Recently, the first study of its kind found that dreaming about conflict with a romantic partner resulted in more arguments and less intimacy the next day – making it seem that the dream predicted the real-life conflict or even causing a vicious cycle of insecurity and nightmares.
Given how much we dream, it might be surprising that there isn’t more research on how dreams impact our responses to people and situations during the day. (1,5,1) Recently, the first study to attempt this found that dreaming about conflict with a romantic partner resulted in more arguments and less intimacy the next day – making it seem that the dream predicted the real-life conflict or even caused a vicious cycle of insecurity and nightmares.
Psychologist Dr. Dylan Selterman created the study after a college experience when a girlfriend was angry with him after dreaming he cheated.
61 couples in relationships of 6 months or more completed detailed journal entries regarding their dreams and relationship activities for 2 weeks.
People who experienced jealousy or negative feelings about their partner while dreaming had more conflict the following day. Though, for most people, a day’s conflict did not cause negative dreams.
Couples more involved and dependent on each other had pleasant dreams result in more intimacy. However, those with less connected or weaker relationships actually felt and experienced less romance, even after pleasant dreams.
According to Dr. Selterman, “Dreams feel very real and that’s because neurologically, your brain can’t tell the difference between dreaming experiences and waking experiences until after we wake up.”