07.01.14 9:45 AM ET
A New Breakup Therapist: Your Phone
The only thing worse than going through a breakup is making your friends go through it with you; the incessant story re-telling, obvious name dropping, and blatant psychological disconnect will have your acquaintances begging you to have a one-night stand just so they don’t have to hear about your former flame anymore.
But what’s the alternative? In the lonely world of being without a “plus one,” there’s certainly a dearth of places to turn to alleviate the despair of being newly single. Therapy is not only time-consuming, but inherently expensive. Pints of Ben & Jerry’s may seem like a good idea at the time, but the pounds that follow are almost as regretable as the hours wasted stalking your ex’s Facebook page. A good glass of wine may help in the moment, but one too many will inevitably lead to hours of uncontrollable tears and shameful drunken phone calls and text messages. It’s difficult to determine an appropriate path toward re-establishing self-confidence that doesn’t include weight gain, a large chunk of change, or, worst of all, regret.
Longtime friends Jane Reardon and Jeanine Lobell are hoping to change the lack of positive outlets for post-relationship grief with Breakup Rx, a new app that combines the support of your best friend (without annoying your real ones to death) and the professionalism of a therapist (minus the high price; it retails for $1.99) to “guide the recently single through the emotional jungle of the end of a relationship or shake a lingering obsession from the past for good.”
“[I was treating] a lot of women going through breakups and men who were having trouble with relationships,” Reardon, a licensed therapist for nearly 15 years, tells The Daily Beast. “[By] treating all these heterosexual men, I just understand what works. I’m in there. In the beginning, I was treating people in breakups more psychologically, and what I discovered was that they were too depressed to deal with that. That’s why the focus of the app is really on empowerment and strengthening self, and liking yourself. Because when you’re in a breakup, the person who you like the most doesn’t like you anymore. So you don’t like you.”
Sure, there is an array of “self-help” guides available in the world. But Lobell, the founder of Stila Cosmetics and Breakup Rx’s creative director, highlights the app’s positive approach to recovery, as opposed to mean-spirited books like He’s Just Not That Into You, which give girls the idea that “men don’t like strong women.”
“We’re taught as young girls that there’s a boyfriend pie, and if you get your piece, that’s one less for the next girl,” Lobell explained at the app’s press preview in May, highlighting its most unique component: a network consisting of users suffering from similar situations. Reardon echoed her sentiment: “[The community] is meant for women to really support each other and to become more authentic… so they won’t have to sell themselves out to be in a relationship.”
Aside from the support group of other newly single women, the app is broken down into a 30-step program, with a new topic revealed daily (sorry, anxious ladies—just like in life, there’s no jumping ahead!) The first day of relationship recovery is aptly named, “Welcome to Withdrawal,” and includes suggestions like grabbing a notebook “every time you’re craving to reach out to the ex,” and “tossing anything that will trigger memories of your ex.” Sure, they may seem a bit obvious (like trying to “commit to having no contact”), but in the early moments of going cold turkey, sometimes we just need someone (or something) to tell us exactly what to do.
Other steps are a bit more creative, and have clearly been formulated by a professional. Day 11, “Dramalogue 1,” forces you to highlight “every instance from the relationship that still upsets you, honing in on things that really hurt, like “when your ex forgot your anniversary [and] didn’t make [you] a priority.” Day 16, “Size Matters,” digs even deeper, asking the user to “make a list of the things you gave up and of the things you did, but didn’t want to do that made you and your life feel less important.”
Sure, coming to a realization that your relationship is over may hurt, but Breakup Rx is also filled with inspiring quotes, easy homework assignments, and stylish doodles that, at the end of the day, are meant to “give you really clear directions to break the [obsession] with that person and get over them,” Reardon says.
Breaking up may be hard to do. But with Reardon and Lobell’s help, it might just get a little bit easier.