It's Not You: Anuptaphobia Is The Reason You're Afraid To Be Single

by Lauren Martin

Patient: Single 20-something

Symptoms: Empty bed; 144 hours logged on Netflix; badgering parents; multiple dating profiles; 2 empty cartons of Ben and Jerry's; one cat adoption page on your browser history; the memoir of Diane Keaton and an extra copy of “The Secret.”

Diagnosis: Anuptaphobia

Are you depressed? Do you watch romantic comedies with a knife under your pillow? Do you stare at couples on the subway as tears well in your eyes?

Do you go to weddings on Xanax or refuse invitations because you’re too busy plotting your descent into spinsterhood? Well, you may be suffering from Anuptaphobia, and it’s time to get help.

Medically defined as “a morbid fear of staying or remaining single,” Anuptaphobia is not your run-of-the-mill phobia, and it’s safe to say we’re living through an epidemic.

An entire generation has succumbed to the condition and the symptoms have been running rampant through cities and rural towns alike. Accomplished women and men have been falling one by one to this recently named phobia and even the strong aren’t safe.

Specialists have confirmed that this condition is part of a social phobia that can be traced back to a triggering event from childhood or a traumatic incident. It’s a psychological condition brought on by numerous factors, yet I think it’s safe to say we’ve contaminated our own water.

A generation bathed in social media, we’ve created a culture that doesn't support relationships, yet still holds the antiquated expectations of marriage. We’re living in our parents' past, but are redefining a new dating future. We can’t feel whole without another person, but also don’t know how to be together.

Women and men, but especially women, are self-diagnosing themselves as they lie in their empty beds, their right fingers stiff and gnawed from swiping, their eyes shot from too many seasons of "How I Met Your Mother." Capable and smart singles are walking around as empty shells, feeling worthless and defeated.

The worst part about the condition is that men and women waste their lives letting it control them. They live quietly under its reign, refusing to believe they they can have happy lives without it.

They can’t see that they can be happy alone, that marriage isn’t something they should worry about. They are hindered by the phobia that this single status will be there forever.

You have this disease, but this disease doesn’t have to control you. But before you can treat yourself in bouts of therapy, you must first properly diagnose yourself.

Staying in relationships that don’t work

You have a tendency to try and push things that should be left alone. You go for men and women not because they’re right, but because they’re there. You settle for relationships and people because you’d rather settle now than strive for something later.

You are so deathly terrified of being on your own that you’ll stay with someone you don’t even like.

Obsessively thinking about marriage, love and future

Your mind is constantly preoccupied with antiquated notions of "the perfect life” and “happily ever after” that you don’t even see how good your real life is. You obsess over things beyond your control, creating delusions and fantasies of a life even cartoons don’t properly achieve.

You forget to look around you and enjoy the moments because you’re constantly obsessing over the wrong ones. Your future husband or wife is never going to find you if you're too busy creating fake ones.

Feelings of inadequacy

You feel painfully incomplete. You feel as if you’re walking around with a gaping wound, the other half of you missing. You are not completely present when people talk to you because you feel you have nothing good to offer.

You created paranoid delusions in your head. You think that because you are single, you are worthless.

Because you are alone, you have nothing to offer. Yet what you don't realize is your inadequacy is all in your head. People in relationships look at you in awe of your single status, and if you just started to appreciate it the way others envied it, you'd see how great it is to be alive and just living for yourself.

Inability to spend time alone

You get worked up when you are by yourself for too long. You never understood the idea of enjoying your own company and would rather die before living in an apartment by yourself. You fill your company with friends you don’t even like and have sex that’s so bad it should be illegal.

You don't want to get used to your own company because you never want to have to rely on it. You figure that if you avoid ever getting to the point at which you enjoy spending time alone, you'll never have to fall back on it.

Overanalyzing absolutely everything

Whether it's a text, a chance encounter or a situation that doesn't even involve you, you have a tendency to overanalyze the sh*t out of it. Down to the single letter, you look for ways to take the tiniest thing and turn it into something it's not.

You spend minutes, days and weeks overanalyzing strings of words that usually are as empty as the person sending them.