Cheating Fantasy: When It’s Okay to Fantasize About Others & When It’s Not

Do you find yourself fantasizing about having sex with other people despite being in a relationship? Here’s how to understand and navigate those thoughts.

fantasize about cheating and cheating fantasy

The human mind is a strange thing. One minute you’re concentrating and having a relatively productive day. The next you can’t focus because you’re too distracted by videos of dancing cats on YouTube or you’re fantasizing about cheating.

Of course, that’s just one example. There are no limits to the depths of weirdness our brains can sink!

But, your fantasies aren’t without reason. Whatever your fantasies are about, whether you dream of puppies or skydiving, they all have a subconscious root in your mind.

So, what does it mean when you fantasize about cheating? Once you figure out the real connection, decide for yourself what you want to do with your relationship. [Read: What is considered cheating? The painful types and ways to set boundaries]

Is it normal to fantasize about cheating?

First of all, you’re not the only one who’s fantasizing about cheating. That’s right. According to the Journal of Sexual Medicine, fantasizing about having sex with someone who’s not your partner is one of the top fantasies for men and women.

Within a relationship, it’s totally normal to feel a little insecure or to have random thoughts occasionally. However, if you have a recurrent cheating fantasy, does that actually mean something?

In some cases it can, but not all the time. As we mentioned, some people find the idea of their partner getting it on with someone else quite a turn-on for themselves.

Before you panic, let’s look at the potential reasons for this to be happening. Reassure yourself that in many ways, you’re simply a normal human being! [Read: The cuckold fantasy – The fetish and what you need to know to try it]

The biggest reasons why you might be having a cheating fantasy

Don’t worry. The good thing is you want to figure out why you fantasize about cheating, and you should be asking yourself important questions such as this one. Let’s figure out where these thoughts are coming from.

1. You’re commitment-phobic

Everyone has those moments where they think to themselves, should I do this? But if you’re someone who struggles with settling down with one person, then this is probably why you have these fantasies.

Even if you really like this person, fear of commitment always has a way of weaseling itself in.

Ask yourself whether you care for your partner and whether you really want to be in a committed relationship. If the answer is yes, work through your fears and communicate with your partner. If the answer is no, well, there’s your other answer.

2. You’re experiencing a build-up of intense feelings

If you’re in that intense honeymoon stage of your relationship, you might find it strange to suddenly start to have fantasies about other people.

Don’t panic! It could simply be that you’re experiencing all manner of intense emotions and they’re manifesting in a cheating fantasy. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you want to act upon it.

3. You went into a relationship too fast

You jumped into the relationship too quickly, and now you’re feeling a little stuck. Well, you should know you can always get out of the relationship.

But, understandably, right now, you’re not sure what to do. When you rush into things, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, and that’s when the fantasies pop up. [Read: 25 signs your relationship is moving too fast and the best ways to slow it down]

4. You’re not sure if monogamy is for you

Do you find it hard to be tied to one person? Have you always wondered about polyamory or open relationships? Not everyone is meant to be in monogamous relationships, at least not at every moment of their lives. And maybe that’s the case for you.

You’re not sure if you want to be monogamous right now, and now those feelings turn into fantasies about cheating. But when you find yourself genuinely curious about other people and ditching monogamy, it’s time to have a serious talk with your partner. [Read: Open relationship – 38 rules, questions, and advice to talk about it as a couple]

5. You’re sexually unfulfilled

How is the sex? Sorry to be blunt, but are you satisfied? If the cheating fantasy is purely sexual, it could be that your sex life isn’t as fulfilling as you need it to be.

Before, the sex with your partner was amazing; it blew your mind. But now, things are a little boring. You’re not getting turned on by your partner anymore and feel sexually unfulfilled.  

Well, that is a great moment for you to have thoughts about someone else. It’s not great, but the timing matches up perfectly. Ask yourself if you’re sexually fulfilled in your relationship. [Read: Awkward signs you’re having bad sex with your lover]

6. Something is upsetting you

Maybe you just had a fight with your partner, or they said something that hurt you. Instead of talking about your feelings, they stayed inside of you and developed into something else.

When you fantasize about cheating, it’s often when you have unresolved feelings with your partner. Is there something on your mind? You should say it.  

7. You’re not happy in your relationship

You aren’t getting along, the love is long gone, and you’re both in the relationship for convenience. It’s a tough situation, and if you’re experiencing this, then it’s a solid reason why you’re thinking about other people. You’re no longer being fulfilled by your partner, so you fantasize about cheating.

Before you come to this conclusion, really ask yourself if that’s what you truly want. Is it a temporary feeling? Have you had an argument or are you having an ongoing debate that is wearing you down?

Talk things through with your partner before you make any drastic decisions, as there are many other potential reasons why you’re having these unsettling fantasies. [Read: 33 emotional needs in a relationship, signs it’s unmet & how to meet them]

8. You want to experience more

Maybe this is your first relationship, and you’re realizing that it’s not something you want right now. When you fantasize, you’re thinking about threesomes and orgies and all these sexual fantasies that are deep inside of you.

Firstly, have you asked your partner if they’re interested in doing any of these activities? If not, maybe it’s time you asked. [Read: Soft swapping – how to warm your partner up to give swapping partners a try]

9. You suppress your fantasies

Have you talked to your partner about your deepest fantasies? If you haven’t, it could be a reason why you’re thinking about this.

You’ve been suppressing your fantasies, and now they’re coming out uncontrollably. Talking about your fantasies and exploring them with your partner can help you overcome them. [Read: How to talk about sex without sounding like a pervert]

10. You’re human

At the end of the day, we’re all human. We like to do naughty things occasionally! Your cheating fantasy, although hurtful to your partner if they ever found out about it, is simply your brain’s way of breaking the rules.

Sometimes fantasies have no solid basis, and sometimes they’re deeply connected to our subconscious. Some people find it a turn-on to break the rules, but that doesn’t mean they want to cheat in real life. 

It doesn’t necessarily mean that there is anything wrong with your relationship or that you want to sleep with other people. It’s just harmless fun in your own mind, albeit a little worrying for you at the time!

The benefits of fantasizing about cheating

We know what you’re thinking, “How could there be any benefits to the thought of cheating?!

Well, it’s time you stop seeing the world as so black and white. Here are three main benefits that come from fantasizing about cheating:

1. Understanding your desires

First and foremost, fantasizing about cheating can really kick-start you into reflecting on your wants and needs. After all, that’s the reason you found yourself reading this feature, isn’t it?

Taking a look inward at your fantasies can lead you to unexpected results. You may learn that monogamy isn’t suiting your relationship style, or that you have a fetish you didn’t know about until now. [Read: Couples kink list – 52 freaky and weird sexual fetishes many people indulge in]

2. More sexual pleasure

As we mentioned earlier, it’s likely that you’re repressing your sexual fantasies. When you acknowledge them for what they are—just fantasies—you can have an increase in sexual pleasure.

The brain is the biggest sexual organ. When it’s full of shame, guilt, and embarrassment, it’s difficult to feel and perform your best during sex. So by putting an end to your fantasy repression, you’ll experience more sexual satisfaction.

3. Role-play inspiration

If you’ve come to terms with your cheating fantasies being purely fantasies *and not a problem with your relationship* then you can use these fantasies to your advantage in the form of role-play!

When you’re indulging in a little harmless flirtation in the privacy of your own mind, pull elements of that into your relationship with your partner.

In that case, there’s nothing to feel guilty about and everything to give your relationship a far better chance of success. It could even bring you closer together!

There are plenty of different fetishes out there that involve cheating, including cuckold, cuckquean, mutual fantasy, exhibitionism, voyeurism, or just plain orgies. Disclose any fantasies you’re comfortable with to your partner and find new ways together to spice up the bedroom.

Is your fantasy sexual or emotional?

So far, we’ve concentrated on the idea of the cheating fantasy being sexual. What if it’s not sexual but totally focuses on emotions? In that case, you might have a problem. [Read: Emotional affair – What it is, 76 signs and steps, 7 infidelity stages, and what to do]

When we dream of being intimate with someone else, it can be harmless in many cases, provided the fantasy isn’t acted upon.

When you’re having fantasies about being emotionally close to someone else, it could mean that you’re simply not getting the emotional connection and support you need from your partner.

If your fantasy is based on emotions, sit down and work out what’s not quite right in your current relationship.

Are you holding back? Is your partner holding back? Is there a problem that is stopping you both from being as open as you would like to be? Do you feel like they’re spending too much time at work and neglecting your emotional needs?

Pinpoint the issue. Without coming to a firm conclusion, the chances of you attempting to emotionally connect with someone outside of the relationship in real life are far higher. [Read: Micro-cheating – What it is and signs you’re unintentionally doing it]

Do I need to tell my partner about my cheating fantasies?

The short answer is no, you don’t have to disclose your cheating fantasies to your partner.

They don’t have “a right” to know what’s occupying your thoughts if you don’t want them to. So, if it’s just a purely sexual fetish or fantasy that you have, there isn’t any harm in not spilling your secrets to them.

Whether you should tell your partner is another story, though.

If you truly believe that you are fantasizing about cheating because you’re in some way unfulfilled from your relationship—sexually or emotionally—then it is most likely in your best interest to discuss some things with your partner before your feelings turn to resentment. [Read: How to communicate with your spouse without resentment or fighting]

Now, this doesn’t mean to tell your partner, “Hey I daydream about sleeping with other people.” Instead, discuss any findings from your self-reflection journey.

Start a conversation about what you’re needing from your relationship and communicate with empathy and caution. And keep coming back to that conversation, doing regular check-ups with one another.

Or, if your fantasies are purely fantasies related to fetishes and kinks as we stated before, then sharing them with your partner can improve your sex life and bring you closer to one other. [Read: How to be kinky – 42 steamy tips to explore sex outside of normal]

At the end of the day though, it is up to you to decide whether or not these thoughts are something you want to explore or shut down.

The bottom line

Of course, it goes without saying that fantasies should really remain in the mind unless you want to act upon them to solve a problem.

If you really feel that there is something wrong in the relationship and that’s why you’re having this cheating fantasy, talk about things with your partner.

If that yields no results, come to a firm conclusion about whether you want to end things and actually do. Do this before you seek out what you need and want from someone else.

It’s borderline permissible to have a fantasy about cheating, but it’s 100% not permissible to actually do it.

A good rule of thumb: how would you feel if your partner was having the same thoughts and fantasies? You’d be hurt, right? In that case, question what you’re doing and why.

[Read: The big things that ruin a relationship and how to watch out for them]

It can be difficult to come to terms with our cheating fantasies when they make us feel shameful. But it’s important to reflect on them to solve any relationship issues you may be having. After all, we can’t control our thoughts, only how we respond to them.

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Vinod Srinivas Serai
Vin Serai
Vin Serai is the founder of, and has delved deep into the working of love and relationships for almost two decades. Having dipped his feet in almo...