Why do I keep dreaming about my ex? Your dream question answered

Dream Question: “I occasionally dream about my ex-boyfriend. I’ve been in a new and happy relationship for years, so why would I dream about him after all this time?”

Delphi writes:

This is one of those dreams which can leave you feeling confused, especially when you’re happier now than you were back then.

Previous significant partner relationships can have a huge impact, both on our physical and mental wellbeing, especially if they either ended badly or under difficult circumstances.

They can also create the blue print for future partnerships – in terms of what we want (and don’t want) and what warning signs / positives to look out for.

Sometimes reflecting on a relationship can be helpful, but too much analysis can taint the relationships we go on to form. For safety reasons, we can be in danger of tarring everyone with the same brush (eg we might find it difficult to trust), but equally it’s important to be aware of what a healthy relationship looks like.

Whatever conclusions we may draw, the ‘blue print’ could then get ‘locked in’ to your subconscious, so that whenever the subject of relationships comes up, your dreams will flag up what you feel works (and what doesn’t).

If you’re dating right now, do they remind you of your ex, eg, do they share any traits or are they the complete opposite? It might be that they’ve done or said – or you thought – something which has triggered a memory, that your brain plants as a seed to dream about at night.

How did you feel when you woke up? The emotions you experience both during and after a dream can give you a clue to it’s meaning. It might be that there are (even just) small things you miss about your ex, that you wish your new partner shared. Or maybe your dream is just reminding you that you’re better off without them.

The key to understanding this dream is also ‘why now’? Have a think about what could have prompted you to have this dream at this specific moment. Perhaps you’ve had an argument with your current partner, or you have a subconscious fear that your new relationship will go the same way as your last one. This is why keeping a dream diary can be helpful, to help you understand why you have these dreams when you do. (You can gain free access to an eGuide on keeping a dream diary when you subscribe).

Whether it was your decision to end the previous relationship or theirs, there can often be a feeling of ‘unfinished business’ (like things you wish you’d said, or things you’d hoped they could have done differently).

Regret, guilt, hurt and anger can all be feelings which can bubble underneath, your dreams bringing them to the surface at night. Talking these through with a counsellor can be helpful.

I talk about partners cheating in a dream in my book Answers In The Dark). If your new or old relationship has turned abusive, organisations like Refuge can help.

Answers in the Dark: Grief, Sleep and How Dreams Can Help You Heal is available to order now. Find out more here.

Copyright Delphi Ellis

Published by Delphi Ellis

Therapeutic counsellor, well-being trainer and author working with grief and mental health, helping people get their sparkle back. Explores dreams on telly. Avid tea drinker. © Delphi Ellis - Helping You Sparkle™ 2006 - 21

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