Days before I began my freshman year of college, my high school boyfriend of two years dumped me. He was my first long-term relationship, and the split was completely sudden and soul-crushing, sending me on a months-long downward spiral of Extremely Bad Decisions and weird late-night texts.
But maybe, if I had known just how to handle getting dumped, I could have expressed those emotions in healthier ways. Which is exactly how writer and former Cosmopolitan columnist Zoë Foster Blake seeks to help people through her new phone app “Break-up Boss.”
Earlier this month, Foster Blake released the app, which is designed to coach users through the lowest of breakups. It’s currently on iTunes for $9.99, and a Google Play version is still in the works.
“I passionately believe break-ups are an intensely positive thing. And while they really, definitely hurt, so does all of the most important growth in our life… I felt like break-ups had wielded far too much power over us for too long, and they needed to be taught a goddamn lesson,” Foster Blake wrote on her blog. “YOU can take charge. YOU can be the boss of your break-up. YOU can choose to make it a time of growth and emotional evolution.”
The app works like a how-to book in interactive phone form. With the Feel Wheel, you can find advice best fit for your situation—if you’re feeling “WTF just happened,” you’ll be directed on tips for how to calm the panic and curb anxiety. If you’re thinking, “I hate them,” you can find tips on how to avoid doing something stupid amid a blind rage.
Between the more than 40 advice options, myriad illustrations by New York-based artist Mari Andrew, and emergency uplifting quotes fit for social media sharing, “Break-up Boss” also features an ex text simulator, which allows you to feel the satisfaction of totally telling off that evil ex of yours without actually sending the message.
“All texts are magically relocated to an undisclosed mystery portal via a black hole in a parallel universe. Not even Stephen Hawking can unlock it,” the app boasts.
“Break-up Boss” is ultimately a relatively inspirational, self-affirming read, even if you’re not going through a breakup. It strikes a fine balance between sounding like your sarcastic, witty gal pal and an informed guide for dumpers and dumpees.
I went through the Feel Wheel and answered questions as the devastatingly single 18-year-old I once knew myself to be, and found the excerpts and tips considerably more helpful than a monthly check-in text from friends. Instead of filling your head with distractions, much like a BFF would to get your mind off a breakup, the app provides helpful suggestions for processing those feelings toward personal growth—like how to complete a “morning mourning” ritual to get all up in your feels, and ways to establish a no contact period with your ex.
And while $10 might seem like a steep request for a self-help app, Foster Blake is donating 10 percent of all app purchases to Safe Steps, a family violence response center in Victoria, Australia. “Break-up Boss” might not be qualified to give advice on relationship violence, but it does offer financial support to survivors instead.
“It is your advocate, your pocket coach, and your friend,” Foster Blake writes of the app. “It has a singular goal: to get you through your break-up in a positive, healthy manner. (Or at the very least, not text your ex just cos it’s Sunday and you’re sad and hungover and horny.)”