Why Do I Dream About My Ex Years Later? (25 Reasons Why)

Last updated on June 6, 2022 by April Maccario

Your ex was once an important part of your life, someone with whom you shared the most intimate part of you. Regardless of the events that led to your separation, the fact remains that their footprint is etched in your subconscious.

When you look at it this way, occasionally dreaming about your ex won’t seem like such a weird thing, even if it happens years after you broke up. Dreaming about a past relationship can happen for a whole lot of different reasons. 

If you ever wonder why you still dream about your ex even though you’re currently seeing someone else, stay with me, and you just might find out the reason.

What Does It Mean When You Dream of Your Ex? 

1. You’re Not Over Them

you're not over them

Some feelings die off with time, while others can last an entire lifetime if you hold on to them. Whether it’s been two years or twenty since your ex left, if you are still into them, it makes total sense to dream about your ex.

This may or may not mean you want to get back with them. In fact, realistically not being able to have what you had again may be part of the allure. You may have to look inwards for what to do about it.

2. You’re Finally Moving On

In another instance, dreaming about your ex could indicate that you are finally ready to let go of them and their baggage. Dreams like these are often characterized by an indifference where there used to be a rollercoaster of negative emotions.

You’re not pining over them or making them the center of your life anymore. It’s because you are finally ready to shed the weight of resentment and face the next chapter of your life refreshed.

3. You Miss Your Ex

This does not only happen with exes, when you miss anyone you have or used to have a connection with, you think about them a lot. Your dreams are nothing but a pictorial representation of those thoughts, even though it’s somewhat distorted.

It could also mean that you miss something about yourself you used to share with that ex-boyfriend, or you’re just reminiscing about that stage of your life. This can happen whether or not you’ve moved on from that relationship.

4. A Part Of You Wants To Get Back Together With Your Ex

Dreams about an ex could also be your mind connecting with what your heart wants. Some people can miss their past lovers even in their current relationship. Maybe the dream about your ex shows that you still have feelings for them. 

If your current relationship is great, make sure you don’t read too much into these dreams about your ex. If you want these dreams to stop, it might help to remind yourself why you two broke up in the first place.

5. Your Current Partner Has Similar Traits With Your Ex

Have you ever experienced Déjà vu where you feel like you’ve lived through a current situation before? Well, when you get with someone who reminds you of your ex, particularly a toxic one, dreaming about the latter could be your subconscious warning you about going down the same road.

Your current relationship may not be new, but the person may have picked up the same habits your ex did before everything went down the drain. Your intuition is just connecting the dots before your conscious mind can catch up. 

6. You Regret Leaving

You’re not the only one asking “Why do I dream about my ex years later?” The reason is simple, a lot of people regret leaving their exes. A dream about your ex-boyfriend could be reminding you of how good that relationship was.

When dreaming about your ex, what happens in the dream? Are you asking for forgiveness? Is a memorable moment replaying? Are you reaching out to him? Or seeing him with someone else? Even years after, your subconscious will still remind you about what you lost.

7. You Are Lonely

you are lonely

Loneliness tends to bring back fond memories to make up for what is currently lacking in your current relationship. Fond may not be the first word that pops in your head when you think about your ex objectively, but a lack of proper companionship can make you idealize the good times.

Dreaming about your ex in a situation like this is not uncommon. It may just be your mind’s way of affording you some guilty pleasures.

8. It Was Your First Real Relationship

The human mind is impressionable, especially around the age when most people have their first relationship. The person you first connect with in that way leaves an imprint so lasting that they may become the standard against which all your subsequent relationships are weighed.

You may find yourself dreaming about your first love when you either try to get into a new relationship or leave one because one way or another, you compare them.

9. They Were Your Best Lay

You may be altogether happier away from your ex, but for all their faults, they knew their way around your body. When you dream about this ex, they are mostly always sexual because, again, that was their best feature.

These dreams could mean you are either going through a dry spell sexually or your current lover isn’t quite as good. After all, when you’ve had the best, it’s hard to go back. It doesn’t necessarily mean you want to get back together with your ex. 

However, If you want to put an end to such dreams, make sure you try things that would spice up your sex life.

10. You Finally Have What They Couldn’t Give You

Not all relationships end on a hostile note, sometimes couples part ways because of the understanding that they’ll never be able to give each other what they need. In this situation, there are usually no lingering hard feelings, just two people doing what they think is best.

If you ended things with your ex on such a note, it is natural to get drawn back to those days when you finally achieve that thing you were unable to with them. 

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11. The Relationship Was Traumatizing

When you dream about an ex who abused you ages ago, it may be your own way of working through the trauma. You may have succeeded in pushing the memory into the back of your mind, but you need more than that to put it behind you for good.

You are rehashing the trauma because something triggered it, or your mind is trying to prevent you from falling into the same pattern of abuse and eventual heartbreak. If dreaming about your ex in this way really bothers you, make sure you get professional help. Trauma should be dealt with, and not tucked away.

12. You Are Afraid Of Moving On

Have you been unable to commit to another person since your relationship with the ex in question ended? That sounds like as good a reason as any to dream about them, wouldn’t you say?

Perhaps your ex died, and you feel too guilty to move on because you feel like you’re betraying the dead. Unfortunately, the dreams will continue to happen whenever you even, so much as, have a crush on someone else until you make your peace with their death. 

13. You Are Jealous Of Your Ex Moving On

Does the idea of your ex falling in love with another woman give you palpitations? Do you feel betrayed by their audacity to get with another person despite having promised to spend the rest of their life with you?

Dreams are complicated, but if you still see yourself ruining your ex’s wedding day in your sleep years after you broke up, it could be because you don’t want them moving on.

14. You Have Unresolved Issues

Dreams about exes are perhaps most common when one doesn’t get closure from the relationship. Until you do, your mind will continue to find new ways to bring them forward so you can eventually find peace. The depth of these issues plays a role in these dreams’ nature and how often they come up.

15. Your Current Relationship Is Losing Its Spark

your current relationship is losing spark

Just as loneliness makes you idealize that which you already left behind, not getting what you’re used to can too. Our mind and body crave connection on varying levels. When we don’t get enough of it in real life, we make up for it with our imaginations.

Maybe what you had with your ex was a young, exciting phase. Now that you’re more grown and settled, your relationship doesn’t quite measure up to that excitement, and even though you understand why, you miss it sometimes.

16. You Are About To Take A Significant Step In Your Life

Perhaps, you have finally reached a milestone you always thought you’d cross with your ex. Now the nostalgia is hitting you more than your conscious mind is letting on. For instance, you may have planned to have a baby someday with an old flame, but your relationship didn’t survive long enough for that to happen.

Dreaming about your ex at this stage doesn’t mean you’d rather have a baby with them now over your current partner. You’re merely reminiscing about your old life.

17. Something In Your Life Reminds You Of Them

You might also be dreaming about your former partner because a part of them remained with you. For instance, if you’re a single mother who shared a kid with this person, as much as you may not like it, their genes run within your child.

It may not be obvious at first, but as the child grows, a similar trait or a familiar gait might be all it takes to make the memories come flooding back through a dream.

18. They Represent Something Negative To You

If you find yourself dreaming about an ex when you’re anxious about something big in your life, it may be because of what that person signifies. The same way children describe imaginary monsters using features they find scary, it isn’t exactly surprising that an ex could embody something similar in your dreams.

When someone represents loss, fear, trauma, betrayal, disappointment, or what have you, any dream involving those feelings could easily take their face.

19. They Represent Something Positive

On the other hand, the dream could be taking you back to your former partner years after the relationship ended for the opposite of the above reason. Maybe your ex handles situations better and always knows what to say or do to make a bad thing better.

Seeing that kind of ex in your dreams may be your mind’s way of bolstering your confidence with the face that once represented just that.

20. You Are Worried About Your Ex

I don’t know about you, but when I’m concerned about something, it’s usually all I dream about. Whether it’s a school test or a big presentation at work, it is merely a matter of cause and effect. The more you worry about it, the more it dominates your thoughts and your dreams.

If you still have a cordial relationship with your former partner, dreams about them could stem from anxiety that something terrible is about to happen to them.

21. You’re Anxious About Messing Up Your New Relationship

you're anxious about messing up your new relationship

Similarly, having dreams about this person could be a result of anxiety about botching your new relationship like you did with them. It is normal to have this fear when you played a part in the failure of your past relationship.

However, if you dream about it happening again does not mean that it will. If anything, the manifestation of your anxiety in that dream should inspire you to put your best effort into this new one. 

22. You Are Unhappy In Your Present Relationship

Maybe the reason your ex still shows up in your dreams is that you are unhappy in your present relationship. You may have access to more luxury in your new life, but something is still missing. 

The dream may take you back to a time in life when you used to have all your emotional needs met. And if that was the star of your sleeping hours, then you have your answer.

23. It’s A Wakeup Call

Have you ever considered that you may be seeing your ex in your dream because you need to wake up from a mental slumber? Perhaps, you have gone too long blaming them or yourself for how things panned out, and this may have caused you to neglect what needs to be worked on. 

If this is your case, you need to stop giving that ex so much power. Consider admitting your share of the fault so you can heal appropriately and hopefully become a better person.

24. You Are Obsessed With Your Ex

Even though this is usually not the case, it is still a reason worth exploring. When your unresolved feelings for your ex cross the line between healthy and obsessive, you don’t need a select reason to dream about them because they never left your mind. 

You are consciously preserving your memory of them. In this case, even breathing can be a trigger, and not even sleep can keep them away.

25. You Have Low Self-Esteem

Do you find yourself dreaming about how great this person made you feel eons after you ended things? Or perhaps, what they did to you made you lose your self-confidence.

There is a chance you’re going back there to finally overcome that block, or to continue to use it as a reason to wallow. If you’re not sure which it is, you may need to talk to a professional to see if there’s something deeper there.


What does it mean when you dream about an ex from years ago?

There is a myriad of reasons why one will dream about their ex from such a long time ago. These can range from unresolved feelings on your part to missing the person you were when you were with them. It could also point to something bigger, like an obsession or even depression.

What does it mean when an ex appears in your dream?

An ex appearing in your dream is usually symbolic of something else. They could be an embodiment of your imagination, a familiar face in the context of what you think about. It can also mean a wake-up call for you to do some soul-searching and finally work on something you’ve been putting off. 

Is it true that if you dream of someone they dream of you?

I’m no expert on dreams, but I’m not sure it works that way. Dreaming about someone is a manifestation of your own process, it has nothing to do with whether or not they are doing the same about you. While it can probably happen if you’re both thinking about each other, it isn’t a sure thing.

Why do I dream of my ex every night?

The first reason that comes to mind is that you still have feelings for your ex. It can also be a result of constant exposure to something that reminds you of them. Another reason could be that you’re sad and your ex is your happy place or that you’re worried about them.

Why do I keep dreaming about an ex from 10 years ago?

The reasons can range from regret to contentment. Ten years could be how long it took you to get over leaving your ex fully or maybe you are finally at a place you wish you were with them at the time.

In Conclusion

I hope you found your answer on this list to the question ‘Why do I dream about my ex years later?’. A lot of the time, your dreams about a past lover are more about you than them. Kindly share your insights on the subject in the comment section, and share the post if you think it’s worth it.

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April Maccario
I'm a huge nerd when it comes to understanding how relationships between men and women work, and what drives a certain behavior. I spend much of my time getting into the nitty-gritty and try to share my findings on this site with the hope of making life a little easier for women that are struggling in their relationships or love life.

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