MARGATE — Former resident Rick Sinderbrand, 60, of Thousand Oaks, California, has created an app aimed at helping people heal strained relationships.
Created while he was going through his own divorce, the app, called iSaid-uSaid, can bring people together for meaningful conversations when anxiety or anger is high, he said.
“It’s based on my own personal experience when I was married and arguing with my wife in front of my 9-year-old sons,” Sinderbrand said. “I remember wishing I could take out a deck of cards and just show her one to demonstrate how I was feeling without the boys hearing.”
Designed for iPhone, the app provides couples with a “more meaningful and calmer way to communicate,” he said in a telephone interview Friday, Feb. 2.
He said his divorce after 15 years of marriage was final Nov. 9, 2017, but he and his ex are still friends, and their relationship now focuses on their children.
Sinderbrand, a financial adviser for Prudential Financial in Sherman Oaks, Calif., said he created the app to help couples salvage their relationships.
The app uses virtual mood cards containing text and drawings to reopen the lines of communication between couples.
“It serves those going through a breakup, separation, divorce or already divorced. It can help rekindle or salvage your relationship too,” he said. “It keeps talks quiet if children can overhear loud discussions or arguments.”
Sinderbrand said he got the idea to create the app on a Saturday morning and started working on it right away. His roommate helped him draw the cards with a few colored markers that were lying around the house.
“All the cards are real-life content that I said to my ex,” he said. “At first there were just a few cards, but I added more content as I remembered things that were said. I will add more continuously so users have new material to share.”
Sinderbrand is also hoping to develop a way for users to share their card ideas based on what works for them, he said.
Couples can download the app at the Apple Store and text the cards back and forth to get a conversation going.
Users can select from five mood categories – angry, sad, frustrated, happy and calm – and conversations are completely private between partners, he said. Each is color coded and has a drawing that expresses the emotion being felt at the time.
One anger card says, “The kids are not supposed to hear what they just heard.” A frustration card reads, “You listen, but you don’t hear me.” A sadness card says, “Remember how great we used to be?”
“It’s great for people looking to salvage their relationships and rekindle love. The cards can serve as icebreakers that can lead to better, calmer discussions,” Sinderbrand said.
Having a silent way to express your mood can help prevent face-to-face discussions from spinning out of control, as well as help a partner who is at a loss for words, he added.
“When anxiety runs hot, these discussion-starters or discussion-enders can be used to put things in check, place you in a calmer frame of mind and streamline your ongoing and never-ending conversations within your troubled relationship,” he said.
Right now the app is free, but there could be a charge of a few dollars imposed if it catches on, he said. He is also planning to have it on the Android platform soon.