What Does It Mean to Dream About Cheating or Being Cheated On?
If you're having dreams about cheating on your girlfriend or boyfriend or about being cheated on by your husband or wife, then take a step back and interpret the symbolism before you drive yourself mad with guilt or accuse your spouse or partner of infidelity.
What Do Dreams About Cheating Mean?
According to psychologist Danielle Forshee, Psy. D, cheating dreams have little to do with infidelity in your current relationship, but rather they symbolize guilt, insecurity, or fear in your waking life. In real life, these feelings of doubt are attached to people and situations that have nothing to do with your partner or your relationship. Feelings of insecurity or guilt towards a friend, a boss, or a family member can manifest as cheating on your partner in a dream. 50% of women and 36% of men report dreams of having an affair when they have a difficult decision to make in their waking life.
Cheating dreams reveal the following deep and hidden meanings about your current mood and the existing situations in your waking life:
- Insecurity and low self-esteem: Lately you've been feeling unworthy of something or incapable of others' expectations. Perhaps there is a goal you'd like to achieve, but you have failed or you're having a hard time attaining it. A low sense of self-worth leads to feelings of high insecurity that often manifests as cheating in a dream.
- Guilt: There is something in you're waking life that you don't quite feel right about. Examine your recent activities. Did you recently break a promise, say something hurtful, or hide something from someone? Something is eating at you on the inside, and your dream is telling you to go fix it in order to find peace.
- Fear of abandonment or neglect: You're craving attention and care, but you're not getting it in a certain area of your life. It could be that your partner has been acting distant lately or you're waiting for them to commit. You may also fear losing a job, not getting a promotion, or have a general sense of the world abandoning you when you need support.
- Boredom and lust for adventure: This doesn't necessarily mean that you are bored with your relationship although it can. A desire to experience something new can apply to just about anything, not just sex.
- Issues in current relationship: This is the obvious interpretation, but if it is true, then your dream is trying to remind you to work out the issues in your waking life or just leave. Listen to your intuition. If your gut feeling tells you something is wrong, then something probably is.
- Issues with the other woman or man: If you recognize the person you're cheating with or the person your partner is cheating on you with, then think closely about your relationship with that person. Are you jealous of her or him? Your insecurity about yourself and how this person is better than you commonly plays out as a dream about your partner choosing this person over you.
- Lack of trust: Lack of trust doesn't always regard sex. Is your partner making a skeptical decision or have you recently been doubting their ability to do something? If you're the one doing the cheating, then maybe you don't trust yourself to do what's best in your life.
- Premonition or intuition: Sometimes dreams reaffirm our gut feelings or they warn us about something we are not aware of. If you suspect your spouse or significant other is cheating on you, then your dream may be telling you to do a little more investigation in your waking life.
According to a study conducted by AmeriSleep, 23% of people have had dreams where they cheated or were cheated on by their significant other.
Interpretations of Common Cheating Dreams
1. Dreams of Sleeping With an Ex
Dreaming of having an affair with your ex is your subconscious mind's attempt to repair something in the past that went wrong. It usually has nothing to do with you wanting to get back with your ex or that you ex wants to get back with you. If you're in a relationship, dreams about an ex creep up when you are having some issue in your current romantic or sexual life, which may make you fear that your current relationship will end just like it did with the last. So, what your brain is trying to do is work out how things could have gone better in a past relationship to help you figure out how to fix the current one.
2. Cheating on Your Significant Other With Someone You Know
Seeing yourself cheating on your boyfriend or girlfriend with a coworker, a boss, or a friend means that you're devoting more time to this person than you are to your relationship.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Are you spending more time at work than you are at home?
- Are you thinking about a certain project involving that person while you are with your partner?
- Are you constantly preoccupied with this person and you feel guilty about not devoting quality time to spending with your partner?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then your dream is sending you the message that you need to prioritize your relationship. Step away from other areas of your life and devote more time to your boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife.
The obvious interpretation: If you didn't feel guilty in your dream and you enjoyed the relationship you had with this person during your dream, then you are likely attracted to this person in real life. It may be a sexual attraction or it could just be a deep admiration. The interpretation of that is for you to decide.
3. Dreams Where You Are Being Cheated On
Dreams about being cheated on commonly point to feelings of insecurity and neglect. Either your partner is neglecting you in your waking life or you feel unworthy of their love and attention. It is your own internal fear manifesting itself in terms of a relationship—the most precious and vulnerable part of your life. However, depending on the context of the dream and what is going on in your waking life, dreaming that your partner is cheating on you could be a warning sign or a confirmation of your worse suspicion.
Dreams of being cheated on commonly represent the following:
Fear of abandonment: Maybe you've had an experience before where the person you were dating just ghosts you and leaves without an explanation. It's hard to let go of these feelings, but unless your partner is doing something that is obvious (like flirting with your friend), then you should learn to trust and love your partner and don't let past insecurities ruin a perfectly healthy relationship.
Insecurity: Have you been feeling inadequate lately? Maybe you're not happy with your physical appearance or you're not happy in your current job. There is something in you're life that you are not completely content with, which means your dream is reflecting that insecurity in the form of your significant other leaving you for someone better.
Feeling neglected in your waking life: If your boyfriend or girlfriend has been preoccupied with something or someone other than you, you may have a sinking feeling that they will eventually leave you. Your partner may be spending too much time with their parents, their coworkers, or just knee deep in work all the time. Your dream reflecting the worse possible scenario and warning you that if you and your partner don't find a balance, the relationship may just end.
You don't trust him/her: The subconscious acts as a 6th sense sometimes. If you have been suspecting your significant other of breaking your trust—either in your relationship or in some other aspect—your dream can magnify that suspicion or even warn of it if it is true. However, this is only the case if you already think your SO is cheating on you in your waking life. If you are perfectly happy in your relationship, then there is no need to fear that your partner is cheating on you in real life.
4. Your Spouse/Partner Is Cheating on You With Your Friend
If you dream of your wife or husband cheating on you with your friend or someone you know, then it is likely a reflection of your insecurity around this person more than it is a warning of actual cheating.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you frequently compare yourself to this person?
- Are you jealous of this person?
- Do you wish you were more like this person?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, then your dream is simply projecting your jealously and insecurity. You think this friend is better than you, and you fear the one you love the most might choose your friend over you. If you have this dream, practice some self-love and self-appreciation. Stop comparing yourself to others, and instead, write down a list of things that you love about yourself. Work towards the things you don't like about yourself, but don't ever compare yourself to someone else.
5. Cheating on Your Spouse or Boyfriend/Girlfriend With a Stranger
If you have this dream, there can only be two interpretations: either you feel guilty about something in your waking life (doesn't necessarily have to do with your relationship) or your subconscious is fulfilling a deep and hidden desire for sexual freedom.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you feel bored in your current relationship?
- Do you ever wonder what it would be like to explore your sexuality in more liberal ways?
- Do you feel guilty about something?
Your feeling during the dream is really important to note. If you felt satisfaction and enjoyment out of the affair in your dream, then you definitely desire something more out of your current relationship. If you feel bad about cheating, then there is something in your waking life that you feel extremely guilty about.
6. You Are Cheating on Your Boyfriend/Girlfriend With His/Her Friend
This dream has nothing to do with whether you are attracted to the friend or whether you even want to cheat. It is a deep reflection of your fear of disappointing your boyfriend or girlfriend. The worst thing you can do to break someone's trust is to cheat on them with their best friend, so you may be feeling like you are not good enough to earn your significant other's trust.
7. Cheating Dreams Before Your Wedding
Having cheating dreams before a wedding is perfectly normal. After all, the thought of committing to a life partner for the rest of your life is not something you have done before. In fact, none of your past relationships lasted forever, so this is just your subconscious working through your anxiety of taking this big risk of commitment. It's completely normal to have just a tiny bit of doubt where you wonder, "Will this last forever?" Unless there are issues with your partner at the moment, these dreams are nothing to worry about.
8. Dreams of Cheating While Pregnant
Again, this is a dream that reflects insecurity. Women tend to gain weight, develop acne, lose their hair, and feel overall sluggish and unglamorous during their pregnancy. In addition to that, a woman's sex drive is low and sex with the husband is infrequent, leading to fears that the husband may fulfill his needs with someone else who is more sexually available and doesn't have a bloated belly.
- "The Stuff Dreams are Made Of," AmeriSleep. Published August 1, 2017.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.