Have you ever woken up, your heart sinking, realizing that you’d been dreaming about your ex all night? If the answer is yes, before you pick up your phone to text them, read on, because that dream doesn’t necessarily mean what you think it does.
The mind is a stickler for routine, so an ex who turns up in a ‘routine’ dream may just be the mind reaching for the handiest character to throw in. These dreams will occur less frequently as your mind adjusts to a new routine, and this may even be the case if you are within weeks (or even months) of a new relationship.
You Need Love, but Not Necessarily Your Ex’s
Dreams can be an opportunity to give yourself some of the things you’re missing in life, like love. However, according to research (MacDonald & Impett), lamenting over your ex, either in your everyday life or dreams, is more of a reaction to your fear of being alone, than an urge to retrieve something truly wonderful that you lost.
Sometimes these dreams come at weird times, like when you’re in a new relationship. But think of it this way, we all have one bulletproof reference from which to gauge a new lover, beyond the idealized television models. An ex makes a perfect comparison to your current lover, and sometimes the result may show how much better things are, and sometimes they can suggest you deserve better.
If the ex is critiquing you in a dream – listen to it. It could be your subconscious, advising you on how to do things differently in a new relationship, or in other aspects of your life. On the other hand, it could also be your inner critic coming out because you feel guilty about the break-up. A good way to decipher between the two, is one will be constructive, while the other just downright mean.
Your First Love
In many cases, the first love is the heart-framed image the mind goes back to anytime it wants to relive those butterflies, passion, and sweet nothings. That was what love felt like before you realized it can also be tough, painful, and difficult to navigate. Don’t think much about these trips to the rainbow garden, unless you suspect you might be longing for a few more sprinkles in your current relationship. If that’s the case, shake it on (spice things up) or if things have become too bad, consider shaking it loose (ending it.)
Confront and Release
In the case of a ghosting or a relationship that ended without closure, an ex-dream may give your mind the much-needed chance to say (or see) what you need in order to release that person and find closure. And don’t worry if these dreams repeat themselves, because it may take several times to achieve complete closure.
Symbolic Flashes of Life
During times of stress (both exciting and traumatic), the mind is running rampant with thoughts both day and night. These can twist themselves into symbolic dreams of past events. And while these can sometimes be considered purely ‘maintenance’, they can also be symbolic representations of what is going on in your life right now. In these cases, you have to see beyond the story line into how these events might help you in your current situation.
Lack of Sleep
This is your excuse to get some good sleep tonight, and every night thereafter. When the mind is exhausted, it is slinging brain waves off the walls, and some of the old footage of your ex may get knocked loose in the process. Your dreams will tend to be more productive, predictable, and enjoyable if they are driven by a ‘well rested’ you.
But Maybe You Miss Your Ex?
When it comes to some dreams, we grasp onto things that we want to be true. You may have dreamed about your co-worker as many times as you have dreamed about your ex, but ignored them because you don’t want to even consider the possibility that you’re attracted to them. But when a dream pops up with “the one who got away,” you immediately think you’re still in love. Check back over previous items on this list before you do any reconnecting.
Specific Dream Scenarios
Childhood Ex Boyfriend
If you’re dreaming about a childhood ex boyfriend, it probably means that you’re longing for a less stressful period of your life. Dreaming about your childhood ex boyfriend is a good sign that you’re longing for a relationship that’s more spontaneous and fun, without all of the responsibilities of adulthood getting in the way. If you dream about him being in the hospital, you’re still holding onto some issues from the break-up whereas if they’re being released from the hospital in your dream, congratulations! You’ve gotten over all of your relationship issues, and let your ex boyfriend go.
Massage from Ex Boyfriend
If you have a dream about getting a massage from your ex boyfriend, it means you may have built up some walls or defenses that are getting in the way of your current or future relationships. However, if your ex boyfriend kidnaps you in a dream, it means that they still have a strong emotional hold on you. In either situation, there are things from your past relationships that you need to let go of before your next relationship can be truly successful.
Your Ex Boyfriend Proposes
Meanwhile, when your ex boyfriend proposes to you in your dream, it’s not a sign that you should get back with him. You’re remembering how that relationship made you feel whole, and that you want that in your next relationship. But if you’re dreaming about caring for a sick child with your ex boyfriend, it means that there’s something holding both of you together in some way. Perhaps there’s some unfinished business that you need to take care of with your ex boyfriend.
Your Ex Girlfriend is Pregnant
When you dream that your ex girlfriend is pregnant, you have one of two meanings to choose from, and it depends on whether or not the baby is yours in the dream. If the baby isn’t yours, then you’ve accepted that the relationship is completely over, but if the baby is yours, you probably want to get back together with your ex girlfriend, consciously or subconsciously.
Ex Girlfriend’s Mother
If you end up dreaming about your ex girlfriend’s mother (don’t panic) it may mean that you feel there are unresolved issues from the relationship, and you’re hoping that her mother may be able to help you get in touch so that those issues can be laid to rest.
Current Partner’s Ex Girlfriend
Now, if you’re in a relationship, and you have a dream about your current partner’s ex girlfriend, then you’re dealing with some insecurity. You may only be feeling this subconsciously, but that doesn’t mean your fears about the ex girlfriend having an influence over your current relationship aren’t there. You may need to sit down with your partner and hash out your feelings before you dream about their ex girlfriend again.
Ex Husband/Ex Wife
If you have a divorce in your past, and you’re dreaming about you ex husband or ex wife, the situation matters. When you dream that you’re back together with your ex husband or ex wife, you’ve probably recognized that you’re starting to repeat behaviors from your past relationship your current one. If those actions contributed to the end of the relationship with your ex husband/ex wife, you may want to take some time to reflect. To dream that your ex husband or ex wife has died, however, means that you have finally moved on from that relationship, and are finally ready to move onto something new.
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Take a Moment to Reflect
Remember, desire and nostalgia are powerful things, so if you want your ex back, you can make them say all the right things in a dream and make it look pretty green in their pasture. But that is not their real pasture, so take your time climbing over that white picket fence you may have built. There’s a reason they’re your ex after all.
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