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Self-Improvement & Hobbies

Click away that bad romance

Online dating sites and apps to deal with break-ups are on the rise
The Straits Times - February 8, 2012
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Click away that bad romance -- ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

New York - You thought you found your one true love online but now you have been dumped by text or defriended on Facebook without a peep of explanation.

Forget a pampering makeover to help heal your broken heart on Valentine's Day. Go for a digital breakover, using a growing number of tech tools to save you from yourself or to sob on a safe shoulder in the ether.

Online dating sites and apps for hooking up on the go are abundant. Only one of the Apple app store's recent top 12 downloads for the iPhone was about something other than romantic love but break-up tech has not kept pace.

Ms Melissa McGlone, 46, in Alexandria, Virginia, turned to The Ex-App after a three-year relationship ended recently with an unceremonious text. After a weak moment or three of electronically stalking her dumper, she used the text, call and e-mail blocker to hold his digits at bay until she could resist temptation on her own.

'I no longer humiliate myself by trying to contact him,' she said.

The free app took off last March with about 3,000 downloads in the first nine months. Unlike other blocking tools, The Ex-App also tracks the number of consecutive days spent not trying to ferret out a former love.

In New York, Ms Amanda Green, 28, relied on the well-established Dear Old Love Tumblr blog after she was dumped in 2009, a year into a relationship.

The site describes itself as an anonymous safe haven for 'short notes to people we've loved (or at least liked). Requited or unrequited'. A selection of notes from the site was later turned into a book.

'It's a refuge for those of us who know our friends are getting tired of listening to us or those of us who don't have a confidante at all,' said Ms Green, who posted there regularly for a few months. 'It's also a reminder of how universal these feelings are.' For her, it was a place to let go. Hard.

'When I went to your apartment to get my things, I dipped your toothbrush in the toilet. I wasn't gonna kiss you ever again anyway,' she poured out in a message she left there.

She added: 'I think I deal with this stuff better now. I'd like to think Dear Old Love has something to do with that.'

There is also CheaterVille.com, a site full of alleged cheaters complete with mugshot-like photos and sometimes lengthy explanations of love deceptions. While the culprits are identified by name and town, the posters are anonymous.

And NeverLikedItAnyway.com, where dumpees sell off their engagement rings, wedding gowns and other gifts from exes. A recent bargain of the week featured an anonymous teacher's lynx fur jacket with a real-world price of US$12,000 (S$15,000) but a break-up asking price of US$7,995. Transactions are private via direct message through the site.

The latest entrant is WotWentWrong, new for dumpees in search of feedback from their formers after a first date failed to produce a follow-up call or budding love died without explanation.

Registered users fill out questionnaires covering what information they are after (was it my hair, the way I dressed?) and can customise a template letter to be sent through the site to an ex. The ex can respond with as much detail as he or she desires through the site, without contacting the sender directly.

'Many new relationships end without an actual ending, be it in person or via technology,' said the site owner, Ms Audrey Melnik. 'There are times when you can be left wondering why things ended if you didn't ask at the moment that you broke up. We provide a way to give closure.'

The site received 28,000 unique visitors less than two weeks after it was launched on Jan 24, Ms Melnik said.

Associated Press

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