Why Do I Keep Dreaming About My Ex?

Photo: fizkes / shutterstock
woman thinking about dreaming about her ex
Self

Many believe that dreams are manifestations of the subconscious mind — but that train of thought can be pretty disturbing when you start having dreams about people you'd rather forget. Dreaming about your ex, for example, can be extra confusing.

Why do I keep dreaming about my ex?

RELATED: What Your Vivid Dreams Mean & How They Can Help You In Stressful Times

I know I have wondered this same thing. And while I’m sure that while some may not give it a second thought, you can gain a great deal of insight into your unconscious thinking by understanding some of the most common reasons why people have dreams about their exes.

Here are 6 possible interpretations of the meaning your unconscious mind might be trying to reveal to you when you keep having dreams about your ex.

1. You may still be angry.

Dreams about your ex may be an expression of unresolved feelings of anger toward ex-love.

It is quite possible your conscious mind has repressed that anger in an attempt to protect you from the pain, whereas your unconscious mind is telling you there are feelings of anger you need to work through so they won’t carry over into your future relationships.

2. You may be facing old issues in a new relationship.

It could be that you are experiencing some kind of emotional breakdown or lack of communication in a current romantic relationship, and your unconscious mind may be attempting to show you that problems that existed in a past relationship are occurring again in this one.

By recalling the negative image of your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, your subconscious mind is trying to alert you so that you can resolve the problem before it's too late.

3. You may be worried your current relationship is in jeopardy.

Past experiences should serve a purpose in your current life and present situations. Your unconscious mind may be trying to tell you there is a problem in your current relationship that isn't being addressed because your conscious mind is trying to suppress or ignore it.

4. Your subconscious may be reminding you of what you don't want.

When your ex appears in reoccurring dreams, your unconscious mind may be trying to point out that things in that relationship didn't work out for a reason, and that you may want to take a closer look at what you have going on now. In your waking life, you may be unconsciously displaying a pattern of behaviors or acting in ways that were detrimental in your past relationships, and your unconscious mind is trying to tell you to stop.

5. Your subconscious may be seeking closure.

There are times when relationships end in such ways that we aren't able to get closure. Your unconscious mind may be attempting to do this for you so that you can finally move forward, opening doors for you to welcome a healthy, more stable relationship in the future.

6. You may have an unconscious desire to escape your current situation.

All of us have experienced a time in our lives when we wanted to ignore something about someone or stay in a relationship because it felt safer and more comfortable to do so, even though we weren’t necessarily happy. Your unconscious mind may be allowing you to see what you want and/or don't want, along with what you need to do or change within your current relationship or situation.

RELATED: The Smartest People Dream About This, Says Science

Why we dream

There is a reason humans dream, and it's important to pay attention and try to figure out what your dreams are trying to tell you.

Dream interpretation offers a fascinating way of explaining those fears and uncomfortable thoughts our unconscious (or subconscious) mind makes us aware of while sleep, even as our conscious mind prevents us from otherwise accessing them when we are awake.

Dreams are sometimes pleasant and sometimes disturbing, sometimes vague and sometimes specific. And among the most puzzling of dreams are those in which you find yourself dreaming about an ex, whether it was a boyfriend, girlfriend, lover, husband, or wife.

Our unconscious mind stores information about our character, feelings, and emotions, and serves as a way to protect us from emotional overload.

Psychology of dreaming

Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, two of the most famous figures in modern psychology, each held their own beliefs as to why we dream and what purpose it serves.

In his psychoanalytic theory of dream interpretation, Freud believed understanding the meaning of dreams was crucial to understanding what's going on in a person’s unconscious mind.

He viewed dreams as a sort of wish fulfillment, as people could attain experiences in dreams they may never be able to make happen in waking life.

Jung felt that Freud’s belief in the purpose of dreams was too simplistic.

Instead, he believed that through our dreams, we achieve personal growth, through which we better position ourselves to serve our life’s purpose. He also contended that dreams are one of our conscious mind's ways of connecting with our unconscious in order to find ways to approach things affecting us when we are awake.

Additionally, he believed there was another layer of consciousness, known as the collective unconscious, which plays a role in our dreams about certain people.

Don't ignore your dreams.

Dreams with romantic themes, such as dreams of an ex-lover, are usually attempts to answer your questions about all relationships in your life, as well as about the meaning and/or nature of those relationships. In order to answer these questions you have about relationships, you begin having dreams meant to reveal different aspects of past loves and present relationships.

It is human nature to long for love, and therefore this theme is universal, but each dream's significance is as unique as is each individual.

Your dreams will not guide you in a direction that will hurt you. Rather, they will help steer you in the direction in which you will be most happy and healthy.

Whether your dreams represent a chance for personal growth or an opportunity to change your current situation, they always serve a purpose. Pay attention to the signs, and do not ignore them.

RELATED: What Dreams About Cheating On Someone Reveal About You & Your Relationship

Subscribe to YourTango's newsletter to keep up with us for FREE

- Our best articles delivered straight to your inbox
- The latest in entertainment and news
- Daily horoscopes and love advice

Brittney Lindstrom is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Rehabilitation Counselor.