Here's What Your Cheating Dreams Really Say About Your Relationship, According To Science
by Kristine Fellizar
Ashley Batz/Bustle

Even if you know they're not real, dreams can still have a way of messing with your head throughout the rest of the day. For instance, if you're in a relationship where you're super in love with your partner and you suddenly, start having dreams about having sex with with someone else, it's may make you question some things. We all know that dreams are just dreams, but when it comes down to it, can cheating dreams hurt your relationship in any way?

It's a question I'm sure many of us have Googled at one point. So mattress brand, Amerisleep, recently conducted a survey of 1,000 people to figure it all out. As they found, nearly one in four people say they have dreamt about cheating on their partner or had dreams where their partner was cheating on them. Nearly 30 percent said it meant they were probably having feelings for someone else, and nearly 50 percent of women and 36 percent of men said it probably meant they had a non-relationship related "difficult decision" to make in their life. Many also believe that cheating dreams can bring up trust issues or anxieties within the relationship.

"Cheating dreams are one of the most common dreams reported to me and yes, it can impact the relationship," Lauri Loewenberg, professional Dream Analyst and author of Dream on It, Unlock Your Dreams Change Your Life tells Bustle. "The emotions we feel in the midst of the dream are very real and they can linger for quite a bit after awakening."

What It Means If You Dream That Your Partner Is Cheating On You

If you're dreaming that you're being cheated on, Loewenberg says those feelings of betrayal, jealousy or being left behind is the most important part to pay attention to. Usually, those emotions tend to connect to those that we feel in real life. However, she says, these feelings aren't typically caused by an actual affair going on. More often than not, it's actually caused by a third wheel in the relationship like work, fantasy football, or maybe even a new baby.

"These dreams tend to happen when the dreamer is feeling left out of or 'cheated' out of the time and attention he or she feels they deserve."

"These dreams tend to happen when the dreamer is feeling left out of or 'cheated' out of the time and attention he or she feels they deserve," Loewenberg says. Since time and attention is being given to something else, it can cause the dreamer to feel a sense of jealousy. "This is magnified at night within the dream state because it may not be being addressed in waking life or it is being handled incorrectly," she says.

What If This Is A Reoccurring Dream?

If this dream is repetitive and there's really no reason to suspect that your partner is cheating on you (besides the dream), then figure out what makes you feel like you're being a third wheel. Then, of course, being it up with your partner in an understanding way. "Let him or her know you are feeling a bit left out. Offer to cut back on something of yours as well. Compromise. Set a date night," Loewenberg says. "Find a way for the two of you to get more quality time together." If you talk it out, then maybe your feelings of being left out won't play out in your dream.

What It Means If You're The One Cheating On Your Partner

"When we sleep, our subconscious takes us on a ride, and we can't control what comes from that," Victoria M. Beltran, MPH, CHES, sexual health educator, and founder of the sexual health education site Healthy Sex and You, tells Bustle.

Maybe you thought about sex during the day. Maybe you saw someone good looking a week ago. Maybe you haven't had sex in a while. "All of this can be worked out through dreams, but they don't describe what we want to do in real life necessarily," she says. So overall, it's really no big deal. It's just another fantasy. If you don't act on it, you won't have any problems.

What If You Dream You're Cheating With Your Ex?

But what about dreaming of someone you know? Like an ex for instance. If you are dreaming that you're cheating on your current partner with your ex, Loewenberg says these dreams tend to happen when your current relationship has become too routine or "hum drum." Cheating with your ex dreams don't typically mean you want your ex back, but rather what the ex represents. If it's a first love or someone you had super great chemistry with, these dreams are a reminder that you and your relationship is worthy of passion.

Why Cheating Dreams Can Actually Bring You Closer Together

Dreams that involve infidelity can have you questioning yourself, your partner, and even your relationship. But don't let it bring you all kinds of unnecessary anxiety. In fact, as Loewenberg says, cheating dreams can actually fan the flames in your relationship. "These dreams can shine a light on an issue that needs to be addressed, a feeling that is not being taken care of," she says. "It can even be a gentle nudge from your psyche to start spicing things up!"

Everyone has sex dreams and everyone has fantasies. I, for instance, recently had a crazy realistic dream about an ex I haven't talked to in years. I spent a good day or two agonizing over whether it means I should reach out or maybe even just do a little Facebook snooping to see what he's been up to. I ended up not doing any of that, but that just goes to show you that dreams can have a way of sticking with you and messing with your emotions while you're awake.

"Cheating dreams can only cause problems in your relationship if you're a dream chaser."

"Although there are experts in the psychological field who believe dreams can be tools to use to decipher deep hidden truths lying inside of our minds, it would not be wise to read too much into your dreams about lovers which are outside of your marriage or partnership," Dating and Relationship Expert, Megan Weks tells Bustle. "This is perfectly normal and healthy and can be comparable to any other kind of fantasizing. There are two kinds of people: those who dream about cheating and those who don't remember their dreams. Cheating dreams can only cause problems in your relationship if you're a dream chaser. My suggestion is to enjoy them when they come along every so often, don't overthink them, and don't attempt them in real life!"

So dreams don't have to be a big deal if you don't make them a big deal. If you're having dreams about cheating, take a deep breath and remember that it's what you do when you're awake that really counts.