Created by
N.C. Young

I often have negative intrusive thoughts, and try to combat them with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (which shares an acronym with another thing). The basic idea is to examine the negative thought and check whether it actually makes sense or is fair. It often works well for me. If I have the thought that

My friends hate me.

I might respond with

My friends often ask me to hang out, rarely refuse when I ask them to hang out, and always say how much they enjoyed it, so they can't hate me that much.

This doesn't always stop the thought from resurfacing, but it stops it being quite so upsetting and lets me dismiss it more easily in the future.

But the thing about CBT is that it’s a way to shine the light of truth on thoughts that are in some way untrue. You have to believe in the rebuttal, and it has to actually rebut the core of the original thought (or at least disarm it - sometimes the best response is “so what, that’s not so bad”).

There’s one I’ve been having trouble with, which I want to verbalise as

No one will ever love me.

This is false; my family and friends love me and tell me so regularly. A much more accurate translation that loses something in intensity is

I will never find a partner.

I can think of a few responses to this:

That’s not so bad.

I mean, I’m doing okay without a partner, but it seems important enough to me that I don’t know how to dismiss it, or if I can, or should.

Some people have wanted to date me.

Not many and not for long.

It’s not 0%, there’s got to be some chance that I’ll find someone.

Sure, but what's that chance? My gut says it's low, and I know I should correct for my lonely pessimism, but how much? I can't put any number on it, let alone anything objective.

If only there were some way of getting other people to help me out with that.

Some relevant info:

  • I had a few relationships back in my school days, but nothing serious and nothing since then. I’m 25 now.

  • I’m on Tinder, Bumble, and OKCupid, but I can’t get the hang of them. They’ve gotten me one date in 3 years. Messaging on dating apps feels to me like trudging through knee-deep mud with weights around my ankles, and I'm not sure why.

As always, if there's anything more you want to know that's relevant to the market, please ask.