Anuptaphobia is the fear of staying single, but this definition says little about a fairly common phobia, and it doesn’t add that this fear doesn’t just encompass concern about being single. Some people suffer it in the form of being afraid of being married to the wrong person for life. Others more relate the term to gamophobia, which is fear of all things to do with marriage and weddings.
Cases of anuptaphobia may be very mild to severe. Many people hope and plan for the day when they find the perfect partner with whom to share their lives, and in absence of this perfection, they might act in ways that are irrational. They may choose partners on a whim and quickly marry without time to consider the consequences. Alternately, they could stay in destructive relationships where the promise of marriage or lifetime commitment is real because they fear what would happen if they are suddenly single. This is perhaps the most severe form, and it can lead to a woman or man who will not extricate himself or herself from an inherently abusive relationship because the fear of being alone exceeds the fear of abuse.
The second form, fear of being married to the wrong person, might express itself in an inability to commit. A person might be able to offer some level of commitment to another, but continue to look for the ideal man or woman to come along. On the issue of marriage, this person would usually be inflexible or hesitant because fear drives him or her to worry about making lifetime commitments with the wrong partner.
Symptoms of this phobia can vary significantly. Some people might avoid weddings because they develop feelings of panic when they attend them, while others might be very interested in attending weddings or other social engagements in the hopes of meeting a life partner. Essentially, it can be said that the focus of someone with this condition is skewed; finding the ideal partner or any partner may be far more important than other aspects of life, and remaining single is something to be feared at all costs. It can be hard to trace the development of this condition in a child or young adult, but persistent discomfort with being alone is a very good sign.
There are a variety of treatments for anuptaphobia, including helping the person not view single life as a punishment or as an evil. Talk therapy and other treatments, like cognitive behavioral therapy and desensitization, may help. In this case, a combination of talk therapy and desensitization may be most effective because rooting out the desire to not remain single may take some work.
Still, not all people who suffer from mild forms of this condition require therapy. Therapy is usually only really needed when the fear of being single is so intense that it causes people to make very poor life choices or find themselves unable to commit. It could be said that there are many who suffer from the fear of ending up alone, but as long as this fear doesn’t overwhelm common sense, it may be more of a human condition than a mental illness.