Break­ing up, with a lit­tle help from the Web

The Washington Post Sunday - - ARTS & STYLE - BY ELLENMCCARTHY mc­carthye@wash­post.com

The In­ter­net has plenty of tools to help peo­ple look­ing to start a ro­mance — Match.com’s ads as­sert that one in five new re­la­tion­ships be­gins on an on­line dat­ing site— but what about those try­ing to end one?

In re­cent years, a hand­ful of new sites and ser­vices have emerged to salve the wounds of the newly sin­gle — ad­vis­ing them on re­cov­ery strate­gies, of­fer­ing a space to vent, away to laughan­damar­ket­place to hawk the wares of by­gone boyfriends.

“I looked on the In­ter­net, got a cou­ple books. But noth­ing was re­ally help­ing me move on,” El­lie Scar­bor­ough said of a par­tic­u­larly tough breakup two years ago. Af­ter months of mop­ing, the for­mer tele­vi­sion re­porter sent her­self flow­ers at work. They ar­rived, along with an idea to start aWeb site de­voted to help­ing­women re­cover from breakups.

That site, Pink Kisses, of­fers a va­ri­ety of ser­vices in­clud­ing an “ac­tion plan” that, for $10 a month, delivers daily e-mails with ad­vice about how to move on. (De­friend him on Face­book; take up a hobby.) Clients can also sign up to re­ceive up­lift­ing text mes­sages and pur­chase ses­sions with­astylis­tor life coach. Thep­ar­tic­u­larly be­reaved can up­load a pic­ture of their for­mer love and watch it burn on screen. (That one’s free.)

Any­one who needs to get some things off their chest or find so­lace in the strug­gles of oth­ers can log on to IHateMyEx or You Broke Up How?, sites that let users anony­mously rail against the ro­man­tic wrongs they’ve suf­fered. ( You won’t be­lieve whatMike said about Tif­fany.)

Ad­vice sites range from the mo­rose to the com­i­cal. Some, such as Bro­ken­heart­ed­girl.com, tar­get women while oth­ers, such as LovesAGame, are geared to­ward men. Moise Tous­saint, a 26-year-old stu­dent in Mi­ami, started Breakup Kings af­ter he and sev­eral friends got out of re­la­tion­ships. The site ag­gre­gates breakup-re­lated sto­ries and videos from across the In­ter­net. Some of it is meant to be prac­ti­cal, but much of the ma­te­rial he col­lects, like aYouTube video of a re­la­tion­ship-end­ing strat­egy gone wrong, is funny. “A lot of peo­ple break up and don’t know how to cope with it,” he said. “They just need a lit­tle hu­mor.”

The need for comic re­lief was, in part, the in­spi­ra­tion be­hind “Break-ups: The Se­ries,” a col­lec­tion of short films de­pict­ing breakup scenes cre­ated by Ted Trem­per, a mem­ber of Chicago’s famed Sec­ond City com­edy en­sem­ble. He re­cruited his friends from the im­prov com­mu­nity, had them pick a set­ting and a scene part­ner and­started rolling. Wha­tre­sulted— with­out any writ­ten di­a­logue — is a Web an­thol­ogy of sear­ing close-ups be­tween two peo­ple who are through with each other.

“I hoped to give the ac­tors a chance to ex­plore the hor­ri­ble, gut-wrench­ing and hi­lar­i­ous as­pects of this ter­ri­ble process we all have to suf­fer through so many times in our lives,” he said. “It’s tor­ture, but it’s also ex­tremely amus­ing.”

Me­gahn Perry had fi­nally found some hu­mor in her divorce when she got the idea for her Web site, Exboyfriend Jew­elry. She’d been laugh­ing with her step­mother, Marie Perry, about the quandary of what to do with her old wed­ding rings. “Do I pawn them?” she won­dered. “That re­ally seems dis­re­spect­ful and ter­ri­ble.”

The ques­tion led the two women to set up a site where oth­ers could sell jew­els given to them by for­mer lovers. Each day a hand­ful of new­baubles pop up on the site, each with a price tag and a story — the di­a­mond­but­ter­fly­pen­dant­that­was­given “just be­cause,” just be­fore a split; the prom­ise ring de­liv­ered af­ter a month of dat­ing and only a short time be­fore the prom­ise was bro­ken.

Perry said she has come to think that “one in ev­ery 10 re­la­tion­ships ends in heart-shaped jew­elry.”

And if you’re in the mar­ket for some, she knows a place on the In­ter­net where you can get a good deal.

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