If you find yourself in a state of perpetual “meh” when you peer over at the person watching The Walking Dead beside you, it’s probably because you’re crippled by the fear of your own loneliness. This single-aversion haunts you so deeply that you’ll settle for practically anyone with a pulse – the shoe saleswoman, the one Blockbuster worker still living in your area code, maybe your fifth cousin. It’s part of how we cope with our fears of cat ladydom. A study released by The University of Toronto has found that the fear of being single is a good predictor for how much both men and women will settle for less in relationships.
The amount of anxiety someone has about being single directly relates to what they’re willing to put up with in a relationship, whether it’s hooking up with someone who’s beneath them or dating an actively horrible human who your friends vetoed three months ago. And out of the hundreds of results the researchers studied, both men and women displayed similar coping mechanisms of constantly jumping into relationships when they had strong anxieties about the social threats of rejection and loneliness. The study concluded, “the fear of being single seems not to discriminate on the basis of gender.” Which maybe I should bold, underline, and italicize. I repeat: Women aren’t the only ones walking around like personified Cathy comics. Men get the single dude blues, too.
Image via Veer.