Anuptophobia: The Irrational Fear of Being Single

Have you heard of anuptophobia? In this article, we'll explain its causes and precipitating factors and how it can influence our lives.
Anuptophobia: The Irrational Fear of Being Single
Elena Sanz

Written and verified by the psychologist Elena Sanz.

Last update: 27 November, 2022

Life in a couple can be wonderful, enriching, and satisfying. We all enjoy being loved, having a life partner, and being emotionally supported. That said, we also know that coupledom doesn’t suit everyone and that, sometimes, solitude is the best option. However, for those who suffer from anuptophobia, not having a partner simply isn’t acceptable. As such, being single is a catastrophe they try to avoid at all costs.

These people will do everything to ensure they won’t be abandoned or their relationship won’t end. If they find themselves single at any time, they’ll hook up with anyone who shows even the slightest hint of availability. In fact, without even being aware, they find themselves immersed in dynamics motivated by fear.

Anuptophobia

Anuptophobia is the label given to the irrational fear of being without a partner or staying single. It’s the intense fear of loneliness and of not being romantically linked with another human being. It’s considered to be a phobia because the fear is disproportionate and extremely limiting. In other words, it’s not a simple desire to be in a relationship. On the contrary, for a sufferer of anuptophobia, being single is synonymous with failure, emptiness, and unhappiness.

This conception leads sufferers to engage in a series of striking and unhealthy actions.

Signs of anuptophobia

  • Sufferers maintain harmful and unsatisfying relationships to avoid loneliness. They endure abuse and repeated infidelities and find themselves living with partners who don’t fulfill them at all. As a matter of fact, they’ll do everything to hold on to a relationship.
  • For them, being in a relationship is an obsession or an obligation. Therefore, they have virtually no standards in their romantic pursuits. For instance, they may decide to partner up solely for reasons of physical attractiveness or merely because the prospective partner agrees to a relationship. They don’t establish any criteria or seek the necessary affinity or compatibility.
  • They see anyone they meet as a prospective partner to release them from the dramatic state of being single. Thus, they tend to want to bond too intensely and quickly, and want to formalize the relationship without even knowing if it’ll be viable. Indeed, shortly after meeting someone, they tend to claim that they’re in love.
  • They enter into one relationship after another and often have a different partner every month. Their goal is simply to be in a relationship for the sake of it, such is their desire to escape the label of being single.
man thinking
Low self-esteem can be one of the causes of the fear of being single.

The causes of anuptophobia

There are various causes and factors that explain why anuptophobia occurs. Here, we explain the most important:

1. Peer pressure

Anuptophobia is far more common in individuals over 30 years of age. Indeed, we can’t ignore the fact that strong social pressure exists to formalize a relationship, get married, and start a family by a certain age. However, these standards that are instilled in us practically from childhood can become a torment and a burden for some people.

If everyone in the environment pushes toward finding a partner, being single is seen as a state of lack or failure. Consequently, those who aren’t in a relationship are negatively labeled. This often causes them to feel overwhelmed and distressed. Somehow, they take on the idea that a full and proper life is only possible within a romantic relationship. They reject the other types of love that can be experienced and refuse to contemplate any other options than being part of a couple.

2. Low self-esteem

This is a crucial factor since an individual with low self-esteem needs external validation to feel important and adequate. Thus, by being in a couple, they obtain recognition, affection, and worth that they don’t feel they possess on their own. On the other hand, when they’re single, they lose all these elements and feel insufficient once more. In fact, a great void opens up in their life that they find difficult to manage.

3. Emotional dependency

An individual with anuptophobia suffers, to some degree, from emotional dependence. They subordinate their well-being to the emotional ties that they can establish with a partner. This dependence usually has its origin in a childhood in which they didn’t receive unconditional love. Therefore, they became accustomed to craving affection and, now, they deeply fear losing it.

It’s also common for emotional dependency to occur in individuals who were overprotected when they were growing up and learned that they needed others to live. They developed the idea that they couldn’t fend for themselves. Therefore, in adulthood, loneliness looms as an overwhelming challenge.

4. Poor social skills

Finally, anuptophobia can be aggravated if the sufferer has a deficit in social skills or a high sensitivity to rejection. Having an excessively small or closed social circle, being extremely shy, or having difficulties in relating can lead them to fear being alone to a greater extent.

worried woman
Emotional dependence is usually present in anuptophobia.

Anuptophobia treatment

As in any other condition, there are degrees of anuptophobia. Some people can even experience true terror, not only in the form of thoughts and worry but also by suffering physiological symptoms. For instance, the idea of being single, or actually being single, can cause rapid heartbeat, sweating, and shortness of breath, among other symptoms.

In addition, the life of a person with anuptophobia is greatly affected and limited, either by staying in unhealthy relationships or by feeling the great need to bond at all costs. So, if you identify with any of the above, make sure you seek psychological support. It’ll help you to work on your irrational fears and regain your freedom.

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  • Ammara, S., & Jameel, R. (2022). Rejection Sensitivity and Anuptaphobia in Unmarried Women: The Moderating Role of Social Support. Journal of Professional & Applied Psychology3(2), 195-207.
  • Watson, J., & Nesdale, D. (2012). Rejection sensitivity, social withdrawal, and loneliness in young adults. Journal of Applied Social Psychology42(8), 1984-2005.

The contents of Exploring Your Mind are for informational and educational purposes only. They don't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment of a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.