Is it me or is everyone breaking up? I think it is safe to say we all thought 2019 was going to be an awesome year, and while it has been fruitful, it seems that we have all been put through the emotional ringer to let go of what is not working for us and make room for new experiences. Releasing people from our lives is never easy, especially romantic partners.
As someone who has had two breakups this year, I must admit I was curious to see what technology could offer a broken heart. So, I downloaded all the breakup apps I could find to reflect on my personal experiences.
And it was not out of the blue: There has been a recent trend in apps that are meant to help people who are going through a breakup. The emergence of these apps can’t be a coincidence. Sure, breaking up is hard, but has it gotten harder? Are we less equipped to deal with it? Why is breaking up so difficult?
The dating world has changed drastically over the last 10 years. It is my opinion that the introduction of social media has largely influenced the way we interact with one another. Social media has made dating more accessible by creating opportunity for people to connect online. I constantly hear about friends and colleagues who have hooked up with or even married people they met online, specifically on apps like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. In fact, the last person I dated asked me out by sliding into my DMs. And dating apps like Tinder, Bumble and Hinge have made dating in this technological age even more accessible.
It takes a lot of willpower not to stalk your ex on social media.
While this aspect has the potential to be extremely beneficial for linking love interests, it also has some pretty ugly side effects. Technology has given people access to each other’s lives on a very personal level. It is almost a little intrusive how closely you can follow someone online and track their day-to-day. In the beginning stages of a relationship, getting to see what your crush is up to is exciting to say the least. In a way, it is like you are getting to know them and how they present themselves to the world. But post-breakup, seeing them online can be extremely painful, especially if the circumstances of the breakup are less than ideal.
And let’s not forget we live in a world where ghosting and orbiting are also trends in dating. For those who are not familiar with the terms, allow me to break them down. Ghosting is when one person in the relationship disappears completely without explanation. This is most commonly seen during the first few weeks of dating, usually before anything is solidified between the couple. For example, a guy and a girl go on a couple dates, they seem to have a good time together and when the guy reaches out to the girl for another date, she does not respond, and when he reaches out again to follow up, there is more silence. She has disappeared on him — ignores his attempts to reach out — but is still active online. (These genders are interchangeable; no matter your gender, you are subject to ghost or be ghosted.)
There is usually no closure in a ghosting situation, which can leave the person who was “ghosted” with a sense of abandonment. As someone who has been ghosted before, I will say it is a truly terrible feeling. An even worse feeling comes from the other trend I mentioned, orbiting. Essentially, the person ghosts you but still lingers in your life, fully up-to-date on everything you do but does not want to actively be involved. For example, the person might have cut off all contact, but they are still liking your Instagram posts, watching your Snapchats and favoriting your Tweets.
All of this can be incredibly confusing when it comes to finding closure in a relationship. It takes a lot of willpower not to stalk your ex on social media. The fact of the matter is that when it comes to breaking up, the people involved need space from each other to heal. If you are constantly checking up on your ex-partner, you will keep reopening old wounds, making it impossible to move on. And you will also drive yourself crazy trying to interpret your ex’s new life without you by overanalyzing comments, stories and new people they are following. It is a recipe for a mental breakdown.
If technology is part of the problem, can it also be part of the solution? Here are my top picks for breakup apps.
No Contact Rule
No Contact is an app designed to distract you if you feel like reaching out to your ex. Its click-through design is filled with affirmations and reminders of why keeping contact with an ex is harmful to the healing process. This app is the tough-love friend that gives you a much-needed reality check with no added cost to your pocket!
Mend is a free app that uses AI (artificial intelligence; think Siri) to help talk you through your breakup. It asks you specific questions about how long ago you broke up with a person, cause of the breakup, how long it has been since you have spoken with them, etc., and offers you a tailored healing journey. Journaling is encouraged, along with noting all the self-care activities (exercising, drinking water, meditating, eating a healthy meal, hugging a friend) you participate in each day. Mend also has a blog feature full of articles written by professionals to help you heal. This is an excellent resource that caters to all your breakup needs.
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Breakups don’t always bring out our best behavior. But instead of letting pain define us, let it refine us. Onward is NYC’s first Post-Breakup Concierge Service. We are here to help you move — and move on — to the next phase of your life as seamlessly as possible. #onward
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Breaking up with someone you are currently living with can be extremely difficult. Onward is a website and app that helps people (literally) move on. It is designed to help people who were cohabiting find a new living space as a single person. Onward offers a variety of services via their three plans (ranging from $99-$500). The 10-day Reboot helps you find new housing, movers and other resources like a therapist or financial advisor. The 30-day Recharge includes that and also coordinates your move, recommends new furniture and handles all your address and utility changes. The 3-month Recalibrate plan builds on this by adding cleaning and home design services, legal referrals, weekly scheduled concierge check-ins and a customized neighborhood guide with resources and recommendations. Onward holds your life together when it feels like it is falling apart.
Rx Breakup is a free app with a 30-day healing plan. The plan offers affirmations, journaling prompts (think: things that boost your self-esteem, list of people to call instead of your ex, noting every time you want to reach out to your ex-partner and what you would say) and advice to help change up your cyber life by encouraging no contact with your ex. Each day a new goal, like making a fun music playlist or throwing away reminders of your ex, is unlocked for you to work through. This is an easy, step-by-step guide to creating agency over your life the first month after a breakup.
After A Breakup
After A Breakup is similar to Rx Breakup but with less thrills and a more straight-forward approach. The free, 30-day program is more tailored to action-oriented goals versus journaling. It gives you a list of things to accomplish everyday like making the bed, eating healthy, exercising and mindful meditation. Sometimes getting out of bed can seem like a daunting task after a tough breakup. I appreciate this app for reminding us to do these acts of self-care daily.
Shelby Sells is a sexologist, writer, photographer, and cinematographer based in NYC. Her work is centered around the intersection of love, sex and relationships. She aims to liberate sexual prowess through these mediums and educate her audience through emotional intelligence and awareness. She is finishing her degree in psychology with a human sexuality focus.
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