I have very vivid, very weird dreams. Just last night, I dreamt that a zebra was running after me in my childhood backyard while I was eating a brownie. Knowing that dreams can tell you a lot about what’s going on in the back of your mind, I have to wonder what this suggests for my dating life. Is the next person I date going to be a zebra enthusiast? Do I just want to be in a relationship with a brownie? (Very possibly.) Or does this speak to what I’m looking for in a relationship?

“Your dreams are helping you with what’s on your mind the most,” says Lauri Loewenberg, a professional dream analyst. “It is important to pay attention to these symbols, because [our dreams] are being brutally honest with us about what is going on in [our] relationship and how we truly feel about the current state of things.”

There are, of course, the obvious cases. If you dream about an upcoming date, your mind is putting you “in a real-life scenario so that you can safely maneuver through the experience in your head and prepare for what could go wrong,” says Loewenberg. Don’t worry if you dream that the date sucks — that doesn’t mean it’s actually going to be a shitshow, but it could signify hesitance, especially if you haven’t had much luck in the dating department recently. However, if you dream the date is going well, that means that you have a good feeling or are excited about it. You should also pay attention to any conversation going on in the dream, because it’s a conversation you’re having with yourself. Yes, even when you’re talking to the waiter. 

In less obvious cases, you have to look at the different objects and people that show up in that little head of yours. I’m still not 100% sure how a safari animal and a delicious baked good can help me take charge of my life, but perhaps these explanations will give both of us a clearer pathway as how to move forward in the romance department.

Food 

If you’re asking that waiter mentioned above for foods that are delicious and decadent, it’s a surefire sign you’ve got a positive attitude about an upcoming date (maybe my brownie was onto something). On the other hand, if you’re eating something disgusting (like bugs), that indicates there’s something that’s quite literally bugging you about the new person or the dynamic with them, says Loewenberg. Just like IRL, food is connected to mood. 

Colors

What you or your date wears when you meet up can say a lot, too. Red can be a red flag, e.g. an indicator that there’s something about this person or relationship that you should be cautious about. White, on the other hand, symbolizes new beginnings and starting fresh. Green can point to jealousy (it can also symbolize growth, so look at other context clues). Blue can represent being upset or depressed. Yellow and orange, both happy colors, can suggest a relationship is healthy. Pink expresses feminine energy and gentleness, and purple shows devotion. However, it is always important to consider these colors through the lens of your personal associations. What a particular shade reminds you of is most telling, says Loewenberg.

Exes

A person from your past popping up suggests that perhaps you’re still not over them, or that you’re in a dry spell and they symbolize passion. Consider this a reminder to bring whatever feelings they represent, not your actual ex, back into your life. Also, we naturally compare exes to current romantic interests, so their appearance when you’re seeing someone new may signal what you want or want to avoid in the future. Dreaming about a current prospect’s ex? They may be talking too much about this person — and they may be doing it in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable.

Breaking Up

Are you dreaming about a breakup because you want to end things with someone or are getting the vibe that they want that? If so, your subconscious is doing the work to prepare you. If this clearly isn’t the case, a breakup dream can symbolize the separation of ideas. “Did you have an argument or disagreement? [In that case], the ‘breakup’ is feeling a distance in the opinion of the other person,” says Loewenberg. 

Dogs

We probably don’t have to tell you that puppers are a sign of loyalty and companionship. When one appears, pay attention to what they’re doing. Are they sick or injured? That’s a good indication you’re feeling like something is terribly wrong. If the dog is friendly and fun, it suggests the relationship in question is healthy. The type of dog is important to decode, as well. Say you dream about a German Shepherd. They’re known to be guard dogs. Are you being guarded in your relationship? Maybe you need to let some walls down. Huskies are bred to pull sleds. Is someone carrying all of the weight in your partnership? Of course, if you grew up with poodles and you dream about poodles, their appearance is likely based on your past. But if the dog seems random, there’s a reason your subconscious chose that particular breed. Dig into it.

Boats And Ships

These symbolize a relationship. The type of boat or ship in the dream will help define your relationship at the time: a battle or warship indicates the relationship is combative. A cruise ship suggests the relationship is enjoyable (just cruisin’ along…). A speedboat may mean you feel things are going too fast, says Loewenberg. If the boat is crashing or sinking, you might need to bail on that relationship. Stranded by shipwreck? This may suggest that you feel neglected or like your needs aren’t being met.

Boats also navigate on water, which most often represents emotions (like water, they are fluid). Clear water suggests you have emotional clarity and awareness about the state of your relationship. Muddy water means the opposite and can even point to depression and negativity. Flood water or tidal waves can indicate you are getting in too deep and are emotionally overwhelmed, says Loewenberg. 

You also may want to take note if there are fish present. These sea creatures connect with dating thanks to common sayings like, “they’re a great catch” and “there are plenty of fish in the sea.” “Lots of thriving fish can be a reminder from your subconscious that there are many opportunities [for relationships] out there,” says Lowenberg. “Dying, neglected, or sick fish can mean something about your current relationship or your attitude toward dating is unhealthy. Too many fish in an aquarium can mean you are feeling confined in your current relationship or it is too crowded — perhaps [there’s] not enough focus on each other.”

Anything Around Conversation

“Any dream having to do with the mouth, tongue, teeth, or throat is trying to help you with communication,” says Loewenberg. If you dream that your teeth fell out, you’ve said something you wish you hadn’t. Teeth shattering or breaking symbolize weak speech — meaning, you didn’t make your point and need to work on communicating your side of things better. If you’re trying to dial a number on your phone and you can’t, it suggests you’re having trouble expressing yourself. If you’re on the phone and you can’t hear the other person, you’re not listening to them in real life. If you’re trying to call 911 and you can’t get through, you’re seeking relationship advice.

“We have an inner dialogue all day long, and that conversation with the self continues as we drift off to sleep,” says Loewenberg. “Now it’s a symbolic and metaphoric conversation. It helps us better see and understand what’s going on so we can react accordingly and make better decisions,” And now, you (I) can take your (my) weird dream and move forward knowing exactly how you (I) feel.