“It’s complicated” isn’t a Facebook relationship status for nothing! While social media and dating sites can help you find a guy, it can be hard to know if he’s “the one” or “the one to run from.” Lots of people feel stuck in relationships that feel great one minute, bad the next — or simply “fine” a little bit too much of the time.
But how do you decide when to stay and when to pull the plug?
Sarah Gray, Chicago-based programmer and co-founder of the self-tracking web application MercuryApp, has come up with a solution. Finding herself in a difficult long-distance romance with an old flame, Gray realized she was up and down on a daily basis: “I wished I had a way to track how I felt about him and our relationship, and could see a graph which would show me if things were mostly good — or mostly sucked. That way, I could do something about it,” she said.
Gray created the iPhone app “Should I break up with my boyfriend?” so others can get exactly that feedback. She says, “Being able to see your relationship clearly and objectively is the first step on the path to a happy, healthy, love life — whether it’s with him, with someone else, or on your own for a while.”
Using Should I break up with my boyfriend?, the user rates how they feel about their boyfriend every day for two weeks. The app provides a daily reminder, but users can rate as often as they like. They can also keep a diary and share daily thoughts with friends using email or SMS. The user won’t be able to see their results during the two weeks. Gray believes that hiding the data keeps the user “in the moment,” and prevents them from being influenced by their most recent feelings. The app then analyzes the data and reveals how their feelings fluctuated. This information is displayed as a graph and the user receives customized advice based on the unique patterns in their entries*, along with a record of all their diary notes.
Most relationship apps are limited to short quizzes or games. Should I break up with my boyfriend? is the only app of its kind that relies on users’ own feelings as a base-line and gives a fuller picture of how they feel about their relationships. Gray says, “We‘re quick to forget or dismiss past feelings that don’t fit in with our current mood, which is why seeing larger patterns can give you insight you might not have in the moment.”
When Gray reviewed her graph from her own relationship, it was clear that she spent more time neutral and unhappy than happy. She rated her mood as “good” only 39% of the time. The remaining ratings were neutral, bad, or worst, and she chose the highest rating only once. She could also see her notes and was able to identify behavioral patterns that made her unhappy.
In the end, tracking her feelings helped Gray move on and eventually find happier days with a new love. She hopes that the app will help others gain insight into their relationships and feel more confident in their choices. “Sometimes, we need an objective voice to help us appreciate a good thing or accept something painful. And this app helps us tap into the best voice of all — the one inside ourselves”.
The app is available for 99 cents in the App Store starting on March 27, 2012.
More information can be found on the website, http://shouldibreakupwithmyboyfriend.com.
* Advice does not replace discussions with a licensed therapist, a best friend, a favorite pet, or a pound of chocolate.