While a lot of people roll their eyes at cheesy romance, I am not one of them. I absolutely love love, but I'm also very independent, so unless there's somebody I really like, I enjoy being single quite a lot. After all, having a full-time job, freelancing on the side, and maintaining hobbies and a social life all at the same time is as time-consuming as it gets.
[Your personalized breakup "guide"] asks you questions about your breakup, like when it happened and how you feel about it, and, based on your responses, directs you to a "healing program."
But despite all that, I recently found myself in a breakup, and I was completely gutted. I knew my partner wasn't right for me, and yet I couldn't help but feel desperately lonely. I expected to eventually feel better by focusing on my job, seeing my (very supportive) friends, and talking about my heartbreak in therapy when I found something I'd never tried before: breakup apps. Apps like Mend, Break-up Boss, Rx Breakup, and many more were all at my service, offering me comfort during a hard time. There really is an app for everything. But do they actually help?
"Breakups are hard because they're essentially a mourning period," Adina Mahalli, certified mental health consultant and relationship expert at Maple Holistics, told POPSUGAR. Mahalli explained that there's an "ease" to breakup apps as they promise to help you heal quicker, but turning to devices to get a "quick fix" can prevent some people from actually understanding their emotions.
I decided to give Mend a go, mostly because it advertised to have a self-care-based approach. "Our mission at Mend is to make sure no one has to go through heartbreak alone," Elle Huerta, CEO and founder of Mend, told POPSUGAR. Huerta explained that she built Mend based on what she wished had existed when she was going through a breakup, like a personal trainer for heartbreak.
You register on Mend via a chat with "Elle," a personalized chat-bot who's your "guide" through your breakup. Elle asks you questions about your breakup, like when it happened and how you feel about it, and, based on your responses, directs you to a "healing program." Every day, you check into the app and listen to an audio training, then you journal about your feelings regarding your ex. The trainings are very supportive, and the journal reminds you it's a safe space and nobody else can read what you write. After the initial training, you're given the option to either buy one of the three programs Mend offers or keep listening to trainings and journaling until you feel better.
"If the breakup app that you're using encourages you to journal, meditate, self-care, or anything else that's going to give you the mental space you need to digest this period, then it could be useful," Mahalli explained. "But the bottom line is that you have to put the work in to heal — no app can do that for you."
Mend asks you to log in your self-care activities every day, and the audio trainings give you a lot of encouragement, which I enjoyed. But the fact that the app had a "uniform plan" that was supposedly going to ease my sadness didn't sit right with me. After all, breakups are unique experiences, and what works for me won't work for someone else. The fact that the app was trying to sell me programs with hefty price tags (the cheapest one being $60) didn't help either.
My final thoughts? While it was an interesting experience, and it might help some, it's not for me. I didn't find myself feeling a whole lot better after using it, and my heartache from my breakup was still very much present when I closed the app. If anything, it helped me realise that I'm probably going to stick to more traditional coping mechanisms when I go through a breakup, like eating junk food, talking to my friends, and just giving it time.