What I Wish I Had Known About… The Psychology of Dating


On October 10, as a part of World Mental Health Days 2023, IE Counseling hosted the “What I Wish I Had Known About… The Psychology of Dating” event. Verónica Sarría, a prominent psychologist affiliated with the Sinews Multilingual Therapy Institute, took center stage as the keynote speaker for the occasion. Veronica Sarria started off by introducing the event’s agenda: attachment styles, dating apps, red and green flags in dating, and many more. She promised to reveal the mystery of love with scientific evidence from the field of psychology.  

What made this event so special? 

First of all, the classroom was full of people from different cultural backgrounds and that is what made the discussion so vivid: students shared their dating experiences through the prism of the cultural nuances of their home countries. The students present first talked about cultural differences when it comes to dating.  It is no secret that people have different perspectives on dating in different countries. But what are these differences? 

Several examples were mentioned during the event. For example, in Latin America, when people get into a relationship, they make sure to use labels such as “girlfriend” and “boyfriend”. This makes the relationship official and indicates the seriousness of intentions. In the US, the attitude towards dating is more casual. Often, people can casually date or see multiple people at the same time. It takes much more time and responsibility for them to truly commit.

Exploring Modern Dating: What Does it Look Like Today?

The digital age has enabled people to engage in virtual dating through video calls, which became especially popular during the COVID-19 pandemic. After the pandemic, online dating became a lot less shameful. Before, when dating apps were just created, it was embarrassing to meet someone from a dating app. It was not considered as a “serious” way to find a life partner.

On the other hand, the concept of “swiping” on dating apps has changed the dynamics of dating by emphasizing physical attraction and initial impressions which is not necessarily a great thing. During the event, many people pointed out that it made dating less serious and people do not actually care about those they meet via dating apps. They do not feel bad about “ghosting” people online because it seems “less real” and thus, requires less responsibility. 

Lastly, online dating has also given rise to various dating apps and websites catering to specific niches, preferences, and lifestyles, allowing individuals to find like-minded partners more easily. 

Understanding Attachment Styles: Why Knowing Yours Matters

During the event, Verónica Sarría explained how there are different attachment styles. These styles encompass patterns of emotional and behavioral responses that individuals develop in their early relationships, particularly with caregivers, which then influence their relationships and interactions throughout their lives. These early experiences shape an individual’s set of beliefs about themselves and others in relationships.

When talking about attachment styles, it is crucial to identify four main attachment styles. 

  • The first one is the secure style. People with such an attachment style feel comfortable in the relationship while having and maintaining their own life. They are willing to express their wants and needs and recognize the importance of both closeness and alone time. 
  • The second one is the anxious style. People with this attachment style may have their significant other, but still, feel lonely and lack attention/validation. They desire frequent reassurance which sometimes can come off as being “needy” or “clingy”. They are usually terrified of abandonment and struggle with personal boundaries.
  • There is also the avoidant style. Such people usually often have a difficult time opening up and get uncomfortable with too much closeness or contact. What they have in common with the anxious style is a strong fear of rejection & abandonment.
  • And lastly, the disorganized style. These people are unsure of what they want/need when it comes to dating. Sometimes they want a lot of contact with their partner, other times they want a lot of space. By doing this, they demonstrate inconsistencies with boundaries. Again, they have a strong fear of rejection & abandonment.

The ideal, according to Verónica Sarría, attachment style is the secure one. If both partners are representatives of such a style, it will normally lead to a successful and healthy relationship. However, thanks to therapy and the human ability to change, we can all improve and transform from the anxious/avoidant/disorganized style to the secure one.   

In conclusion, the “What I Wish I Had Known About… The Psychology of Dating” event was truly enlightening. Indeed, it united a diverse audience and pushed them to explore the intricacies of dating in today’s world. Verónica Sarría’s insights into attachment styles, cultural differences, the impact of dating apps, and the evolving dynamics of modern relationships made this event exceptional. 

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