What Dreaming About Your Ex Means

Photo: getty
What Dreaming About Your Ex Means

Do you ever find yourself dreaming about your ex and wondering what the heck is going on? You’ve moved on, and here you are waking up and thinking about that person who you thought you were done with.

So, what does dreaming about your ex really mean?

RELATED: What Does It Mean When You Dream About Someone Who Was Your First Love?

Well, you can stop worrying that the dream means you should get back together with your ex or that they are coming back into your life.

There's actually something much more powerful going on.

And when you understand what the dream conveys, then you’ll feel much better about the fact that you’re dreaming about your ex.

When you dream about your ex, you may wake up in the morning feeling a bit uneasy. If you’ve moved on to someone new, you might be wondering what your subconscious is trying to tell you by bringing your ex into your dreams.

Dreaming about your ex when you’ve moved on to someone new is more common than you think.

This can trigger a fear that you’ve made a mistake with your new love.

It's common to worry whether or not you should get back together with your ex. Understanding the purpose of dreams will give you more insight into what's really going on.

REM and the importance of sleep for your health.

During an average eight-hour night’s sleep, you experience three cycles of REM. It's during REM that you're dreaming. Each cycle serves a different purpose.

Sleep is extremely important to your wellbeing, as it serves many different functions. It keeps you healthy and happy, as well as managing stress.

A deeper understanding of how we dream.

Having a deeper understanding of your dreams can give you insights into how your subconscious mind is processing the information you take in every day.

If you’re dreaming about your ex, it’s likely not happening during the first cycle of REM, as these dreams are often the ones you would never recall by the time you wake in the morning.

During this stage, your subconscious is categorizing all of the information you've collected during the day. This includes sensory, emotional, and experiential as well as factual information.

It’s as if your subconscious is categorizing and filing it away.

Imagine that during the day, all of this information is being opened up in your mind, and this first phase of dreaming is the filing system where the brain is categorizing common things together.

These “wishful thinking” dreams are also the type you experience when you take a nap during the day. These dreams don't have much significance in their meaning. It’s simply a necessary process for the brain to achieve a deeper, more restful sleep.

If you’re dreaming about your ex, it’s also not very likely to happen during the second stage of dreaming: "Precognitive dreaming," which occurs in the middle of the night. In this stage, the subconscious mind is attempting to predict the future.

After categorizing all of the information of the previous day, the subconscious wants to predict what will occur if you continue along on the same path with the same information.

Precognitive dreams aren' t actually predicting the future.

They identify the track you’re currently on and determine likely outcomes. It’s a logical process, not an intuitive one.

Precognitive dreams aren't usually the dreams you remember. The rare time you wake up from a dream in the middle of the night and remember the dream is because you're probably experiencing a large amount of stress and your subconscious is predicting things will continue to get worse.

Being woken up by precognitive dreams usually occurs when you're under a lot of stress.

Remember, all change is considered stressful, even when the change is something you desire. Therefore stress, whether good or bad, can show up in these dreams where you're startled awake.

RELATED: Why Dreams & Nightmares Are So Vivid During The Coronavirus Pandemic

The final stage of dreaming occurs in the morning just prior to your usual wake up time. The purpose of these dreams is to release anything that no longer serves you. These dreams can also be the process of integrating new learning.

Venting dreams.

Because most people remember their "venting dreams" (simply because they occur just before a usual waking time) an inordinate amount of importance is placed on these dreams. It would be like focusing on and giving significance to what's in your garbage can instead of what you decided not to throw away.

Venting dreams do contain useful information when analyzed properly. In order to do so, there are several important parts of a venting dream.

The first part is to separate the experiences of the dream into known and unknown 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.

It's useful to note any unique aspects of your dream. Consider anything that stands out as odd, or out of place, or out of time or sequence. 

For example, you're at work in the dream, and suddenly a large bear wanders into the office. The large bear in your office is an unusual occurrence and stands out. It's a symbol your subconscious is using to represent something important to you.

Ask yourself how you feel about it in the dream. Did the bear frighten you or bring you comfort?

Identification of emotions will give you the primary emotional experience the dream is venting or integrating. Your emotion in the dream is unique to you.

When analyzing a dream, you want to make it personal to you, because it’s your subconscious creating the symbol or metaphor.

If you’re dreaming about your ex, it may not at all be what you think.

Another important aspect of a venting dream is called the “timing cue.”

This gives you information to identify the timeframe that this emotional pattern began. Using the previous example of being at work and having a bear wander in, let’s add in that you were with your high school friends in your current office.

The presence of your high school friends reveals the root of when the emotional pattern began. The question you want to ask yourself is: How is this pattern relevant today in my 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 happening, and how it's similar to what was going on in your life in high school.

With these tools, you can now gain a deeper understanding of the purpose of your dreams and how they're attempting to serve you. Now you can look at your current situation and identify the purpose a particular dream may have for you.

If you’re dreaming about your ex just before your alarm clock goes off, it’s safe to assume this is a venting dream. So, the purpose of this dream is to release you from an old pattern.

It's common to dream about an ex when you're in the flush of a new relationship.

Your subconscious is letting the ex go and all that they represent to you.

Unfortunately, all too often people panic when they dream about their ex — especially in the process of falling for someone new. However, your dreams may repeat because you're unsuccessful at releasing the issue or integrating it into your current life experience.

For example, if you're dreaming about your ex who was a verbally abusive narcissist while you're happy with your current boyfriend, it means you're at a new place in your life and ready to release all the trauma of that past relationship.

Having a dream multiple times means that you haven't “thrown away” the discomfort.

Your subconscious is ready to move on and let go. Each time your dream attempts to vent it away, you've instead been obsessing over why you're dreaming about the past relationship when you're happy in the new one.

Spending another day thinking about your ex then instigates the dream again, and the cycle starts over.

It makes perfect sense to wake up feeling out of sorts if you're dreaming about your ex.

The first thing you want to do is note the time. If you're waking from the dream, close to your usual wake-up time then relax — you're venting out the emotions and releasing them.

Let go! Let your mind catch up to your evolution in your current circumstance.

To summarize the three stages of dreaming: The first stage is like cleaning up and organizing from the previous day, the second stage is looking at where you’ll end up if you continue on this path, and the third stage is emptying the trash and integrating new learning.

Take heart if you're dreaming about your ex; it’s likely you're ready to release and let go of the pattern attaching you to them.

RELATED: Dreams Are Our Way Of Hunting For Who We Haven't Yet Become

Orna and Matthew Walters have been soulmate coaches for over a decade and helped thousands of readers create long-lasting love. Download a complimentary copy of their ebook, Recognizing Mr. Right, along with a guided program on self-acceptance from their website.

This article was originally published at Creating Love on Purpose. Reprinted with permission from the author.