Have you ever dreamt that your partner was cheating on you? Or that you were cheating on your partner? Let’s face it: Dealing with any sort of scandal (even in your slumber), can leave you feeling confused or anxious af. Maybe you’ve already suspected your partner of cheating and your subconscious is trying to send you a sign. Perhaps your dreams are a result of unhealed trauma from a previous relationship? Or maybe you just ate too many tacos before bed last night?
Before you shake your S.O. awake to begin interrogating them, it’s important to know that dreams of infidelity aren’t exactly uncommon. In fact, according to this study of 1,000 people, 31% of the women have dreamt of their partner cheating and 23% have dreamt of them cheating on their partners. (So, if this has happened to you, you are not alone!)
According to the Sleep Foundation, some psychologists argue that dreams provide insight into a person’s psyche or everyday life, while other psychologists find their content to be too “inconsistent or bewildering to reliably deliver any true significance.”
Now, don’t get me wrong, I do believe that dreams *may* convey real information and that they often reflect our everyday thoughts and feelings — as well as our deepest desires and concerns. However, that doesn’t mean that each dream is to be taken literally. Cheating dreams could equate to you simply feeling a sense of neglect or abandonment in your relationship.
“When we dream, we are tapping into our subconscious mind,” explains astrologer, Ashanti Ransom, also known as The Heaux Healer on IG. “We are dreaming about any and everything that you’ve ever thought of, seen, or imagined. The subconscious is such a deep place that almost anything can pop up in the mind’s eye.”
So, why do people dream about cheating?
“Because we are human, we all will experience nightmares from time to time,” says Jacqueline ‘Dr. Jac’ Sherman, licensed clinical psychologist and intimacy and relationship coach. “Bad dreams about cheating can feel equivalent to a bad nightmare because the dream can cause emotional distress, and sometimes even cause sleep disturbances. Additionally, there is research that suggests that people who have experienced infidelity in their relationships are more likely to have bad dreams involving their partner betraying their trust by being unfaithful.”
What are some of the potential meanings behind cheating dreams?
“Sometimes when you are grieving a traumatic situation like finding out your partner has been cheating, it can trigger abandonment wounds in your subconscious mind which may lead to nightmares,” notes Dr. Jac. “Also, when a current relationship is going well and someone has been cheated on by an ex, they may be holding on to emotions such as fear, insecurity or worry that can create anxiety and bad dreams.”
“When a person is deeply in tune with [their] mind, body, and soul, a dream of a partner cheating could very well be a message from your spiritual team that it's time to pay attention to what's happening in the relationship in waking life,” says Ashanti. “It’s almost like a warning. You also want to pay attention to what's happening in the dream. What is your partner doing? How are they acting? This may give you a clear indication of what could be happening. It may also be a play-up on your fears from a previous relationship that you haven't taken the time to heal properly.”
Could cheating dreams be a result of a person’s intuition or could they be unchecked damage from a past relationship?
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“Honestly, it can be a little bit of both. Sometimes past relationship trauma or infidelity can trigger emotions of jealousy, paranoia, and fear that can result in bad dreams,” says Dr. Jac. “Additionally, our intuition can help us realize that something does not feel right. If someone is having an intuitive feeling that their partner is cheating, this might lead to more thought rumination about betrayal. As a result, their anxiety may increase resulting in bad dreams, and nightmares are a symptom of anxiety.”
“Whenever a woman feels any type of uneasiness about a situation, I recommend that she follow her gut feelings,” explains Ashanti. “However, the dating pool right now is leaving lots of suitors scarred mentally and emotionally so, it very well can be from past trauma. In my opinion, I feel like the dating generation right now is operating from a place of getting hurt or being hurt. Nobody wants to be the hurt person so everyone is trying to beat each other to it.”
What do we need to do with these dreams about being cheated on once we have them?
“Most importantly, pay attention! Pay attention to how the dream made you feel when you were in it,” Ashanti explains. “How did you react once you heard or saw the news unfold? There isn’t much you can do because it may or may not have happened yet. I would also recommend talking to your partner. Look for that reassurance in your partner so you can feel some type of ease.”
“If the dreams do not bother you, I would say do nothing, overall, they are just dreams!” says Dr. Jac. “If the dreams are bothering you emotionally and/or are recurrent, I would suggest journaling about the emotions the dream elites from you. Journaling helps to provide self-awareness and insight, so starting here can help you recognize any distress you may be feeling as a result of the dreams.”
Here are four journaling prompts Dr. Jac recommends for a self-reflection process:
- What do you imagine this dream might mean for your relationship?
- What do you imagine this dream might mean about your partner?
- Is there anything from your past that this dream has triggered?
- What emotion(s) do you feel after experiencing this dream?
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