Is it OK to Dream About Other Men?
Are our bedtime fantasies healthy – or some kind of warning sign about your relationship?
-April Daniels Hussar
A few weeks ago, my husband and I were driving somewhere, and something reminded me of the dream I’d had the night before. I shared it with him and then, almost as an afterthought, said: “And Clive Owen was there at the end, flirting with me!” I laughed. My husband did not.
I couldn’t believe it. He was miffed that I’d dream-flirted with Clive Owen. “Oh come on… it wasn’t anything racy,” I laughed. “And don’t tell me you never dream about other women?!”
If he does, he wasn’t telling me.
I decided to change the subject, but it got me thinking. Is it normal to dream about other men when you’re in a committed relationship? Or is it equivalent to having a wandering eye when we’re awake?
A quick survey of my friends, colleagues, contacts and experts backed up my feelings on this subject: not only is it totally normal to be dreaming about people other than our partners, it’s quite common and basically harmless.
Most of the women I talked to seem to enjoy their dreams, but prefer to keep them to themselves:
Alice*, 22, has been with her boyfriend for about seven years. She confesses: “I’ve had a couple crushes while we’ve been together and these men always end up in my dreams. It’s usually someone I met while out with friends or an old friend I ran into that I never thought was attractive in that way. I tend to forget most of these dreams, but usually they’re pretty intense.”
Does Alice tell her boyfriend? “It’s not that he’s insecure, but I think things like that aren’t necessarily something to discuss. Truthfully, if it was the other way around, I’m not sure I’d want to know either. It’s only a dream.”
As psychotherapist and relationship educator Dr. Gilda Carle says, “It’s absolutely natural for us to fantasize about other men, even while we’re having hot sex with our regular honey.”
But, she cautions, “Whatever the case, do not, under any circumstances, tell your sweetie. He may already be intimidated by your gawking at Brad Pitt or even Dexter, so don’t rub salt in his wound. Keep your fantasies to yourself.”
Sounds like good advice for me, but I was surprised to discover that many women feel totally comfortable sharing their naughty dreams with their husbands – who, in turn, have figured out how to enjoy some fringe benefits.