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What is Anuptaphobia?

Tricia Christensen
Updated: Mar 03, 2024

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.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon954826 — On Jun 04, 2014

I am in therapy right now because being alone makes me extremely depressed. When I am not in a relationship, I fear that I will never find love and often cry hysterically to the point of hyperventilating, making it very difficult to breathe. At the sight or sound of anything relating to love, I am stricken with grief, fear, and emotional pain and I have often avoided weddings or outings with friends in relationships; or cutting these friends off entirely. My non-single friends bring me more fear for my lonely future and talking about the subject has become an obsession.

I am very interested in these relationship-related phobias.

By anon938570 — On Mar 10, 2014

How do I overcome my fear of never meeting anyone? I get frustrated and storm off, I get upset, I get angry, I feel like I am never ever going to meet my first girlfriend. I just do not know what to do as I am getting worse. When I see two people holding hands, or kissing, I either look away in temper and disgust, or I get disappointed. What should I do?

By anon923862 — On Dec 30, 2013

I have a fear of any relationship after being divorced. When I feel lonely I feel safe.

By healthy4life — On Jan 26, 2013

@shell4life – Anuptaphobia usually manifests itself in different forms in men and women, I think. It seems that females are more afraid of being alone, while males are afraid of marrying the wrong woman.

Usually, neither gender ends up with what they really want. You have to be willing to compromise in relationships.

Females sometimes compromise too much so that their men won't leave. Men sometimes don't compromise enough, and they drive women away.

I knew a women who put up with physical and mental abuse for a decade before finally leaving. She was afraid of being single, and that fear was stronger than her fear of her husband and her misery.

By cloudel — On Jan 26, 2013

My fear of being alone might not fit the anuptaphobia definition exactly, but it is strong. I've even stayed with men much longer than I wanted to just so that I wouldn't be single.

Luckily, the wrong guys were always the ones who broke up with me before things led to marriage. If they hadn't ended things, I never would have, so I'm glad that they did.

By shell4life — On Jan 25, 2013

@hyrax53 – I think that this condition is at the top of the male phobia list. So many men I know won't even talk to their girlfriends about marriage, and they even wind up dumping them if they insist on it.

I do believe that they are afraid of getting stuck with the wrong person. Very few women meet the definition of ideal in men's eyes, and they are often on the lookout for someone who does.

Even men who have good relationships with their girlfriends are often afraid that the girls will change after marriage. They picture a nagging wife fifty pounds heavier, and they recoil in horror.

This isn't to say that all men are this way or that women are not prone to anuptaphobia. However, I've definitely known more men with this phobia than women.

By giddion — On Jan 25, 2013

I have always been on the lookout for my perfect other half, even while in committed relationships. You could say that my boyfriend was always more committed than I was, but I at least pretended to be so that he wouldn't dump me.

After being cheated on, I realize how horrible it feels to be on the receiving end of this. Knowing that you are not enough for someone else is painful, and I didn't want to make anyone I was with ever feel that way, so I decided that I wouldn't be in a relationship anymore if it didn't seem like it could last forever.

By Denha — On Feb 10, 2011

I believe that this phobia is on the rise thanks to the media. Every day the news talks about things like celebrity breakups as though they are even more important than natural disasters or political conflicts. It teaches all of us, especially younger people, that marriage is the only think you really need to be upset about.

By hyrax53 — On Feb 08, 2011

I have known girls who, before even ever having a boyfriend, talked about marriage like it was inevitable; I have also known guys who, even when they had a girlfriend, talked about marriage like it was something they would never consider. While most people don't think of it when they think of common phobias, I think that anuptaphobia, the fear of staying single or married to the wrong person, is one of the most common phobias today.

By panda2006 — On Feb 06, 2011

This does not surprise me; I feel sometimes like everyone in modern society has some form of phobia when it comes to their relationship statuses. I also think that it might still be a bigger worry for women than men, but more men worry than ever about things like getting married or getting a partner; while not necessarily to the point of phobia, I think the majority of young people today suffer from some level of this problem.

By Wildred Krenis-Chery — On Oct 25, 2010

Could you please help me with information regarding psychological research on this subject, as I am intrigued by this phobia in it's second form. I read about research in Korea, by a Dr. Lee, but have not been able to find the empirical research or findings.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia...
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