If you own a smartphone, then you have access to a seemingly endless stream of new apps to help get you into a relationship. But what can you do if you need to get over a relationship? The Rx Breakup app, which launched in October, is an app that is designed to help you survive the first month following a breakup or to help you move on from an especially bad crush. The app accomplishes these goals by focusing on mental health, validation, and women's empowerment. Each day, the app presents three daily objectives: What's Happening, What to Do, and What to Write — breaking down the anxieties and anger that you are experiencing, suggesting a task that will help actively improve your outlook, and providing a journal prompt that will help you release your emotions.
RxBreakup was developed by Jane Reardon, a Marriage and Family Therapist based in Los Angeles, and Jeanine Lobell, the entrepreneur behind Stila Cosmetics. Reardon and Lobell spoke to Bustle about their working partnership and mission behind the app. The two women's friendship was of vital importance when developing the app. The goal, they explain, is for the app's advice to sound like a mixture of a best friend and a clinician. As Reardon tells Bustle, Lobell "beat the clinician out of me," which allowed for Reardon's essential psychological expertise to be presented in an accessible, non-overwhelming way.
While the common psychological opinion is that it takes 22 days to create a new habit, Reardon and Lobell wanted completion of the app's guide to be a 30-day process. This purposeful extension, says Reardon, allows the user to have room to take her time and struggle throughout her journey. This is fitting, as much of the app advocates for letting yourself feel pain and disappointment, rather than internalizing or hiding your sorrow out of embarrassment.
Each of the 30 days has a humorous title, and some of the days that Reardon and Lobell consider to have the most important activities are Moving Out (think about how your childhood and familial dynamics have shaped the intimate relationships that you have today), Red Flags (write about the red flags you chose to ignore in your ex-partner and why you think that you chose to ignore them), and Replacements (find new interests that will fill up the time you would have spent with your ex-partner).
Lobell and Reardon are currently are currently developing numerous apps that utilize the 30 days method of self-improvement and growth. The next app to come out will be Rx Dating, and future apps will even extend beyond the relationships and dating sector. Lobell says, "Everything we do in our lives, we now do on our phones." So why not use our phones to improve our mental health and relationship health? And why not especially do that in a way, continues Reardon, that "can empower women and connect them to each other?"
So what else is there to know about the app that will help you find yourself again after you've lost yourself in love?
1. It's About YOU, Not The Other Person
I would say that the overall purpose of the 30-day process is to get to know yourself better in order to rely on yourself for happiness and choose a more compatible partner in the future. A common instruction expressed throughout the 30 days is the idea to no longer "lose yourself in love." This is demonstrated by the minimal mention of any specific mentions of the ex, which allows the user to learn their emotions without pressure to be "more calm" or "less stressful."
Many of the specific days on the app explicitly focus on self-care and individual development. Day 7, called Selfie, says:
Often, relationships collapse because one person is too dependent on the other. It's a mistake to make someone else responsible for your happiness, expect to make you whole, or give your life meaning. That's your job! It's time to find out what makes you tick: what makes you sad, mad, happy, cranky, etc. This is an extra large step in taking responsibility for who you are, what you feel, and how you act.
The day's instructions then continue to ask the user to write down her triggers and ways to complete tasks efficiently without rogue panic attacks getting in the way. Taking time to create this list will hopefully help someone avoid anything that could cause panic.
Additionally, both founders acknowledge that the demographic for this app is currently young women. However, they purposely refrained from using gendered language and feature little discussion of the ex-partner. This means that someone of any gender or sexuality would be able to see themselves in the app.
2. It Tries To Make Dating Fun Again
Dating is one of the most stressful, all-consuming experiences in our daily lives. A lot of that overwhelming anxiety stems from the looming possibility of the relationship ending horribly, and the seemingly endless recovery period that follows getting dumped. One of Rx Breakup's goals aside from moving on from love lost, the two founders explain, is encouraging women to once again find the humor and lightheartedness of courtship. The only way to survive the dating world, they continue, is by going about new love with a sense of humor.
Reardon says, "So many people think that dating is horrible, and we want to present a creative mind-set that's going to make it an OK experience. Don't attach this big, huge outcome to dating. Make it a fun aspect of your life."
Lobell continues by addressing the dramatic and intense behavior that many of us practice for no good, sensible reason when we are smitten. Lobell says, "I have a friend who is always looking for the one who wants to go out with someone with eyes that are screaming 'ARE YOU THE ONE TO MAKE MY LIFE WORTH LIVING?!' When they're just trying to get coffee or get laid!" Dating doesn't have to be your biggest accomplishment and it doesn't have to be that serious.
3. It Validates Your Feelings
The only way that we can get through heartbreak is by letting ourselves feel the sorrow that accompanies lost or unrequited love. When we refuse to acknowledge our emotions and instead pretend that everything is fine, then we can never move on. As Lobell explains, many of us are "not handling pain in the way that [we] should be handling pain" because we unfairly shame ourselves for being humans who feel things. Lobell elaborates, "People are embarrassed that they're still hung up on somebody. They can't get rid of the hurt and they don't know how to. Allow yourself to be sad and dumb and let down and disappointed and all these things." The writing exercises on Rx Breakup encourage you to explicitly list your reasons for sadness, anger, and frustration so that you can release all of those emotions and eventually move on.
4. It Smashes The Patriarchy
As aforementioned, the app focuses more on YOU than on the person who broke your heart. Day 16 is called Size Matters in order to bring attention to the ways in which people make themselves, their ambitions, and their ideas smaller in order to appear more desirable and supportive of selfish partners in their lives. The writing prompt for that day says, "If being available to the ex became your priority, did you stop doing certain things you liked? Did you cancel plans at the last minute with your friends, or blow off other commitments? Make a list of the things you did, but didn't want to do that made you and your life feel less important."
This is especially common behavior for heterosexual women when interacting with the men in their lives. Lobell explains that this facet of the app aims to combat women's fear of emasculating their partners by simply expressing their full humanity. Reardon seconded this ideology, and states that Rx Breakup hopes to address "plain old female oppression," encouraging women to "claim yourself; own yourself."
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