Why Do I Keep Dreaming About My Ex? What Dream Interpretation Reveals About The Messages In Your Dreams

If you find yourself dreaming about your ex it can trigger conflicting thoughts and emotions. Are you supposed to get back with him? Does this mean that you’ll see him again? Is he thinking about you? What does dream interpretation say about the dream?

You might wake up each morning from the dream feeling out of sorts, wondering what your subconscious is trying to tell you. It can be even more troubling if you’re already in a relationship with someone else.

Whatever your current relationship status, dreaming about your ex is much more common than you may think. But what the dream means to you can be entirely different than what it means to someone else.

Using dream interpretation to understand why you keep dreaming about your ex, you’ll gain insight into the message your subconscious is sending you and make the changes necessary to stop the cycle of a recurring dream. First, you’ll want to understand how dreams work, the cycles of REM sleep, and what they mean for your current situation.

Where Do Dreams Come From?

Dreams are your mind’s way of processing what’s going on in your daily life. They’re a vital part of keeping your mind healthy and functioning. People who experience a consistent lack of sleep have trouble remembering things, thinking clearly, and solving problems, as well as issues with their ability to reason.

Sleeping and dreaming are essential to keeping your mind and body functioning at an optimal level. Even if you don’t remember them doesn’t mean that you aren’t dreaming. It’s a natural process that you experience every time you sleep, even when you take a short nap.

Dreams are messages from your subconscious mind, and to understand your dreams, it’s important to realize your subconscious doesn’t communicate with you directly. It communicates in your dreams through symbol, imagery, story, and metaphor. Your dreams aren’t literal, they’re metaphorical.

While you’re dreaming your subconscious uses symbols, metaphors, and stories to give you insight into the current events of your life and help you process emotions triggered by your current circumstances.

Dreaming about your ex may or may not be about your ex. Rather than being literal, your ex is a symbol for something your subconscious wants to draw your attention to in order to understand it more deeply.

Are There Universal Dream Symbols?

Many schools of dream interpretation believe that symbols within a dream are universal. It does make sense that if you dream of your teeth falling out, you’re probably feeling some anxiety.

But what does it mean when you keep dreaming about your ex? Is there a universal meaning behind these types of dreams?

This would only make sense if the circumstances were the same in all past relationships or if everyone had the same experience from a break-up. Since what happened between you and your ex is unique to the two of you, then your dream is unique to you as well.

If you search “dreaming about my ex” trying to find some universal meaning, it won’t be helpful because the details of your specific relationship and current situation won’t be considered in the analysis or interpretation.

Instead of looking for a universal meaning through dream interpretation, you’ll receive the insight you’re looking for by exploring what the clues in your dream mean to you specifically. This is the key to finding peace of mind when you keep dreaming about your ex.

Examining your dreams by knowing what time of night they occurred as well as the plot points in them reveals the answer to: Why am I dreaming about my ex?

How Often Do You Dream At Night?

During a normal 8 hours of sleep, you experience 3 cycles of REM (or Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. It is during REM that you are dreaming your most vivid dreams. Each cycle of REM serves a different purpose.

Sleep is extremely important to your mental health as it serves many different functions, keeping you healthy and happy as well as being able to handle stress. Understanding the function of dreaming while you sleep can give you insights into how your subconscious mind processes the information you take in each day.

Wishful Thinking – The First Dreaming Stage

The first stage of dreaming occurs during the first 3 hours of sleep and is called Wishful Thinking. During this stage your subconscious is categorizing all the information that you have collected during the day. This information includes sensory information, emotional information, experiential information, as well as data.

You could say that your subconscious is categorizing all that information so that it could file it away. Your mind is organizing all the information you collected during the day and metaphorically cleaning the desktop on your computer and putting the files away in their appropriate folders. Similar emotions, experiences, and data get grouped together through the subconscious filing system.

These “Wishful Thinking” dreams are also the type you experience when you take a nap. These dreams don’t have much significance in their meaning. It’s simply a necessary process for the brain and body to achieve restful sleep.

These dreams are not ones you usually remember, so it’s unlikely that dreaming about your ex would occur during the Wishful Thinking stage.

Precognitive Dreaming – The Second Dreaming Stage

The second stage of dreaming occurs in the middle of the night and is called Precognitive Dreaming.

In this stage the subconscious mind is attempting to predict the future. After categorizing all the information of the previous day, the subconscious is predicting where you’ll be going if you continue along the path you’re on with the same data.

These dreams are not actually predicting the future. They simply identify the track you’re currently on (like a train track) and if you continue you’ll likely end up at this particular destination. This is a logical process, not an intuitive one.

Precognitive Dreams are rarely recalled after waking in the morning. The rare time that you wake from these dreams in the middle of the night is because you’re probably experiencing a large amount of stress, and your subconscious is predicting that things will continue to get worse. (Again, this is a logical assumption made by your subconscious mind, not a prediction of what’s to come.)

Dreaming about your ex during this stage isn’t a prediction that your ex is coming back to you or that the two of you will be together. Instead, your subconscious is using the situation with your ex as a metaphor for your current situation. These dreams could be your subconscious drawing your attention to a pattern in your life you need to pay attention to.

Venting Dreams – The Third Stage Of Dreaming

The final stage of dreaming occurs in the early morning just before waking up, these are called Venting Dreams.

These dreams are attempting to release anything that no longer serves you. They can also be dreams integrating new learning, or a combination of the two.

As most people remember their Venting Dreams (because they occur close to your usual wake-up time) an inordinate amount of importance is placed on them. It would be like focusing and giving importance to what’s in your garbage can instead of what you decided to not throw away.

You can liken these dreams to your mind hitting the EMPTY TRASH button on your computer. Because Venting Dreams are the ones you usually remember, you can mine them for useful information. To analyze these dreams, take note of a couple of details.

Analyzing Your Dreams – Using Dream Interpretation To Decode The Message

  1. Discovering The Primary Emotional Experience

First separate the experiences in the dream from everyday known experiences and unique experiences. The everyday aspects of a dream (i.e. you are in your house or at work) are not that important as these are normal everyday occurrences or items. What’s useful to note are any unique aspects of your dream.

For example, you’re at work in the dream and suddenly a large bear wanders into the office. The large bear is a symbol your subconscious is using to represent something important to you. To understand the importance of the symbol, ask yourself how you feel about it. Does the bear frighten you? Does it bring you comfort? Etc.

This provides you with the primary emotional experience the dream is venting or integrating. The emotions you feel in the dream are unique to you as people can feel differently about bears, snakes, spiders, flying, etc.

The emotion in the dream is how YOU specifically feel about that particular thing or event. You may love roller coasters, whereas they might terrify your best friend. When you’re looking to analyze a dream, you’ll want to make it personal to you because it’s your subconscious creating the symbol and/or metaphor.

If you’ve been dreaming about your ex, explore your feelings about that relationship. Your subconscious is using your ex to draw your attention to a similar emotional experience in your present.

  1. Discovering The Source Of The Emotional Pattern

The next step to analyze a Venting Dream is to identify what’s called the “Timing Cue” which gives you information about when in the past this emotional pattern began. Using the previous example of being at work and having a bear wander in, what if you were with your high school friends in your current office? The presence of your teenage friends reveals the root of when the emotional pattern began. The question you want to ask yourself is: How is this pattern relevant in your current circumstances?

Let’s say that you were frightened by the bear and caught off guard by its appearance. You could ask yourself what’s going on in your current work situation where you feel afraid of something unexpected occurring and how this is similar to what was happening in your life when you were in High School.

With these tools you can now understand the purpose and function of your dreams. Knowing what to give importance to, and what to release so you can process your feelings about the current situation in your life and break the cycle of recurring dreams.

What Does It Mean When You Keep Dreaming About Your Ex?

This dream is about you, it’s not about your ex. As we stated earlier, your ex is showing up in your dreams to represent a similar situation or emotional experience. What does your ex symbolize for you?

Focus on your current circumstances and reflect on patterns from the past that seem familiar. The timing cue gives you insight into when this particular emotional pattern began. The symbol of your ex (and how you feel about that relationship) is meant to bring you insight regarding your current emotional struggles.

Instead of obsessing about whether you made a mistake or if your ex is coming back to you, understand that your dream is guiding you to release an emotional story that no longer serves you (like throwing out the garbage). Journaling about the stresses you’re experiencing or the feelings triggered by the dream may provide the insights that allow you to let it go and take back your personal power in order to feel better.

If you’re still confused after examining the dream and unsure of its meaning, or you’ve discovered an emotional pattern you can’t break, it’s time to seek out professional help. Join us for a complimentary Soulmate Strategy Session to bring clarity to why you’re struggling to create long-lasting love with an ideal partner. We’re here to help!

About the authors

Love Coaches Orna and Matthew Walters

Orna and Matthew Walters are soulmate coaches and prolific writers about love. Finding love, keeping love, healing from heartbreak, bringing in your beloved and more. They have been published on MSN, Yahoo!, YourTango, Redbook, and have been featured guest experts on BRAVO’s THE MILLIONAIRE MATCHMAKER with Patti Stanger, and as guests with Esther Perel speaking about love and intimacy.

Suggested Reading