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Observations Medicine and the Media

A remedy for lonely hearts?

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 13 December 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:1240
  1. Petra Boynton, lecturer in international healthcare research1
  1. 1Department of Primary Care and Population Sciences, University College London

    The media have been intrigued by a new service that offers to help the millions of unattached Britons infected by “dating toxins.” Petra Boynton reports

    Are you single? Been on your own for six months or more? If so you could be one of the estimated “5.6 million British singles infected by dating toxins.”

    Research by online dating agency PARSHIP suggests (according to its press release) this “epidemic of dating misery” is caused by “singles suffering from a build up of dating toxins.” These were identified via a survey of 5000 people as shyness, fussiness, low self esteem, lack of opportunity, and desperation.

    PARSHIP in its press release states that it is offering a bespoke treatment combining cognitive behavioural therapy, psychotherapy, dating etiquette, and a matchmaking service. The press release goes on to state that some common causes of relationship problems (acute shyness, for example) are treated in a similar way as you would treat “someone with a phobia.” You may be a suitable candidate for treatment “if, amongst other criteria, you haven’t been on a date for more than six months or a relationship in more than a year.” Dr Victoria Lukats, an …

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