While walking hand in hand with your significant other, have you ever stolen an innocent glance and allowed your eyes to wander towards an attractive person? Has the thought of your partner doing the same thing ever crossed your mind?
According to House of Cards fictitious President, Frank Underwood, “If we never did anything we shouldn't do, we'd never feel good about doing the things we should.”
Body language can be one of the simplest and easiest tell-tale signs to interpret how someone is feeling about a situation, but there’s another area that has largely gone unnoticed from honest interpretation. Our dreams.
Dreams are a topic of endless fascination in friendly conversation. You can share them, laugh about them, and even use them as inspiration for new ideas. But, they can sometimes be a dirty little secret!
Perhaps it’s the tantalizing thrill we felt after dreaming about the cute barista who always gives us a sly wink after writing our names incorrectly on our cups. Or feeling upset (and a little silly) over a having a dream in which Jay-Z betrayed Beyonce with the nanny….which would never happen, right?! Even though it was “just a dream,” we still experience real feelings and emotions because of them…but, how do they affect us?
If your boyfriend or girlfriend told you that they were having dreams about being with someone else, how would you react to it?
Wandering eyes can be always be redirected back to the proper direction, but how do you redirect the unconscious mind? Are dreams something that need to be redirected?
Using DreamsCloud’s extensive database of over 2 million dreams, we discovered that cheating is one of the top ten most commonly experienced dream symbols. With so many people reporting dreams about cheating – or being cheated on - we felt that the topic deserved a closer look.
Psychologist and dream experts have suggested that dreaming about infidelity can often reflect feelings of insecurity, or perhaps feelings that you may be cheating yourself out of something that you deserve. Anyone who has experienced a dream about cheating (and the strong emotional reaction they can cause) would also likely be happy to know that dreams symbols are often more metaphorical, than literal.
There are so many reasons why you might be dreaming about cheating, and you’re not alone! When we queried our database, we noticed that 91% of the dreams dealing with cheating and infidelity were reported by women, with only 9% reported by men.
However, before we draw any conclusions, an important caveat to note is that we also found that women are far more comfortable and likely to share their dreams than men, and therefore the data is not truly representative to all women, just those dreams reported by our database.
Of the 91% of women, 63% dreamt that their partner was cheating on them. When asked to rate their dream on a positive or negative scale, approximately 50% of those women replied that they felt negatively towards their spouse’s steamy dream affair. 32% felt positive feelings towards their dream, and the rest were neutral about the whole thing.
Out of the 9% of men who reported having dreams about cheating, the majority dreamt that their spouse was also cheating on them. Coincidentally, the majority of these men also felt wronged by the ‘dream betrayal’ they suffered, with the second most common emotion being described as neutral. Opposite of women, men felt their dreams were simply that, just a dream.
Popular media outlets such as, Cosmopolitan and Glamour offer many (often conflicting) suggestions for how we should handle the topic of cheating dreams. While others recommend simply ‘ripping off the Band-Aid’ by acknowledging the elephant in the room, and having an honest conversation about it (Oerman, 2015).
Taking the Band-Aid approach may leave you wondering whether your partner can even handle that conversation. Would they be emotionally secure and confident in your relationship enough to speak freely about being intimate with someone else in their dreams? Are you emotionally secure enough? Are you both willing to risk the chances of having a bad argument over a dream? Existing insecurities or trust issues can also come into play, but an open dialogue about our dreams can be very healthy and show that you both have nothing to hide!
More than half of the women in our database who reported having dreamt about cheating were between the ages of 22 - 34 years old. This age range was also reported in a 2014 issue of Women’s Health magazine as being the typical ages deemed “appropriate” for marriage (Narins, 2014).
Women’s Health’s reported findings came from the U.S. Census Bureau stating the median marrying age for women as being 27 years old, and 29 for men. The magazine implied that maturity is an impactful reason for these ages to work and avoiding divorce. This can be a very reasonable explanation why so many women felt negatively towards having dreams of infidelity, because they might be at a stage in life where they would like to get married soon, and not feel insecure about their partner.
Whatever the reason may be, it would definitely be a great time to start looking further into assessing your dreams. Experts in the dream field highly recommend recording your dreams and paying attention to every detail, because even the smallest detail can provide valuable insight into waking life events and emotions.
According to respected dream-arts educator, Dr. Angel Morgan, “Dream sharing, when done in the right way, empowers individuals with sympathy, understanding, self-esteem, and a sense of community” (2014).
So instead of immediately (and perhaps jealously!) waking your sleeping partner up from a dream in which you overhear them utter another person’s name, perhaps use it as a positive opportunity and conversation starter to begin discussing your dreams, together!
“Chapter 16.” House of Cards. Netflix. 14 Feb. 2014. Internet Video Stream
Morgan, Angel. Why Sharing Your Dreams Is So Important. 04 Oct. 2014. Web. 28 Aug. 2015. < http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dreamscloud/why-sharing-your-dreams-i_b_5851854.html>
Narins, Elizabeth. The Best Ages to Move in Together, Get Married, and Have Babies. 14 April 2014. Web. 28 Aug. 2015. <http://www.womenshealthmag.com/sex-and-relationships/relationship-milestones>
Oerman, Ashley. Should You Always Tell Your Partner if You Cheat? 27 Mar. 2015. Web. 28 Aug. 2015.