By Alexis Cheney – @akcheney
With dating often comes heartbreak, and we sometimes deal with the excruciating pain of break-ups in unhealthy ways: rebound hookups, eating tubs of ice cream while binge-watching TV, fixating on our hang-ups and convincing ourselves we are unworthy of love… the list of self-destruction goes on.
Fortunately, a remedy for the broken heart has arrived in the form of the app, Break-Up Boss. Relationships and Dating Columnist Zoë Foster Blake created the app “to help women handle, heal and move on from their breakup in a healthy, positive way. To act as a digital pocket coach for your traumatized, fragile, gorgeous little heart.” Heart-wrenchingly poignant drawings by writer and illustrator Mari Andrew add dimension to Blake’s numerous words of wisdom.
So, how does the app work? After downloading, the first step on the road to recovery is to spin the “Feel Wheel,” composed of wedges that describe potential emotional states post-break-up. The choices range from “WTF just happened” to “I’m feeling ok…!”.
Let’s choose “It’s Really Over” – an option for sentimental suckers like yours truly. This choice leads the broken-hearted to a subset of other spot-on scenarios fitting for this emotional state like “I want them back,” “I miss the old me, and my old life,” and “How can I ensure my next relationship is a good one?”.
Each option in the subset prompts a different choice for the broken-hearted to reflect on their relationship and themselves. For example, “I want them back” urges app users to choose from a set of brutally honest explanations as to why they wish to return to their exes.
Although Andrew and Blake empathize with those who yearn to crawl back to their exes, the app squashes this urge by calling out the superficiality of those reasons. The app asks such pointed questions of those wishing to rekindle the flame as: “Is this all about ego? Does the idea of your ex being with someone else, or having fun without you this summer EAT YOU UP INSIDE? Pain, ego and jealousy are terrible reasons to get back with someone. Please don’t honor them.” By guiding the broken-hearted to ask and answer tough questions about their relationships, it helps them to heal.
In alliance with the app’s creed – “This is not about them. It’s only and always about you.” – the heartache portion also prompts users to flip the lens inwards. Clicking on “I miss the old me, and my old life” spurs users to describe the details of their dream life such as their perfect careers, travel goals and – of course – how their ideal partners would make them feel.
For users whose hearts are on the verge of bleeding out, the app offers a quick fix: the “SOS button.” The button deftly stitches up hearts by dishing out easily digestible mantras. “The harder you slam a ball into the ground, the higher it bounces back up” by Laurel House, for example. The app also helps users embrace surges of confidence through “Pep-Peps,”daily messages that put the pain of heartbreak into perspective.
In spite of the value of advice and reflection, healing also means releasing pent-up thoughts. So, naturally, the app allows users to write fake text messages to their exes. The “Text to Ex” feature enables people to experience the catharsis that comes with sending those messages minus the ramifications of their exes actually receiving them.
Although people’s use of the app will vary according to the type of break-up they are facing, the app spins break-ups into positive and transformative experiences for all.
“After a breakup – especially the really bad ones – people grow up, and they grow out, and they even grow in,” Blake said, “You’ve been promoted! It’s time to move forward and move up, and see what else is available in this big, glorious life!”