Anuptaphobia is a specific phobia defined by the irrational fear of being single, of never finding a life partner, or of seeing them go away. The person suffering from anuptaphobia will implement all possible stratagems to maintain or create an intimate relationship. Psychotherapy most often makes it possible to get out of this fear shaped by situations of abandonment and social pressures.
What is anuptaphobia?
Definition of anuptaphobia
Anuptaphobia is a specific phobia defined by the irrational fear of being single, of never finding a life partner, or of seeing them go away. This social fear echoes the fear of abandonment. It is to be differentiated from autophobia, the fear of loneliness.
The greater the fear of being single, the more the anuptaphobe lowers his partner selection criteria – attractiveness, social status, interpersonal skills, etc. – compared to his real expectations. The status of the relationship, that is to say the fact of being together, takes precedence over the quality of the relationship. The person suffering from anuptaphobia considers that it is better to be in bad company than alone. Like an anxiolytic, the partner reassures the person suffering from anuptaphobia.
Types of anuptaphobia
There is only one type of anuptaphobia.
Causes of anuptaphobia
Some of the causes of anuptaphobia are:
- Biological, psychological and social pressures: establishing physical and psychological connections between humans is absolutely natural behavior. Everyone needs these close social ties to a greater or lesser extent in order to build a foundation of security and trust. As soon as a person is alone, a biological and psychological pressure can build up and give rise to the fear of being single. This pressure can also come from society itself: many people feel that it is abnormal to be alone and that everyone should be in a couple and have children in society;
- An exacerbated attachment: the attachment system is often activated early in the infant’s life. A bond is created between him and the caregiver, whether a parent or a healthcare professional. It develops more when distress or threat exists and only the caregiver can provide safety and comfort to the infant. Subsequently, the infant who has become an adult may develop an excessive need for attachment to other relatives;
- A traumatic separation during childhood or a parental divorce: certain separation patterns can induce fear of being alone.
- A neurological disorder: in the early 2010s, researchers demonstrated abnormal brain activation in phobic adults. This concerns parts of the brain involved in the perception and early amplification of fear, such as the amygdala, the anterior cingulate cortex, the thalamus and the insula. Thus, adults with phobia seem to be more easily aroused by phobic stimuli and their ability to regulate this arousal would be reduced.
Diagnosis of anuptaphobia
The first diagnosis of anuptaphobia, made by an attending physician via the description of the problem experienced by the patient himself, will or will not justify the establishment of therapy. This diagnosis is made on the basis of the criteria of the specific phobia of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders:
- The phobia must persist beyond six months;
- The fear must be exaggerated vis-à-vis the real situation, the danger incurred;
- Patients avoid the situation at the origin of their initial phobia – in this case the fact of not being in a relationship;
- Fear, anxiety and avoidance cause significant distress that interferes with social or professional functioning.
People affected by anuptaphobia
Anuptaphobia often affects adults, men or women, whom society considers old enough to be in a relationship.
Factors promoting anuptaphobia
The main factor favoring anuptaphobia is the fact of being exclusively surrounded by people in a couple: this factor reinforces the biological and psychological pressure dictating that it is normal to be in a couple.
Symptoms of anuptaphobia
Feeling of inadequacy
The anuptophobic lacks self-confidence and feels he is out of step with society. He feels like an empty shell, in constant need of connection and companionship.
Alone, the anuptophobe spends hours analyzing a message received, a meeting or a situation. As a couple, he constantly plans the stages of a “perfect” couple life: presentation to parents, marriage, births, etc.
As a couple at all costs
The anuptophobic is ready to do anything to be in a relationship. He goes towards the other not for his qualities but to overcome his fear of being alone, even if it means remaining in relationships that do not work.
- Inability to spend time alone;
- Worry ;
- Paranoia crisis.
Treatments for anuptaphobia
Different therapies, associated with relaxation techniques, make it possible to search for the cause of anuptaphobia and then to deconstruct the irrational fear of celibacy:
- Cognitive and behavioral therapies;
- The Emotional Management Technique (EFT). This technique combines psychotherapy with acupressure – finger pressure. It stimulates specific points on the body with the aim of releasing tensions and emotions. The aim is to dissociate the trauma – here linked to touch – from the discomfort felt, from fear.
- EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) or desensitization and reprocessing by eye movements;
- Mindfulness meditation.
- Taking antidepressants may be considered to limit panic and anxiety.
Difficult to prevent anuptaphobia. However, once symptoms have eased or disappeared, relapse prevention can be improved.
- Using relaxation techniques: breathing techniques, sophrology, yoga, etc. ;
- By letting go of needing another person to be safe and forcing yourself to do rewarding tasks on your own.