I Tried a Therapist-Designed Breakup-Survival App to Get Over Being Dumped. It Didn't Help.

One of the key functions of the app is to help you save face. Don’t call your ex. Don’t email your ex. But who cares if you make an ass out of yourself?
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Rebecca Jane Stokes
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One of the key functions of the app is to help you save face. Don’t call your ex. Don’t email your ex. But who cares if you make an ass out of yourself?

In the immortal words of Leonard Cohen, your famous blue raincoat was torn at the shoulder. No, I mean: there ain’t no cure for love. 

While this is probably true, thankfully, actual honest-to-god love is a rare thing. More often than not, when we feel like our heart-vaginas have been stamped into oblivion, we aren’t mourning the loss of one, true, love. What we’re actually coping with is the loss of our status quo. 

When my last relationship ended, I immediately remembered a moment from my past, in which I was standing in a hotel lobby where my sister snuck up behind me and kicked out the back of my knees (because she is an asshole) causing me to flop dramatically onto my back, the wind knocked out of my lungs. My routine was gone, and it was almost as painful and mortifying as laying gasping like a fish on the floor of a place whose sole redeeming feature was its 24/7 make-your-own-waffle station.

It doesn’t matter if your relationship was good or bad. When a relationship ends, moving past it (I prefer moving through it) is a process. That said, if it was good, it’s a different sort. But in either case, we all develop coping mechanisms. As we date and mate and hump and dump, we have each stitched together a post-relationship recuperation and wellness itinerary. It’s like a really shitty quilt that we’ve had forever but can’t bear to part with. We want to take care of ourselves, we want to soothe ourselves, we want to wallow, and ultimately, once the Dewar’s-induced bravado wears off, we want to try again. 

It’s a delicate balance, best characterized, I think, by a metaphor of a drunk, blindfolded elephant serving a tray of beverages: We’ve got a task that we are desperate to accomplish but it’s one we’re most ill-equipped to be handling in our current state.

When I heard about an app whose function was to help you get over a relationship, I was 100% down. Because that’s how I roll. I am not good at feelings. I don’t like having them. I don’t have them “well.” If a professional wants to come in and hold my hand, guiding me through the process, all the better. I kind of cringed on behalf of my therapist and wondered if she’d feel undermined should she discover I was taking this app for a spin, and then realized I was overthinking it. Surprising no one.

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RX Breakup is a free app created by a therapist and designed to help you get over the toughest part of every split: the first thirty days. Since my first thirty usually involve quietly and incessantly checking my former significant other’s every move, tweet, and upload, the idea of a button on my phone I could press INSTEAD of doing my best impression a bad montage overdubbed with The Police was vastly appealing. 

I mean, anyone who says that they haven’t checked up on an ex online is a filthy liar. Or is maybe one of the people related to me who doesn’t have a Facebook, or a smartphone and goes to Ron Swanson-like measures to keep his private life private. Does this relative’s girlfriend have a last name? The world (and my desperately curious mom) may never know.

I’m naive when it comes to self help. At the core of my little self I want to believe in a magic bullet, a cure-all for pain, a magic answer, a key to unlock the door of ouch, and other terrible analogies. But that doesn’t exist. The RX Breakup app takes it day by day, like any good self-help program. You get a brief description of your own emotional state (YOU DON’T KNOW MY LIFE APP) and a couple of assignments. (“Tap on 911s (your emergency contacts) and make a list of friends to call instead of your ex.”) 

Very cool in theory. It makes a body feel really in control of their own chaos. For like, the two seconds it takes to read the day’s prescription. Then you realize that you’ve downloaded an app to help you process your feelings and are just as mortified as you were the day you found yourself quoting “Men Who Can’t Love” on a first date in a sincere way.

I think therapy is really important. I think realizing you don’t know everything and turning to an objective third party for help is fundamental to our emotional health. Sadly, while well-intentioned, I don’t think an app will ever replace, for me, the pattern of behavior I have developed over years when it comes to nursing a broken heart. 

One of the key functions of the app is to help you save face. Don’t call your ex. Don’t email your ex. Don’t study his Facebook wall for clues that could reveal and explain the core dysfunction. 

But at the same time, who cares if you make an ass out of yourself? Who cares if you wind up texting him, showing him your underbelly and the devastation wreaked by making yourself vulnerable? It’s socially acceptable to drown in a vat of Chubby Hubby whilst wearing the gown you have reserved strictly for eating your feelings, but send a guy who dumped you a text saying that you miss him and the world cringes on your behalf. BARF TO THAT.

I want an app that includes an empty file for you to digitally fill and scroll through. I want an app that blasts a well-curated playlist, and sends you sexy underwear and tells you that you’re the boss lady and that shit will work out for you. I want an app that whispers possibilities in your ear and gently pronounces the reality of situations when ego, insecurity, and hurt take over. 

Hope started for me about a month ago. Life itself started whispering possibilities. People started being interesting to me again. A person started being interesting to me. I want an app that says, “You’re going to be fine, and you’re going to be fine a lot sooner than you think, and if right now you are not fine, that’s fine, and if right now you feel great, that’s even better, and if you think you should kiss this guy, then do it.” 

Until they release one that does just that, I think I’ll just go to Pinterest and search “uplifting quotes”. Also, “shirts with cats on them.”