The ex-blocking app that propelled Girls' wounded man-child Charlie to unexpected success in season two is not the stuff of fiction: There's a whole generation of smartphone apps designed to end relationships and deal with post-breakup drama. Your iPhone can erase online traces of an ex, sell gifts from a former flame, and take all the personal charm out of a text breakup by sending an auto-generated message. Here, a look at how the digital romance market is helping out those who didn't get their happily-ever-after.
If you want to end it…
Finally, an app for young singles that's equal parts mean and lazy. BreakupText is designed to auto-generate a text message when you're just too tongue-tied to do the deed. In the name of journalism, I broke up with myself. I entered my name, and selected the "pretty serious" option, since I've been in this relationship 21 years. Here's how it ended:
While BreakupText creators Jake Levine and Lauren Leto originally developed the app as a joke, there's no policing the digital wilderness. As Levine tells Fast Company, "Here's the scary thing. If five to ten thousand people used BreakupText on the web, and even half a percent used it seriously, that's like a couple people who may have actually used it."
If you're unsure…
"Should I stay or should I go?" At last, an app has come up with a scientific answer to the immortal question posed by English punk-rockers and indecisive lovers for generations. Should I Break Up With My Boyfriend sends users a daily reminder to rate their feelings about their partner for two weeks. Then, it generates "objective advice" complete with graphs to help them make a decision. The app also saves all your history so you can go back and use it as a reference.
If you want to move on…
Killswitch is the most similar to Girls' fictional app, Forbid. It removes all pictures, videos, wall posts, and status updates tagged with an ex and stores them in a secret folder, should you ever want to get back together. But instead of ending up in the pocket of Marni's on-again, off-again boyfriend, a portion of the proceeds goes to the American Heart Association, "so broken hearts can help broken hearts." If you're looking for eternal sunshine of the spotless mind, this is the app for you.
For those who haven't quite worked up the resolve to kill the switch, there's Ex-Lover Blocker, an app that uses public shame to keep you from reaching out to a former flame. Any time you want to check in, even just to say hi, the app messages your closest friends in the hopes that they'll intervene. If you continue efforts to make contact, the app will post a Facebook status update to let your entire social network decide how valid that 2 a.m. text message was. May peer pressure guide you to more emotionally stable pastures.
If you've recently parted with a particularly generous companion and are surrounded by relics of a failed relationship, look no farther than Never Liked It Anyway. The site allows users to sell gifts that are too valuable to burn but too contemptible to keep around: Think eBay with more emotional baggage.
If you're ready to get back in the game…
RebounDate addresses the awkward first steps of the newly single and ready to mingle. Unlike other dating apps, users publicize whether they're on the rebound or looking to hook up be a rebound. The company released a press release last year explaining that the app's purpose is "to take the embarrassment and awkwardness out of rebound dating by enabling people to find others who are willing to be a rebound."
If you want to break your pattern...
Do you find yourself making the same relationship mistakes over and over again? If so, it might be wise to invest in a little 99-cent app called FutureMe. The program allows you to write yourself emails that will be delivered some time down the road. The premise is "based on the principle that memories are less accurate than emails." If you think Future You might not be the only one to benefit from the sage wisdom Present You has to offer, there's a feature called "public, but anonymous." This publicizes the content of your email to the FutureMe community, but keeps your identity secret.
Although the "public, but anonymous" feature may not be wise if your FutureMe email is "10 reasons Jeff is a jerk you should never date again"...
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Ted Cruz is the new Sarah Palin
- How liberals are unwittingly paving the way for the legalization of adult incest
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Why you probably don't have Ebola — even if you shook hands with America's 'patient zero'
- Fall film guide: All the movies you should see in October
- Bill O'Reilly and Stephen Colbert are accidentally having a serious debate on ISIS
- Watch out, China — America is working on dogfighting drones
- The dumb war in Syria will haunt Democrats' 2014 prospects
- You're reheating pizza wrong
Subscribe to the Week