8 reasons you dream about your ex while in a relationship

You’re lying in bed next to your new partner, sound asleep and feeling all comfortable and warm, when all of a sudden, in pops the last person you’d expect to see.

You know it’s a dream, but still – what the heck is your ex doing here!?

If you’re like me, you’re more than just a little confused to be dreaming about this person, especially after what happened.

You might even freak out and do something crazy to try to hurry them out of your dream, worried that somehow your new partner will find out about it.

Well, there are many reasons you dream about your ex while in a relationship, and don’t worry because this is actually very normal.

It happens to just about everyone, though we hardly ever talk about it. But now it’s time to break the silence and bring this taboo topic out into the open!

Ex dreams while in a relationship

I had been seeing my new partner for about two months, and things were going great.

We were inseparable, wanting to spend every waking- and sleeping – moment together.

We were really falling in love and were also sharing a bed every night.

And then, one night, it happened.

I was deep in slumber, probably snoring lightly, when I realized I was dreaming. And I immediately recognized the place I was dreaming of – it was where I used to live with my ex.

I walked into the kitchen, and there she was, smiling and telling me some sort of story. Then she suddenly grabbed me and planted a big kiss right on my lips.

Caught off guard, I freaked and immediately woke up feeling incredibly sweaty and nervous. It was already morning, and I quickly bounced out of bed and raced to the bathroom, where I locked the door and stared at myself in the mirror.

“What the heck was that!?” I demanded of my reflection. “You broke up a year and a half ago, and now you’re with someone new. You’re happy. Why is this happening!!??”

It still makes my pulse race even now.

Why do ex dreams happen?

Does that sound familiar? 

You may have just dreamed of a recent ex or even someone you haven’t been with in years and years.

But when you’re in a new relationship, and you catch yourself dreaming about someone else, an ex of all people, it can feel wrong.

Is this cheating?

It’s time to calm down and look at the situation more objectively.

Unless you’re a skilled lucid dreamer who can control what happens in your dreams, you didn’t intentionally conjure up an image of your ex.

So relax – this isn’t cheating because you didn’t have any say in what happened. They just popped into your dream uninvited.

Now, what does this mean?

Does it mean that you secretly miss them, your new relationship is a sham, and you’re living a lie?

Again, no.

As much as your conscience might make you want to judge and blame yourself, that’s not how dreams work.

Dreams come from the things that are stuck in your mind. They’re often triggered by things that are bothering you or just things that happened during your waking life.

A dream is basically your brain acting out scenarios composed of the things that happened and all the things that might have or still could happen. Your subconscious uses dreams to test out these different scenarios and to learn from the results.

As psychologist Carl Jung believed, dreams can reveal the unconscious feelings and thoughts normally hidden during our waking hours.

To illustrate what I mean, let’s suppose you had a stressful day at work, and later, you were stuck in traffic because of a big accident on the road. In the evening, you flipped through some videos and caught a great close-up of a lion yawning.

That night, you dream of a ferocious lion chasing you through the streets.

The lion is stuck in your mind as a beautiful, powerful creature. You’re stressed from work, and because you were stuck on the road for so long, that setting also joins the mix.

Does this mean that you aren’t happy in your current relationship or that you want to get together with a lion?

Of course not – this dream is simply a mash-up of the feelings and visual symbols that affected you during your waking hours.

The same is true when you dream about your ex.

People in dreams are often symbolic

pic1359 8 reasons you dream about your ex while in a relationship

If you dream about the people you see every day, that’s almost certainly because of familiarity.

Your mind is so used to seeing and interacting with these people that they’re pulled into your dreams as well, representing normalcy in most cases.

But when you dream of someone you don’t normally see in your normal life, whether this is an old friend, family member, or yes, even an ex, something else is happening.

When these people pop back into your life in the dream state, they’re usually there as symbols.

Rather than really representing the people they are, they reflect your feelings or deeply held ideas. For example, an old friend from your childhood might represent feelings of freedom and fun. An old boss might represent your feelings of fear or insecurity.

In this way, these people are more like symbols than actual characters in your dreams.

So, your dreams are influenced by the events that happen to you and the deep feelings you have in your waking life. These feelings can often manifest as significant objects or people in your dreams.

Taking all this into account, let’s look at some of the specific reasons you might be dreaming about your ex. Most of them have deeper meanings than you’d suspect, but I’ll warn you right now that not all of these meanings are positive!

8 scenarios where you dream about your ex while in a relationship

1) Your ex just randomly pops up in a dream

If your ex randomly pops up in your dream, you’re done for. Your current partner will know immediately and will be furious.

Just kidding.

A random appearance without any real substance behind it doesn’t mean anything at all.

All this means is that your ex is a memory in your head, and your brain is pulling out random stuff to create scenarios to think about.

I wouldn’t give this random appearance any more thought than if you dreamt of anything else random, like a tree or a bear in roller skates.

If you’re worried your new boo will read your mind, don’t be too sure.

But if you’d rather nip it in the bud, you can always mention it to clear the air.

Just remember to focus on the fact that it was a random appearance and nothing untoward or significant happened.

You might even start out the conversation by asking them if they ever see their exes in their dreams. Just make sure you’re prepared to hear the answer!

2) You dream of missing your ex

This is one dream that is really confusing and can cause you to lose sleep (later, of course!).

Sometimes, our dreams seem to be made up of just images, while other times, they’re richly imbued with emotion. So, if you dream of feeling that you miss your ex, one of two things could be happening.

When someone exits your life, you feel a sense of loss, and that can be minor or profound with an ex. This person might then come back into your dreams when you’re missing something or someone else. 

They act as a symbol, a way to help you recognize and process that emotion, even if you don’t actually miss your ex at all.

It’s also possible that you really do miss your ex, and that’s OK. You can miss someone who used to be in your life without it meaning anything else.

But on the other hand, this could be a sign that deep down, you really do want your ex back.

If you’re confused about your true feelings for your ex and whether your new partner is really the right person for you, you might want to consider consulting a gifted person and getting advice from them.

They can help you sort out your relationship questions and take away your doubts about who is the right person for you to be with.

A while back, I spoke to someone from Psychic Source, and it really helped me sort out the questions I had about my ex and my current relationship. I’d found myself worrying about what to do constantly, but after this conversation and the great insights they offered, things got a whole lot clearer.

I was really impressed by how compassionate and knowledgeable they were and how much it helped.

Click here to get your own love reading.

In a love reading, an advisor with a special gift can help you understand why you’re dreaming of missing your ex and help you make the right choice on what to do about it to sort out your love life.

3) You’re intimate with your ex in a dream

pic1360 8 reasons you dream about your ex while in a relationship

This is the big one.

If you have the kind of dream where you’re having sex with your ex, you’re probably going to chew your fingernails off with worry over what it means.

Luckily, however, it’s not as serious as you might believe.

When we’re physically intimate with another person, especially repeatedly, we start to associate happiness and pleasure with that person.

Your brain lets out oxytocin during sex, which helps create bonds and feelings of intimate connection, and you also get a big shot of dopamine, the pleasure chemical.  

So, if you had a lot of great sex with your ex, it’s no surprise that your brain and body will remember it.

But that doesn’t mean your sex dream is actually about your ex.

It’s more likely that you’re processing something very happy and pleasurable, and this sexy scene is just used as a way to represent it.

4) Your new partner and your ex meet in your dream

Now, this one sounds like a real pickle.

This may actually be one of the things you’d dread most, especially if you had a bad breakup or still have some residual feelings for your ex.

There are definitely one or two exes of mine I never, ever want my partner to meet!

So, if they meet in a dream, should you be just as worried?

The answer is no, thankfully!

If your new and old partners meet in a dream, it could be that you’re really considering how your new relationship is going and if it has a future.

Your ex is there as a symbol of that failed past relationship –will the new one end up the same way?

5) You dream of fighting with your ex

I had a really, really messy breakup once, and it still comes back to haunt my dreams once in a while.

She trashed my apartment and actually pulled out a knife and threatened to kill me. And she was the one who was caught cheating on me!

We’d already had a really wild and rocky relationship, so the end was like a final crescendo – going out with a bang.

Years later, I still sometimes dream of the fights.

But I realized after a while that it’s really nothing to do with her. These dreams come when serious things happen in my life.

There was the time I was rock climbing and narrowly missed falling to my death. Another time I had this kind of dream was after I was blamed for something I hadn’t done at work and lost my job over it.

This dream has nothing to do with my ex but everything to do with me being in fight or flight mode due to something serious happening in my life.

6) You’re living together in your dream

If you lived with your ex in the past, there’s no reason why you might not dream about that kind of situation months or even years later.

You probably shared a lot of space, time, and experience, and your brain has captured all that.

Your mind usually builds dreams against the backdrop of things it knows – it’s as simple as that.


What if you never lived together in real life, but you dream about it happening?

In this case, there could be some longing there for the safe and secure feeling that person once gave to you. But remember – it’s more likely that it’s the feeling you’re missing in your life, not the person.

7) You and your ex break up in your dream

Even when a breakup is amicable, it can still be traumatic.

After all, you invested time and emotional energy in this person and hoped that things would work out. You probably imagined a future together, and now that is all gone.

Even if you can still be friends, a big part of your life is going to be changed forever.

So when you dream of this break-up happening all over again, there is probably something really heavy weighing on your subconscious. 

It could be that you’re reliving this event as a symbol of some other deep unhappiness in your current life. 

I lost a very good friend last year, and very strangely, a few days later, I found myself dreaming of my first serious girlfriend, the one who dumped me and broke my heart about 20 years ago!

It definitely had nothing to do with any leftover feelings – trust me, that’s done and dusted – but it was something that was deeply traumatic.

And it was as though my mind was saying, “Remember when that happened? It hurt, but you got over it,” to help guide me to process the new situation.

8) You dream of being in love with your ex

If you dream that you’re still in love with your ex and you actually feel that emotion strongly, it can really throw you for a loop.

Why do you feel that way in the dream but not when you’re awake?

Is everything really OK with your new relationship, or is your subconscious trying to tell you something?

Earlier, I talked about how a love reading can help you find the truth behind your feelings and why you’re dreaming of your ex.

If you’re confused about the emotions you’re feeling in your dreams about them, you might want to get some guidance from a gifted expert who can share their intuition.

For me, this was a lifesaver and a way to get the help I truly needed to sort out my true feelings and make the right choices.

Click here to get your own love reading.

Why are you dreaming of your ex while in a relationship?

Normally, it’s just your mind making associations that don’t mean anything. But sometimes, it can actually be a sign that you need to follow to find real happiness in your love life.

Picture of Marcel Deer

Marcel Deer

Marcel is a journalist, gamer, and entrepreneur. When not obsessing over his man cave or the latest tech, he’s failing helplessly at training his obnoxious rescue dog ‘Boogies’.

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