Just been dumped? You must read this
My last breakup turned me in to a mess.
For a solid week after my relationship ended, the only food I could stomach was cold black coffee and Nutella, which I ate straight from the jar using a spoon.
I didn't shower. I barely brushed my hair. The only time I changed my clothes was when my housemate took pity on me and dragged me to the pub across the road where she fed me rosé and wedges until I finally cracked a smile.
By the time I started going on long runs, alone, at night, through one of the more dangerous parts of town - so I could "feel something" - I realised what everyone else around me had probably known for weeks.
I wasn't coping; and worse, I was a walking, talking, breakup stereotype.
I'm doing much better these days, of course. Although I'm still prone to the occasional sneaky spoonful of Nutella, I'm no longer so afraid of being alone with my own memories of lost love that I have to fall asleep with all the lights on and music blaring in my headphones.
But even now, almost two years after the big bad breakup happened, I'll admit that I'm a little scared to open up to anyone new for fear of finding myself in that same state of heartbreak again.
The relationship, and it's eventual breakdown, was like eating an oyster or catching a flight from Avalon Airport: I'm happy I tried it, but I've got little desire to do it again.
So for those currently perched on the edge of relationship demise, or anyone scrabbling to pick up the pieces of their recently-broken hearts, as I did, I may have some good news. Breakup apps are here, and they just might be able to release you from your suffering.
Mend was the first breakup app I became aware of, but it's certainly not the only one out there.
Both Breakup Boss and Rx Breakup promise to help heal your heartbreak too, by employing a variety of features you can use to track your moods, vent your feelings, and meditate on your emotions. While each app uses different methods, their goals are ultimately similar: by the time you stop using the app, you'll have mourned the relationship you just left, reflected on what you might look for in love next time, and (hopefully) subjected your friends to fewer tear-soaked phone calls at 2am.
Apps like Mend, Breakup Boss, and Rx Breakup join an enormous suite of technology designed to not only help us through the end of a relationship, but the beginning of a new one as well.
Once you've used your smartphone to heal your heart you can jump on to the app store and download Tinder or Bumble to meet a new partner, then align your calendars using Raft so you can schedule the perfect date night.
If you run out of things to talk about you can open up Icebreak for some conversation inspiration; and if you want to split the bill after dinner just use Honeydue, designed to help couples keep track of their finances.
Kinds will help you think of some sexy new things to try in the bedroom once you get home, and if you're a bit nervous about rejection you can use your LoveSync buttons to show your interest without potentially denting your ego.
If your relationship hits a rocky patch, you can turn to Fix A Fight to - you guessed it - fix a fight. Just hand the phone to your partner and they can choose any number of adjectives displayed on the screen to communicate how they feel. And if you really want to make a passive-aggressive point, just download Kouply: this app helps you keep score of all the little random acts of kindness you and your partner perform for each other.
At month's end it tallies each act and displays a final score, giving you proof once and for all that one of you is quantitatively nicer to the other. Can't go wrong, right?
Okay, so you might not be downloading every romance app out there and running your love life like a tech-powered smart home, but I don't think I'm alone in finding all of these relationship apps a little shallow.
As hideous as my breakup felt - and as much as I'd do almost anything to not feel that way ever again - I really do believe that experiencing all that pain and heartbreak made me in to a stronger, tougher, and more confident version of myself.
Being thrust headlong in to that rocky, uncharted emotional territory was awful, but like some kind of emotional pumice stone it buffed my raw edges away and helped me emerge shiny and new.
I'm all for people using whatever they need to get them through a rough time: whether it's a jar of Nutella or an app made to heal a broken heart. But I can't help but wonder if by replacing pain and pleasure with plan and process, we're missing out on feeling some of life's best - and worst - moments.
Part of the magic of intimate relationships is that their unpredictability brings out our most honest selves and forces us to be who we really are. Are we being just as honest, and just as real, if we let an app guide the way?
Maybe we are. Maybe we aren't. But I know that if and when I choose to date again, I want to feel every moment: the nerves, the lust, the love, and the potential heartbreak.
And I want to know that it's all me - no internet connection required.
- Kate Iselin is a writer and sex worker. Continue the conversation @kateiselin