Center for Shared Insight, PC


Part 1: Partner Patterns -- What Neuroscience Teaches Us About Attraction

couple looking at each other

Butterflies in your stomach, sweaty palms, a pounding heart and a preoccupation with thoughts of your beloved are surefire signs of a new romance. Yet, what often feels like “love at first sight” or intense early chemistry is simply the result of a neurochemical cocktail released in your body.

Oftentimes, in my work as as a psychologist, I witness the confusion clients have in the early phases of a new romantic connection, and a lack of understanding the difference between the major experiences during dating: attraction, lust, and attachment. Helen Fisher and her colleagues’s (2002) research indicated that there are actually different neural systems and chemical responses ...

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The Fog of Infatuation: 5 Ways to Remain Clear During Early Relationship Bliss

Couple gazing at each other in field

If you are reading this article, it’s likely that you recently experienced the allusive fog (Tatkin, 2016) of a new relationship. Or, perhaps you recognize a habitual pattern of unclear judgement in the early stages of a partnership.

In a related Center for Shared Insight blog post on the Honeymoon Phase of relationships, we discussed the challenges of what’s called limerence, or the early phase of love, driven primarily by novelty and chemistry. Neurochemically, surges of  dopamine, adrenaline, and oxytocin are most responsible for the the “high” of new love (Brittle, 2015). To put the effects of infatuation in prospective, studies show that the release of these chemicals mimics the ...

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Part 3: Dating, Relationships and Attachment Style

In part 1 of this series, we decoded the origin of attachment styles and in part 2, described common attachment patterns and what they mean. Here, we’ll dive deeper into the dance between attachment systems and the resulting relationship dynamics.

Noting the interplay of attachment styles provides fascinating insight into your possible relationship dynamics. While most people have a tendency to exhibit one of these three styles more often than not, it isn’t entirely uncommon for attachment styles to shift due to circumstances, involvement in therapy (Sroufe, 1996), learning, the approach of your partner, and other environmental factors (Brogaard, 2015).

Secure + Secure

The relationship that is most likely to ...

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Part 2: What is Your Attachment Style and What Does it Mean?

couple looking at one another

The ideal way to determine your attachment style is to work with a psychologist who is well-versed in attachment theory as it relates to relationships. A professional can help you assess what your attachment style is, understand how it developed, and how it affects your current and future relationships.

In addition, there are questionnaires and books (Tatkin, 2016) that can also be helpful in determining your attachment style. For our purposes, you can quickly learn more about your attachment style in this brief quiz from Psych Central, created by John Grohol (2016).

In part 1, we outlined the way attachment styles are formed. Here in ...

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Part 1: Understanding Adult Attachment Theory: The Impact of Your Childhood on Today’s Relationships

family spending time together

While we often think of attachment as something a child develops with a parent or caregiver, understanding the way we meet or attach to others can provide powerful insight into our relationship dynamics as adults. A deeper understanding can also help us understand and prepare for challenges that will arise in dating and relationships, which we will dive into in Part II of this piece. First, let’s take a closer look at what attachment is and why it is important to understand.

What is Attachment?

According to the ground-breaking research in the 1960’s, John Bowlby uncovered that attachment is an emotional and physical bond that develops in order ...

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Am I Dating a Narcissist?

Man with a dark side

Dating has changed dramatically in the last decade. With texting being an integral part of relationships, to shifting gender roles, the dating world is in a constant state of evolution. The advent of online dating allows singles to easily meet a variety of people outside their circle of friends, and therefore, the odds of encountering a partner with personality issues have probably also increased. When previously, singles were introduced to “a good friend” as a potential match, now people are more apt to date complete strangers and encounter completely new relationship territory -- including dating a narcissist.

While the term Narcissist might be new to you, mankind has been ...

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Dating Beyond “Looks Great On Paper”

Couple laughing

Dr. Hick tells us how to look beyond the dating “list” to find a deeper, uncharted way of dating. Let’s look beyond what’s on paper and date more mindfully.

Everyone has either shared or heard a tragic dating story that starts with, “He/She looked great on paper.” You’ve probably even created—perhaps rewriting many times over—a “list” of your own, outlining all of the qualities you desire in a potential mate.

While these lists are, in theory, a pretty good starting place for honing in on what it is you are looking for in a partner, they can only go so far. Once you ...

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