Tread carefully, boyfriends and husbands of the world. When it comes to maintaining your marriage or keeping your relationship in good health, you may have more to worry about than your behaviour in the waking world, believe it or not. There’s also the small matter of what you get up in your partner’s subconscious.
According to a recent survey, one in five British women regularly dream about their partner being unfaithful. And women are three times more likely to have such dreams than men it seems, despite the fact that men are stereotypically supposed to be the jealous gender!
I am no psychoanalyst but I don’t think you need a degree in psychology to know that vivid, recurring dreams are an expression of bubbling anxieties and emotions. So what is going on here? Are women as a whole just more worried about their partners straying than men? I find that hard to believe. Most men are just as emotionally invested in their relationships as most women, and of course there is a fundamental imbalance of power when it comes to men, women and fidelity. Ancient Greek Aristotle once said:
“This is the reason why mothers are move devoted to their children than fathers: it is that they suffer more in giving them birth and are more certain that they are their own.”
Of course, many would dispute the first part of that quote now, but it does reflect the way fathers were viewed through much of history.
Perhaps men are just less prone to analysing and worrying about the health of their relationships than women? Or maybe, just maybe, infidelity symbolises something else, something harder to pin down, in at least some of those anxious dreams.
The Huffington Post quotes a psychologist called Ian Wallace:
“Dreams where your partner is cheating with someone else suggests that you’re betraying yourself in some way in waking life and need to have far more confidence in your talents and how attractive they appear to the people around you.”
In other words: if you dream that you partner has been unfaithful to you, your subconscious mind may actually be trying to suggest that you are cheating yourself in some way – possibly, as Mr Wallace suggests, by not moving through the world with greater confidence.
Nevertheless, dreams of a cheating partner can still spell trouble after the alarm clock goes off. As the Huffington Post points out, a study earlier this year found a link between dreams of infidelity by your spouse and real world rows the following day. Perhaps those dreams symbolise nothing more complex than a relationship in trouble?