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The Globe and Mail

Online service sweetens the breakup blues

Ellie Scarborough was devastated when her boyfriend of a year and a half broke up with her last February. For months, she was an emotional wreck. She struggled to drag herself out of bed in the mornings and avoided listening to the radio for fear of encountering sappy love songs.

Finally, in an attempt to cheer herself up, the then-29-year-old television reporter had a florist deliver a large bouquet of colourful gerbera daisies - to herself, at her office.

Attached was a note she had written to herself: "Girl, you are way too good for some guy who won't even send you these. Don't waste another tear on him."

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"I did this little thing to make me smile and it really worked," Ms. Scarborough says.

Odd tactic? Maybe, but it not only got her over the heartbreak hump, it got her creative juices flowing.

Ms. Scarborough parlayed her sorrow-busting remedy into an Austin, Tex.-based online business called Pink Kisses. For a fee of up to $272 (U.S.), Pink Kisses, launched in July, sends grieving and newly dumped women flowers, "better than sex" chocolate truffles, and once- or twice-daily text messages, with affirmations like "Supergirl, you can move mountains" or "You're a lady, deserving of an enchanted existence."

It also offers a 30-day "action plan" that consists of e-mails with steps to getting over a breakup, such as eliminating your ex from your Facebook friends, making a no-contact rule to avoid your former flame, and setting a timeline for grieving. (Both texting and e-mail services are available in Canada, but the flower and chocolate delivery options are not.)

On its website, Pink Kisses calls itself "your own personal cheerleading squad."

Robyn Stanley, 34, of Atlanta, says the daily text messages she received from the company helped her move on after her divorce in April from her husband of 17 years.

"I'm sure I would heal regardless, but I do think that it helped me through an extremely hard period," she says. "And I don't know that my outlook during that period would have been as positive without it."

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While Ms. Stanley says she had plenty of support from her friends and family, her conversations with them often consisted of rehashing her feelings of anger and bitterness.

Receiving the text messages, however, "was more of a cognitive therapy," she says. "Like if I was dwelling, it would make me think, 'stop,' and redirect my focus instead of dwelling in the crap and in the mire."

Ms. Scarborough says broken-hearted men have inquired about a post-breakup service for them too, and Pink Kisses is considering launching a male-oriented version.

While she won't divulge what that might entail, the sense of loss that accompanies a breakup is universal, she says. "I think everybody can use some encouragement."

As for those early days, Ms. Scarborough says that sending flowers to herself gave her just the boost she needed, explaining that for the first time since her breakup, she had felt a sense of empowerment.

"The biggest thing for me was just recognizing I had the power to take my life in any direction I wanted it to go."

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