Why You Dream About Your Ex Even Though You're Over It
We've all been there. I've definitely been there.
My alarm goes off, my eyes shoot open and I shift to my side to see who's sleeping next to me. It's my boyfriend, the guy I've been head-over-heels in love with for a year now. He feels the same way about me, and all is right in the world.
Except it's not because I just woke up from a dream where a boyfriend from a few years ago asked if I wanted to give it another shot, and Dream Leigh said "yes."
Let me make one thing very clear: I rarely think of this person. I glance at his Facebook page once a month, tops, and although he's not my favorite person in the world, I don't sit around thinking about how much he sucks or how much I miss him.
So what kind of f*cked up message is the universe trying to send me? That however blissfully happy I think I am, I'm secretly pining for this lame guy who couldn't commit to me?
After some thorough research, I'm happy to report the answer is "no." I'm completely over said lame guy. In fact, dreaming about your ex isn't rare at all. A survey conducted by the dream-interpretation website DreamsCloud found 29 percent of people dream about past loves.
Here's what's actually going on when you dream about your ex.
You're craving closure.
You can take all the steps in the world to get closure after a relationship -- burning everything your ex ever gave you, drunkenly hate-texting the person before blocking the number or grabbing coffee to have a civil "goodbye" conversation -- but actual closure can be hard to come by.
I dreamed about an ex-boyfriend for two years until we ran into each other at a party and he gave me a heartfelt apology. And just like that, he disappeared from my subconscious thought processes.
That, my friends, is what we call closure. Although I enjoy the fact that he no longer makes appearances in my dreams, the fact that he did pop up from time to time didn't mean I hadn't moved on.
As relationship therapist Anne McKay told Women's Health,
If you are in a fulfilling relationship, then frequently dreaming about an ex shouldn't be a threat.
She added these dreams are probably related to lack of closure, but put down your phone.
Please don't text your ex and ask if you two should meet to "tie up loose ends." If you're in a happy relationship, this could do more harm than good. As McKay suggested, just try to stop seeing these dreams as a threat.
You want your current relationship to work out.
If you're in a new relationship, you may be dreaming about your ex more than usual. Don't be alarmed -- this isn't a red flag.
As dream analyst Ally Mead explained to Huffington Post, your psyche is probably just hard at work. She said,
Your psyche may still be trying to sort out the pluses and minuses of your old relationship. In this situation, your psyche is trying to ensure success with your new relationship... Most of the time, however, dreams are symbolic and not literal. Your feelings are probably best directed toward healing whatever happened to make you exes in the first place.
Like it or not, we all have a past. So as you enter into a new relationship, it only makes sense your brain would want to gather information about your last relationship and apply it to your present one.
Don't be too hard on yourself. Your psyche is just trying to figure out what's what.
You're looking for more love in your life.
It's only natural you'd want to revisit happy time periods and relationships once in a while, so if you find yourself dreaming about a love from long ago -- a high school sweetheart, for example -- it doesn't mean you're still thinking about your 17-year-old lover.
But it might mean you're wanting something more.
Whether you're single or in an unfulfilling relationship, dreaming of a young, innocent love could mean you're craving a "higher intensity of love," as the dream-interpretation website DreamThread notes.
If your high school sweetheart is now engaged and owns a golden retriever, don't break down and decide you missed your one shot at true love. You guys broke up for a reason, and there are few things more intense than falling in love for the first time.
It only makes sense to get nostalgic for a love like that from time to time.
So if you, like me, wake up panicked because you just dreamed about your ex, shrug it off.
In some cases, you've gotta let your dreams be dreams.