Waking up from a dream about your ex can be distressing, especially if you're in a loving and committed relationship with someone else. On the other hand, dreaming about an ex is a typical phenomenon and shouldn't cause panic.
According to Dr Mike Anderson, a residential dating and relationship psychotherapist, while dreams about exes may vary considerably, they often reveal to us how we feel about that person. He confirmed:
In most cases, dreaming about an ex is simply a way of working through the unresolved issues we still have with them. Dreams can give us insights into our subconscious minds and what might be going on.
Dr Anderson emphasised that it's tough to pinpoint precisely why an ex appears in your dreams because dreams are so symbolic. However, he did note that they usually fall into two categories.
First, he suggested that you might not be over the relationship. Second, you could not be pleased with how things turned out. Dr Anderson advised you to use your dreams to reflect on a previous relationship and figure out what part it plays in your life now. He said:
Take this as an opportunity to reflect on what went wrong in the relationship and what you can learn from it. Make sure to keep in touch with your support network so that you don’t dwell on the past too much. Then start to focus on yourself. Moving forward is key!
However, according to dream analyst Lauri Loewenberg, the ex you fantasise about the most is your first love.
Ghosts of the past
As such, she believes even if people move on from their exes and are happy with someone else, they can still care for them and remember the time they spent together. Desiring anything comparable to how you felt with your ex can lead to a dream in which you're about to reconcile with your ex. She explained:
It's not necessarily the ex but more likely the excitement and passion of first love: feeling desired by somebody, not being able to get enough of each other, etc.
In better news, she said that it could just mean you're experiencing the same level of satisfaction in your current relationship as you were in your former one. Further, she believes the mind is like a warehouse full of hints, tactics, and life guidance. She added,
When our current life needs to remember a lesson from the past or when our current life is beginning to follow a pattern from the past, the subconscious will reach into that warehouse and present to us something or someone from our past that has relevance to our present so we can make better decisions for our future.