When I opened the door to our apartment, my boyfriend was getting it on with Ilana from Broad City. "I'm just swinging!" he yelled in his defense, to which I retorted, "It's not swinging if I don't consent!" If you haven't guessed, this wasn't real life; it was a cheating dream — a very common kind of dream to have.
Dream analyst Lauri Quinn Loewenberg tells Bustle that being cheated on is one of the five most common dreams her clients report. "Whatever the case may be, the cheating dream is good for you because it is shining a light on an issue in your relationship that needs to be corrected," she says. "Once you are able to connect the dots between the cheating dream and the issue that triggered it, you need to work to correct it. Your dreams will always serve as a guide to every part of your life, letting you know what is wrong and what is right, what direction to take and what direction to avoid. Look at your dreams as your second brain that is much wiser and much more honest with you than your waking brain."
The good thing is that while there may be a chance it's a psychic premonition (if you believe in that), your cheating dream is most likely not literal. Loewenberg suggests asking yourself if you have a reason to suspect your partner's cheating. If you don't, chances are they're not. Here are a few things that a dream about your partner cheating could mean.
1. You're Scared They'll Cheat
This is the most obvious possibility. Those with frequent cheating dreams may feel insecure about their own desirability and fear their partner will find someone better. Whatever the source of the fear, the dream may indicate a real-life fear that you could benefit from discussing with your partner.
2. You've Been Cheated On Before And Aren't Over It
People who have been cheated on often later have cheating dreams, says Loewenberg. If your partner has cheated before, a cheating dream may indicate that you have yet to rebuild trust. If someone else has cheated on you, you may be afraid your partner will do the same.
3. There's A "Third Wheel" In The Relationship
Even if your partner doesn't have another partner or romantic interest, you may feel that someone or something is getting between you. This could be a friend of theirs, their job, a baby, or anything that makes you feel "cheated" out of the time you feel they owe you, says Loewenberg.
4. You Feel Betrayed
You might've recently had a fight with your partner that made you feel betrayed, if not in the typical sense, says Loewenberg. You may feel, for example, that you didn't see eye to eye or that they weren't prioritizing you.
5. You Actually Suspect They're Cheating
OK, so now for the bad part: Sometimes, cheating dreams indicate a subconscious belief that your partner really could be cheating, says Loewenberg. Maybe you've ignored the signals because you don't want to face them in your waking life, but it's harder to suppress your feelings when you're sleeping.
6. You Feel Like They Don't Care About Any Of This
Many cheating dreams, like the one I recently had, involve a surprising nonchalance on the partner's part, says Loewenberg. Often, the cheater's cheating right out in the open. This likely reflects your partner's lack of awareness or concern that they're hurting you in some way. You may feel like they're not acknowledging the pain they're causing. If this is the case, the dream may be a call to approach them so that they can be more aware of how their behavior is affecting you and the relationship.
Whatever the meaning of the dream, it can be a conversation-starter to discuss issues in your relationship, so consider sharing it with your partner. At the very least, if it's anything like mine, you can get a good laugh out of it.