Relationships are tricky: they require hard work, compromise and commitment. Luckily we live in a technological world, where gadgets and apps can now assist the process – or destroy it – depending on how fixated you are on that omnipresent Smartphone. Valentine’s Day has come and gone and while romance still lingers in the air, here is a selection of apps that could persuade cupid to hang around a bit longer, or rekindle the romance for long-term relationships
For those who are still in the fragile, beginning stages of the dating game, fear not, an app is near.
In a world of instant gratification and celebrity culture, many people judge too quickly on appearances alone, especially on social media where we only put our best pictures forward. Twine is a dating app with a difference. It forces potential love connections to delve a little deeper into the other person’s personality by blurring out that person’s profile picture at the start of the cyber relationship. The app syncs with other people’s Facebook profiles and provides the user with 3 daily matchmaking possibilities. The user is only able to see a blurred picture of the potential single, but it does provide age, location, mutual interests, suggested conversation topics as well as a compatibility rating. Only after a few anonymous chats can one of the parties request to see a clear photo, as well as reveal their first name. It is literally like embarking on a series of blind dates, via Smartphone.
A similar app is Anomo. This app uses a cartoon avatar in place of your picture, but provides your other details: username alias, gender, age group (verified by Facebook, again – the 21st century matchmaker), location, and interest-based keywords. Over time, users can slowly unlock personal content, such as real names, actual picture, occupation, or school. Wooing someone virtually, it seems, requires the same amount of patience and skill, but with the absence of nervous stammering (you have more time to think before you type) or the awkward pauses in conversation (you can always blame delayed responses on your network connection).
Once you feel comfortable enough to move onto the “next step” – an actual physical, face to face date – technology once again provides assistance. Meeting in person, rather than chatting virtually, could prove to be the deal breaker. Enter the Bad Date Rescue App. Instead of having to rely on a friend to give you that “emergency call” in the middle of a date going pear shaped, this app allows you to rescue yourself. You can choose a number, and even a photo ID, that appears on your phone when your rescue call comes through. You can even schedule the rescue call in advance, or trigger it discreetly by pushing a button. How you exit the date is then only up to your acting technique. Unfortunately, there is no app for that.
If all goes well and you finally enter into a relationship – in the real world, in real time – there are now ways and means of “touching” each other via technology. If you haven’t moved in together, or are forced into a long distance relationship, best you purchase Kissenger immediately. This is not an app but a technology that will allow two parties to transmit a “convincing sense of telepresence” to their loved one in another location, city or even country. The system comprises of two toy-like objects shaped like enormous lips: one pair of “lips” for each person. When one user kisses the toy lips, that pressure is transmitted through cyberspace and is felt, physically, by the other person who is puckered up on the other end. It won’t create the chemistry of a real kiss, but if you are really missing the other person, a virtual kiss that you can feel is better than trying to kiss your laptop screen over a skype call: it’s far less messy and besides, laptops don’t react well to spittle.
But even for those who are in long-term relationships, the cupid geeks have thought of everything.
The Ice Break is a new social platform that “aims to enhance the users’ love lives by encouraging meaningful communication between partners” – in essence, a digital therapist without the cost.
Couples can rate the satisfaction of the relationship, privately, in different categories. Based on these answers, the platform then creates “communication boosting activities” for the couple, like asking you to share moments of your day, or prompting ideas by asking each party, “what’s your ideal Sunday morning?” The platform also provides a dashboard where the couple can track the health of their relationship over time. Not very romantic, but then none of these apps really are.
You could instead do something radically low-tech and simply go for a romantic dinner. It’s risky, but then it has worked for centuries.
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