Cheating dreams are some of the most common dreams. A recent study on the nature of dreams revealed that up to a quarter of participants had dreamt about cheating or being cheated on in the past year alone.
While they're pretty harmless, cheating dreams tend to leave you questioning your relationship, your partner, and even yourself.
With so many different interpretations, trying to figure out the meaning of dreams about cheating can be overwhelming. However, don’t fret; I'll clarify a few things in this article.
Things to know
- Dreams serve as a way to process emotions and memories, allowing us to make sense of them and make it through stressful times. They can also nudge us in the right direction by bringing up unresolved feelings and memories that are linked to our current emotional state.
- Cheating dreams can leave you questioning your relationship, partner, and self, but they are usually harmless and have various interpretations.
- Possible causes of cheating dreams include recurring nightmares, feeling cheated in waking life, unresolved trust issues, experiencing major changes in a relationship, tension in other parts of your life, a strained emotional connection, anxiety about the future, and pregnancy.
Along with why we dream in the first place, here's what else we'll be exploring about cheating dreams:
- Why We Dream
- What Does It Mean When You Dream Of Your Partner Cheating On You?
- What Does It Mean When You Dream Of Cheating On Your Partner?
- What Symbolizes Cheating In A Dream?
- Don't Overthink Things And Sleep Easy
Why We Dream
What purpose do our dreams serve? Do they even serve a purpose at all? Here are a few interesting perspectives about why we dream:
To help process our emotions
While we dream, the part of the brain responsible for processing emotions and storing memories becomes more active. Our daily experiences are linked to similar experiences and stored away.
As these experiences and emotions are consolidated, dream images are formed. Things and people that are important to us make up some of our strongest dream images, so it's no surprise that romantic partners feature in our dreams quite often.
Dreams serve as important emotional outlets. As we dream, we process our feelings and try to make sense of them. This allows us to make it through stressful times.
To nudge us in the right direction
Your dreams may seem random, but they are linked to your current emotional state. What could dreaming about your boyfriend cheating have to do with your life right now? What could dreams of your girlfriend cheating reveal about your conscious mind? Well, a lot.
Your mind has stored away certain memories and experiences, anticipating the best time to bring them up. Dreams are hardly predictions; instead, they represent unresolved feelings and things we are trying to make sense of.
To prepare us for challenges
Dreams can sometimes feel eerily lifelike. This is because when we dream, our neural patterns are similar to when we're awake.
Interestingly enough, this is also why the situations we face in our dreams can be great practice for real life. Basically, our dreams serve to remind us that if we've made it through something before, we can make it through again.
To help us solve problems
While they may appear nonsensical, the images and symbols we encounter in our dreams allow us to make essential connections and solve problems. Dreams shed light on issues that need to be addressed, motivating us to work through them.
What Does It Mean When You Dream Of Your Partner Cheating On You?
What could be worse than a dream about your partner cheating on you?
You experience the pain, disappointment, anger, and frustration as if it were happening in real-time, only to wake up and see your partner sleeping soundly next to you.
Even though you know it's only a dream, you can't help but wonder what it means. Here are a few reasons you might be having dreams about your partner cheating on you:
Yep. You read that right. Sometimes dreams of a romantic partner or spouse cheating are just nightmares.
What to do about it: Up to 8% of adults still struggle with recurring nightmares. Although nightmares tend to occur spontaneously, stress and anxiety are usually the root cause. To reduce the occurrence of nightmares, find healthy ways of dealing with stress, such as meditation and yoga.
Sleep deprivation is also known to cause bad dreams, so try to get good quality sleep. Follow a regular sleep schedule and work out to combat nightmare-causing stress.
Certain substances have been shown to disrupt sleep patterns: namely alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine. For more restful sleep, try to limit your consumption of these substances.
You feel cheated in your waking life
Dreams are usually a manifestation of suppressed emotions and other underlying issues. What we feel during our waking lives is often amplified in our dreams. Feeling cheated out of time or attention in your waking life can come up in your dreams.
Is your partner tied up with work lately? Have they taken on a new hobby? If they're a little busy and you're feeling neglected, your unconscious mind could be trying to resolve these feelings while you're asleep.
What to do about it: Like all recurring dreams, constantly dreaming about your partner cheating on you points to strong unresolved feelings.
Get to the root of your frustration and bring it up to your partner in a non-accusatory way. Hopefully, this will help you strike a balance between alone time and quality time together.
You have unresolved trust issues
Bad dreams usually point to difficult emotions we're trying to work through. While cheating dreams say little about your partner's trustworthiness, they may tell you something about your insecurity levels.
You might have scars from past relationships or baggage from past experiences that are leading to a lack of trust in those around you. You may even have abandonment issues. All these issues could be showing up as cheating, a symbol that your mind associates with betrayal.
What to do about it: Look within to figure out the cause of your trust issues. Could you be struggling with low self-esteem? By facing the issues head-on and getting the help you need, you might put your cheating dreams to rest.
You're going through major changes in your relationship
Dreams often help us cope with stressful times and major transitions in our lives. In fact, dreams are considered a form of self-therapy. Cheating dreams could be a way for your subconscious mind to make sense of all the emotional changes occurring in your relationship.
What to do about it: It's normal for relationships to go through different stages. The key is to find ways to sustain a healthy connection through the changes. Confide in your partner, let them know how you're feeling, and find a way to get through the changes together.
You're experiencing tension in other parts of your life
Your dreams may have nothing to do with your partner at all. Tension in other areas of your life could be triggering feelings of betrayal and anger that are manifesting as cheating dreams.
What to do about it: Take stock of the other meaningful relationships in your life. Are you being treated unfairly at work? Do you have strained family relationships? Figure out which relationships are leaving you feeling betrayed and work on improving them.
Your emotional connection is on the rocks
Cheating dreams might echo what you feel in your waking life. If you fear that your relationship is on the rocks, those negative thoughts might invade your dreams, too.
If your emotional connection is strained or if it feels like you're dating a completely different person lately, your mind might be jumping to the worst-case scenario.
What to do about it: You may need to accept that your relationship is in trouble and deal with your issues before it's too late. Have an honest conversation with your partner and if need be, seek professional help.
You're anxious about the future
Maybe things are getting serious, and you're anxious about the future. Perhaps you're in a vulnerable situation, and your dependence on your partner has increased. It's possible for your anxiety to come up as cheating dreams.
What to do about it: Figure out why you feel you can't trust your partner. Could your insecurities be fueling your anxiety, or has your partner given you a reason to doubt them?
Cheating dreams are most frequently reported in pregnancy. Because of all the physical and emotional changes occurring, it's not uncommon for pregnant women to dream about their partners or husbands cheating.
What to do about it: You're going through a life-changing transition, so it's normal to feel stressed out. It's also normal for you to question your choice of partner and whether they'll be there for you and your unborn child.
Your mind is preparing you
If one of your biggest fears is your partner cheating on you and destroying everything you've built, your dreams could be a form of real-life practice.
By making you experience this in your dreams, your subconscious mind could be trying to prepare you for the event that it happens.
What to do about it: There's no controlling what your mind chooses to fixate on while you're asleep. You also can't choose what 'survival lessons' your mind feels you need to learn.
What Does It Mean When You Dream Of Cheating On Your Partner?
What if you're doing all the cheating in your dreams? It's easy to start questioning your relationship or let the guilt consume you. Here's what dreaming about cheating on your partner could mean:
We have no control over the different things our minds cook up when we dream. So there's really no way of knowing what triggers cheating dreams.
What to do about it: Acknowledge that fantasies are perfectly normal. As long as you don't want to act on them during your waking hours, you have nothing to worry about.
You're sexually frustrated
If your love life is feeling a little lackluster lately, sex dreams featuring other people may become a regular occurrence.
Rather than a desire to cheat on your current partner, these dreams might simply represent fantasies that you want to experience in your waking life.
What to do about it: It’s time to have an honest conversation with your partner. Express your concerns about your sex life and invite them to do the same. Then, come up with a win-win arrangement that keeps both of you satisfied.
You're feeling neglected
Perhaps your relationship isn't satisfying you anymore. It's possible to carry this frustration into your dreams and cause your subconscious mind to seek relief in another person.
What to do about it: Left unaddressed, negative emotions can build up and lead to frustration and resentment. Openly discuss your needs with your partner and encourage them to do the same.
You have lingering insecurities
Cheating on your partner may point to lingering insecurities. If your cheating dreams feature an ex, for instance, you might be afraid that your current relationship is heading down the same road.
What to do about it: Consider your dreams a wake-up call — especially if they're recurring. It might be time to prioritize your relationship and rekindle that spark before it's too late.
You’re feeling guilty about something
If you're feeling guilty about something and it weighs heavily on you, it might show up as dreams of cheating on your partner.
Because dreams are symbolic, cheating on your partner could signify feeling like you're betraying someone important to you. It could also have a deeper meaning, like feeling disappointed in yourself.
What to do about it: Reflect on the source of your troubled emotions and seek professional help. Work on why you feel like you're letting yourself down. Have you been neglecting your goals? Are you cheating yourself by placing others' needs above your own?
What Symbolizes Cheating In A Dream?
If cheating dreams don't necessarily point to infidelity, are there any dream symbols that do? Unfortunately, there aren't any universal dream symbols for cheating. The symbols you see in your dreams are often subjective and hold meanings that are only clear to you.
Your unique experiences in the dream world are not only symbols but metaphors for emotions, events, places, situations, and even yourself. Understanding your dreams requires you to figure out what these symbols mean to you.
Making note of what you feel when you dream of certain things is usually a great place to start. Consider keeping a dream journal to help you with this and with keeping track of the frequency of certain dreams.
Don't Overthink Things And Sleep Easy
Often, dreams have a way of sneaking into our waking lives and affecting our emotions and the way we see things.
Whether you're plagued by vivid images of your partner's infidelity, or you're the one doing all the cheating, remember that these dreams can only cause problems if you let them.
So refrain from making accusations and do some much-needed introspection. Instead of overthinking, focus on making the most of your relationship while you're awake.