Dreaming of an ex can be pretty intense. Sometimes it feels good, sometimes it feels bad, but it is confusing almost all of the time. It is tempting to think the dreams of exes mean something. Maybe they mean that you are supposed to get back together. Maybe it means that you aren’t over your ex yet. We can look to science to get a better understand of what it means to dream of an ex.
How often people dream of ex partners
These scientists did a survey on how frequently people dreamt of current partners and ex partners.
Here are the big numbers: 21% of dreams include current partners. 8% of dreams include exes. Partner dreams tended to be positive. So dreaming of a current partner is far more common than dreaming on ex, but dreaming of an ex is still quite frequently.
They also found that dreams of ex partners tended to be more emotionally negative than dreams of current partners.
What are the type of ex dreams?
Unfortunately, there doesn’t look to be published studies on the different types of ex dreams.
However, we can look at the how often different dream content shows up in dreams of exes versus dreams of current partners. This chart looks at dreams obtained from reddit. If the bar is green then that means dreams with current partners have more of it. If it is red, then it means dreams of ex have more of it.
Dreams with current partners seem to have more things like animals, fantastic beings, and distant people. They also mention far more locations, disasters, and fear. Dreams with ex partners simply have more emotion than dreams of current partners.
So, what does this tell us? It looks like dreams of current romantic partners you’re doing stuff. You’re having adventures. You’re doing something else in the dream and your partner happens to be there.
What do dreams of exes mean?
First, it means you’re like everyone else. Dreaming of an ex is relatively frequent and common. You should not feel like you are the only person that dreams of an ex.
Second, it means that you cared about someone enough that they would revisit your dreams.
Third, dreaming of an ex may also mean that you are getting over the relationship. In his book, Why We Sleep, Matthew Walker recounts a study conducted by Rosalind Cartwright in which she collected dreams from recently divorced and depressed individuals. She found that the individual who dreamt of the divorce overcame their depression while those that did not dream of the divorce ultimately were less likely to overcome their depression.