What Does It Mean When You Dream About Your Ex?

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You and your friends are at a party when you see your ex across the room. You start to walk over to them to talk, but they turn away and walk out of the room without noticing you. As you watch them leave, you realize that you’ll never see them again.

Why do you see your ex in your dreams? And why do you feel bad when you have those dreams? I’ll answer some of the most common questions about why we dream about our ex-partners below.

Why do people dream about their ex?

People can dream about a past love in one of two ways, according to research. Some dreams are really just memories that come back to you while you sleep. In other cases, dreams show how you feel and think about an ex right now.

For example, you might have a dream in which your ex seems to be married and happy with kids. This might bother you enough to make you wake up.

What if neither of these fits your dreams? In that case, they can be a sign of a new emotional stage in your life after a breakup.

There are many things that can make you dream of an ex-lover. For example, a big change in your life or a change in how you see things can make you want to look into the past. When you have a dream, it’s important to think about what else might be going on in your life.

The reason why you dream of your ex

Let’s talk about a few things that might cause this kind of dream.

You’re sleeping more.

If you sleep more, you probably will dream more, too. And if you spend more time in bed, you’re more likely to reach the later stages of sleep, when it’s easier to remember your dreams.

Are you getting more sleep? Has the way you sleep changed? If that’s the case, it could be a reason why you’re having these dreams.

You have more time to think.

If you have more time to think and reflect, you might use that time to think about relationships you’ve had in the past. And seeing how what we think about during the day can turn into our dreams…

Yeah. That can definitely explain it. Do you have more time these days? Do you think about your ex during the day? Do you keep thinking about the past? If so, it’s likely that your daytime thoughts are coming into your dreams at night.

You’re sad about things that happened in the past.

When we lose someone we love or our way of life (hello, pandemic), we grieve and feel sad. And it’s clear that when we’re sad, our minds are more likely to think about the people who changed us.

So, if you miss someone or miss “the good old days,” it’s likely that your ex will show up in your dreams.

You’re anxious

If you feel anxious in real life, you might also feel anxious in your dreams. After all, one idea about dreams is that they are a way for the brain to try to figure out and solve problems.

If you are worried about things in your daily life, like work or money problems, you will go to bed with that weight on your mind. In turn, your brain may playback to other events that made you feel scared in the past.

If I dream about my ex, does that mean I still have problems?

If you dream about your ex a lot, it’s probably because you still have problems with them or the breakup.

Some of these underlying problems are:

Resentment: You will feel resentment if you think your ex-partner was unfair to you. And until you accept that, your anger can eat away at you and show up in your dreams.

Sadness: In life, we can lose everything we gain. Because of this, it makes people sad. So, when you lose your ex, it’s natural to think about what you lost, look for comfort, or try to figure out what happened. In any case, putting more thought into what’s making you sad can lead to dreams about the same things.

Guilt: You may feel guilty if you think you’re to blame for your ex getting hurt. And then you might think about what you did wrong (which can later feed your dreams.)

Loneliness: If you don’t think anyone cares about you, you may feel lonely and want to be important to someone. Well… Sometimes, our ex is the last person with whom we feel truly special, and this can make us long for what we used to have.

Shame: You will feel bad if your ex knows something bad about you or something you did. If that’s the case, it’s not crazy that you’d feel this uncomfortable feeling again in your sleep, which would show up as a dream about your ex.

Anger: If your ex hurt you or made you feel bad, and you’re still not happy with how things ended? Then, yes, you will go to bed with unresolved feelings.

These are the most common reasons why people dream about their ex. Still, even if you can’t figure out why you have these dreams, it might be more important to look into what they are about. And to do that, I would start by asking you how true you think the details are.

Dreams can be clear and detailed, and sometimes you’ll wake up and feel like you’re still there. But before you believe everything in your dream, you should ask yourself, “Is everything in my dream true?”

You might be surprised by the answer. For example, just because your ex gave you a dirty look in your dream doesn’t mean they feel this way in real life. If you look at an event carefully, you can tell if it really happened or if it sounds like something that happened but probably didn’t. This method will help you see things more clearly when you look at your dreams.

Symbols are often used in dreams, so it takes time to figure out what they mean. For example, if you dream of someone who looks like your ex, that doesn’t mean it’s your ex or even a real person. Take everything with a grain of salt until you can figure out what your dream’s symbols and actions were trying to tell you.


If you’re still thinking about your ex in your dreams, it’s possible that you still care about them. Even though it’s common to have dreams about important people in your life, it can also mean that you still have problems with them. In either case, use your dreams as a way to work through these feelings and, if necessary, finally break away from them.

Take some time when you wake up to think about what parts of your old relationship come up in your dreams and write down any new or interesting ideas that come to you. Don’t ignore what comes up during these times because it could tell you a lot about how you feel right now and where you need help moving forward.

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About Maki Hojo

Maki Hojo is a student at the University of Michigan. A foodie since birth, she enjoys cooking, eating, photographing, reading about, and playing with any and all types of food. Her idolization of culinary delights is complemented by her active spirit - she enjoys running, swimming, barre classes, and even spontaneous bursts of interpretative dance if the mood strikes her.