Your dreams may feel like a weird collage of random images, people, and events, but they could actually reveal a lot about what's going on in your head. So, if it's been on your mind, chances are your relationship will show up in your dreams. And if you know how to decode your dreams, you could receive some helpful guidance about your relationship. Think of it as free therapy.
"Your dreams can reveal any underlying anxiety, as well as trust issues in your relationship that need addressing," relationship coach Michele Meiche, PhD tells Bustle. "Dreams bring messages and guidance from deep within our subconscious and, some say, our very soul. Dreams reveal what we want to have happen, what we fear happening, and what is actually happening and/or will be happening in the future." Sometimes, our dreams let us make sense of things that our brains haven't processed while we're awake.
Some people even believe dreams can reveal the future or something in the present that's hidden from us. Even if they have no psychic powers, though, they can still say a lot about what's going on in our own minds. When it comes to your relationship, here are some things to look out for in dreams, because they could give you valuable information.
Don't Take It Literally
If you dream of your partner cheating, that doesn't mean they're cheating — it's more likely to mean that you're afraid of them cheating, mental health consultant Mark Henick tells Bustle. Don't take your dreams as signs of what's going on in real life. They're reflections of your own thoughts, which may or may not reflect reality.
Your Partner Could Actually Be You
We tend to associate our partners with certain qualities we lack, so in our dreams, our partners could actually represent parts of us, says Henick. How you and your partner interact in the dream could reveal how you're expressing (or not expressing) a certain part of yourself.
If You See A Bear, Take Note
Since bears are a classic human fear, they often represent problems in dreams, says Meiche. So, how you react to a bear in a dream can reveal how you're handling the problems in your relationship. If you run away, you may be hiding from something. If you attack it, you may be verbally "attacking" your partner.
Dogs Are Significant, Too
"What I have found in my research is that what will reveal the most about our relationships is any dream about a dog," dream analyst Lauri Quinn Loewenberg tells Bustle. "A dog often represents a relationship in your life where there should be loyalty, companionship, and friendship, as these are the qualities we attribute to dogs." Being attacked by a dog indicates that you feel unsafe or uncared for in your relationship. A friendly dog, on the other hand, is a sign your relationship is providing what you need.
A Dream About Someone Else Could Be Exactly What You Fear
Many people notice that after they dream about an ex, a friend, or someone else outside the relationship, they wake up longing for them. This could mean you really do have interest in someone else, certified counselor and Popular Man founder David Bennett tells Bustle. That doesn't mean, of course, that you should make that dream a reality or tell your partner about it. You may want to resolve those emotions yourself, though.
The Most Revealing Part Is The Emotion
If you feel anxious about your relationship in a dream, you probably do in real life. "Maybe that's the function of the dream — to bring a concern or insecurity in the back of your mind out into the open, where it can be worked with rather than tucked away," says Henick. On the flip side, if you feel peaceful and happy, that's a positive sign for your relationship.
All that said, dream symbols mean different things to different people. Your dreams are your subconscious' way of speaking to itself in its own language — and the way to understand this language is to pay attention to whatever thoughts and feelings come up.