HeroBoyfriend helps users “step up boyfriend game” with calendar reminders and date suggestions. (Screenshot from heroboyfriend.com.)

In an age when we need phones to remind us to say “happy anniversary,” it’s little surprise that two new apps — Binder and HeroBoyfriend — have arrived to assist with the whole “relating” part of “relationships.”

Both apps, launched independently in the past month, claim the right-swipe, left-swipe dating app Tinder as their inspiration. Like Tinder, they aim to cut down on the effort, thought and time that relationships require. Like Tinder, they may prove divisive.

Binder sells itself as “Tinder for breaking up,” which is maybe the most depressing collection of words you’ll read all day.

[Do you really need an app to remind you to say happy anniversary to your wife?]

Binder is less a dating app and more an un-dating app. If you’re too chicken to break up with your significant other IRL or over the phone or even over e-mail, you enter said sadsack’s name, gender, phone number and photo, then swipe right to “bin” him/her. (Get it? Bin? Bin-der? Tinder? Bingo.)

You select from a variety of breakup rationales — “I don’t want you close to me, emotionally or geographically,” “It’s not me, it’s you,” etc. — and then Binder texts the unbeknownst on your behalf. It also leaves an automated voicemail, Scottish accent and all.

“I’m just a voice in an app, but … yeah, she dumped you,” the Scottish voice murmurs broguishly. “In like, the most brutal way possible.”

And then, after the text and call and voicemail, Binder somewhat cruelly invites you to “bin again.” (It probably goes without saying, at this point, that there’s more than a little tongue-in-cheek jokiness to the operation.)


Poor Alex. She never saw this breakup coming.

HeroBoyfriend is much less Scottish, but perhaps even more grating.  In reverse of Binder’s mission, the Australian app claims to make you a more compassionate significant other, with prompts and reminders and suggestions to boost your romance.

[I paid $25 for an Invisible Boyfriend, and I think I may be in love]

“The whole digital dating industry is focused on acquisition and nobody is working on retention. It seems crazy,” founder Dan Groch told News.com.au.  “With Tinder, it’s easy for people to just throw you back on the heap and you go back to swiping. It has made finding someone easier, but also less valuable.”

HeroBoyfriend is still waitlist-only, but its Web site promises a couple invaluable features. After filling out a short questionnaire about you and your S.O., HeroBoyfriend will ping you with important calendar notifications, personalized gift suggestions, date ideas and even advice for sweet-talking your sweetie, as if you could not come up with any of these things yourself.

Worth noting: The app is marketed strictly to dudes. (The name is “HeroBoyfriend” after all, not “HeroGirlfriend.”)

These apps, with their sassy messages (Binder: “It’s time they got the message,” HeroBoyfriend: “Step up your boyfriend game”), paint an interesting picture of Future Relationshipland: You find your S.O. with the help of Tinder, care for them with the help of HeroBoyfriend and then … dump them with the help of a Binder.

All the while, you’re safe on the other side of the screen.

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