Dreams about a passionate encounter with an ex are a common theme at bedtime. If you or a loved one has been covering this ground at night, you may have questions about what it all might mean. As part of a Huffington Post series on dreams and their meanings, we spoke to Shelley Smith, a behavioral therapist and the founder and director of the Yoga Health & Therapy Center (Mental Wellness Therapeutics Inc.) in Lexington, Ky., to get expert advice about the meanings of your or your loved one’s dreams about a passionate encounter with an ex. Note: While dream analysis is highly subjective, this post might provide some insight into why this dream occurred or is recurring.
What do dreams about a passionate encounter with an ex mean?
"There are many different interpretations of dreams and dreams symbols," says Smith. "If we were to amplify that with the Jungian method -- that's the vision, sights, sounds and feelings you have with the ex in your dream state -- we would find meaning in a context by asking questions such as, 'What does it feel like when I look at this image? Why am I dreaming this image? Is there something that is significant from my memory, or is there something I'm in tension or turmoil with today in my personality?'" She explains that "any one dream image would have many different interpretations."
What can I learn about myself from dreaming about this subject?
According to Smith, "If we were to look at ourselves in the dream context, using other Jungian techniques such as amplification -- wanting to know why, when and what does this have to do with me in the small context of my personal life -- I would possibly be able to experience myself as being desirous and would have to examine that." She adds that the dreamer should consider whether these thoughts about a passionate encounter with an ex might indicate an aspiration for higher and greater things.
Are there any tricks to avoiding or inducing dreams about a passionate encounter with an ex?
"According to the Jungian position and our western psychology, any dream image is actually not under our control; it is not under our rational mind," Smith explains. Dream images arise from our unconscious, and -- according to Smith -- this means we are dreaming them for good reason.
Beyond analysis, what cultural symbolism can be found in dreams about this subject?
Smith explains that the Jungian archetype -- the collective human conscience -- draws from myth, folklore and religion. "It depends on our human existence throughout all of mankind, " says Smith. "So on some instinctive level our images are going to carry meaningful symbolism, but meaningful to each individual."
Who tends to have dreams about this subject most frequently?
According to Smith, both males and females are likely to dream about a passionate encounter with an ex. "It's really tension from something unresolved in the past," Smith says. "There's something about that unresolved tension that would bring back the symbol, because the dream is trying to give a sense of completion to the wanting mind."
What does it mean if your dream of a passionate encounter with an ex is recurring?
According to Smith, repetition of the same dream indicates an important or meaningful message for the dreamer. "If we keep repeating that scene from the past," she explains, "it's bringing back a sense of longing that we need to try to find an image that could activate a sense of wholeness -- or a sense of linking us to something significant in our psychological reality today."
Shelley Smith is a behavioral therapist with over 30 years of professional experience. She has a bachelor's degree from the Indiana University (cum laude), is a registered yoga therapist and a certified teacher trainer. In addition, her training includes an independent study in anatomy/physiology, supervised by a Cambridge University professor at the Yoga-Biomedical Institute in England, as well as an intensive, four-year program under the mentorship of a physician with the Rockefeller Medical Foundation of India in the yoga bio-medical tradition. She developed the Yoga Health & Therapy Center's Creative Dream Work Program, which emphasizes the use of "Active Imagination" (a Jungian approach) to unlock memories, reactions and talents stored energetically in the body's tissues. Smith also leads workshops and sessions for groups and individuals, exploring personal narratives and potential.