A new wave of positive-thinking services helps users confront and move on from digital-era breakups.
In 1962, when Neil Sedaka famously crooned “Breakin’ Up Is Hard to Do,” he could hardly have imagined how true his words would ring more than 50 years later. In a digital era, it’s never been a greater challenge for the heartbroken to forgive, forget, and move on with their lives. Now, however, a new kind of “break-up app” has now arrived.
To wipe the digital memory slate clean, many people have turned to apps such as KillSwitch, which eradicates all evidence of an ex from a Facebook newsfeed. But newcomers Rx Breakup and Mend, in contrast, swap vindictive behavior for community support and positive thinking.
Created by Jeanine Lobell, founder of Stila Cosmetics, and therapist Jane Reardon, Rx Breakup is described as a “30-day, 3-step program” that fuses cognitive therapy and psychoanalysis with relatable, millennial branding. “It’s like the coolest, nicest, wisest girlfriend giving you the best advice ever,” Lobell tells Vogue.
Mend was founded by former Google staffer Ellen Huerta. While in the throes of her own breakup, Huerta felt there was shortage of content she personally connected with. In addition to the #HOWIMEND series, a platform for storytelling and sharing personal breakup experiences, Mend offers a 10-day Heartbreak Cleanse (starting at $40 and going all the way up to $299, depending on severity) and one-on-one coaching (first session is free).
“Even if you stop seeing someone IRL, it feels impossible to truly let go of them digitally,” says writer/twitter personality Alison Segel, who has written on dating culture for Refinery29 and The Hairpin. “Even if you do a social media blackout (in which you block them everywhere, which I’ve done), they’ll pop up in a friend’s feed, or as a retweet, on the popular page, on the same dating app as you,” she says, speaking from personal experience.
“Blocking your ex or saying something nasty can feel empowering for a second, but what about the days, weeks and months after?” says Huerta. “I wanted to mend in a more holistic, compassionate way … Heartbreak can be completely transformational and set us on a different course. That’s the silver lining of heartbreak, and the one I’m most interested in cultivating with Mend.”
As the post-breakup world becomes more treacherous, Breakup Rx and Mend present affordable and accessible solutions to age-old problems. They also serve as a reminder that online culture needs to reflect the full human psyche, beyond airbrushed and aspirational messaging, in order to connect with consumers at a deeper level.