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What comes after Tinder? Apps that help you mend a broken heart

By Shira Jeczmien

Nov 22, 2018

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From a marketing perspective, it’s probably easier and more exciting to talk about finding love than it is about mending broken hearts. As a society too, we spend much less time discussing our painful breakups than we do fantasising over endless, unconditional, monogamist love. And in many ways, this optimism (or idealism) has heavily translated into the technology that surrounds us. This is probably why my phone has several dating apps installed (Tinder for the official chit chat meets ghosting, Feeld for the quirky rendezvous and Bumble for when I want to feel all female and powerful) and no apps at all to help me through the in-betweens—the breakups, the ghosting, the orbiting; the reality of dating. But it doesn’t have to be like that, at least not according to the founders of new heart mending technologies.

From the biggest app on the market called Mend to Rx Breakup, Break Up Boss and Rebound Date, mending shattered hearts is evolving into a lucrative business. While each having their own unique selling point, these apps are generally anchored in the concept of coaching users out of the often catatonic post-breakup phase of wanting to hide away. How they approach the task differs from app to consumer.

For those in need of gentle healing, Mend claims to provide “the essential self care you need after a breakup through daily audio trainings, practical tips and community support.” As a new user you will be guided by the voice and animated avatar of the app founder Elena Huerta as she guides you, with an apparently soothing voice, to take care of yourself during these tough times with the aid of audio training sessions, self-care techniques and constructive journalism. A community of ‘Menders’ also claims to play a crucial role in providing a sense of comradeship. It’s worth noting that this holistic guidance and community of the broken-hearted comes at a price, as the app is only free for the first week and then costs between $9.99 and $59.99 for variations of its ‘Heartbreak Cleanse’.

If community support and Huerta’s soothing voice isn’t your style, then Rx Breakup and Break Up Boss are more about changing your dating habits and shredding any signs of vulnerability out of your system. No comforting lullabies here, no, this is a boot camp for the pathetic self-pitying.

The Break Up Boss app similarly presents users with an illustration of an “emotional gym” where they are told to go out even if they don’t feel like it, resist social media and are encouraged to learn a new skill, such a “apologising” (I thought this is all about being right and unapologetic?!). Another feature of the app is its imitation of an iMessage page to stop users from texting their exes in a desperate or sunken moment. The blank page reads “There’s no way we’re letting you send a text to your ex. But a fake one so you can get all your rage/upset/misery out? You bet.”

My favourite so far though is the Rebound app, which claims to rid of that “embarrassing and awkward [moment] when the date… find out that they are on the rebound”, by connecting those on the lookout for a rebound date with people in the exact same state. You can also choose to put your status as “heart broke”, “angry at my ex” or “just broke up”.

A huge amount of the consumer applications out there today are all about building connections—whether those are professional, romantic or otherwise—so it doesn’t come as a surprise that there is now a spurt of apps that aim to aid us in going through some of the most disheartening experiences, accompanied by a (URL) community of fellow tormented souls. There is something necessary in the pain of grieving, and I am not sure that having a shortcut at my fingertips is a positive way forward—but for those of us not ready to deal with a broken heart alone, then why not fully surrender to technology and connect to like-minded Menders.