Study: Fear of Being Alone Keeps People in Bad Relationships

C. Price
C. Price Updated:
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Forever can be a very long time, especially when you’re alone.

The fear of growing old without a partner impacts the lives of a surprising number of people, and new research finds these types of concerns actually drive many people to remain in less fulfilling relationships

Likewise, many settle for a partner they aren’t excited about out of the fear no one else will have them.

For the research, a post-doctoral researcher from the University of Toronto interviewed 153 volunteers of varying ages, all either American or Canadian.

Author Stephanie Spielmann wanted to understand how far stretching these concerns are for people and how they effect their lives.

The results appear in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, explaining 40 percent of the group were found to fear never finding a long-term companion.

Nearly one in five feared spinsterhood, while 12 percent worried about losing their current partner.

“Forty percent feared never

finding a long-term companion.”

The fear of growing old alone was admitted by 11 percent of the group, while 7 percent said they would “feel worthless” if unable to find a partner.

About 4 percent said they were worried about being negatively judged by others for not securing a partner, while less than 1 percent said any partner was better than being alone.

Such fears were found to keep people in unhealthy relationships, Speilmann said.

“During relationship initiation and maintenance, those who fear being single may prioritize relationship status above relationship quality,” she said.

This leads to “settling for less responsive and less attractive partners and remaining in relationships that are less satisfying.”

Spielmann concluded, “Now we understand that people’s anxieties about being single seem to play a key role in these types of unhealthy relationship behaviors.”

Source: psycnet.apa.org. Photo source: goodwomenproject.com