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Why do we fear being single so much?

How to overcome anuptaphobia and a reflection on its deep causes

Why do we fear being single so much? How to overcome anuptaphobia and a reflection on its deep causes

News? Have you found a boyfriend? When are you getting married? You wouldn't want to remain a spinster and deny your parents grandchildren, would you? Raise your hand if you've never been asked one of these questions. If some have learned to respond cleverly to the nosy aunt, some gracefully deflect by changing the subject, some extol the virtues of being single, and some prefer to avoid any uncomfortable situation, many others rush to the bathroom to cry desperately because the love of their life hasn't shown up yet. Social pressure can make the state of being "uncoupled" feel like an unbearable burden, like a failure, a source of anxiety so intense that it leads to depression and even to a phobia, anuptaphobia, also known as the Bridget Jones syndrome.

Being Single in Italy: the Data

According to Istat data published in 2023, one in three Italians is single: 8.5 million of the, and they are expected to rise to 10.5 million by 2041. Single-person households outnumber families, but - as revealed by the 35th Italy Report by Eurispes - only just over a third, 37.1%, actively chooses not to have a partner. Millennials and Gen Z (41.1%) are particularly happy not to have a romantic relationship: for them, being single is often a conscious choice. However, 60% state that they find themselves without a romantic relationship not by their own choice but due to factors such as stress, anxiety, and job insecurity reflecting on their economic conditions. Furthermore, singles report being considered fortunate because they are free (22.9%), economically advantaged (23.8%), but also reluctant to take on responsibilities (9.9%), unfulfilled (18.7%), and difficult (24.1%).

What is Anuptaphobia or Bridget Jones Syndrome

Did you know there's a fear of remaining single? As psychologist Gaia Cavalleri explains, "It's called anuptaphobia and it's the fear or anxiety associated with the thought of remaining without a partner. People with this phobia suffer from stress, anxiety, and concerns about their relationship status. This fear inevitably influences life choices, social behaviors, and consequently overall mental health. The intensity of the phobia, like other phobias, can vary depending on personality traits." It affects women between 30 and 40 years old the most, especially those with low self-esteem and attachment issues, stemming from cultural beliefs that not being paired at that age equals failure. Single shaming becomes a sort of scarlet letter branding those who wear it as lacking and defective, causing deep discomfort that can drive these individuals to obsessively seek a partner or to engage in unsuitable relationships.

@psicologaia_ SAPEVI CHE ESISTE LA FOBIA DI RIMANERE SINGLE? Per domande o curiosità lascia un commento #psicologia #psicologa #meccanismididifesa Late Tears - Muspace Lofi

Symptoms and Causes of Anuptaphobia

Cavalleri explains that the causes of anuptaphobia "can be very complex and may include negative past experiences, social and cultural pressures, expectations, and other personality factors." She also emphasizes that "it may be helpful in these situations to undergo psychological therapy to trace the roots of this fear, developing self-esteem and confidence in interpersonal relationships." Fear of being single can manifest through various physical and emotional signals, such as:

  • Obsessively thinking about marriage, love, and "happily ever after," creating illusions and fantasies without enjoying reality and the present;
  • Anxiety, constant apprehension, obsessive, recurrent, and intrusive thoughts related to the fear of remaining single forever;
  • Depression or persistent feelings of sadness;
  • Feelings of inadequacy and incompleteness;
  • A sense of loneliness or social isolation that avoids social situations or events where being single might be highlighted;
  • Fear of being judged or stigmatized for the lack of a romantic relationship;
  • Jumping from one relationship to another focusing on finding a substitute partner rather than overcoming trauma and personal growth;
  • Obsessive search for a partner and strategies to improve seductive abilities;
  • Settling for "the first one that comes along", staying in toxic relationships or ones that simply don't work, settling for a partner who may not be entirely compatible or satisfying just to avoid being alone;
  • Overdoing it on first dates, perhaps with overly intrusive questions or talking too much;
  • Keeping all exes on standby, to resume the relationship in case no one else is found;
  • Physical symptoms may include: palpitations, sweating and nausea, sleep problems. im not gonna sit here and say “i dont need a man.” I LITERALLY DO. I WANT PRESENTS ON VALENTINES DAY #fyp #mascara #mascarahacks #relationship #drama #fail original sound - katie

How to Overcome Anuptaphobia (and No, You Don't Have to Get Engaged)

Overcoming the fear of remaining single can be a complicated process, especially if it's a deeply rooted phobia. It's helpful to consider seeking psychological support to manage the stress and discomfort of being single, but also to address any difficulties related to past relationships and work on building future relationships in a more healthy and conscious way. Stopping idealizing couple life as synonymous with fulfillment and success is a journey that requires intense self-work. You need to work on your self-esteem, cultivate friendships and family relationships, find other interests, focus on other personal goals that help you concentrate on something other than love until you learn to embrace singleness as an enriching phase.