Single Women: What are they Afraid of?

Oscillating between the pleasure of being free and depressed, single women find various excuses not to live together. What if they’re all hiding their fear of love? Analysis of a phenomenon and decryption of eight false good reasons.

It’s hard to be a single woman in our schizophrenic society. With one hand, you are propelled “modern society”, and you find yourself in one of the magazines as the new adventurers.

On the other hand, you are stunned with methods to meet the soul mate: in seven minutes, on Meetic, on vacation; or even on Valentine’s day! It is up to you to find yourself in this incessant gap between Friends and The Bachelor.

“I’m swimming in ambivalence,” said Laetitia, 32, a press secretary at a publishing house. I love my life, my job, my girlfriends. And I’m capable of spending a cloistered weekend telling myself that no one loves me.

In the same week, I can thus alternate periods of absolute exaltation and moments of Frank’s depression. Not to mention that as soon as I’m asked about my celibacy, I pull out my superwoman costume, and I defend tooth and nail a status that, in reality, I only want to get out. »

A feeling of helplessness

For ten years, psychotherapist Sylvie Tenenbaum has been receiving women suffering from celibacy. “They torture their minds to understand what they call the ‘failure’ of their affective life.

But it is enough to listen to their preconceptions about men, to observe their behavior and their choices of partners, to understand that fear is at the origin of their attitudes and their mistakes. »

Fear, the big word is out. “Yes, I am afraid,” said Florence, 38, assistant manager. Fear that everything will go on like this, without someone ever coming, that it will last until I’m too old. Life goes on; the days are the same, why would it be different tomorrow? »

When single women deal with this anxiety, it is not uncommon for them to find others, less apparent. “Things are difficult for them,” explains psychoanalyst Nicole Fabre, ” because fears clash and respond.

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The fear of not meeting often hides the fear of meeting. These anxieties of not being able to” do ” bring women back to essential questions about their identity and what they are worth. »

Like an echo, the psychoanalyst Catherine sees in these questions the fear of getting lost in the other: “what is scary behind the fear of not meeting Love is to find oneself powerless to live what one wants to live.

Because the other man or woman, for that matter – is not going to bring us what we want, because he is going to impose his desire on us, because he is not going to love us as we would like to be. And what do we do if we can’t resist? We’d rather not risk the adventure… »

“I make all the movies I can,” says 26-year-old student Eleonore. As soon as a guy interests me, the “breaking machine” starts: he won’t Call Me, won’t like my girlfriends, will be allergic to my cat, won’t please my mother, won’t want children… and I give up before I even try. “I,” said Anne-Marie, ” at 54, alone, stopped looking at men.

The game of seduction, the efforts to make, it makes me tired in advance. I don’t have to prove anything anymore, I just do good for myself, and for that, I don’t need a man. “Not to mention the fact that when I look around, there is not a single couple that makes me want it! »

What image of the couple?

What is striking about this fear of meeting is that it is based on a very negative image of the man and the couple. As if, even before the eventuality looms, everything is doomed.

For Catherine, ” it misses them all to know how to imagine that a relationship can be beautiful, light, that one will laugh, that it will be harmonious; that a relationship can be generous, affectionate, brief, Happy. Behind the fear of meeting; it is the vision of the couple that is missing “.

Of course, the role of the parental couple plays a crucial role here. Do we feel in rebellion against this model or inadequacy? Is it an ideal that we are trying to achieve or a painful image that we are running away from? “The mother’s model is essential,” says Fabre.

It is through this prism that we will build our image of the couple. Did she know how to be happy together? Or did she suffer, condemning us out of loyalty not to succeed where mom failed? »

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“These women who do not dare to go to men have remained in the stage of a little girl for whom growing up was to put themselves in danger,” says Saïdeh Reza, a psychotherapist.

Growing up is about being free from the humiliations, fears and unloving situations of childhood. You have to be your own” good parent ” and not expect the other to replace him or fill the void.

Man must respond to a desire and a need for sharing, not to a request for emotional reparation. “Except to be condemned to incessant fear that the other will not respond to it. And raise the bar even higher to make sure that no one can cross it.

Because they are afraid of not being able to set limits, of not being able to be heard, of not being respected; single women prefer to be alone. Instead of fighting against fear and its foundation: “all these women need to be reconciled with their femininity, to be repaired as women. They must be nurtured and glorified in their femininity. They meet men when, at last, they have a good image of themselves, ” said Reza asserts. In the desire of waiting and not in need.

The choice of relationship

Ask a single woman what she thinks is essential in a future relationship. The psychoanalyst Catherine Bensaid often tests with her patients. “Most of the time, they answer me: “I want him to be nice, to offer me flowers, to be a good father…” they talk only about him, never about the relationship.

This is not thought of as an exchange, but as a request, an expectation. The only real question women should ask themselves is, ” what do I want to give, what do I have to share? A woman has an active part in the relationship because it is made up of movements from one to another. »

Some numbers

Do you think there are not enough single men? Evidence to the contrary, in figures.


  • 20-29 years: 88.34%
  • 30-39 years: 42.83%
  • 40-49 years old: 18.89%
  • 50-59 years: 9.64%


  • 20-29 years: 78.75%
  • 30-39 years: 33.01%
  • 40-49 years: 14.12%
  • 50-59 years old (1): 7.83%

Why this impression that there are more single women than men? It’s because they are urban, professionally successful and not afraid to be seen!

“Indeed, they are more numerous at the top of the social ladder, when men are more numerous at the bottom and evolve rather in the rural areas”, analyzes the sociologist Jean-Claude Kaufmann. The figures confirm it: in the higher intellectual professions, single men are 11.8%, women are 19.2%. At the employee level, single men are 12.7% and women are 9.2%.

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