Why Do I Keep Dreaming About My Ex? 10 Surprising Reasons

Author: Renz Alcantara

Sleeping is precious to most people. It’s the time when most of us feel safe, relaxed, ready to just forget the bad and eager to face the good in the morning. 

While this relaxed state feels achievable for most people, it’s not always the case for some. Some of us can’t even catch a break in our dreams, because our ex is showing their face once again.

Waking up from a bad dream is a cause for stress and a reason to be in a bad mood all day long. Especially if that dream involves an ex. 

You may be left wondering: why can’t I just let go? Is this some kind of subliminal message?

This brings us to the question, why do I keep dreaming about my ex, and what is the meaning behind these dreams? 

Here are 10 surprising reasons why you keep dreaming about your ex:

#1: There’s No Proper Closure Between You and Your Ex 

Perhaps you had the kind of breakup where you weren’t offered the opportunity to have proper closure. 

Your subconscious is trying to heal you by giving you a venue to accomplish the closure when you can’t do it physically during the day. 

This is a positive thing. Since you can’t get closure consciously, your mind and body are taking you on the right path to closure, emotionally and mentally healing you from a draining break up. 

#2: You Are Scared to Move On 

After getting used to being with someone most of the time, it’s hard to move on with your life and create an entirely new routine without him or her, right? 

It’s not too bad to feel a bit scared to move on, in fact it’s normal. Your dreams are actually giving you a little nudge and a cheer to move past the feeling and get on with your life. 

It's also possible that you have a soul tie with your ex and need to break it. Click here to read about what soul ties are and how to break them.

#3: You Feel Insecure After a Failed Relationship

A failed relationship does that to most people, even if we don’t want to admit it.

A recent breakup sometimes has a way of leaving you feeling insecure, and subconsciously you may carry the feeling of being not enough.

Most of the time, you may not recognize that you have these feelings, but they manifest through your actions to yourself and others. Your dreams are perhaps telling you to acknowledge that these feelings are real and that it has been affecting you. 

Your dreams are making you admit that though it is normal to feel these emotions, you have to work through them and get better in time.

It’s good to cry over a break up and feel all the emotions that go with it, so that the feelings of inadequacy have a way of being relieved.

Of course, you do not wallow for such a long time that you can’t bounce back anymore. Perhaps just acknowledge the need to feel your emotions, and take the chance to do just that.

Once that’s done, you may not have the same dreams again. After all, your dream is helping you accept these emotions and deal with them. 

#4: Hey, You Might Not Be Over Him

Has it been long since the break up? 

If not, then you may still have a little bit of feelings left for your ex. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, you had an actual relationship with a person you love, it just didn’t work out the way you wanted.

The dreams of your ex will help you heal in time and accept that the relationship has ended.

#5: You Miss Your Ex and the Times You Had With Him

This is particularly true when it was a relationship that lasted for years. Also true if it’s your first time having a relationship with someone, your first love. 

Women tend to be more sentimental about “firsts” and dreams reflect that. Is that something to be worried about?

No, not at all. Perhaps you don’t miss your ex specifically, but rather, the moments you shared together.

It could just be about the feelings you experienced during those memories, the places you visited and the things that you did. 

It’s common to dream about a first love because as Gabrielle Kassel says:

“That ex becomes symbolic of passion, uninhibited desire, unafraid love, etc.”

What if you saw these memories as just moments that you can cherish? See them as good memories, life lessons and something to talk about in the future. 

Use these beautiful memories and dreams to want a better relationship for yourself. Dream of having a better future for yourself and look forward to it.

#6: You Are Not Used to Being Single or Alone

Being in a relationship for so long meant you always had someone with you (at least in your mind and heat), and the fact that you did man (or most) things together would naturally leave a void in your life. 

There’s a possibility that your dream is signalling to you the rawness of that void because you’re not used to it.

It’s something new to you and your subconscious mind tells you that it’s time to feel the void and accept it.

Another reason why you keep dreaming about your ex is to show you that being alone is not such a bad thing after all. Being single is not a failure at all. 

Use this time to reconnect with yourself – you’ll realize how much of yourself you’ve neglected because your relationship probably changed you. 

Use this time to prioritize yourself and that hobby you have been thinking of taking up or just pick up the book that has been sitting on your bedside table for ages. 

#7: You Hoped For a Different Outcome In Your Relationship

Still fresh out of a break up? 

Your dreams might be suggesting to you ways in which your relationship could have been saved or could have had a different outcome. 

But we’re not time travellers, we cannot undo what has already happened, we can only move forward and learn from our mistakes. 

If you keep having the same dreams of your ex and your relationship, it’s a wake up call for you to stop analyzing what has happened. It’s time to let go and accept that your relationship has ended and resist the urge to keep thinking about why do I keep dreaming about my ex?

#8: You Miss Intimacy and The Feeling of Being Loved 

Your dreams about your ex could be because you miss the feeling of being loved and the physical attraction you had with each other. That’s perfectly normal. 

You’re a grown human with needs. Your dreams might show you having intimacy (or missing intimacy) with your ex, but it may not be about your ex specifically. Instead it could really just reflect how much you miss intimacy with someone and the feelings you shared with each other.

That feeling is what you’re missing and wanting and your subconscious mind is telling you perhaps you’re ready to go out there and find that feeling again. It’s probably showing you that you’re open to accepting these feelings of intimacy and love again. 

#9: Something In Your Life Is Missing and Making You Unhappy

You broke up with an ex, which in some ways is a loss and I’m sure in many ways is also a gain.

Regardless, having had someone and broken up with them can feel like a loss in some contexts, especially if you’ve been triggered by an event during daytime hours.

Perhaps you’ve lost something else in your life recently, or perhaps your ex is showing up in your dreams because they represent something else you’re scared of losing.

When you wonder, “why do I keep dreaming about my ex” often, it might not actually be about your ex at all but rather, it’s a symbol of something in your life that is missing and therefore making you unhappy.

In such a case, it’s possible that your dreams are showing you that you should “break up” with that something too. 

Take a deeper look at what’s keeping you from being happy and you might need to mentally and emotionally let go of that situation so you can move on and start to make some changes in your life. 

#10: You Are Actually Trying to Move On

Breaking up with someone is not something you can sleep off for a day and expect to feel better afterwards. 

It’s a process that you have to go through before you can finally say you’re over it and done with it. Your mind and your body have to fully grieve and let go.

Your dreams about your ex could be a sign that you are actually moving on from your relationship with him. In this case, your dreams are perhaps just cementing the stages of grief for you.

In other words, as you’re learning to let go, they’re setting in stone each stage of letting go.

In this light, we can appreciate that your dreams are helping you go through the process of breaking up and helping you deal with it. 

Frequently Asked Questions On Dreaming About Your Ex

When You Dream About Someone Are They Thinking Of You?

In my research on this topic, I concluded that there is no proven studies indicating that when you dream of someone it means they are also thinking about you or dreaming about you. There is a possibility of that happening (this phenomenon is called “dream telepathy”), so we cannot rule it out completely, it’s just less common.

What Does It Mean If You Dream About Someone Repeatedly

A lot of studies have been conducted about dreams, and the consensus is that dreams reveal the depths of our subconscious, our fears and our worries.

So when you dream of someone or something once, it might not mean a lot but if you’re dreaming about it repeatedly then it might mean something. What you need to do in this scenario is take it upon yourself to understand the meaning of your dreams and dive deeper into them because dreams are mostly symbols and meanings.

Yet at the end of the day, you’re the only person who can give an accurate meaning to it all. Of course reading about dreams will help you too! 

Spiritual Meaning Of Dreaming About Your Ex

Dreaming about your ex does not automatically mean you are still in love with them at all, especially if you truly know you have moved on.

Instead, the spiritual meaning of dreaming about your ex is about yourself and your unfulfilled need/s. “your subconscious relates your ex to something that is now gone in your life. It is also trying to help you process unresolved conflicts and show you something that you are longing for.

What Does It Mean When You Dream About Your Ex?

What dreaming about your ex means depends heavily on your own life’s circumstances. Your dreams could mean that you…

  • Need to re-assess your breakup
  • Need to process unresolved grief or emotions from the events in your past relationship
  • There’s an action that you need to take that may be unrelated to your ex (they are just a symbol, a messenger telling you to take that action in your life right now).

It’s common to dream about a long ago ex or an ex whom you recently broke up with.

Is it a sign that you need to get back with your ex? Or is it a sign that you simply need to look deeper into your dreams, because your subconscious mind is telling you a totally different thing to what is happening in reality?

See, dreams are there to help you understand life deeply and to make better choices for yourself.

How Do I Stop Dreaming About My Ex?

If you want to stop dreaming about your ex, you can try these suggested exercises and it might do you good. 

  1. Talking about your dreams with a friend and making sense out of it. 
  2. Talking to a therapist if it’s really hard for you to understand and if the emotions the dream brings is making it all hard for you.
  3. Go on a vacation to absorb fresh scenery, because seeing a serene new place might do wonders for you and reset your body or take it out of a rut.
  4. Exercise – it helps a lot physically and mentally to change your state. 

Why Do I Keep Dreaming About My Ex?

Lastly, what’s important is that you appreciate your dreams for doing the work that you may not be able to do (or are yet to do) consciously. 

Dreams are here to help us. Your subconscious mind is working overtime to help you heal, to help you accept things, to help you process emotions and feel the rawness of it all. 

Don’t feel stressed when you have dreams about your ex. Dreams are symbols of what is within you and what is around you. Embrace it!

I hope these reasons answer your question, “why do I keep dreaming about my ex?” please leave me a comment below if you have any questions!

Renz Alcantara

Renz is a mother of two girls living in the Philippines. She is manager of the team at Shen Wade Media & in her spare time she loves to school her two daughters and spend time with friends.


Author For National Council for Research on Women

© Copyright National Council for Research on Women.  All Rights Reserved