Dreams About Cheating: 21 Meanings, Why We Get It & How to Read the Signs

Are you having dreams about cheating? If so, what does it mean? The answer isn’t cut-and-dry, but here are some things to consider if you’re concerned.

Dreams About Cheating

Dreams are supposed to be gentle, happy things. But what if you keep having dreams about cheating?

Do you remember the last time you woke up from a wonderful dream and how good it made you feel? On the flip side, do you remember the last time you woke up from a bad dream, and how it set your day off to a terrible start?

Bad dreams often stick with us for the rest of the day, and it has the power to make you question things in your life that relate to the dream you had. For instance, if you have dreams about cheating, does it mean that something is going on, or that you want to actually cheat? 

Don’t panic! Our subconscious minds sometimes work in weird ways, even when it comes to dreams about cheating. [Read: Are you *should you be* worried about your cheating fantasy?]

What do dreams about cheating imply?

There are many who say that every single dream we have means something. However, they don’t always mean what you think they do. 

For instance, if you dream about death, it doesn’t necessarily mean that someone is about to die. It can often be a sign of rebirth. For example, a change in life, something coming to an end so something new can arrive. 

However, when you have dreams about cheating, it can often mean one of a few things:

1. Dissatisfaction with the relationship

You might know that you’re unhappy in your relationship, but then again, maybe you don’t. But your subconscious always knows. So, it might be trying to tell you something through your dreams. [Read: Unhappy relationship – 25 traits of sad love and lies you tell yourself]

2. You’re not satisfied sexually

One of the reasons that people cheat is that they don’t have a satisfying sex life. And just because you haven’t actually cheated in real life doesn’t mean that there is some part of you that wants to if you could.

3. Guilt over something you have done

You might not think that a general feeling of guilt could lead to dreams of cheating, but it can. Most people feel guilty when they cheat, so the dream is just a representation of other guilt, and it’s not too literal.

4. Baggage over something that happened in the past *like someone cheated on you*

Of course, if someone cheated on you or betrayed you in some other way, this can also lead to dreams of cheating. Carrying this baggage around can affect your psyche in a major way. [Read: How to get over being cheated on quickly without breaking apart]

5. A feeling of being cheated out of spending quality time with your partner

Maybe your partner is a workaholic or ignores you in favor of playing video games or golf. If you feel cheated out of spending quality time with them, then this could lead to these kinds of dreams. 

6. You feel inadequate because you believe your partner’s ex has something you don’t

We all have insecurities. And if you’re the kind of person who feels bad about yourself because you compare yourself to other people, then this could be a reason too. Especially if you’re jealous of your partner’s ex.

7. You want your partner to get along with someone you know

We all want our partners to be liked by our friends and family. If they’re not, then it makes life more difficult. So maybe you are worried that other people don’t like them for some reason. [Read: Help! My friends don’t like my boyfriend]

8. Your imagination may just be running wild

Whether it’s dreams of you cheating on your partner or vice versa, you might just have a wild imagination. The more you think about something, the more it gets ingrained into your mind.

9. You feel betrayed in other areas of your life

Maybe you don’t necessarily feel like your partner will cheat on you, but you feel like you are betrayed in other ways. This could be from lying or being sneaky and suspicious. 

10. Your relationship needs some TLC

No one has a perfect relationship, but some have it worse than others. [Read: 49 ways to rekindle a relationship or marriage and spark romance with love]

Everyone needs to put effort into their relationships to keep them healthy. So, if one or both of you aren’t putting in that effort, it could lead to dreams of cheating.

11. You’re battling with a sense of loss, or you feel that something is missing from your life

Maybe you’ve had a breakup or experienced some other kind of loss in your life. Or maybe you just feel unfulfilled in your life. These feelings can also lead to these kinds of dreams.

12. Your sexual fantasies may be coming to play

Most people have sexual fantasies, but not a lot of people get the chance to play them out. So, you could be a little frustrated about that too. Your subconscious is trying to spice up your sex life for you. [Read: Mutual fantasy – how to fantasize and talk about someone else while having sex]

13. Fear of the unknown

No one likes the unknown, because uncertainty is uncomfortable for most people. So maybe you don’t know how you’re going to make it through something in your life and it’s scaring you.

14. Your partner is cheating on you

We all have a gut instinct in life, and some people listen to it more than others. So, if you suspect that your partner is cheating on you but have been in denial, perhaps your subconscious mind is telling you to listen to your intuition.

15. There’s something you’re ashamed of *and hiding from your partner* in real life

Maybe you’re a little too close with someone you work with and you don’t want your partner to know.

Or it could be that you are drinking more than you want them to know. What are you ashamed of? [Read: What women want in bed but are too ashamed to ask]

16. You’re feeling guilty about something

Did you do something wrong and you don’t want anyone else to know about it? If you’re feeling guilty, then that might cause dreams about cheating too.

17. You’re giving too much time and attention to something/someone else

Work might be busier than normal or you’re spending a lot of time with your friends. This means that you’re spending more time away from your partner, which could cause these dreams.

18. Your partner feels insecure in the relationship

Insecurity isn’t a good feeling to have at all, especially in a relationship. So, it could even be that your partner is the one who feels insecure with you. [Read: How to deal with an insecure boyfriend without the frustration]

19. A part of you is looking for some extra fun

Your relationship might have become a bit boring and routine if you’ve been together for a while. So maybe you just want to have more fun in your life, and cheating might represent that dilemma in your dream.

20. You want to get close to someone your partner is close to

If your partner has a very close friend that you don’t know very well, you could be having dreams of cheating because you want to get close to them too. It could even be because you’re jealous of this other person.

21. You feel physically attracted to someone else

Just because you’re in a relationship doesn’t mean that you don’t notice other people and find them attractive.

So, maybe you know someone who sparks your interest, and that’s why you’re having cheating dreams. [Read: Having a crush while in a relationship – why it’s okay and what to know]

22. There are some qualities you wish your partner had that they don’t

There is always going to be something about our partner that annoys us. No one is perfect, after all. So, maybe you’ve been dwelling on your partner’s flaws instead of their good qualities.

23. You may not be entirely averse to the idea of having an open relationship

Whether you’re bored with your relationship and sex life or you just need more excitement in your life, maybe you’re considering the possibility of having an open relationship.

24. Your relationship lacks trust

Trust is the foundation for any good relationship. Without it, the partnership is in trouble. So, maybe you don’t trust your partner, or they don’t trust you. [Read: Trust issues in a relationship – 22 whys and ways to get over it together]

25. Fear of abandonment

Many people fear that people will leave them. So, if you feel like your partner could abandon you, then you might also fear that they are cheating on you.

26. You feel like you’re not being true to yourself

It never feels good when you compromise your values and morals. Or even if you don’t feel like you’re following your dreams, you aren’t being true to yourself.

27. You may have a harmless crush on someone else

We all get crushes from time to time, even when we’re in a relationship with someone. And it’s okay. As long as you don’t act upon it, then it is harmless. [Read: Coworker crush – why we fall for colleagues and how to pursue it or drop it]

The bottom line is that much of your dreams about cheating come down to fears. If you’re not feeling secure in your relationship, for whatever reason, that’s going to play on your mind. [Read: Erotophobia – the variety of fears that can be related to sexual intimacy]

If you are having dreams about cheating, it’s not necessarily something to be overly concerned about. 

However, if it is because of one of the reasons we mentioned above, you should probably do a little self-improvement work to try and overcome the issue and stop the dreams that may be troubling you. [Read: Wear your heart on your sleeve – 17 reasons to be open]

Dreams about cheating vs. dreams about being cheated on 

Is there a difference between having dreams about cheating, i.e., you do the cheating, and dreams about being cheated on? Not really. It tends to come down to similar underlying issues. 

If you’re regularly having dreams about cheating, in that you’re cheating on your partner, it could be that you’re feeling unsatisfied with the relationship or with your sex life. 

Of course, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to actually cheat, it’s simply your subconscious giving you a push. [Read: How to spice up a relationship – 30 sexy ways to feel loved and horny]

Dreams can be quite troubling if they’re a regular thing. For instance, recurring dreams can make you think that there is something mystical going on. [Read: Insecurity in a relationship – 34 signs and secrets to feel more secure and love better]

You wonder whether a higher power is telling you something. The more likely reason is unresolved baggage that you must unpack and deal with. Once you do that, the recurring dreams will usually go away. 

Learning to unpack your dream baggage

No matter what your type of dream, dreams about cheating might be causing you some distress. In that case, how can you unpack your baggage and work through it? 

It really depends on what the underlying issue is. Of course, your dreams could simply be random which gives you more of a challenge when it comes to working out what the heart of the matter really is. [Read: What is considered cheating? The painful types and ways to set boundaries]

What is the recurring pattern you see?

Generally, your gut will tell you what the dream is trying to tell you. Ask yourself what YOU think the dream is about. 

Don’t interpret it directly by believing the scenario you dreamed of is the exact meaning. Just ask yourself what you’d like to fix about the core idea of the dream.

If you think that it’s because you aren’t satisfied with your relationship or your sex life leaves you less than satisfied, that’s pretty easy to solve. [Read: 21 secret signs of a bad relationship that signal a bad future ahead]

Work on spicing up your relationship and dedicating time to one another. Date nights are a great idea, but never cancel them! These need to be prioritized over everything else. 

Give it a little time and see how things progress. Also, remember to communicate with your partner. 

Maybe they’re feeling the same as you and they’re clueless as to what is really going on. By speaking about how you feel, you can overcome the challenges that come your way together, as a team. [Read: 19 secrets to open up to someone you’re dating even if you’re scared]

How to recognize the underlying reasons behind your cheating dream

So, what if the underlying issue is that you’re feeling guilty over something you’ve done? That depends on whether it is something you’ve done to your current partner or something that happened in the past. 

In some ways, you should just let the past go and make a pact with yourself to do better next time. Dreams about cheating can often manifest as a result of guilt or fear. Neither does you any good. 

If you’re feeling guilty about a misdemeanor and your partner doesn’t know about it, question whether they actually need to know at all. [Read: Should you confess to cheating on your partner]

That might not sound like the most honest route forwards. But some people would prefer not to know. It causes a world of pain and when your partner doesn’t need it, i.e., you’re committed to them now and you’re never going to do it again, spare them the agony. [Read: How to forgive yourself for cheating and stop beating yourself up]

If it’s something that your partner does know about and it’s been dealt with, let it go. Forgive yourself and move on. Living in the past does you no good at all. 

Be kind to yourself, work on building up your self-esteem, and know that by holding on to past baggage, you’re just damaging your own happiness. [Read: Micro-cheating – what it is and signs you’re unintentionally doing it]

Don’t let your dreams about cheating predict your future

How often are you having dreams about cheating? That’s another thing to consider. 

If it’s a very regular thing, that means overcoming the underlying issue is a more pressing matter. However, if it’s a random and less common thing, don’t pay a huge amount of attention to it. [Read: 26 different types of relationships to predict your romantic life and future]

We all like to think that dreams have a hugely significant meaning 100% of the time, but the truth is that sometimes they’re just random things that play on our fears. 

What to do if you have dreams about cheating

If you keep having recurring dreams about cheating, you might be concerned about it. So, what can you do? Here are a few things you can try.

1. Maintain a dream diary

Keep a journal by your bed. When you wake up, immediately grab it and write down what your dreams are about. You should do it right when you wake up so you don’t forget them. [Read: Feeling unloved – 51 ways we feel less loved and how to feel love again]

Then, after you have a few entries, look it over and see if you can see any common themes. This will help you figure them out and make you feel a lot better.

2. Decide whether to tell your partner

You might feel guilty for having dreams about cheating, especially if you are the one cheating in your dreams. But you have to remember that you don’t have conscious control over them.

So, you need to decide whether you think it’s a problem for you. If you do, then do you think it would help to share it with your partner? Only you can figure that out. [Read: How to communicate with your spouse without resentment or fighting]

3. Seek therapy

If you think that your dreams about cheating are coming from deep in your subconscious, then you might want to seek therapy. You might have some issues from your past that you haven’t dealt with effectively.

A trained professional can help guide you through unpacking and exploring what these dreams about cheating might mean. Also, they will help you resolve some problems you are having that are contributing to them.

Is it a great idea to talk to your partner about these dreams? 

Only you can answer this question. If you feel guilty for having dreams about cheating and need to get it off your chest, then you might feel better telling your partner about them. [Read: 50 best relationship topics and things to talk about in a relationship]

But keep in mind that it may or may not help you—or the relationship overall. It could possibly upset your partner, or it could have no effect at all. 

And don’t forget to keep in mind that these are just dreams. It’s not like you actually went out and cheated on your partner in real life. That would be a whole different story. 

All you can do is weigh the pros and the cons. Write them down and see which list is longer. And then go with whatever feels right to you.

[Read: How to have a wet dream – 15 ways to have hot sex dreams and sleep orgasms]

Dreams about cheating can mean something or they can mean nothing. It’s up to you to work out why these types of dreams are bothering you and do a little self-improvement work to rid them from your life.

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Carol Morgan LP
Dr. Carol Morgan
Dr. Carol Morgan has a Ph.D. in communication and is a professor at Wright State University where she loves corrupting young minds. As a relationship and succes...