Why Can’t You Stop Dreaming About Your Ex?


Breaking up is hard. Getting over someone is harder. And when you finally get over someone, it’s easy to relapse surprisingly quickly.

All it takes is catching their eye on the street, or coming across and old shirt of his, and you’re strolling down memory lane (and maybe crying while drinking sangria).

Even if you’ve thrown out (and/or burned) all his stuff, moved to another country, and completely erased all thoughts of him, there’s one thing that will f*ck you over every time—your dreams.

Why do we dream about our exes and how can we stop it? Does it mean we made a mistake and that we do still miss them? Or is our brain just messing with us?

Ally Mead, who studied dream analysis at the Jungian Institute of Los Angeles, explains that dreams about an ex are most common when you are entering or leaving a relationship, and don’t necessarily mean that you miss them. Just like how when you enter a new relationship you tend to compare your new lover to your past lover(s) subconsciously, this happens in your dreams as well.

So, what about if you broke up with your ex a long time ago and there don’t seem to be any prospects for a future relationship anytime soon, but your ex still shows up in your dreams? Mead explains that this likely is because there was unfinished business left between you and your ex. We all know that leaving relationships on awkward or unclear terms is pretty common in our current dating culture, so this could explain a lot. Just because you are still dreaming about your ex (or maybe you didn’t even technically date), doesn’t mean that you’re still in love with him or you two are meant to be together. It is possible that you are still reflecting on where things ended, and finding qualities within him that you need to fix within yourself. Mead also notes that if your ex appears in the type of dream where things really don’t make sense and his actions are out of character, the dream is probably much more symbolic than anything else.

In terms of avoiding the dreams, there doesn’t seem to be too much hope…Mead suggests lucid dreaming, but this is pretty complicated and not something that the average chica can do every night. If you believe in spiritual guides and/or guardian angels, she suggests asking them to not send dreams of an ex your way. For the rest of us, perhaps get so drunk that you don’t have dreams anymore? Or maybe just enjoy the fact that while you still have to see your ex in your dreams, you’re waking up without him in your bed.

Obviously, it’s impossible to decode the meaning of each dream for every person. It’s possible that none of the above explanations truly apply to your situation. The worst part about dreaming about an ex is it can cause you to miss that person and have them on your mind again, even if you haven’t seen them in months.

My advice? Remember that the version of your ex in your dream is nothing like the real person. Even if you’re having good (and/or sexy) dreams about your ex, you’re remembering the person that you loved, not the person you lost. You have both changed since then, and there’s a reason that things didn’t work out in the first place (and they won’t suddenly work out now).

It’s hard not being in control of your brain when you shut your eyes, but you’re in control once the sun comes up; and there’s no use looking behind you anymore.

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