A new study on loneliness may force some people to take a good honest look at their relationship and reevaluate their choice of partner.
Because according to researchers out of the University of Toronto, some people are willing to settle for less just to be coupled up.
"Those with stronger fears about being single are willing to settle for less in their relationships," said lead author Stephanie Spielmann in a statement.
"Sometimes they stay in relationships they aren't happy in, and sometimes they want to date people who aren't very good for them. Now we understand that people's anxieties about being single seem to play a key role in these types of unhealthy relationship behaviors."
The study, published in the December edition of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, also breaks gender stereotypes that only women struggle with the fear of being single, researchers said.
"In our results we see men and women having similar concerns about being single, which lead to similar coping behaviors, contradicting the idea that only women struggle with a fear of being single," added co-author Geoff MacDonald.
"Loneliness is a painful experience for both men and women, so it's not surprising that the fear of being single seems not to discriminate on the basis of gender."
For their study, researchers conducted a series of tests among different groups of participants recruited through online forums.
Respondents ranged in age from 18 to 59 and included singletons, people in exclusive relationships, casual daters, and married couples.
In addition to a series of self-reporting tests on their relationship satisfaction, researchers also explored the fear of being single during a speed-dating event.
In one of the studies, 39 percent of the 152 respondents (of which 125 were women and 27 men), said they harbored no fears about being single, while 37 percent said they feared being single to some degree. The most commonly cited concern among those who feared being alone was the lack of companionship and intimate connection with a partner.
Research out of Ohio State University published earlier this year also linked loneliness to a number of dysfunctional immune responses such as coronary heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease.
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