If you have an ex-partner, chances are they’ve shown up in your dreams uninvited at one point or another. Sometimes dreams about an ex can be nostalgic and lighthearted, but other times they might come so out of the blue that you wake up in a tizzy of unwanted heartache and confusion. When we’re in a relationship with someone, we get close to them — so it makes sense that these people would still have a significant place in our psyche post-breakup. But what does it really mean if you dream about getting back together with an ex?
Suddenly being back in a relationship with an old flame in your dreamworld can bring up complicated feelings, but having a dream about getting back together with your ex doesn’t necessarily mean you should consider rekindling anything with them. In fact, dreaming of your ex is most likely just a manifestation of your mind trying to sort through memories and feelings about these intimate past experiences — and that kind of subconscious self-analysis can be a good thing.
"Even in the most enlightened of breakups, there can be lingering feelings of guilt, shame, rejection, abandonment, and bruises to your sense of self-worth," dream expert Kelly Sullivan Walden, author of The Love, Sex, and Relationship Dream Dictionary, tells Bustle. "Your dreams can help you retrieve all the magic, passion, innocence, trust, and joie de vivre you left on the chopping block [in the relationship], without you ever having to see that person — live in the flesh, or on Facebook or Instagram — ever again."
Let’s dive into the heart of our subconscious symbolism, shall we? Here are a few of the most common explanations of what it means when you dream about getting back together with an ex, according to experts.
You Still Have Feelings For Your Ex
The most obvious reason for dreaming about an ex is still having feelings for them, and that can be especially true if the breakup is still fresh. "If you dream of getting back together with a recent ex and you miss that person, it is a good indication you have not been able to move on," dream analyst Lauri Quinn Loewenberg and author of Dream On It tells Bustle. "Remind yourself that the relationship ended for a reason, and that perhaps this one fell apart so that something better can fall together." It can be hard to dream about the good times with an ex when you're still in the brokenhearted stages of a separation — but if breaking up was the right thing to do, then a dream doesn't change that.
Dreams have a way of making even the most preposterous made-up scenarios feel extremely real and powerful, so it’s possible that you could wake up from a dream about an ex feeling more emotional than you’d expect. Just because a dream brings up feelings doesn’t mean you’re still pining for that person, so don’t jump to conclusions. Give yourself time and space to process what came up in the dream and focus on moving forward.
You’re Still Processing The Breakup
Having dreams about an ex could indicate that you still have feelings for them, but that’s not the case for everyone. It may simply mean that you’re still processing parts of the relationship that you’ve yet to find true closure on. "Dreams of getting back together with an ex-lover don’t necessarily mean that you are still carrying a torch for that person or that you will ever be back in a relationship with them," Walden says. "More often, these dreams denote unfinished business."
By revisiting past relationships in our dreams, our sleeping minds are giving us a chance to reevaluate things from a more mature perspective, process unacknowledged feelings, or find closure on things that have been lingering in our subconscious. Sometimes dreaming about the situation and reflecting on it in your waking life is enough to emotionally close the chapter with that ex, so take time to talk through what came up in the dream and/or write it in a journal.
There Are Red Flags In A Current Relationship
Dreaming about an ex who treated you badly or being back in a toxic relationship could be your subconscious tipping you off to some red flags in a current situation. "If you dream of getting back with a horrible or abusive ex, it could reflect an underlying concern that you are falling back into an unhealthy pattern with someone else," Loewenberg says. "Ask yourself what is going on now that feels similar to then.” The dream may be less about your ex and more about being subconsciously warned against a potentially negative dynamic in a new relationship or situation.
If you have a dream like this, spend some time analyzing what’s going on in your relationships — and don’t forget to consider your relationship with yourself, too. “When we go through an abusive relationship, it tears down our self-esteem and confidence and we get in the habit of [practicing] negative self-talk,” Loewenberg says. “Ask yourself if you are the one being too hard, abusive or critical to yourself.”
It Might Symbolize Something Unrelated To Relationships
Sometimes the links between a dream about your ex and your current life circumstances will be less straightforward than any of the above scenarios — which means you’ll have to dig a little deeper to find the true meaning. "If you dream of getting back with an ex from long ago but have no desire to be with that person again, ask yourself what stands out to you about that ex or about that relationship," Loewenberg tells Bustle. "There is something about them or something from back then that you may need now or are experiencing now." Consider where you were living, what you were up to, and what was happening in your life at the time you were with this person. Perhaps the circumstances surrounding the relationship — and not the ex-partner themselves — hold the key to what your subconscious was trying to sort through or bring to your attention.
Dreams are often thought of as a way for our subconscious to sort through the feelings, situations, and experiences we have in our everyday lives — and dreaming about an ex is no different. These dreams simply mean that we’re still processing something from that relationship or period of our life, and there may be no need to send that “I miss you” text after all. Everyone’s subconscious speaks in a unique way, so take time to reflect on the feelings that came up during a dream about an ex in order to determine what it was trying to tell you.
This article was originally published on