Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner. Photo: Getty Images
We’ve suffered through a recent epidemic of celebrity breakups: Ben and Jennifer. Gwen and Gavin. Gigi and Cody. Charlize and Sean. The list goes on. And because stars are just like us, we’re guessing their breakups are brutal too. (Probably even more, since they’re bombarded with paparazzi pics of their ex’s new loves, but we digress.) So thank god someone’s finally thought about the fall-out of all those dating apps and made an app that claims it can help you get over your breakup without going completely insane – and without sacrificing all of your dignity because you texted your ex 20 times that first day of new and unwilling singledom.
Celebrity makeup artist and founder of Stila cosmetics, Jeanine Lobell, and relationship therapist Jane Reardon got together to launch Rx Breakup, a free app which assigns you daily tasks to get you through the emotional roller coaster. An accompanying social network component will be launching within the next 60 days, and the duo plans to launch more apps in the “Rx” series, including one on dating and one for beauty. The app has already been downloaded about 5,000 times since its launch in August.
Yahoo Style: How did you both meet?
Jane Reardon: In my former life I was a producer. I met Jeanine at a production company and we became friends immediately many years ago when she was a budding makeup artist. We just started working together right away. I became a therapist in 2000.
What was the impetus for launching it?
Jeanine Lobell: It was totally not personal for either of us in any way, only in that the boys and girls coming through [Jane’s] doors are painfully suffering from these breakups and they can’t let go and they’re obsessed. I have girlfriends like that. I’m trying to be a sympathetic friend, but at the same time wanting to be like [yells], “Get over it! These men are pigs!” And I’ve been there, too. Not for a long time now, but back in my 20s I’d be pining for somebody who wasn’t into me. And it’s painful.
Day 10 of the Rx app.
So why an app?
Jeanine: The type of information that we’re imparting and the work we’re giving you to do really lends itself to an app, whereas a book can drone on at you. We do everything in our phones, why not do this too? The tone is very friendly. It’s supposed to be like flashcards.
Jane: Each of the 30 days has a really unique idea and we worked really hard to not repeat ourselves. Every day there is a different aspect of what you need to do to empower yourself and to really look at yourself so that you don’t keep repeating the same problem over and over again and you don’t get into the same relationship with a different person and the same problems arise.
I noticed that one of the tasks is how to not text the person you broke up with. I see a lot of friends struggling with this. How does the app deal with this and do you have any advice?
Jane: You have your list of people to talk to instead. Then there are other days where you write down what you think is so important to say, right into the app. It’s like dealing with the impulse in that moment. [You have to] divert yourself and give yourself something to do. It’s impulse control.
Jeanine: We start out by saying, “Welcome to withdrawal.” You’re roadkill. The first two days are all about, “Yes, you are in fucking agony right now and we get it.” Change his number to “do not pick up,” gather all his crap and get rid of it or put it in a bag out of sight. We give you these actions to take because you’re so frozen. Those little things give your power back and you acknowledge you want to get better. All along the way there’s a writing exercise and an action. Make a list of those friends that you can call. We call them your 911s. We’re giving you some tools straight out of the gate to stay on those initial impulses.
What is the social network aspect of the app?
Jeanine: You can post a picture, or funny quotes. It’s also a way to track other people. You can search other people who are on day five, for example, so you can talk to people who are going through the same thing. There’s a lot of shame in rattling on about some guy who doesn’t want you. It’s nice to talk to other people who are going through it. You can search people who are either a little ahead of you that you want to ask advice from or people on the same day and interact.
Jane: A big aspect of being in a breakup is that you’re so isolated. It’s really important to connect with other people. It’s been proven to improve your resiliency. It’s really a good therapeutic tool as well.
Tell me about how you got your illustrator Jo Ratcliffe involved.
Jeanine: Jo is a pretty well known illustrator. She’s done [projects for] Kenzo and British Vogue and in the fashion scene. I had seen her work two years ago. I ended up showing her to an agent who signed her in America, so without knowing me I kind of orchestrated big changes in her life. The girl [that appears in the app] isn’t a person; she’s an emotion. She represents the day. Jo loved the idea, so she basically has been amazing.
Jane, what’s the biggest mistake you find women making when they break up with someone? What issue comes up over and over in your practice?
Jane: It’s to keep going back and trying to make it work. Not moving on is the biggest mistake. As soon as they start getting better, then the person shows up again, inevitably. It’s not learning from the situation so you can make a better choice next time.
What do you ultimately want people to get from the app?
Jeanine: It’s taking Jane’s expertise of many years of treating both men and women in this situation and putting in the voice of your smartest, coolest, nicest girlfriend giving you the best advice ever. That was our goal.
Jane: OK, this relationship didn’t work out, but it doesn’t mean your relationship with yourself can’t work. That’s the most important thing, is to have a relationship with yourself.