Dreaming That Your Partner Cheated On You? Here Are 7 Things It Could Mean
Dreaming that your partner cheated on you is undoubtedly jarring—and potentially a recipe for a fight the next day. But are these dreams actually a sign of infidelity or something deeper? Here's what to know (including if you were the one doing the cheating).
7 things your cheating dreams could be telling you.
First things first: Dreaming that your partner cheated does not definitively mean they cheated in real life or will in the future. Of course, we can't totally rule that out either—but according to professional dream analyst Lauri Loewenberg, these dreams are typically indicative of other issues within a relationship. (And for what it's worth, she also notes this is one of the most common dreams she's asked about.)
With that said, let's dig in:
You feel like a third wheel in your relationship.
According to Loewenberg, one of the most common reasons people dream about their partners cheating isn't because they actually cheated but rather, the dreamer feels cheated in the relationship in some way. Perhaps your partner has been taking on extra hours at work and doesn't have as much time for you, for instance. As Loewenberg explains, "Something in the relationship feels like a third wheel, [and] the attention you're used to getting is now almost nonexistent in some cases."
You're healing from previous instances of infidelity.
Having nightmares about things that happened to you in the past is not uncommon, and infidelity is no exception. If you've been cheated on before, whether by your current partner or a previous one, Loewenberg tells mindbodygreen those fears can absolutely surface in your dreams. "The distrust and the remnants of that infidelity are still very much there in your psyche, and so it's something that needs to be worked on," she says, adding that if you have no reason other than the dream to suspect cheating, "You haven't healed from that and you need to take measures to protect your current relationship because it's not fair to your partner."
You feel cheated in some area of your life.
In some cases, you might dream up a partner who doesn't actually exist in real life, only for them to cheat on you in the dream. In this case, Loewenberg says this dream partner represents an area of your life where you're feeling cheated. "The feeling you're getting in the dream is real somewhere in your life, so maybe you got cheated out of a promotion, or your friends are able to go out and you can't because you're bogged down with work, so you feel left out," she explains.
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Your relationship feels more like a friendship.
According to Loewenberg, knowing who your partner actually cheated with can be a clue to what the dream is really trying to say, adding that people often dream their best friend is the one their partner cheated with. In this case, she says, the dream can indicate that your relationship is starting to feel more like a friendship than a romance and is lacking a bit of spark.
Something about your relationship is bothering you.
Similar to No. 1, Loewenberg tells mindbodygreen that some cheating dreams involve actually witnessing the cheating in action. In this case, she says, "That's a telltale sign it's something like their job that's causing you to get this feeling of being left out." You may feel betrayed while at the same time knowing your partner has to make a living, for example. Your partner in the dream may not act like it's a big deal that you caught them cheating because in real life, they have no idea you feel betrayed, she adds.
You feel guilty about something.
OK—so what if you were the one who cheated in the dream? If you have a crush on someone and they're popping up in your dreams, of course, that's a more obvious case. But if not, Loewenberg says, you could be feeling guilty that something is taking time away from your relationship, like work or family responsibilities. "A lot of people in relationships start living separate lives under the same roof, so that can result in a cheating dream because subconsciously, there's an issue that needs to be addressed," she explains.
Your intuition is trying to tell you something.
Lastly, as aforementioned, we can't rule out a possibility of real-life infidelity. Take this with a grain of salt (please!) but intuition is certainly real, and Loewenberg says it's "definitely not out of the question" to have a cheating dream when your partner is actually cheating, especially if they have a history of being unfaithful. "But of course, the main thing you need to look at is whether there's anything else besides the dream that would be leading you to those suspicions," she says. If you have nothing to go on besides the dream, she adds that "it's likely something else that feels like an intrusion within the relationship."
How to work through the dream and move forward.
Depending on what you think your cheating dreams are trying to tell you, you've got a few options for how to approach working through them. For one thing, Loewenberg says, it's a good idea to open up a conversation with your partner, adding to avoid being accusatory or hostile.
When you bring up the dream, tell them why you think you had it. "The way you can bring it up is like, 'I had that dream you were cheating again, but I think I know what it means—I feel like we're not having enough time together,' for example," she explains. From there, she says, you can work on the issue(s) within your relationship, and the cheating dreams may very well stop.
Or, if you think trust issues could be at the bottom of your cheating dreams, perhaps you do some inner work and talk to your partner about building up more trust between the two of you.
In any case, "Honest conversations—and doing something about it. That's the key to ending any kind of dream," according to Loewenberg.
What do dreams about your partner cheating mean?
Dreaming that your partner cheated does not definitively mean they cheated in real life or will in the future. These dreams are typically indicative of other issues within a relationship, such as trust issues or feeling "cheated" in some way.
What does it mean if you dream about cheating on your girlfriend?
Unless you're thinking about cheating in real life, too, dreaming that you cheated on your girlfriend can mean you feel guilty about how you're showing up (or not showing up) in your relationship.
Is it cheating if you dream about someone else?
No, you didn't cheat because you dreamed about someone else. If you have real-life feelings for the person you cheated with in the dream, however, that is something to look at honestly.
Cheating dreams are often symbolic, like so many other common dream themes. While we can't rule out actual infidelity, oftentimes, a cheating dream is more likely indicative of another issue in your relationship that's left you feeling "cheated." With some attention and care in your relationship, the cheating dreams should stop.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.