Fear…an instinct that can be useful to protect us from danger, but can also hold us back from experiencing new and exciting challenges. Fear is powerful, and can have a huge effect on many different areas of lives if it gets out of control.
In a new study, researchers set out to examine how fear of being alone impacts decisions about the choice of partner in romantic relationships. To begin, the researchers first set out to establish whether fear of loneliness was a common occurrence. They found the following results:
- 40% of subjects said they feared not having a long-term companion
- 18% said they feared “spinsterhood”
- 12% feared losing a current partner
- 11% feared growing old alone
- 7% feared never having children and a family
- 7% said they would feel worthless if alone
- 4% feared negative judgements from others
- 7% said any relationship (even if horrible) was better than none. 
Based on the results of an online questionnaire related to the study, it was found that fear of being alone motivated people to stay in unhealthy relationships or settle for partners who were not ideal. 
While the social norm dictates that we “should” have a partner, fear of being alone should not prevent anyone from leaving an unsatisfying or hurtful relationship. Being human means having instincts, but these do not always serve us well, and fear can be one of the most limiting instincts we have. We are cavemen no longer, and have the luxury of making decisions not based on basic survival needs, but on what we really want out of life.
 Haim, Jenetta. wellbeing.com.au, September 10th 2014.