TIPS FOR GETTING OVER BEING CHEATED ON AND MOVED ON

By Daniel Sher, MA– Clinical Psychologist and Sex Therapy ExpertJuly 31, 2020

Learn how to get over being cheated on and move on

an image of a couple breaking up because of an affair

Getting cheated on feels awful. Sometimes, it can sting so badly that it negatively affects future relationships.

The tidal wave of thoughts and emotions that wash over you are likely to be intense: fury, shame, guilt, regret, abandonment and hopelessness. Having your trust broken like this is one of the most gut-wrenching, heart-breaking and devastating events that a person can go through.

So, what can you do to get over a cheating ex?

This article provides some practical tips for how to get over someone who cheated. We also talk about how to make sure that being cheated on doesn’t ruin future relationships. Use these pointers to heal those wounds and ensure that baggage doesn’t get carried through to other relationships.

Below, we cover 10 straightforward pointers for getting over your ex. It can help to approach these with a “growth mindset”. What does this mean? Understand that even though you’re in pain, you can manage that hurt in a way that will help you grow. For example, one study has shown that people who get cheated on are actually most likely to benefit in the long run. Let’s explore how:

  1. Stop blaming yourself A woman blaming herself for ex cheating on her It’s easy to blame oneself, but this is not helpful. It’s important to take steps to avoid falling into this trap. After being cheated on, people often tend to think about all the things they did wrong. You might find yourself spending large amounts of time pondering what you did wrong, and what could have been done differently. You need to challenge these thoughts! How? Start by writing a list of all of the positive things that you did for the relationship. These things can be incredibly basic, like “being there for my partner” or “never even thinking about cheating”. They can also be more complex, such as “buying flowers during times of distress” or “always listening when they speak”. Focusing on the positive things that you did for the relationship can help to remind you that actually, self-blame is not appropriate.
  2. Take time to mourn A woman mourning the end of her relationship We mourn when we lose a loved one to death, or any other tragic event. Being cheated on can also trigger a mourning process. it’s the loss, not the event, that we mourn. Give yourself time to feel the pain. It may be an “easier” short-term solution to suppress those terribly painful emotions. But it’s doing no good in the long run. To do this, it’s necessary to actively make time in which you will do nothing other than experience, acknowledge and accept the pain. Pencil a time into your diary. Start with an hour on the first day. During that time, do nothing other than sit and feel. Allow the experience to wash over you without trying to control it. The following day, sit for an hour and a half; thereafter, 2 hours. Keeping this up on a daily basis will provide the space in which to mourn and heal. Even if you only have the time and patience to do this once a week, however, it can still be incredibly helpful.
  3. Get closure An ex-couple having a conversation to get closure for their breakup  Getting closure means working out why you were being cheated on. Once a person gets this sort of closure, they’re usually better able to move on and stop going over imagined scenarios in their mind. Closure may be one of the most painful parts of the healing process. You may find yourself wondering about the circumstances behind your partner cheating on you. If you feel the need to know more, so that you can process it, that’s fine. How do you go about getting closure? If you’re sure that you want to walk this path, the first step is to contact your partner. Be completely transparent about your intentions. You might say something along the lines of “I want to have a conversation to understand what happened so that I can move on. Are you willing to have that conversation with me?” On the other hand, if you feel like discussing it would only hurt you more – then don’t do it. Everybody is different and we all deal with situations differently, so figure out what you need and work from there. Just know that it’s okay to not know all the answers. It’s fine to just experience the emotions for a while. Be easy on yourself – you deserve it.
  4. Use guided imagery to address negative thinking patterns An ex-couple having a conversation to get closure for their breakup  After being cheated on, the mind has a natural tendency to dwell and obsess, repeatedly going over unresolved emotions and unanswered questions. “How could they do this to me?” “Am I not good enough?”; “How will I ever love again?”. These are the sorts of unhealthy thinking patterns that the mind tends to get caught up with. Guided imagery is a simple yet effective technique for promoting growth and healing. Also known as ‘self hypnosis’ or ‘visualization’, guided imagery involves harnessing the power of the imagination. For example, a guided imagery session might involve conjuring images of you experiencing health and happiness and closure even without your partner; or feeling safe and confident enough to start exploring new relationships. Apart from being easy and enjoyable, guided imagery is a science-backed approach. Research has shown, for example, that it can reduce anxiety, manage stress, lower blood pressure, improve self-esteem and heal the wounds of childhood abuse. How does it work? Psychologists believe that imaging these scenes activates the parts of the mind that would be involved if you were actually having these experiences. With enough practice, guided imagery can help you rewire your mind and replace problematic thoughts with healthier ones. There are many ways in which a person can experience this potentially life-changing technique. For example, you could create your own script, buy a pre-recorded session or seek the assistance of a psychologist or instructor.
    Advertisement: follow these links from our partners at hypnosisdownloads.com for some pre-recorded sessions to help you overcome betrayal, stop thinking about an ex, get over the end of a relationship and learn to love again.
  5. Set goals for getting back on track a woman writing goals in her notebook to recover from being cheated on Many people neglect themselves after being cheated on. Goal setting can help get your life back on track. . What sort of goals should you set? This is up to you – but choose something that encourages personal growth and self-esteem building. Examples of good goals to set include: Working out more often, eating a healthier diet, actively dating, spending more time with friends or starting a new hobby. As with any long-term goal, setting smaller goals along the way is always helpful. This will allow you to feel accomplished when you reach those goals and it may empower and encourage you to keep going. Psychology researchers have shown that achieving goals will increase feelings of psychological success and improve self esteem (something very important at this point – when you may be feeling low). In this case, then, the long-term goal achievement will form a part of your healing process.
  6. Cut ties with your ex A man declining a phone call from his ex who cheated on him Sometimes, cutting ties is the only way to move forward. This means completely severing the connection with the cheater. If you want to get over the person who cheated on you, remaining friends with them is not a good idea. Following them on social media is equally complicated. Remember that they made the decision to cheat, knowing the consequences. They decided to hurt you. Keeping them in your life will serve as an ongoing and unneeded reminder about what happened. Cutting ties in this way may also send out the message that what they have done is unacceptable. If you want to tell your ex that you’re no longer going to communicate with them, that’s fine. On the other hand, if you would rather just “ghost”, that’s also acceptable.
  7. Read a self-help book about being cheated on Self-help can help! Love them or hate, self-help books have helped some through the toughest of times. If you’ve been cheated on and you are in the process of rebuilding yourself and moving on, reading some books about this process can guide you. There are so many books out there. One option is called “Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life” by Tracy Shorn. Reading such books may help you realize that there are other people out there who have gone through similar experiences and made it out stronger. They may help you see the light easier if you’re muddling through a dark tunnel. For more reading recommendations, visit this website.
  8. Don’t look back a sign prompting you to not look back after breaking with your cheating ex So, it’s been a few months and you’re feeling much better. Is it time to check in with your ex and see how they’re doing? Is it time to stalk them on social media to compare your lives now? No. There is never the right time for this if someone has cheated on you. You may feel better now, but you do not know what can of worms you may open up by looking back when you have already gone through the very painful healing experience.
  9. Ask for emotional support Getting cheated on can be traumatic – it’s ok to ask for support! Going through emotional trauma is never easy; and it shouldn’t be done alone. Humans are social beings, we thrive on human connection. A few sessions with a certified therapist could guide you through the healing process and help you ease the pain. If you don’t feel comfortable meeting with a therapist face to face, online therapy is also a viable option. Some companies even offer you the option of text messaging with a therapist. Alternately you could seek support from someone close to you. This support could come from a close friend or family member. Another option is seeking a specific support group aimed at dealing with being cheated on. You need to actively seek this out, either through an online search or a conversation with someone that’s close to you. Just remember that adding fuel to the fire by engaging negatively may not be healthy – so find alternative ways to speak about what happened. Speak about your emotional health, and what you’re going to do now – rather than just venting in anger constantly. Don’t get us wrong, venting is healthy, but it needs to be constructive and doing so for continuous periods of time is not going to help you as much as actively constructing your well-being.
  10. Spend time doing activities you love a happy woman traveling as a tourist for fun Make time to nurture yourself, as this can help speed along the healing process. Whether it’s an art class, a hike, going to the mall, or watching a movie – spend more time doing things you love. It’s time to start working more on you, and the only way to do that is to take care of yourself. Don’t let this infidelity make you crawl up and withdraw from the world. Spending time doing things you love may help you build yourself up again, and help you realize that your emotional healing is important. The first step is to identify what you enjoy doing – an activity that you’d like to be doing more of. The second step is to pencil time for this activity into your diary so that you ensure you treat yourself.
  11. Remind yourself that breaking up was for the best a woman thinking about how breaking up with her cheating ex is for the best Your partner hurt you, but the breakup is probably for the best. Why? A research paper showed that a person who cheats once is three times more likely to do it again. In other words, it’s likely to be in your best interests that this happened now, giving you a chance to move on before getting hurt again. Furthermore, cheating suggests a lack of self-control and an insensitivity to the needs of others. Whether it’s in the form of cheating or something else, chances are that you would have opened yourself to getting hurt again by staying in the relationship. So, what can you do? Remind yourself, daily if needed, that this is the best possible outcome. If necessary, write “it’s for the best” on a sticky note and read it to yourself when you wake each morning. By keeping this truth in mind, you’ll encourage yourself in the process of moving on.

When Should You Seek Professional Help?

If being cheated on has led you to develop the following symptoms, then you should consider speaking with a doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist:

Suicidal thoughts or behaviors, on going sadness that never seems to lift, Changes in your eating and sleeping patterns, fatigue an inability to concentrate Finding it difficult to enjoy things that previously would have cheered you up.

All of these are symptoms of depression. In some cases – especially if you or a family member has had a psychiatric illness before – being cheated on can trigger an episode. If you’re depressed, then it’s vital to get professional help.

Even in the absence of depression, however, there is nothing wrong with seeking help from someone who has a theoretical background knowledge on cheating. Many people view therapy as a last resort – but it shouldn’t be. Therapists and counselors study for years to get to the point that allows them to help other people cope with these sorts of situations.

This means they are qualified to help you in dealing with what you’re currently going through, and what you may experience in the near future. There are specialists who deal with relationship counselling, and what to do after a breakup and infidelity specifically – you just need to find one.

*We may receive a portion of revenues if you use BetterHelp using a link on this page.

Difficult Experiences Help us to Grow 

This article has described some ways to deal with getting over someone who cheated on you. It’s important to remember that this is about you, and in these moments, it’s okay to put yourself first.

Also know, however, that it’s by experiencing pain that we are able to grow into more resilient people. While it may not feel this way initially, you may eventually find yourself looking back at this trauma and seeing it as a turning point for your personal growth! Ultimately, what matters is how you respond. Don’t procrastinate – start implementing these 10 pointers today, in order to grow into a stronger version of yourself.

About Daniel Sher, MA

Clinical Psychologist and Sex Therapy Expert

Daniel Sher is a registered clinical psychologist and a sex therapy expert practicing in Cape Town, South Africa. Daniel gained his master’s degree in clinical psychology from the University of Cape Town (UCT) in 2014. A component of his training and practice involves working in the context of sexual and sex-related issues.

Daniel is a professional consultant for the Between Us Clinic, where he writes, edits, and reviews, professional materials and articles. He also treats patients at his clinic for male sexual dysfunctions including, premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction and sexual performance anxiety.

HOW TO LIVE A DOUBLE LIFE ONLINE WITHOUT GET CAUGHT

Simone Smith,

Contributor Digital Identity Researcher

How to Lead a Double Life Online and Not Get Caught

Simone Smith

Updated Sep 30, 2013 The Internet allows us to form new identities and express controversial ideas without fear of personal reprisal. It allows us to explore interests that would be misunderstood by friends and family and discuss experiences that may damage our career.

There are many reasons to want to create a pseudonymous identity online. You may have undergone a traumatic experience you don’t feel comfortable talking about in public. You may be the head of a stuffy art museum, but love writing Doctor Who fan-fiction. You may want to write a scandalous tell-all blog. Or you may be a rabid democrat living in an extremely-conservative small town. You may just find it liberating to be freed from the biases society holds against your offline life or background.

How to Browse Without Being Tracked
There are many ways your online identity is tracked. For example, websites use cookies to track your activity and record your IP address. To prevent a covert online identity from being associated with your offline identity, you will need to change both your online habits and the tools you use to browse the web.

The first step is to begin using Tor. Tor is a free browser that obscures your IP address by using onion proxy software that provides multi-layer encryption. While not tied to you, personally, your IP address is associated with your individual computer, hence a skilled individual may use your IP address to discover your offline identity. This is why it is important to not rely on services like Chrome’s incognito mode to attempt to live your double life online; while it will prevent websites from storing things on your computer, it will not hide your IP address.

To download the Tor Browser Bundle, which includes everything you need to browse the net anonymously, visit Tor’s website and follow their instructions (also read up on using Tor properly- there are some things you can do using Tor that might still reveal your identity if you are not careful). You should use Tor Browser for all of your secret online activities. It may run a bit slower (as your interactions with other sites are bounced through at least three relays), but it is better to be safe and slow than speedy and sorry.

Use Tor for regular activities as well. This mitigates risk associated with others noticing your browser choice. When questioned about Tor, simply say you use Tor Browser because of concerns about privacy, which have been exacerbated because of this year’s revelations about the NSA.

How to Lay the Foundation of Your Double Life
Most online accounts require an email address. It should go without saying that you should not be using your personal email address when doing anything related to your pseudonymous identity. Instead, you should create a separate email that has no connection to your normal identity and is only used in connection to your covert activities.

I recommend using a free service such as Hushmail, Gmail, or Riseup.net to create this account rather than Yahoo or Hotmail, as the latter options include the IP address of the computer used to send a particular message. While this matters less when you are using Tor, you may still find yourself in a situation in which you need to check that account without the browser’s protection, hence more secretive email providers are better.

Tips on Developing Sound and Secretive Habits
With Tor Browser and a designated email account, you are free to live out your double life- so long as you do so carefully.

Never ever use a work computer for secretive activities. I don’t care how encrypted your work communications are. Company-owned computers are not to be trusted. Keylogging software, which will make all of your careful precautions amount to nothing, is only one of many potential complications.

Avoid using mobile devices. They can be lost. They can be stolen. Strangers (or worse yet, friends, family, and colleagues) can more easily look over your shoulder or snatch your device out of your hands. If you must conduct some of your double life through a mobile device, make sure it is password protected, only use it in private spaces, and bolster it with additional privacy protections, which, for the sake of brevity, I recommend you find independently.

If your double life involves posting content (e.g. blog posts about your secret ventures as an undercover nun), schedule your posts (many blogging platforms offer this functionality) so that they are published at random intervals that cannot be associated with a specific time zone or lifestyle. Do not tag photos, posts, or tweets with your location.

Important Identifying Information to Hide
Obvious information that might be used to determine who you are (eg. your name or the names of people in your life, your personal email address, identifying photos. etc.) is but a small factor to consider. Most secret identities are discovered by those who use more subtle hints to piece together your personal puzzle.

Don’t give away hints by even letting your pseudonym resemble your real name. If your name is John Doe, your online handle should be entirely different, like Shane Kugel (and not J.D. or Shawn Moe). Be extremely careful about mentioning employers in a manner that would enable the casual viewer to narrow your real employer down to a couple of candidates (e.g. “I work for a pet grooming salon in San Francisco, California”). Also be mindful with regard to any habits, sayings, or possessions you might mention (e.g. a storm trooper figurine kept at your desk) that could be identified by those who know you in real life.

If you maintain a website, make your WHOIS information private. If you do not, everything from your name to your email, phone number, and address may show up in WHOIS queries (just search for your friends’ domains to get an idea of the information that might be revealed). Subscribe to The Morning Email. Wake up to the day’s most important news.

Should you be involved in commerce, opt for trades whenever possible. Gift cards might be a convenient form of currency, so long as you keep the value of transactions below $500. Generally speaking, money is difficult to keep anonymous online- even when Bitcoin is used.

The Importance Leaving No Trace
Whenever you finish a session of secretive internet activity, your computer should be devoid of damning information. While it helps that you are using Tor, it is also important that you delete any files from your computer related to your pseudonymous identity (e.g. drafts of blog posts, photos, etc.) before you get up and walk away.

You never know who might poke around your desktop when you aren’t looking, and you would be surprised by how many friends and family members know the passwords to their loved ones’ machines.

Good Luck!
This brief guide is an introduction, not a comprehensive playbook. Its recommended tactics will help you avoid major mistakes and may accommodate “harmless” double lives, but if you are involved in some serious whistle blowing activity, fighting against a totalitarian government, or are threatening to take down a beloved member of 4Chan, you’re playing an entirely different ballgame.

CAN AN OPEN RELATIONSHIP REALLY WORK?

Relationship Advice, Relationship Problems, Relationships, Sexuality

By Psych Alive

open relationship

Research tells us that about 4 to 5 percent of heterosexual couples have agreed to have an open relationship. In other words, they’ve given their consent to not be monogamous. That may seem like a relatively small and, given the stigma surrounding open relationships, unsurprising number. Yet, take this into consideration. The latest data from the National Opinion Research Center’s General Social Survey revealed that more than 20 percent of married men and nearly 15 percent of married women admit to infidelity, a number that’s risen almost 40 percent for women in the past 20 years. Remember, these are only admitted affairs. Some studies even posit that between 30 and 60 percent of married individuals in the United States will engage in adultery at some point in their marriage. So, while only 4 to 5 percent of men and women are choosing to be open about their extramarital relations, somewhere between 15 and 60 percent are opting for a less consensual form of infidelity.

What does this tell us about our society? One, a pretty significant percentage of the population is clearly drawn to non-monogamous relationships, yet a much smaller percent is willing to call it like it is. For the people who choose to engage in affairs, is it more honorable to come to an agreement with their partner or to sneak around and deceive? Can an open relationship actually work? How can two people, alone in their romantic union, find common ground on this society tricky and taboo subject?

For any relationship to work, there are certain fundamental qualities to be aware of. In an open relationship, in which a couple chooses not to hide or to allow infidelity, it is all the more important to encourage honest communication and healthy ways of handling emotions like jealousy, victimization or a desire to control. Whether you’re interested in a monogamous or open relationship, here are some of the elements you’ll want to avoid if you want to keep things close, consistent and exciting between you and your partner.

Dishonesty – According to psychologist and co-author of Sex and Love in Intimate Relationships, Lisa Firestone, “When it comes to their intimate relationships, couples can make any decision they want about monogamy, as long as this decision is mutually agreed upon by both partners… Many couples have made exceptions to sexual fidelity or are taking alternative approaches to their sexual freedom. Yet, no matter what the agreement is, there is one fundamental quality that, if compromised, can destroy a relationship: honesty.”

There is often considerable devastation when an affair is discovered, and it seems the lying aspect of the scenario has a lot to do with the pain that ensues. In her blog, “What’s Wrong with Infidelity?” Dr. Firestone went on to cite research that has shown unfaithful individuals are less likely to practice safe sex than people in open relationships. This act of deception thus poses both a physical and emotional threat to their partner. “Whatever their decision is regarding monogamy, if two people want their relationship to stay strong, they must strive to be open and truthful and to ensure their actions always match their words,” said Dr. Firestone. To paraphrase, an open relationship without honesty is a recipe for disaster. Any deception is likely to lead to the same feelings of hurt and distrust that arise in unexpected discoveries of infidelity.

We may not be able to control our attractions, but we can control how we behave. Even if these attractions escalate into a real interest, we can make a commitment to talk to our partner about our feelings before we act on them. In this sense, being open with our partner and encouraging them to be open with us will inspire an atmosphere of honesty that may help us to better deal with feelings of jealousy or paranoia.

Jealousy – Jealousy is a natural human emotion. Yet, the way we use it can be very destructive. “Lurking behind the paranoia toward our partners or the criticisms toward a perceived third-party threat, are often critical thoughts toward ourselves,” said Firestone. She describes how a person’s “critical inner voice” can flood his or her mind with harmful suspicions and accusations that fuel feelings of jealousy. She frequently finds that what people are telling themselves about what’s going on with their partner is often a lot worse than what is actually going on. For example, a person may think, “She is totally checking out that guy. She’s losing interest in me. She’s going to have an affair. You should just get out before she hurts you.”

Your inner critic will also use your partner’s perceived attractions against you. “Thoughts like, “What does he see in her?” can quickly turn into “She is so much prettier/thinner/more successful than me,” said Dr. Firestone. “Even when our worst fears materialize and we learn of a partner’s affair, we frequently react by directing anger at ourselves for being “foolish, unlovable, ruined or unwanted.”

These shaming attitudes toward ourselves and our partner can breed an environment of distrust. If a healthy relationship must be built on honesty and trust, then jealousy has to be kept in check. The first way to do this is to own our emotions and deal with our inner critic rather than allowing it to poison our relationship. We should work hard to be vulnerable and open to our partner, to offer them our trust and support of their independence and individuality. This doesn’t mean we have to agree to an open relationship. It just means working on having open communication and trying not to allow our inner critic to overtake us and drive our behavior.

Whether or not we attempt to impose restrictions on our partner, we live in a world full of risks. We can never claim ownership over another human being or their sexuality, nor can they own ours. There is always a chance he or she will develop feelings for someone else. The best thing we can do is feel secure and strong in ourselves and know that we can handle a lot more than we think can.

Fear – When people think of the fears that arise in a relationship, they usually think of their fear of losing their partner. However, there is an underlying fear of intimacy that has an insidious effect on people being able to pursue a relationship to the fullest of their ability. They find it difficult to let things get too close or to tolerate loving feelings directed toward them. What makes this even more complicated is the fact that this fear can sit below the surface, so it isn’t entirely conscious. Instead of thinking, “I’m too scared of being in love to be in this relationship,” we will have thoughts like, “He is just way too into me. I can’t make this kind of commitment right now. One of us will just wind up getting hurt.” As things get closer in a relationship, we may have the tendency to pull away from someone who is actually giving us what we always thought we wanted.

It is very common to have these reactions to intimacy, yet so many people feel they’re alone in this. We often fail to recognize these feelings as fears and instead assume that they are rational reasons to split up with our partner, take a break or find someone else. The trouble is the same issues are likely to arise in any relationship we find, because these fears reside within us. Until we deal with them in ourselves, they’re likely to creep up at some point in our relationship.

If you’re interested in an open relationship, you may want to ask yourself certain questions, like “Am I simply interested in sexual freedom or am I pulling away from closeness with my current partner?” “Is there something missing from my current relationship that I’m not dealing with?”

No matter what type of relationship you’re in, to be close to anyone, you’ll have to get to know and challenge your own resistance and fears. These fears often come from old feelings of hurt, rejection or loss. They may be keeping you from finding and maintaining the love you say you want. They may even be blocking your feelings of wanting love in the first place, filling your head with thoughts like, “Relationships are stupid and unnatural. People just wind up miserable, putting each other in chains.” Be wary of these cynical thoughts toward love, because they often mask much deeper fears.

Whatever a couple decides to do, whether insisting on monogamy or making certain exceptions, that is for them alone to decide. What matters is that once they’ve decided and agreed upon the terms of their relationship, they must stand by these decisions. In doing so, they offer their partner and themselves a certain degree of trust, freedom and respect as the separate individuals they are. When two people recognize each other’s individuality, they’re able to avoid falling into a “fantasy bond,” an illusion of connection that replaces real love and sabotages exciting relationships. They’re able to maintain their attractions to each other and to keep the spark alive, so to speak.

To avoid a fantasy bond and other traps that doom any relationship, all couples should strive to be honest with each other, to deal with their jealous feelings in healthy ways and to challenge their deeply rooted fears of intimacy. By making this their focus, they are far better able to sustain richer, more rewarding relationships. From this foundation, they are much better equipped to have open, honest and mature discussions about attractions and monogamy and are much less likely to engage in deception and secret infidelity.

50 INTERPRETATIONS ABOUT; WHAT YOUR DREAMS ARE TELLING YOU

It’s not always obvious what you’re dreams are telling you, but the art (and science) of dream interpretation can set you on the right path. Herein, we’ve rounded up the expert dream interpretations and dream meanings of common dreams.

Everyone dreams. Whether they’re remembered or not, dreams occur when the brain enters a state of rapid eye movement (R.E.M., like the band) sleep. The occurrence is natural, subconscious, and, if you take it from the National Sleep Foundation, happens up to six times per night to fully-grown adults. And yet, despite the ubiquity of dreams, few people know what they actually mean.

Enter dream interpretation, an ancient art and—recently, thanks to a parade of well-degreed researchers entering the field—actual science that aims to create a collective understanding of what we’re all seeing on a nightly basis. But what are your dreams telling you? What does it mean when you dream about someone specific? From endless falling to alien abductions to that naked-in-a-crowd nightmare, some of the more common dreams out there mean things. And no, it’s not always crystal clear, at first, what they’re trying to say. But if you know how to analyze them, you’ll discover some fascinating insights into yourself—and the world around you. Here’s how to start.

What does it mean when you dream about someone?

sad pensive woman what does it mean when you dream about someone dream meanings
Shutterstock

If you dream about someone you like (or even love!) it could just go to show how passionate you are about them. But there’s also some nuance here. If you dream your partner is with someone else, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve been unfaithful. It could simply mean you no longer feel as passionate about your life as the people around you seem to feel about theirs.

What does it mean when you die in a dream?

Dead Woman in Dreams dream interpretation

If you die in a dream, or feel like you are dying, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are afraid of dying in life or have some terminal illness you didn’t realize. It may just mean that something in your life is coming to an end: “Dreaming about death often means that you feel something is coming to an end in your life,” says Anderson. “But that being said, how you react to the death in the dream can mean different things.”

What does it mean when you die in a dream, but feel peace about it?

Peaceful Dead Woman Dreams dream interpretation

If you experience death in a dream and you feel at peace with it, Anderson says that, “you have an ‘out with the old and in with the new’ attitude” and “it could be something that you’re ready to let go from.”

What does it mean when you dream about being scared of dying?

Woman Being Chased in Dreams dream interpretation

Alternately, if you feel a pang of anxiety or even panic at the thought of death in your dream (or, as Anderson puts it, “I need to resuscitate this thing that is falling apart”), it may be that “you’re not quite there yet” and uncomfortable with letting go.

What does it mean when you dream your teeth are falling out?

Dental Procedure dream interpretation
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It may be that events in your life are swirling around you in a way that you feel you have no control, or that you’ve lost a job and with it, your feeling that you were guiding the direction of events has dissipated. The result might be that you dream of losing your teeth. As Wallace tells The Independent, “Your teeth symbolize how confident and powerful you feel, so some situation is causing your confidence to crumble in waking life.”

What does it mean when you dream about birds?

Raven Amazing Facts dream interpretation
Shutterstock

This dream could mean you’re hoping to hear from someone. Birds have been symbolic messengers of information going back centuries and their appearance in your dreams can still be an indication that you are expecting to hear from someone or receive a message. Psychologist and dream expert Michael Lennox points to beliefs going back to Nordic mythology, where Odin, the head of the pantheon, was accompanied by a pair of all-seeing ravens that “would travel through the world of men and bring back important information.”

What does it mean when you dream you’re on a plane?

Woman Smelling Foul Odor on Plane dream interpretation
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If you’re dreaming of flying in a plane or air travel in some way, your dream is trying to tell you that you are feeling the effects of fast changes in your life. Lennox explains in his book Dream Sight: A Dictionary and Guide for Interpreting Any Dream that, “Because of the dramatic way an airplane leaves the ground and speeds toward a destination, it is connected with any sudden transition in life.” It may not just be alerting you to the fact that you are going through serious changes, but that change “is needed or wished for. As a plane is our world’s fastest mode of public transportation, it connects symbolically to those moments in life where change is rapid and total.”

What does it mean when you dream about an alien encounter?

Alien Abduction Dreams dream interpretation

According to Lennox, seeing an alien (as in one of those big-eyed, willowy creatures from The X-Files) in a dream reflects some unknown or mysterious part of your own personality. Whether you are encountering it in an everyday situation or have been abducted in the dream, “The more fear you feel in the dream, the more frightened you may be of the changes that are occurring.”

One (or more) of your limbs is amputated: You feel diminished or unable to get to a different place in life.

Amputee Doing Deadlift Dreams dream interpretation

Lennox notes that amputations or missing limbs are a typical theme that appear in one’s dreams, and indicate some sense of lacking in ability or mobility. If you’re missing feet it “relates to an inability to be grounded on your path, whereas missing an entire leg or both legs connects to being completely stopped on your path.”

What does it mean when you dream you’ve (literally) lost your head?

Waking up from nightmare dreams dream interpretation

A more extreme kind of missing body part that you might experience is the loss of your head. According to Lennox, that’s a sign of “an eradication of a thought process, or to your sense of identity.”

What does it mean when you dream you’re in bed with a coworker?

 

If you are being intimate with a coworker in your dream, it does not necessarily mean you have a crush on them. According to dream analyst and the host of The Dream Show podcast, Jane Teresa Anderson, it may say more about them having “positive qualities you admire” that you “welcome in your own life.” That’s right: your dirty dream could be about admiration—not lust!

What does it mean when you dream you’re in an empty room?

Empty Room Dreams dream interpretation

Psychologist Ian Wallace, who has interpreted no fewer than 150,000 dreams over his three decades of practice, has found that unused or empty rooms that you dream about might be telling you that you’ve got untapped talents. As he told The Independent, “The more time that you spend exploring your dormant talents, the more likely that you will find other doors opening for you in waking life.”

What does it mean when you dream you’re in an empty room, and it’s scary?

Kid Entering Dark Room Dreams dream interpretation

If that unused room is accompanied by feelings of discomfort or fear, it might represent something very different, according to Anderson: “If you go into the room and it’s spooky or scary, that means in the past one to two days you’ve realized something about yourself that’s unexpected. It can be something old that you haven’t look at before. It could be any aspect of your life—your job, a relationship—that you’ve shut the door on. It’s about trying to open that door, even if you’re scared.”

What does it mean when you dream there’s an out-of-control car?

Man Driving Fast Car Dreams dream interpretation

If you’ve got an out-of-control car in your dreams—maybe you’re trapped in one or have one coming at you—it may mean that “you don’t have enough control over your road to success,” according to Wallace. He suggests, “Instead of trying to over control the situation…relax your grip and allow your fundamental instincts and drives to steer the best path for you.”

What does it mean when you dream there’s a car, but it’s not out-of-control?

Woman driving Being Single in your thirties dream interpretation

But a car in one’s dreams could indicate the opposite, as well. Wallace explains that, “The car represents your ability to make consistent progress toward a specific objective.” So if a dream features a car progressing steadily and consistently, things might be moving along just as they should be in your life.

What does it mean when you dream your car is missing?

Man with Stolen Car Dreams dream interpretation

Sometimes you might dream that you are missing your car or on the search for it. The lack of a car has a symbolic resonance about one’s career or ability to get where we want to go, according to Wallace. “If we dream about searching for our car, then we have lost our drive and ambition in waking life and are looking for ways to recover it and continue on our journey.”

What does it mean when you dream there are animals nearby?

Man with Birds Dreams dream interpretation

Animals can often appear in your dream and can vary in their significance or what they make you feel—a fierce bear is going to indicate something distinct from a high-flying hawk. But according to Lennox, any time an animal appears it may be an indication that your dream is “asking you to stop trying to think your way through a situation and turn instead toward your instinctive nature for an answer.”

What does it mean when you dream you’re in an attic?

Old Attic Dreams dream interpretation

Having a house in your dream usually connects back to your sense of self, with different rooms representing different aspects of yourself, so dreaming of an attic usually relates to your intellect or memories—and a “musty, dirty atmosphere means you are in realms that you haven’t visited in a while,” according to Lennox, which can indicate “unhealthy avoidance.”

What does it mean when you dream about having a baby?

Woman with Baby Dreams dream interpretation

Dreaming about a baby is usually a sign that you are reflecting on burgeoning potential or “some new chapter in your life that is just beginning and has yet to unfold into full manifestation,” as Lennox puts it. Of course, since a baby is also helpless and needs to be cared for, Lennox also emphasizes that an infant in a dream brings up thoughts of the “intense responsibilities associated with” a baby.

What does it mean when you dream you can’t find your shoes?

Barefoot Woman Dreams dream interpretation

If your dream consists of you being literally unable to find your shoes, chances are you’re having difficulty deciding what your position is on a topic—an important decision you have to make or may be faced with, something that causes you to “consider [your] values and where [you] stand in a certain situation.”

What does it mean when you dream you lost something valuable—and can’t find it?

Woman Lost Money Dreams dream interpretation

If we’ve misplaced something of value in our dream or spend the dream trying to find something and fail to do it, it may be that we feel a sense of lower value in our life. As Wallace puts it, “If we are looking for our purse or wallet, then we are reflecting on our value to others as we may feel that we have lost some self-esteem in waking life.”

What does it mean when you dream you’re searching for someone?

Woman Looking For Someone Dreams dream interpretation

If you dream you’re searching for someone, it doesn’t always have to do with that person, specifically. “When we search for other people in our dreams, we are trying to reconnect with aspects of our own identities that we have lost touch with.”

What does it mean when you dream you have suddenly become very wealthy?

Rich Woman Dreams dream interpretation

If you have a dream about striking it rich or winning the lottery, you’re feeling pretty good about life or have gained a “sudden awareness of the richness of the self,” as Wallace puts it. “This richness can be an understanding of the wisdom the dreamer has gained, or a realization of their value to others.” In other words, not so much material as spiritual wealth.

What does it mean when you dream you’re falling in love?

Couple in Love Dreams dream interpretation

If you dream of falling in love or a having a passionate tryst, it may be because you lack this kind of intimacy and passion in your waking life. According to Wallace, dreaming about falling in love, “can be triggered when we are about to fall in love with a potential lover in our waking life, or in an existing relationship, where inadequate love is being received and our uniqueness seems to be ignored.”

What does it mean when you dream you’re just falling?

Falling in Dreams dream interpretation

We’ve all likely felt the sensation of falling in a dream. Though this might make you think that you need to get a tighter grip and hang on, according to Wallace, the opposite is true. It’s a sign “you are hanging on too tightly to a particular situation in waking life. You need to relax and let go of it.”

What does it mean when you dream you’re flying?

Man Flying in Dreams dream interpretation

While falling is an indication that something is amiss, flying in a dream is usually a sign that you’ve freed yourself from something frustrating or difficult. As Wallace puts it, the feeling of flying “suggests that you have released yourself from circumstances that have been weighing you down in waking life… Although you may regard this feeling of liberation as just luck or coincidence, it is usually because you have managed to make a weighty decision or risen above the limitations of a heavy responsibility.”

What does it mean when you dream you’re flying, but there’s an obstacle?

Girl Flying in Dreams Scared dream interpretation

Flying might not always be a pleasant experience, however. If you’re flying in a dream but feel scared or see an object or obstacle in front of you, it may be that you feel something is holding you back or preventing you from accomplishing something you are attempting. “You feel that something is taking off but it’s not quite there yet,” says Anderson. “It could be a relationship or a job—it’s the details in the dream that really explore your feelings on a deeper level.”

What does it mean when you dream that you miss your plane or train?

Man Missed Train Dreams dream interpretation

If you miss a plane or train in your dream, arriving just as it takes off and leaving you standing on the platform or tarmac, it may be that you feel you are being weighed down by too many other commitments. As Wallace puts it, “You may be taking on too much in your waking life in order to achieve the fulfillment you desire. You can reach your goals more effectively by being more aware of your deeper priorities, and leaving unnecessary baggage behind. Listen to your own internal rhythms instead of constantly trying to beat the clock.”

What does it mean when you dream that you call the wrong number?

man on phone fighting long-distance relationships dream interpretation

Your subconscious might be feeling frustrated that you can’t connect with someone in your life the way you used to—and this may manifest itself in a dream in which you are dialing a wrong number. “This suggests that a logical way of communicating with someone, or a specific personal behavior used when being with a particular person, is not really working anymore,” says Wallace. “It is also experienced in dreams about computers or calculators where the dreamer keeps pressing the wrong buttons. This reflects that what they are doing in waking life just doesn’t really add up.”

What does it mean when you dream that you’re naked, in the middle of a crowd?

People Walking in Crowded City Life in 100 Years dream interpretation

You’re standing in the middle of a crowd, at work, or in some other public place—completely naked. Though you’re relieved when you realize it was all a dream, you might want to think about your feelings of vulnerability. According to Wallace, “Being naked in public suggests that there is a situation in waking life that is making you feel vulnerable and exposed.” It might be time for you to take an improv class or seek another way to get comfortable opening up to others.

What does it mean when you dream you’re walking around on bare feet?

Woman walking barefoot up the stairs dream interpretation

Just as being naked indicates vulnerability, having bare feet gets to a similar sense in your subconscious—but with a more direct connection to the steps you are taking in life (literally). It can “indicate issues around how you are maneuvering through your current life choices,” according to Lennox. “If you are exposed to the elements, it leaves them vulnerable to injury. This can have a great impact on your journey and how you get to where you intend to go.”

What does it mean when you dream you’ve gone blind?

bad jokes that are actually funny dream interpretation

Suffering blindness in a dream usually indicates that we sense we are overlooking something in our life or worry we aren’t able to see something. As Lennox puts it, “By dreaming of the inability to see, you may be expressing areas in your life that you may be blind to…You may be dreaming of a situation in your life, or your personality, where you have a blind spot. You may have to go beyond what the eyes can see in a situation to determine how to respond authentically.”

What does it mean when you dream you’re playing a board game?

Scrabble game dream interpretation

While some might dream of fights or athletic competitions, if you are someone who has board games appear in your dreams, you are more likely someone who prefers “a civilized approach to expressing competitive impulses and conflict-solving skills,” according to Lennox. If you’re playing Monopoly or Scrabble in your mind, it may be a sign that you prefer some emotional distance to actual confrontation, and the more structured, rules-based logic to conflict that board games bring.

What does it mean when you dream there’s an explosion?

explosion dream interpretation

While we might usually think of bombs as a destructive force, often when explosions happen in your dreams, it shows that you are experiencing or ready for major change. Lennox advises looking at the specific context in which a bomb detonates, and how effectively it destroys its target.

“Whatever or whomever was hunted or destroyed will supply you with the meaning you should assign the symbol,” he says. “The area of life that is suggested by the target is the area of your life that needs a drastic change.”

What does it mean when you dream that you show up for an exam, but you’re not prepared?

Girl is stressed because she didn't prepare for her exam dream interpretation
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Another classic dream scenario is the feeling of showing up for an exam and realizing you are totally unprepared for it. Maybe you feel like you studied for the wrong subject or you can’t even understand the words in front of you, but the likely source of the feeling is that “you are critically examining your own performance in waking life,” according to Wallace.

What does it mean when you dream you show up for another exam, and you’re still not prepared?

exam Never Say to a Teacher dream interpretation
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Having the unprepared-for-an-exam dream is also the sign of something positive: you are a high performer who is used to working hard and doing things right. That’s the conclusion of Anderson, who says that those who have the dream are usually the people who perform well and that, “It’s your fear of being unprepared that actually drives you to being totally ready to perform.”

What does it mean when you dream you need to use the bathroom, but can’t find a toilet?

Woman really needs to use the bathroom dream interpretation

Maybe you care too much about others or are ignoring your own desires or needs, but if you have a sense that you are not addressing your own needs, a typical dream you’re likely to have is one in which you’re trying—and failing—to find a toilet. “Toilets are what we use to cleanly respond to some of our most fundamental needs, so there is an issue in waking life where you are finding it a challenge to clearly express your own needs,” according to Wallace.

What does it mean when you dream you need to use the bathroom?

person flushing toilet dream interpretation

Dreams of needing to use the bathroom likewise can mean that “you literally want to let the crap out of your life. It’s about decluttering and letting go—you want to release something or someone,” according to Anderson.

What does it mean when you dream you actually need to pee?

urinals dream interpretation
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Of course, it may be that you actually do need a toilet, and your dreams will alert you to this fact with dreams of water or in which you are seeking out a bathroom in vain. So it may just be that you need to wake up and hit the head before you wet the bed.

What does it mean when you dream you’re being accused of a crime?

Illegal dream interpretation

Dreams can sometimes torment you with images of you accused of a crime or having committed murder or a less serious breach of the law. These kind of situations usually arise from a sense that you are hiding something yourself in your waking life—and it isn’t always something negative. “The crime we have committed usually represents a conscious choice that we have made in waking life to ignore some of our individual needs and talents in order to gain social acceptance,” according to Wallace.

What does it mean when you dream you’re entering a lot of new spaces?

Closing the god damn door dream interpretation

If you have a large house in your dreams or spend your dreams going through doors and discovering new spaces, it “indicates that exploring the initial possibility will lead onto a number of other exciting opportunities and give you the chance to expand well beyond where you are just now,” according to Wallace. It’s telling you that, “You need to be open to opportunity and not close the door on any chances that you create. As you begin to explore one talent, you often start to become aware of other possibilities for using your unique abilities.”

What does it mean when you dream there’s something chasing you?

Man is running away from something dream interpretation

If you’re running away from something in your dream, “There is an issue in your waking life that you want to confront, but you don’t know how to,” according to Wallace. If you’re having a dream of this kind, your dreams may be trying to tell you that it’s time to face your fears and pursue something that you have been putting aside.

What does it mean when you dream about a bridge?

 dream interpretation

If you’re ready to move into a new chapter in your life or to make a change—but without losing touch with your past—the image of a bridge is likely to appear in your dreams. According to Lennox, the primary meaning of bridges in dreams “relates to the connections we make in life, hence the warning in the phrase don’t burn your bridges.” If the water below is especially rough, it might mean you’re uncomfortable with the change.

What does it mean when there’s a candle in your dream?

candle happiness hacks dream interpretation

If you’re feeling a creative spark or an innovative idea just struck you, then the image of a candle might appear in your dreams. “When we light a candle, we are committing an act of creation,” says Lennox. He says that a candle can indicate the beginning of some important event or relationship in our life or a sense of creative richness. Of course, if the candle is blown out, it can mean the end of something.

What does it mean when you dream you’re climbing something?

rock climbing hobbies dream interpretation

If you’re climbing in your dream, straining as you make it up the side of a mountain inch by inch, it may be a signal that you are someone who likes a challenge and the opportunity to take a journey that, while difficult, promises a reward at the end.

What does it mean when you’re exploring a closet or looking in a cabinet?

Woman looking through a closet dream interpretation

Back to the dream house: If you are exploring a closet or looking at what’s inside an enclosed cabinet, it could indicate that you are hiding something or ashamed of it. “What you discover in a closet should be viewed through the focus of something you are hiding from or not wanting to face,” says Lennox. “A full or overstuffed closet may point to avoidance issues that need attention.”

What does it mean when you dream about a farm or cowboys?

 dream interpretation

Images of a farm or cowboys can indicate that you have a self-reliant nature. As Lennox explains, “Working on a farm points to a call to action to dig deeper and take responsibility for getting your needs met. Owning a farm connects to how responsible you are to your self-nurturing and perhaps the dependence of others upon you for such needs.”

What does it mean when you dream you’re getting a divorce?

Divorce papers Being Single in your thirties dream interpretation

If you’ve filled your schedule with too many things and have a sense of overwhelm about it all, you may find yourself dreaming of divorce. Don’t despair that a divorce dream points to a loveless marriage or irreconcilable differences. According to Wallace, it may simply be giving you the message that “you are trying to balance your commitments and honor the promises you have made to other people. It can be difficult to service all these obligations and it can become very easy for you to start to feel out of balance.”

What does it mean when you dream you’re getting married to someone you don’t know?

Bride on her wedding day is sad, crying dream interpretation

Whether you’ve taken a new job or agreed to attend an event where you are not totally sure what will be expected of you, a sense that you are committing to something which you are unsure about may be indicated in a dream with a feeling of being married to an unknown person. “Not knowing the identity of the bride or groom suggests you are unsure what you are really committing yourself to, and that you doubt that you will have much time for yourself if you take on these commitments,” says Wallace.

What does it mean when you dream you’ve become a professional athlete?

 dream interpretation

If you’re someone who responds to being part of a team or being part of something larger than yourself, you might have dreams where you’re a professional athlete, according to Wallace. A dream where you’re competing in the big leagues, “reflects their acceptance into a wider society where in order to have their skills and talents recognized, they will have to work as part of a team, and this will help them to ultimately achieve their goals.”

What does it mean when you dream you’re unable to speak?

Woman is tongue tied, cannot speak dream interpretation

If you find yourself tongue-tied in your dream, unable to speak or as if there is a gag in our mouth (or maybe a bunch of chewing gum), Wallace suggests that it’s related to “an unresolved tension in our waking lives where we really want to say what’s on our mind and to speak and be heard.” He suggests considering the situations in waking life where we feel “ignored or have no way to make our opinions heard” and see if there is a better way to communicate or a way to do so that would help us feel “heard.”

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