That’s why Boston College graduates Clara de Soto and Erica Mannherz created an app that completely eviscerates the existence of an ex-partner from Facebook with just a few clicks.
The pair developed “Killswitch,” which was perfectly timed to debut in the Apple store on Valentine’s Day, after watching several friends suffer through the pains of breakups and makeups before finding love again.
“We have this one friend—poor girl— who has been unlucky with love, and every time she breaks up with a boyfriend, she deactivates her Facebook account,” said Mannherz, co-founder of ClearHart Digital, a media strategist company run by herself and de Soto.
Mannherz said when her friend manages to muster up the courage to reactivate her account, it is always a minefield going through and seeing jagged shards of a dysfunctional relationship.
“We couldn’t believe there wasn’t a mechanism for this,” she said of the app, which is their first. “We did a lot of research about the best ways to get over something, and the number one answer was out of sight, out of mind. Don’t see them, don’t have reminders, and that’s the best way to breakup—but that’s very nearly impossible in the digital age.”
By downloading “Killswitch,” those suffering from a broken heart can collect data that is tagged with an ex-lover’s name, including posts, photos, videos and status updates, and then delete them forever.
Mannhertz and de Soto describe the app as being able to “seamlessly and discreetly” remove traces of an ex.
“You can select all the information, or you can cherry pick the moments you still want around,” said Mannherz. “It’s a tool to expunge what didn’t work so you can get to working on finding something that will.”
Mannherz said the ideal market for the app is for people fresh out of a relationship, or those who have started anew, and want to clear the old skeletons out of the digital closet.
The app acts as a time saver, not only eliminating pictures of an old flame, but also getting rid of the Facebook “detagging” process.
“You click Killswitch and you leave your phone and 15 minutes later it gives you a congratulatory message,” said Mannherz.
“Especially in this day and age. For some, a break with the ex physically and digitally can go a long way to healing the heart and hastening the grieving process,” she said. “There are so many portals from which to communicate with, or hear about the ex, that repeated instances can truly hinder the healing process – especially if you were the one who was dumped.”
Acharya admits she is guilty of sometimes de-friending an ex right away, and later regretting it, which can lead to more trouble than intended.
But, Killswitch keeps that in mind and gives users the option to hold on to some choice photos, and store them away in a private folder, just in case a couple rekindles their love, both physically, and online.
“I’d say it’s a great alternative to completely severing a digital friendship,” said Acharya about the app.
Killswitch does a lot more than just clean up the messy digital trail of a failed relationship, too.
When someone purchases “Killswitch,” which goes for 99-cents in the Apple store, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the American heart Foundation in New York.
“Breakups and moving on are a natural and healthy part of life,” said Mannherz. “We like to think that ninety-nine cents for the app is a lot cheaper than for however much a pint of Haagan-Daz would be.”