Sunday 19 November 2017

Five apps that couples are using to improve their relationships

Olivia Blair

We are in an age where technology seeps into every aspect of our lives.

We communicate with friends and family through Whatsapp and Facebook, sort out our finances on personal banking apps, largely carry out our jobs via email and other online arenas, and singles use dating apps as a platform for prospective partners.

So it is no surprise that matters in our relationships can now be sorted online too.In our increasingly busy lives, it can be difficult to co-ordinate diaries, sort out the food shop or fairly split the bills.

Meet the couples who are using apps in their relationships.

Co-ordinating diaries

Matt, 24 and Kelly, 23, use the calendar app TimeTree to coordinate their schedule. Both in demanding, full-time jobs in London the app means they both know what each other are up to and have a quick reminder of their upcoming joint plans at the click of a button, without having to clog up each other’s work calendar.

“When work takes up most of your time, it is so easy to become double booked and not remember agreeing to things, especially things planned weeks or months in advance,” Matt says. “So, the app helps to plan, plus also improves communication as it is rare I’ll be doing something that Kelly might not know about or has forgotten about as it is in the app.”

Long-distance struggles

Kate and George, both 24, have been together for four years and both lived in the UK for three of those years. Last year, Kate moved back to her home city of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia while George stayed in the UK.

Having to adjust to new ways to communicate with each other – as well as being on different time zones – they downloaded Between which now serves as their main communication along with Skype.

The feature which makes it a great one for long-distance couples is the time zone one: “We can always tell what time it is in each other’s country without having to count,” Kate says. “Plus the calendar feature lets us plan special dates like birthday s and anniversaries.”

The app is essentially a conversation app but dedicated to couples, each person can chat, share photos, schedules and stickers – which are apparently the best part.

“They are little animated illustrations, much like the ones on Facebook Messenger and WeChat but they are very couple-centric,” Kate explains. “It is kind of sickly sweet but they are a godsend. When you talk to someone every day things can get a bit repetitive so the stickers help when you feel you want to convey a feeling rather than word like sending a kiss or a hug.”

The shared food shop

Having recently moved in together after dating for two years, Mandy, 25, and Kate, 29, have found Wunderlist helpful as they navigate their new shared lives together.

The to-do list app allows you and another member of the app to create a shared list which the couple use for shopping.

“Since moving in together it was hard to know what groceries we needed to buy and what had already been bought,” Mandy says. “Wundurlist has actually enabled us to manage our money better as it makes sure we do not buy the same thing twice.”

Cost-splitting

Splitwise keeps tracks of who is paying the bills and who owes each other what which can be handy especially if the couple is not married or living together Declan, 30, who has used the app in his relationship says.

“In modern relationships, finances can be confusing – and a source of resentment: £100 here for the monthly Sky subscription, £50 there for a Sunday evening meal out – it all adds up. If you’re married, it is all coming out of the same pot but when you’re living separately, especially in London, you want to make sure that one person isn’t paying for the bulk of activities – especially if you both have the same amount of ready cash.

“Keeping track of it all is really difficult, but Splitwise is the best solution I’ve found so far. Purchases, large and small, can be logged by the person paying, which offsets against anything owed to the other person.

“While it is probably more damaging to your relationships to add too much small stuff – for the bigger purchases it’s a great way to divide up responsibility,” he says.

Storing memories

After travelling Australia together earlier this year, Hannah, 24, and Ben, 26, found that the best app to share all the memories they captured was PhotoCircle. Now living in London together, they use the app to share photos with family too. You can make different albums on the app and then invite people to share it using a pin.

“We like using it because we can share photos with each other but also with other people like Bens’s Mum who is back in Australia,” Hannah says. “Where we have already travelled quite a bit – visiting both Australia and South America together - we have built up a little scrap book of albums on the app.”

Independent News Service

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