Need to split with a significant other before New Year’s Eve? There’s an app for that. If you’re not up to making that dreaded phone call yourself, there are online services that will do the dirty deed for you. And if you’re on the other side of the breakup, well, there’s an app for that, too.
As the year-end approaches and couples part company to pave the way for fresh starts, the business of digital breakups is flourishing, from apps to social media tools to websites. While some of the services are intended to be comparatively serious, others are supposed to be relatively entertaining. BreakupText was meant to be counted among the latter, co-creator Jake Levine said. The 99-cent app allows consumers to conclude a relationship in just a few taps, with options for “serious” and “casual” romances and whether you want to say “I lost interest,” “I found someone else” or “I was eaten by a bear.”
“It was a total joke,” Levine said in the New York Times Saturday. “It was meant to play into the fears of the older generation about what’s happening with relationships these days. People who would really break up this way are jerks. Maybe relationships are less serious for millennials, but I tend to think new technology changes human beings more slowly than we imagine.”
And then there’s the Breakup Shop, whose slogan is “Let us help you end it.” With prices ranging from $5 to $80, the site employs customized text messages, phone calls, letters and emails to break the hearts of its customers’ significant others.
“A lot of people will initially think it’s a prank or it’s a joke, and we have to remind them, we’ve been hired on behalf of so-and-so to break up with you for them,” Breakup Shop co-founder Mackenzie Keast told WCBS-TV in New York.
Toronto resident Kanye Myers has taken advantage of the new breakup industry. Myers, who works in digital media, ordered a $10 so-called breakup text from the Breakup Shop to end his relationship with a woman he met through Tinder, an online-dating site.
“Things got a little too clingy,” Myers, 27, told the New York Times. “It started in the digital sphere, and it made sense to end it there, like a digital exorcist; in the old days, they would have come in with crosses. I totally get why it would be popular with millennials. We were raised online. It only makes sense that we would download the messy part of our lives, too.”
But psychologist Barbara Greenberg told WCBS-TV millenials should grow up. “You may meet via technology, but you don’t have the relationship on technology, so I think the ending deserves a lot more respect. ... Talk to the person in person,” Greenberg said.
A 2010 analysis of changes to Facebook relationship statuses revealed that the peak breakup times were in the two weeks before Christmas. So if you’ve been dumped, Facebook’s new breakup flow might come in handy. The feature allows you to limit your social media connection to an ex without unfriending him or her by burying past posts, editing any mentions on your news feed and untagging photos.
“It’s like unfriending lite,” Kelly Winters, a project manager on the company’s so-called compassion team, told the New York Times. “We want to be thoughtful about the fact that you might want to stay connected but don’t want to be reminded. The breakup flow lets people stay in touch gently and casually, and it’s on your terms.”