be the root of your dream. It also could mean that you are ignoring a thing or two in your past relationship, which needs to be addressed.

What Does It Mean When You Dream About Your Ex?

The American Sleep Association explains a dream to be a series of ideas, images, emotions, and sensations, which tend to occur in the subconscious mind during different stages of sleep. So the question arises,“What is the main reason for dreaming about an ex?” Depending on the kind of dream you have, each one has a different interpretation.

Most of your dreams about an ex-partner do not necessarily mean that you want something to do with them. The spectrum is broader because they tend to replicate your needs from a romantic partnership. The feelings, motives, thoughts, or values you have—all tend to affect your dreams in some way or another. Dreams are symbolic, which is why the characters we tend to see in dreams are merely a representation of what we want in our real life.

What Can You Do About The Dreams?

Having dreams about your ex is not uncommon. To stop them, you must understand the root cause behind them. Addressing the issues that might lead to dreams like these is important.

  • You could keep a journal. This way it will let you see more clearly how you feel and what is causing such emotions.
  • Listening to calming music is another way to have a better sleep if you are suffering from nightmares. The autonomic part of your nervous system becomes calm when listening to music, thereby inducing better sleep.
  • If you are still staggering from traumas caused by your former partner, the best thing you can do is to seek therapy. Dreams are often complicated, which is why a counselor or a therapist is always a choice you can opt for.

Do not ignore your dreams if they occur every single night or every other night. You might be having a hard time shaking away the feeling of distress right after you wake up from one of your dreams, which is why getting professional help is always recommended.

When you dream about your ex, there are apparent, literal interpretations and symbolic meanings. Dreaming about an ex, friend, partner, or spouse can have several connotations. There can be many reasons you dream about your ex, usually a gratification of some wish, conscious or unconscious. The common reasons include more leisure time, increased sleeping hours, and feeling lonely, sad, or anxious. You tend to dream about your ex when you miss them and want to relive the moments from your past relationship. An abusive ex could appear in your dreams due to PTSD. Therefore, understanding the root causes behind these dreams is essential to deal with them. You may keep track of your emotions, listen to soothing music before you sleep, or seek therapy if the dreams are disruptive and triggered by past traumas.

Key Pointers

  • If you’re not over your ex and keep thinking of him, he may become a part of your dreams.
  • An abusive ex could appear in your dreams due to PTSD.
  • Listen to music before sleeping or opt for therapy if your dreams are disruptive.


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
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4. W S Walsh; The Psychology Of Dreams (1920)
5.T G Stevens; Rise Above Anxiety
6. T Ryan; How to Interpret Your Dreams
7. R Newsom; How Trauma Affects Dreams
8. M Schredi and LC Wood; Partners and Ex-Partners in Dreams: A Diary Study
9. Wish Fulfilment; Freud Museum London
10. The Infantile Sources of Dreams; Freud Museum London
11. Dreams: What They Mean & Psychology Behind Them; American Sleep Association
12. Dreams; International Association for the Study of Dreams (1983)
13. R Newsom; Music and Sleep
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Shreshtha Dhar

(M.A, M.Phil )
Shreshtha Dhar is a licensed Clinical Psychologist running her private practice Thought Craft in Kolkata. She has special interest in the emotional and behavioral issues of both children and adults. Shreshtha has previosuly worked as a lecturer, published various research papers and contributed to magazines. She provides long distance teleconsultation in English, Hindi and Bengali.

Shikha Thakur

Shikha is a writer-turned-associate editor at MomJunction. Her core interest lies in writing articles that guide couples through their courtship to marriage and parenthood. She also specializes in baby names. Being a postgraduate in Human Resources, she likes understanding people and their relationships. This reflects in her relationship articles, where she deals with both the rosy and the grey side... more