Skip to main content

What Do Dreams About an Ex Mean?

  • Author:
  • Updated date:

Sue has been an online writer for over eight years. She is a mother, social worker, writer, and dream interpreter.

A dream may have a deeper meaning than you realize. Read on to learn more.

A dream may have a deeper meaning than you realize. Read on to learn more.

Why Am I Dreaming About My Ex?

Dreaming of ex-boyfriends, ex-girlfriends, ex-lovers, and even ex-friends is one of the most common dream themes. Having an ex pop up in a dream may have a deeper meaning than you realize. Understanding dreams about exes can help you continue to develop as a person, rediscover important aspects of who you are, and move towards feeling complete and whole again. Read on to understand what this dream symbol could mean to you.

1. You Miss Your Ex

Dreaming of getting back together with or having an otherwise positive interaction with your ex may reveal that you miss your ex and continue to have feelings for this individual. This may be a simple wish-fulfillment dream.

Many dreamers jump to the conclusion that dreaming of a marriage proposal from the ex or a promise to not behave in a manner that led to the break up reflects the ex's true feelings. In reality, the feelings expressed by the ex in the dream most likely reflect the feelings of the dreamer. Having a strong reaction to this statement and not being able to entertain the idea that your dream about your ex is telling you anything else besides that this person still loves you and you are destined to be together should show you how strong your hopes and wishes are.

Dreaming of a past relationship may reflect your current stage in grieving the relationship that ended. Perhaps you miss your ex, the companionship, or other positive aspects of the relationship.

Dreaming of your ex over and over again? Read about reoccurring dreams.

2. You Are Processing the Break-Up so That You Can Move On

Dreaming of your ex, your break-up, your relationship with your ex, and all your associated feelings may be helping you process the break-up so that you can move on.

Intimate relationships often bring up past pains and hurts that cut right to our core. It is important to repair the damage before we attempt to move on to a new relationship. Truly processing our thoughts and feelings about the break-up allows us to acknowledge our pain, become more self-aware, and leave the past behind as we repair ourselves and move towards a more positive and fulfilling future.

Relationships, especially unhealthy ones, may leave us feeling as though we cannot stand on our own, that we need someone else to make us happy, and that we are unable to resolve feelings of sadness, loneliness, or boredom without entering into another relationship. If this is the message of your dream, you may need to explore alternative ways to resolve these feelings and build up your own self-esteem and individual identity so that you are able to take on the world again, with or without someone else.

3. You Have Fears of Being Hurt Again

You thought you moved on, but a relationship from your past is haunting you now. Why? Relationships enter our dreamscape when they relate to our current lives in some way. It is important to explore how this ex corresponds to what is happening now for you.

Fears of experiencing the same kind of pain as you did in a past relationship could ruin your current relationship. It is important to separate the two. Every relationship has risk and the potential of hurt. The reason why we enter into relationships is because we find the risk is worth it; we take a leap of faith with the hope of finding a meaningful and fulfilling connection with another person.

Some of these fears may be triggering you to realize your current relationship is following the same pattern as your past relationship. It is important to attempt to objectively review your current relationship. Perhaps you are more keenly aware of some "red flags." Yet, it is also possible you are avoiding your fears within the current relationship and are not looking at it clearly. You may be identifying these red flags now so that you are able to take a new approach in your current and future relationships in order to build a better relationship that better supports you.

It is important to be honest with yourself, review the past relationship, review the current relationship, and determine what you believe is and is not best for your life right now. This will help you understand how past fears may be shading your perception.

4. You Are Now Dealing With Issues You Associate With Your Ex

Relationships can leave scars. Even after we break up with someone, they may still have a continued impact on us. How others we trust and bring into our lives treat us significantly affects our psyches. If your ex put you down, you may have adopted some put-downs yourself and are putting yourself down in automatic inner thoughts without realizing it. Perhaps you felt you were not good enough in the relationship or your ex was cheating on you and you are struggling with learning how to trust others again. Perhaps you are beginning to recognize you were addicted to your ex. All of these issues are important to deal with.

Even when you are not in need of dealing with issues directly related to your relationship, you may be facing issues associated with the time in your life in which the relationship occurred. Perhaps in your dream, your ex is simply acting as a marker in time or an emotional or spiritual thermometer. You may want to ask yourself how your current life relates to that time in your life.

Scroll to Continue

Read More From Exemplore

  • What was going on for you during that time in your life?
  • Were you in school?
  • Where were you working?
  • Who were your friends?
  • What did you do with your time?
  • What changed in your life since then?
  • What traumas did you suffer?
  • What life lessons did you learn or try to learn?
  • What mistakes did you make?
  • What did you fail to achieve or what did you miss out on experiencing?

Understanding that your ex may be representing more than the actual person or the nature of your relationship may help you understand what your dream is attempting to tell you.

Dreaming of an ex-wife or an ex-husband in particular may mean that you currently find yourself stuck in a complicated situation or that part of your life's foundation is in need of drastic changes.

5. You Are Reclaiming What You Lost in the Relationship

When we end a relationship, we often sever more ties than we actually need to.

Perhaps you cut ties to friends, hobbies, activities, places, etc. when you ended the relationship. Perhaps severing all of these ties was not necessary and you need to bring some of these things back into your life again.

Perhaps what you severed is something that lies deep inside you. When we lose a relationship, we often lose a part of ourselves along with it. Perhaps that part of us was too closely associated with the relationship and it was too hard to hold onto. Perhaps we disregarded many aspects of who we are simply because they were a reminder of the past relationship.

When we find that we have moved on from a relationship, we may begin to acknowledge the void the relationship has left for us. It is at this time we understand we may need to fill this void ourselves by reclaiming what we mistakenly discarded. We have a tendency to throw the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to relationships. Perhaps who we were, how we thought, the positive aspects of the relationship, and the positive personality traits and ambitions of the ex are all something we can re-claim again. We realize all of these things are not something owned by our ex or something we need to leave in our past. We can begin to re-analyze and re-sort our lives and determine what is no longer helpful for us and what we need to continue to value and hold onto.

Also, dreaming of relationships from when we were younger with less responsibilities may be telling us to bring back the joy, excitement, playfulness, and passion of our youth into our current relationship/marriage.

6. Your Ex Represents a Repressed Part of Your Psyche

Dreams can become complicated when the symbol we are faced with has little to do with the issue at all and more to do with the structure of our psyche.

Carl Jung, a psychoanalyst that worked under Sigmund Freud, theorized that we have archetypes in our subconscious that allow us to understand our current psychological development and needs. Your ex may be associated with Carl Jung's concept of the anima (for men) or animus (for women). Jung theorized that we fragment our personalities only to have to re-integrate all that we have repressed or dissociated from back into our identity in order to feel complete and whole. Creating another character in our dreams allows us to disown our own thoughts, feelings, and desires in a clever way while still giving them room for expression.

The anima/animus is the opposite gender from the dreamer and often represents traits they never found appropriate ways to express and now see as outside of themselves. For example, a woman may identify traits of aggression, assertiveness, and lust as socially inappropriate or undesirable for women so she may dream of an animus with these traits instead. A man may identify more feminine traits such as expressing emotion, crying, fear, and feeling vulnerable and weak as undesirable and may dream of his anima possessing these traits.

If you ex is representing your anima/animus, then this dream may be showing you that you have not integrated the seemingly opposite traits possessed by your anima/animus into your identity and you need to acknowledge, express, and get in touch with this side of yourself.