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Can Dreams Predict the Future of Your Relationships?

Update Date: May 16, 2013 03:39 PM EDT

Your dreams may predict the future of your relationships, a new study suggests.

For example, dreams about a partner cheating may actually predict future relationship troubles.

The study, published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, included 61 participants aged 17 to 42 who have been seeing someone for at least half a year.  Participants were asked to keep a detailed dream journal and relationship activity log over a two-week period.

The study found that dreams involving jealousy, arguments and other negative relationship behavior actually triggered conflict between couples in subsequent days.  What's more, dreams of infidelity resulted in reduced love or intimacy.

"These associations were unidirectional and they remained significant while controlling for trait attachment styles, overall relationship heath, and the previous day's activity, thus identifying for the first time a unique and important role for dreams in affecting relationship behaviors," researchers wrote in the study.

Lead researcher Dylan Selterman, a psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland in College Park, Md., said that his study provides evidence that dreams can impact a person's state of mind.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," Selterman told The Vancouver Sun. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

"They have predictive value," explained Selterman. "People's activity changes as a function of the dream they had the night before - specifically within the realm of their close relationships."

The findings are important because a study published earlier this year revealed that romantic partners appear in a fifth of all dreams among people in relationships. 

However, there is some good news.  Researchers found that people in healthy relationships aren't as affected by negatives dreams involving jealously compared to those in weaker relationships.  Furthermore, researchers found that that sex dreams increased love and intimacy among participants in strong relationships but reduced love and intimacy in participants in poorer relationships. 

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