Home Life Style Exploring Romance in Dubai: Examining the Influence of Early Life Experiences on the Outlook on Love and Relationships

Exploring Romance in Dubai: Examining the Influence of Early Life Experiences on the Outlook on Love and Relationships

Psychotherapist and content producer Sadia Khan, situated in the UAE, discusses fostering healthy attachment styles and the art of authentically engaging in relationships.

by Soofiya

Navigating the complexities of contemporary dating presents a formidable challenge. In a digital age saturated with information about childhood trauma, relationship dynamics, and societal nuances, individuals often embark on the quest for an ‘ideal’ partner with a sense of skepticism. This challenge is magnified in a place like the UAE, where traditional values intersect with modernity, shaping a unique cultural tapestry within diverse expat and local communities.

In the midst of the surge in online dating, Sadia Khan, a dedicated relationship coach and psychologist based in the UAE, strategically employs social media to guide individuals and couples through the intricacies of their relationships. In an interview with Khaleej Times, Khan delves into the distinctive challenges of dating in this region and emphasizes the importance of authenticity in relationships. Below are edited excerpts from the interview.

Q: Evolution into an ‘online’ expert in modern dating is evident through your popular reels and podcasts. What motivated you to create online content, and what are the pros and cons compared to in-person counseling/therapy?

Sadia Khan: The motivation stemmed from observing people seeking relationship advice from sources lacking a psychological background. Trendy podcasts and advice from non-experts often perpetuate toxic messages. My goal is to bring a psychological perspective to unravel the implications of unsolicited advice on social media. While online content reaches a broader audience, in-person counseling offers a more personalized and nuanced approach. The challenge lies in sifting through the vast online landscape to find credible advice.

Q: What, in your opinion, is the biggest obstacle to finding love in today’s context?

SK: Those who approach relationships casually, favoring short-term commitments without genuine effort, thrive in the hookup culture we’ve created. Individuals with sincere intentions face challenges due to the prevalence of options and the fear of commitment. The onslaught of consumerism and endless alternatives makes it difficult for those seeking meaningful connections to find each other.

Q: Do you observe a rise in commitment issues within society?

SK: Absolutely. The awareness of endless alternatives in today’s digital age contributes to commitment fears. The fear of monogamy is heightened by platforms like Instagram and Tinder, exposing individuals to a seemingly infinite pool of potential partners. Commitment becomes daunting in a culture that emphasizes options and a ‘You Only Live Once’ (YOLO) lifestyle, fostering a reluctance to commit.

Q: How does one discern the ‘right’ partner, and does self-awareness play a role?

SK: Knowing your values is crucial. Identify what triggers your jealousy, as it reflects your values. Understanding when you like yourself the most reveals your priorities in life. Without clarity on your values, finding the right partner becomes challenging. Self-awareness not only aids personal growth but enhances your capacity to be a fulfilling partner, fostering healthier relationships.

Q: What role does childhood play in shaping the partner one becomes?

SK: Childhood experiences significantly impact one’s perception of love. Past traumas can lead to suspicion when someone shows affection. People often attach to those who resemble figures from their childhood, whether abusive or loving. Understanding this connection is vital for breaking repeated patterns in adult relationships.

Q: Can you elaborate on attachment styles and their impact on relationships?

SK: Attachment styles, rooted in early experiences, shape how individuals approach relationships. A secure attachment, stemming from a loving upbringing, fosters stability. Inconsistent or neglectful parenting can lead to clingy or avoidant attachment styles, affecting communication and conflict resolution. Seeking a secure attachment is ideal for fostering healthier relationships.

Q: How is dating in Dubai distinct from other global contexts?

SK: Childhood experiences in Dubai, often characterized by disconnected parenting, can lead to unique traumas. The absence of family support in partner selection adds complexity. Dubai’s diverse population brings together individuals with varied cultural backgrounds, making shared values less common. Relying on superficial aspects, like looks or wealth, creates fragile foundations for relationships.

Q: What are some challenges specific to finding love in the city?

SK: Many individuals in Dubai lack familial support, impacting partner selection. The city’s diverse population makes shared values less prevalent. Relying solely on superficial aspects creates fragile connections. Additionally, competing priorities, such as prolonged work hours, contribute to relationship challenges and higher divorce rates among expats.

Q: What’s your top dating advice for Gen-Z?

SK: In a world of abundant alternatives, committing to one person is a wiser choice. Despite technological advancements, relying on transient dating patterns can lead to profound loneliness. Life’s success is not solely determined by wealth or possessions. Committing to one person and giving your all is a more fulfilling path, avoiding the pitfalls of shallow attachments and transient relationships.

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