From the Hans Christian Andersen biography "The Life of Hans Christian Andersen. Day By Day", written by DPhil Johan de Mylius:
1818HCA's Mother Remarries
HCA's mother remarries (shoemaker Niels Jørgensen Gundersø, 1787-1822). It may be assumed that the new marriage meant that the boy no longer had the full attention of his mother and that this was instrumental in HCA's departure from Odense, his childhood town. In cramped quarters, the experience of witnessing his mother as a sexual being in the company of a strange man may have been one of the factors which laid the foundation for HCA's later tendency to avoid sexual contact with women.