Learn About Anuptaphobia, the Fear of Being Single

Anuptaphobia is the fear of being single or without a partner. This pressure increases in a society that pushes romantic myths.
Learn About Anuptaphobia, the Fear of Being Single
Maria Fatima Seppi Vinuales

Written and verified by the psychologist Maria Fatima Seppi Vinuales.

Last update: 28 March, 2023

The term ‘anuptaphobia’ refers to the discomfort and irrational fear of remaining single or not being able to establish a sentimental relationship with anyone. Like other specific phobias, it is characterized by high levels of anxiety and even panic attacks. In addition, it has consequences in the way of relating.

Sufferers have difficulties in establishing healthy bonds, since they make great efforts to maintain a relationship with someone, even if it is not a healthy relationship. They also tend to self-sabotage in their efforts to achieve a commitment. What are its main symptoms? How to deal with it? Let’s see.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to be in a couple or to start a relationship. However, when that becomes a single goal and its non-fulfillment tarnishes any other success achieved or slows down other projects, then it becomes a problem. How to recognize anuptaphobia? Let’s look at its main symptoms.

  • Excessive, permanent and uncontrollable fear and discomfort about being alone and remaining without a partner.
  • Negative thought patterns. For example, believing that all that is needed to be happy is to be in a relationship (all-or-nothing thinking), inferiority thoughts such as “I am worthless so no one is capable of loving me”, among others.
  • The person feels incapable of being alone, so it is common to find him/her always in a couple, ‘jumping’ from one relationship to another. Their periods of singleness are very short.
  • Negative feelings -such as resentment or envy– towards other partners.
  • Risky behaviors around sexuality as a means to get a partner, instead of enjoyment.

It is anuptaphobia when the desire to have a partner translates into a fear of being alone. However, it is an overwhelming fear that affects other areas of life, such as personal, family and work.

Mujer con miedo
The fear of being without a partner can lead the person to endure toxic bonds.

What causes anuptaphobia?

Like most ailments, it is not possible to think of a single cause. That is, the context in which it occurs must always be taken into account. In the case of anuptaphobia, we cannot ignore the enormous weight of the social component with the pressure to be in a couple, with the mandates and ideals about family and love.

This especially impacts on women, who are judged when they are alone or when they do not bet on projects linked to marriage or motherhood. It is believed that achieving this is synonymous with success, which generates pressure to achieve it.

However, hypotheses suggest that the existence of insecure attachment and fear of rejection also play a role in this phobia.

Possible impacts and consequences

Like any phobia, anuptaphobia generates anxiety and discomfort. However, one of its major drawbacks has to do with the quality of the relationships that the affected persons engage in. The fear of not having a partner is so great that they may endure toxic relationships in order not to remain alone.

They may begin to justify abusive situations, mistreatment, aggression or violence. Their emotional dependence makes them vulnerable.

On the other hand, phobias often have comorbidity with other disorders such as obsessive-compulsive behaviors. Thus, many people with anuptaphobia may develop feelings of distrust and insecurity, to the point of wanting to control their partner’s every move.

Likewise, once they enter into a relationship, these people experience a persistent and uncontrollable fear of abandonment. Thus, not only are they unable to enjoy their longed-for relationship, but their insecurity starts to cause conflicts.

This is how the self-fulfilling prophecy takes place; when the situation becomes untenable for the other, the other person will leave them.

It is important to understand that anuptaphobia is just a phobia. It has nothing to do with macho or controlling behaviors that certain people have in their relationships. In other words, we must be very careful about normalizing or confusing certain toxic behaviors as if it were a phobia.

Treatment for anuptaphobia

La anuptafobia tiene tratamiento
It is always important to have psychological help in case of suffering from any type of phobia.

One can approach a phobia from different currents. One of them is cognitive behavioral therapy, which proposes to work from the level of cognitions as well as at the level of behaviors and acts.

It is also necessary to work from psychoeducation to offer information about healthy relationships, romantic love myths, phobias, among other topics that can help the patient to understand what is happening to him/her.

In this sense, in cognitive terms, it seeks to work with the person on those negative thoughts that function as determining patterns and then impact and determine their behaviors.

That is to say, a person who has a catastrophic thought about singleness or loneliness will insist on the search for a partner as the main engine of their life. Therefore, to begin with, we work with assumptions and core beliefs.

Advancing a little further in the treatment, we seek to move to action, with simple exercises for the person to begin to face their fears. In this way, we try to get them to connect with pleasant and enjoyable activities that they can do on their own.

It will also be important to work on self-esteem. This is so that the person can recover their self-worth without thinking of themselves in relation to others.

What should you remember?

A healthy relationship allows its members to grow and empower themselves. Thus, it must be the starting point on which to build a bond. Many people believe they should complement one another. But, the truth is that such an approach only promotes dependency and need.

To some extent, most people experience this fear of being alone and not having a partner to share. But when this emotion overflows, causes anxiety and sabotage, it is advisable to seek help to deal with it.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Bados, A. (2009). Fobias específicas. Departament de personalitat, Avaluacio y Tractament Psicologics: Universidad de Barcelona.
  • Capafons Bonet, Juan I. (2001). Tratamientos psicológicos eficaces para las fobias específicas. Psicothema, 13(3),447-452.[fecha de Consulta 30 de Junio de 2021]. ISSN: 0214-9915. Disponible en: https://www.redalyc.org/articulo.oa?id=72713310.
  • Leary, Mark. (2015). Emotional responses to interpersonal rejection. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience. 17. 435-441. 10.31887/DCNS.2015.17.4/mleary.
  • “Settling for less out of fear of being single”: Correction to Spielmann et al. (2013). J Pers Soc Psychol. 2018 Nov;115(5):804. doi: 10.1037/pspp0000227. PMID: 30321050.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.