Dreams of a romantic partner in a dream series: Comparing relationship periods with periods of being separated
Being in a relationship is a potent modulator of dream content. The present study analyzed a series of 521 partner dreams recorded over a period of seventeen years. Within in this period, there have been three relationship periods with the same partner. The results are mainly in line with the continuity hypothesis of dreaming, e.g., being separated within the dream was found more often in dreams stemming from the separation periods whereas doing something together occurred more often during relationship periods. The percentage of erotic dreams and the emotional tone of their interactions within the dream did not vary with waking-life relationship status; this might be explained by the effect of waking fantasies on dream content. The exploratory findings regarding composite/merging dream characters including the partner indicate that it might be very fruitful to study these types of dream elements (merges, composite characters, metamorphoses) in more detail because they might give clues to a possible function of dreaming like “weaving in” or integrating new information to adapt to existing cognitive and emotional schemata.