You may not have seen your grade-school crush since Tamagotchis were cool, but that doesn’t mean you don’t dream about them on the reg. Or maybe you find yourself dreaming about a steamy makeout session with a coworker. Either way, there’s a good chance you’ve had a crush dream and wondered, what does it mean when you dream about your crush? Just me? (Related: This Is What Your Sex Dreams *Really* Mean)
Turns out, dreaming about a crush may have surprising real-world takeaways, helping you get to know yourself a bit better. A crush dream could signal just about any unconscious desire, says Michael Kinsey, PhD, a clinical psychologist based in New York City. That means the specific person who appears in your dream shouldn’t be taken too literally. After you wake up and recall your dream, ask yourself: Is your crush charismatic? Immature? Confident? “Your crush may have traits you’d like to emulate,” he explains.
But like any type of dream, the details matter. Take a dive into dreamland as experts decode some of the most frequent fantasies:
1.Your crush kisses you.
Interestingly, this may mean you’re feeling a little stuck in life right now and find yourself in a holding pattern. “This dream might mean that you’re waiting for something to happen to you,” says therapist and dream interpreter Nicole Arzt, LMFT, Family Enthusiast advisory board member. “You might be hoping that it ‘just happens,’ but you aren’t necessarily taking the steps needed to feel more ownership over your life.”
2.Your crush is dating someone else.
Ugh, we’ve all had this one and woke up on the wrong side of the bed. “This could be about anyone who might have moved away from your life,” says Jeanine Duval, co-founder at Edelwyn, an online resource for tarot card learning. (Fun fact: She draws many parallels in her work between tarot and dreams since they both use symbols to understand the unconscious mind.) “It’s a way of showing fear of abandonment and reflects an unconscious worry about being left.”
3. You’re too shy to approach your crush.
Did you miss an opp to call out to your crush as he/she walked out the door? Fun times. If this is the crush dream in question, you may feel frustrated because you’re not acting on your desires, says Kinsey, and this might extend beyond matters of the heart. Are you feeling shy about asking for a raise? Having a biggie talk with a friend? Where are you lacking confidence in your life?
4. You find yourself spending QT with a childhood crush.
Don’t send your long-lost love a DM just yet. “You’re likely reconnecting with a forgotten wish,” Kinsey says. “When you’re young and idealistic, you have a better sense of what you want. Something about the old flame is surfacing, beckoning you to find that desire in your life now.”
This desire could be working towards a big goal, living in line with your core values, or expressing an aspect of yourself or personality that you’ve long pushed down, says Kinsey. So, again, this dream might not have anythinggggg to do with the person you dreamt about, but about who you were back in middle or high school. Kinda a relief, right?
5.You start crushing on your ex…and get back together.
If this one sounds familiar, know that this is a frequent sitch in dreamland. “This dream may signify that you’re longing for parts of your past, or that you’re afraid of upcoming changes in the future,” says Arzt, adding that this usually is a sign that something in your life feels unsettling, or you’re nervous about where life will take you next. You may also be longing for a familiar sense of comfort.“Thinking about an ex may mean that you lack a sense of predictability and structure in your life,” she adds. Could you achieve this wish without dredging up the past? Probs!
6.Your crush is someone you don’t know.
Falling in love with a stranger or waking up from your dream feeling like your crush has turned into a stranger? This could be a clue you’ve been stepping out of your comfort zone, says Duval. “Even though such a dream might give you an odd sensation, it actually means that there are changes ahead. Expect to be surprised by a new experience.”
In other words, this dream could indicate you’re sensing upcoming changes in your life and that you’re excited for what’s to come. Time to enroll in a new class or download that language learning app you’ve been thinking about.
7. Your crush rejected you.
“This dream could mean that you’re struggling with your self-esteem,” says Arzt. “You may feel particularly vulnerable or sensitive, and the rejection solidifies your struggles with self-worth.” In any kind of dream about rejection, a lack of confidence in your ability may be an issue, whether in your work, romantic, or family life. (Psst…Here are 7 ways to start feeling more confident right now.)
8. More specifically, your crush rejected you ~horizontally~.
Most commonly, a sexual rejection dream indicates that you’re holding yourself back from what you want most in life. “What Freud once dubbed ‘castration anxiety,’ rejection by an object of lust signifies that the dreamer expects shame, humiliation, trauma, or at the very least, disappointment by pursuing highly prized outcomes,” says Kinsey. Your nerves are on another level.
9. You lost a tooth while spending time with a crush.
Ring a bell? The loss of teeth in dreams is linked to feelings of “insecurity and loss of self-esteem,” says Duval. In fact, your mouth can be a metaphor for what you’re saying—or not saying. “Especially when losing a tooth is combined with a dream about your crush, it can mean that you really want to say how you feel about him or her but are afraid to do so,” says Duval.
It’s a little scary to tell people how you feel, natch, but if you don’t hold back, you may be pleasantly surprised to find the feelings are reciprocated. Just saying!
10. You got cozy with a coworker.
Then, you tell them how you really feel and awake feeling rejected. Not so fun, but thankfully, it’s just a dream—and it may say more about your career than latent feelings for your coworker.
“This dream suggests that the dreamer is beginning to become aware of competencies and ambitions at work,” says Kinsey. “The rejection signifies an expectation that integrating her competencies and desires won’t be received well, and that she may feel compelled to conceal them.” But keep on doing you, and you’ll climb on up (and hopefully this dream will fade away!).
11. Any dream about a crush not described above.
The good news is that dreaming about a crush represents doors of possibility opening up in your life, says Arzt. “You may be excited about the idea of being with your crush, but it can also mean you’re excited about anything else that lies ahead,” she says. “Dreams can shed insight into your desires. These desires aren’t always literal, which is why dreams aren’t necessarily logical or sensical.”
So that dream about zip-lining with your crush on a course that leads to a sundae bar with about 800 ice cream flavors, totally normal! Phew.
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