B reakups are never easy. They’re just not. You’re hurting, you feel like you’ve wasted your time, you’re missing the one person you used to be able to go to for everything – no matter how big or small. In fact, it’s a well-known fact in the psychology world that people experience a breakup go through similar stages that people affected by grief go through: denial, bargaining, relapse, anger, acceptance, and, eventually, hope. Not hope that you’ll get back together, but hope that now you’ve accepted it, the pain will go away.
To be honest, it’s all very fluffy, and putting it down in words like that makes it seem a bit silly. I mean, comparing a breakup to the stages of grief? It just doesn’t seem as intense, and slightly like you’re making light of a serious situation. But there’s no denying that your brain and your heart experience these emotions when you’re affected by a breakup – even if you’re the person who initiated it. Sure, you categorically know you don’t want to be with that person anymore; maybe they cheated, maybe you drifted apart, maybe you want different things out of life, maybe even YOU cheated, but that doesn’t make the time you had together any less special or meaningful.
So, we’ve established: breakups are shit, and difficult. However, there is a shining light at the end of the tunnel, and that is a breakup app. Which is just so millennial it hurts, but there you go. They’re a thing, they exist, and some people actually swear by them.
Now, I’m not going to sugar-coat it: I haven’t actually used a breakup app. Shocking, considering I’m writing about them, I know, but I just didn’t realise they existed when I went through my last breakup. And anyway, that was more of an escape than a breakup, but more on that later. However, I have done my research, spoken to a lot of people, read a lot, lot of sob stories, and these are the best apps out there to cure your heartbreak. Next time I go through a breakup, I promise I’ll test one of them out and let you know how I get on, but for now you’ll just have to trust me and trust the process.
And no, none of them are Tinder. That’s a whole different kind of post-relationship app…
Mend offers daily training recordings that are designed to help you understand and process your break-up and move on. There’s also a journaling exercise to help with your thoughts and feelings – sometimes getting things down in actual words can help release them. According to the app, it will guide you through your break-up day by day, with a personalised self-care programme. It even categorises your days, weeks, and activities to target specific things like “heartbreak” or “exes”.
It’s free to start with, but after a 7-day trial it’ll cost about £9 a month. Which isn’t too bad if it actually helps – and you won’t need it forever. If the app does what it says it does, you shouldn’t even need it more than a couple of months.
On the face of it, Rx Breakup is a little more vibey than Mend. Instead of a monthly process, Rx promises a 30-day programme to help you get over your breakup, and its designed to feel like you’re simply chatting to a friend. There’s also writing prompts, which differ from the journal exercise of Mend in that it’s designed to help you identify red flags in previous relationships, so you know what to avoid in the future.
This one’s my favourite, mostly because it’s free, and because it’s designed to help like an actual friend rather than a therapist – which is sometimes all you need during a break-up.
Okay actually, on reflection, Break-Up Boss might be my favourite: not only does it really dig into your emotions and make you confront a lot of different feelings, but 10% of the proceeds of the app go towards domestic violence charity Safe Steps.
It’s essentially a “Feel Wheel” which helps you identify specific situations and feelings you’re dreading, and then offers advice on how to avoid those feelings as well as how to process the emotions when they hit. Plus, there’s even a feature that lets you “Send a text to your ex” – without actually sending it, obvs. It’s more just an outlet for your feelings, your anger, and anything else you might want to address.