What Does It Mean When You Dream About Your Boyfriend’s Ex?

It's no fun when his ex-girlfriend shows up while you're sleeping.

Nothing is sweeter than a dream that’s all about you and your partner, especially if hot sex is prominently featured. And nothing feels worse than when your ex suddenly pops into that steamy sexcapade. But what’s more confusing is a dream about your boyfriend’s — or husband’s — ex after you drift off to sleep.

That’s right — the person who came before you, who was once an important part of your partner’s life, and whom you may or may not Instagram stalk every now and then.

RELATED: What Dreaming About Being Naked in Public Really Means

When a boyfriend’s ex shows up in our dreams, it can be pretty unsettling. Why are we thinking about them? What do they want? And is our partner thinking about them too?

We asked Lauri Loewenberg, a certified dream analyst and the author of Dream on It, Unlock Your Dreams Change Your Life, to help guide us on why an ex of our current partner feels like they have a right to disturb our slumber (we’re being dramatic, but that’s what it can feel like sometimes!). Here’s what she had to say.

When my partner’s ex appears in a dream, what could it possibly mean?

“This person will usually show up in our dreams when they are still present in some way in our current life,” Loewenberg tells Hello Giggles. As a result, decoding these kinds of dreams comes down to context and how you feel about your partner’s ex in real life.

Maybe your partner still has some sort of relationship with them, and you still have to see them because of work, or co-parenting exchanges. Or maybe your partner is still affected by what happened between them, and any resentment, pain, or other feelings is present in your current relationship.

“The subconscious is trying to help you navigate your feelings, behaviors, and reactions to the issue,”  Loewenberg adds. So while we’d like to just ignore our partner’s ex taking up valuable dream space, it’s likely worth looking into during the daytime, as well.

What does it mean when I dream about my partner’s ex, but my partner isn’t part of the dream?

If your partner is noticeably absent from a dream involving his or her ex, “your subconscious is trying to show you there is too much focus on the ex being an issue rather than any focus being on your partner,” Loewenberg explains.

The dreaded ex of a partner is more of an issue if they are a frequent part of your dreams, she adds. “There is very likely an issue that needs to be addressed. Are you the one allowing the ex to take up space in the relationship or is your partner?”

If my partner’s ex shows up in my dream, does it mean he/she is thinking about their ex too?

Luckily the answer for this is “no.”

“Your dreams are your creation,”  Loewenberg emphasizes. “They are messages from you, to you, about you, in order to improve you.” And as a result, it (hopefully) means you’re the only one thinking about your partner’s ex.

Since most dreams are a continuation of your thought stream from the day, “If the ex was mentioned, seen, or thought about in some way during the day, then they may very well show up in your dreams that night,” explains Loewenberg. It’s similar to a dream where you’re cheating on your partner — it doesn’t necessarily mean you want to cheat in real life, but it probably does mean someone or something heavy is on your mind.

What should I think about/take action on when I wake up, if this dream feels stressful to me?

While it’s tricky to control what happens in a dream and who features prominently in it, Loewenberg offers some advice on how to recalibrate your thoughts once you wake up.

Think about how you felt in the dream about your boyfriend’s ex, and then “try to pinpoint where that emotion fits,” she advises. “What/who in real life causes you to feel the same way you felt in the dream?” She says what calls to you in these questions is usually the issue at hand.

“Apply that thought or what has been said to your real life,” she continues. “Where does that fit? You’re likely going to find that a brutally honest truth is being said or thought in the dream.”

From these two steps, you should be able move forward with more clarity and you’ll be able to make better decisions — and hopefully get to a point where your partner’s ex is gone for good.

Katka Lapelosova
Kat is a born and raised New Yorker exploring the world as she writes, eats, and everything in between. Read more
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