Sex Dreams

What It Means If You Had A Dream About Cheating On Your Wife

In most cases, it's probably not worth losing sleep over.

Originally Published: 
A man and woman sleeping in bed.
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Being faithful to your wife may not keep you from cheating on her in your dreams. Surveys show that nearly a quarter of people have dreamt about sleeping with someone other than their partner (or about their partner committing infidelity) — and those are just the ones who to admit it. Dreamers are left to question what it all means when they have a dream they cheated on their wife — and whether they should tell their partner.

“While dreams can be your subconscious mind’s way of alerting to a dormant want or need, when a dream occurs sometimes it can be just a dream,” psychotherapist Judi Cinéas told Business Insider. “And it’s important to realize that you can just let that go.”

Mattress company Amerisleep surveyed 1,000 adults in 2022 to see what they dreamt about and found that both men and women dreamt about sex or intimacy 59% of the time. About 21% of people dreamt of cheating on their partner whereas 23% dreamt of their partner cheating on them. These type of dreams occurred in the same ballpark as those about teeth falling out (25%) and losing objects (20%).

Experts maintain that the meaning of cheating dreams depends on whom your subconscious is having sex with. If it’s the cute barista who makes small talk, it could simply be just that you have a healthy libido, Bob Taibbi, a clinical social worker, explained in Psychology Today. “Your brain is trying to let you know that those physical needs are not getting met,” Taibbi writes. “Find a good and safe way to help your brain out.”

In order to do this, it may be better to have a thoughtful and honest conversation with your partner about how you can improve your sexual relationship, rather than straight up talking about that REM job, which will only hurt feelings.

More specific sex dreams with someone you know, like an ex-partner, could signal self-guilt or self-betrayal, several dream-interpreting sites suggest. However, that guilt doesn’t necessarily have to do with your partner or infidelity. Sexual dreams about bosses or coworkers may be more aspirational and have to do with wanting to possess their qualities, like leadership skills, dream psychologist Ian Wallace told Everyday Health.

Dream interpretations are subjective and not necessarily scientific. But for people who like to take their insights with a grain of salt, it may be helpful to look at specific details of the dream beyond who it’s with. For instance, self-described dream expert Lauri Loewenberg points out on her blog that if breasts are central to the cheating dream, it could be about nurturing someone or something. That may be a loved one, like your kid or spouse, who could use extra support, or a project at work that needs extra attention. But it’s not about dream boobs, per se. (Loewenberg also concurs that telling your partner will just make them feel bad).

Sure, in some cases infidelity dreams could be a symptom dissatisfaction in your relationship. But usually not, experts concur. Ultimately, sex dreams are only problematic when combined with real relationship problems, so discuss those instead of throwing your subconscious under the bus. If you’re confident it’s not a symptom of a larger issue (and that your partner will have a sense of humor about it), go ahead and tell them. Hell, give them a hall pass for the next time they doze off.

Unless your teeth are falling out while you’re cheating, it’s probably not worth reading into.

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