You’re grateful when you get a solid six hours of uninterrupted sleep at night. (And if you manage to get an awesome dream in there that involves a clean kitchen and kiddos who don’t fight, all the better.) But what happens when nighttime slumber involves sexy time with your partner — but you’re not a part of that picture? Cheating dreams can often be a nightmare, and they can be hard to shake even when the sun comes up. So what does it mean to dream of your partner cheating? It might not be what you think.
Even if it’s only a dream, seeing your partner having sex with someone else is disturbing — sweet dreams are not made of this. But they may be a sign that your subconscious is trying to tell you something. “These dreams are indeed upsetting, but they are good for you because they are trying to help you improve your current relationship by shining a light on what is wrong with it,” dream expert Lauri Loewenberg tells Romper.
Here's what it means to dream of your partner cheating — and how you can repair the relationship.
A cheating dream can signify something coming between you and your partner
“I have found that the most common reason we dream our partner is cheating is because there is something in the relationship that feels like a third wheel,” says Loewenberg. “Usually it's work, but it could be anything from your partner spending too much time with their friends, working on a side hustle or maybe even a new baby that's now the object of affection.” A dream about cheating doesn’t necessarily have to be about another person, but rather, something that has the potential to wreck your relationship. So if it’s safe to assume that your partner is loyal, ask yourself what’s causing you to feel left out or that you’re not getting enough time with them. Once you’ve uncovered the issue, speak with your partner so that your feelings are heard and you can both devote more time to the relationship.
A cheating dream can be because you’ve been cheated on in the past
“If the infidelity happened in your current relationship, these dreams are a very clear indication that this is an issue that is still alive within you,” advises Loewenberg. She advises seeking professional help from a marriage or relationship counselor to address your situation .
If the infidelity happened prior to your relationship, your dream might be an indicator that you still have lingering feelings of distrust or insecurity. Take some time to figure out if there’s something going on in your life that is triggering you, and more importantly, when the dream (or dreams) began. This can give you a clue as to whether your dream is something to dismiss — or a sign that history is repeating itself.
A cheating dream can be a sign of disconnect in your relationship
“The dream could mean that you and your partner are emotionally disconnected,” Dr. Danine Dean, a licensed psychologist, tells Romper. All that sexiness that you and your partner got off on can go by the wayside when your relationship feels stagnant or you’re overwhelmed by other priorities, like filling sippy cups and potty training. So if both you and your partner have been faithful, to dream of your partner cheating might be a sign that you’re disengaged from the relationship. But before you discuss this with a partner, Dr. Dean suggests asking yourself a few questions. “The goal of discussing your dreams with your partner might be to help yourself identify what it means to you or your partnership,” she explains. “Is discussing this going to bring us closer or make us feel further apart?” Ultimately, being able to share your dreams might make you feel more secure and satisfied with your relationship.
A cheating dream can be about you feeling like you’re missing out
“Our dreams are personal and might be a tiny message about some of the parts of us that need more attention,” explains Dr. Dean. Some life changes might lead you to put your own dreams temporarily on hold. While it might be a necessity for now, it shouldn’t become a permanent part of your lifestyle. So a cheating dream might not mean your partner has a wandering eye, but rather be shining a spotlight on some part of you that feels like it’s lacking. You might want to talk to a therapist about your dream, not as it relates to your relationship with your partner, but the one you have with yourself.
A cheating dream might be a premonition of actual infidelity
“Analyzing your dream can be a rich experience, since it may help you learn whether you need to work on yourself or whether you have some premonition,” licensed couples therapist Noelia Leite, Ph.D., LMFT, tells Romper. “If you feel your dream is more like an alert,” she says, then yes, it could be a sign that your partner is cheating on you as opposed to a result of your own insecurities. Of course you won’t know for sure until you have a conversation with your partner, and seeking professional help to uncover what could be causing these types of dreams could also help clarify things.
To dream of your partner cheating isn’t the most ideal way to spend time between the sheets. But they can’t be controlled, and looking into the meaning behind them can offer you an opportunity for self-reflection to see what could be triggering these very real (and very valid) feelings. Because at the end of the day (literally), your dreams are a gift from yourself to yourself to help you have the life you truly want.
Noelia Leite, Ph.D., LMFT, a licensed individual and couples therapist
Danine Dean, a licensed psychologist
Lauri Loewenberg, dream expert