I know that everyone has had at least one encounter with the name Sigmund Freud in their life. For better or for worse, he is everywhere in dream theory. But that’s not to say by any stretch that all he has to say is true. We shouldn’t be judged by our thoughts or our dreams – simply put, we can’t control them. But what about when you dream about someone who isn’t your boyfriend? What are we meant to think then? What does it mean?
- Nothing. Maybe it means nothing. As I said, you can’t control what your subconscious or unconscious does when you aren’t awake. We can consult dream theorists when we’re stressed and dreaming about losing teeth, sure. But less so when we’re trying to decode a recent dream we had involving post-apocalyptic dinner ladies who could only prevent the end of the world by racing to photocopy their butt. Get what I’m saying? The same is true of dreams about your exes or other people in your lives. You can’t control that. A lot of the time your brain will just be bored, in a dry patch, or in need of enrichment. Maybe you feel guilty about something else and it’s displaced stress. Or, you might just be curious, in a vague, undirected way that you don’t need to unpack because it is just so random. It probably is nothing to worry about. Just because you’re dreaming out someone who isn’t your boyfriend doesn’t mean there’s some massive secret significance to it.
- Don’t listen to Freud. Have I said that before? Don’t judge yourself by thoughts that you have no intention of acting on. It’s like Dumbledore said: it is all about our choices that determine what kind of a person we are. Dreaming about other people is not a conscious action, and it shouldn’t be classified as cheating, and certainly not as a random one-off situation. Be kind to yourself.
- Maybe you aren’t as committed as you thought. There’s a good chance it means nothing. However, it might suggest that there’s a small chance that you aren’t as committed as you thought you were. Love isn’t easily defined and it isn’t a totalizing experience. We know that we shouldn’t abandon our friends and loved ones when we start a new relationship, so it’s actually healthy to keep other people in your life and your options open. Dreaming of other people might be just evidence of keeping your options open. There’s nothing wrong with that either, being curious. Just make sure you communicate that with your partner so that no one gets the wrong end of the stick. Perhaps you aren’t dreaming of retiring to the Bahamas with this guy, and that’s okay. But also, maybe you just had too much cheese before bed. It’s a dream, after all. Your boyfriend is still there in real life.
- You might be interested in an open relationship. We aren’t all suited to monogamy. Most of the animal kingdom would agree with us, but the rest of society just has to catch up. That said, maybe it suggests that it is a conversation that needs to be had in the relationship. You will know in your gut whether you are guilty, or whether you just feel like you should be. You know the difference. You’re probably reading this article trying to convince yourself one way or another. Reflect on that. Do you still want him to be your boyfriend? Maybe your dream is trying to tell you something.
- Your current relationship might not be satisfying you. It might not be that other people are attracting you. Maybe you just don’t want to address the existing issues in your relationship. Perhaps your brain is filling in the blanks of a latent desire or something that you feel you can’t discuss when you’re conscious. I wonder if an open and frank discussion with your partner could lighten any load or guilt that you might feel. It could also spark a more productive conversation about how you are both feeling in the relationship, and how each of you can better support the other.
- We’ve all been there. Random, unexplainable, or even upsetting dreams happen to us all. Maybe cut the dairy and drink more water and if you start to feel bad. Start having conversations that can address it. We can think we want things all our lives and suddenly have a realization in our dreams that makes everything much clearer. Maybe we don’t want kids or monogamy, or maybe we’re just with the wrong guy. It’s okay.
As you can see, there’s nothing to be worried about by dreams in isolation. If you find that you’re lingering on the dream more than usual, or having the same dreams over and over, maybe think on that. It could be that you feel guilt for a reason. Sex dreams mostly just happen when we’re horny. They’re less about the person, more the feeling and the sense of lacking what you desire. However, if the same person in that dream keeps cropping up, particularly without your actual boyfriend making an appearance, you probably know what that means. Love isn’t worth it if you’re constantly being hard on yourself and judging yourself for small misdemeanors, but keep an eye out for these signs that you’re not truly happy. In the meantime, don’t stress about dreams that don’t involve your boyfriend. Chances are, your relationship is just fine.