In the real world, you'd never dream of stepping out on your honey; but when you go to sleep, suddenly you're Don Draper, rolling through dream after dream where you are cheating on your significant other. You wake up confused, ashamed — and wondering what exactly these cheating dreams could possibly mean. Do you actually want a side-piece, and just not know it? Or is this all just more kooky dream nonsense, like that time you dreamed you went hot-air ballooning with Coolio? And what about dreams where your significant other is cheating on you? Do they justify freaking out when you wake up and reading through all of their text messages ("Who's this 'Mom' woman who's always telling you that she loves you?!")?
If you've wasted a truly shocking amount of daylight hours trying to make sense of cheating dreams, you're not alone —in fact, dreams about being cheated on are one of the top five most common dream topics out there. Luckily, cheating dreams rarely have anything to actually do with infidelity —rather, according to dream interpretation site Dream Moods, cheating dreams are usually about insecurity, low self-esteem, and fear of abandonment. You know, all the really fun stuff. But at least they don't mean that someone's taking an unauthorized ride on your love's baloney pony, or illicitly jamming on their clam! You can take some comfort in that, right?
Let's all learn about the seven most common cheating dreams, courtesy of Dream Moods and other dream analysts — and remember, take it all with a grain of salt. After all, sometimes, the only thing our craziest dreams mean is that we ate too much three-alarm chili before bed.
Dreams where you're cheating on your significant other
Why were you putting the moves on another in your dreams? Dreams where you're the cheater often signal that you have "feelings of ... guilt and self-betrayal. You have compromised your beliefs or integrity." And it doesn't have to have anything to do with your romantic life — sometimes cheating dreams represent "a situation where you cheated or where you were being dishonest."
Dreams where you cheat on your significant other with someone you know
A dream where you go at it with an ex, a friend, or your boss can make you feel even worse than a cheating dream about a stranger — and they can also make it pretty awkward the next time you see your dream-cheating partner IRL. But cheer up —these dreams definitely don't mean that you want to hook up with your boss (who is married, 30 years older than you, and has hair growing from places that you were not aware hair could grow from).
Instead, these kind of dreams often represent that you're giving too much time and attention to something in your life, to the detriment of your relationship. Dream expert Lauri Loewenberg believes that these kinds of cheating dreams can symbolize something that is (mentally or physically) "cheating" your boo out of quality time with you.
Dreams where your significant other cheats on you
One in five women has dreamed of being cheated on, so know that there doesn't have to be anything bad afoot in your relationship for this dream to pop up —in fact, dream expert Delphi Ellis told The Mirror UK that, "the dream is most common, ironically, when the relationship is going well." (Because we are all paranoid.)
But your dream of being cheated on could still point to some aspects of your relationship that need work — most dreams of being cheated on come from "your insecurities and your fears of being abandoned. You feel that you are being taken for granted ... Alternatively, you may feel that you are not measuring up to the expectations of others."
Dreams where you get caught cheating
Dreamed that you got caught with your hand in the proverbial cookie jar? Loewenburg thinks that " [t]he guilt you feel in the dream is going to be directly connected to something in waking life you feel guilty about." So clearing your conscience about how you lied your way out of that speeding ticket may help you clear your sleeping mind.
Dreams where you're the "other woman"
And not in the fun "starring in a Cameron Diaz movie" way. What do dreams that you are someone's side chick mean? Often, says Loewenburg, they can mean that "you are not feeling valued," especially if the dream affair makes you feel dirty or guilty.
Dreams where you're cheating with multiple people at once
Fell asleep and accidentally dropped into the orgy scene from Eyes Wide Shut? Dreams of cheating in a group situation may just mean that you're feeling insecure or guilty ... but they can also mean that you may have a need to experiment. "It may also mean that there is some sort of confusion in how and where you distribute your energies. You may be going into too many directions and as a result, are spread too thin."
Dreams where you're partner swapping
Ever have that dream where you and your partner are on a double-date with Brad and Angelina, and then they invite you to come check out their wine cellar, and, you know, one thing leads to another? Well, that dream may simply mean that "you are in a rut and want to add some spice" — or that you just really, really, really liked Mr. and Mrs. Smith. We'll leave interpreting that one up to you, little dreamer.