A 36-year-old woman had the following recurring dream:
“I’ve been having dreams over the last five years that my husband is cheating on me. He is a really good guy and gives me no reason to suspect that he actually is, but when I wake up the dreams feel so real it scares me and I don’t know what to do.”
Dreams of being cheating on are quite common, and like with this dreamer they can make us feel very scared when we wake up, or very mad at our partner even though they didn’t actually do anything. Since the dream had been recurring for five years, I asked this dreamer if anything had changed five years prior, since recurring dreams are usually linked to something in our waking life. She said that was around the time he took a job requiring a lot of travel.
By doing some more detective work we sleuthed that the dreams did indeed correlate with his business trips, either while he was away or about to leave. Dreams of cheating usually indicate that we are feeling cheated out of time with our partner. His travels became “the other woman” in her dream world. Working with and understanding these recurring dreams, and sharing them with her husband, prompted them to plan special date nights and carve out more time together while he was in town.
This both reassured her psyche and fortified their relationship. After this awareness, and the consequent action they took to remedy the situation, she no longer had the recurring dreams even when he left town.
In another version of the cheating dream, sometimes we are the ones doing the cheating. For example, a different woman had a dream that she was cheating on her boyfriend. She had recently taken up a new hobby and was spending a lot of time in classes and practice groups for her new interest. Her boyfriend was not only fine with it, he was very actually very supportive of her pursing a passion and he enjoyed her newfound enthusiasm. However, she had some old programming that said it wasn’t okay to take care of her own needs while in a relationship. These old messages triggered feelings of guilt, which then created the dream story of her cheating on her boyfriend.
We are all living unconscious stories that can be very strong drivers for how we run our lives. When we break the script of our story, even though it may be in a very healthy way, it can feel like we are doing something wrong even though it is very right in the sense of enhancing our quality of life and our sense of connection to self and other. This dream brought to light her old programming and caused her to re-evaluate it, while at the same time it prompted her, like the previous dreamer, to add more quality time with her boyfriend to her busy schedule.
While these dreams may cause us to wonder, “is my partner really cheating,” or “am I a bad person for dreaming that I cheated?”, usually this dream is a metaphor. If you have reasons to believe your partner is actually having an affair, then do your homework to find out the truth so you can either put your mind at ease or make the necessary decisions to address the situation and take care of yourself. However, in the majority of cases this dream is a symbol of feeling like something is interfering with the relationship, but that something is not necessarily another person.
Whether it is our self or our partner who is the cheater, anything that feels like it takes away from our relationship can translate to the symbol of cheating. Factors such as working a lot of hours, caring for a family member, excess time spent on electronic devices, even physical or mental health issues such as chronic illness or depression can feel like they are taking away from our relationship. Our dreaming mind cares deeply about our relationships, and will show us when we need to tend to them to fulfill our spirit’s longing for connection. If you have this dream theme, consider it a message to explore the ways in which connection may have been compromised, and use it as a catalyst to repair and spend more time with the person you love.