Can a smartphone app save your relationship?

(WFLX) - We've all heard of technology, like dating Web sites or apps bringing people together. Now, some say, it's helping people stay together, too, with new relationship apps that promise conflict resolution with just the touch of a smart phone.

Can this cyber counseling actually bring you closer to your loved one or could you end up hiding behind a screen instead of solving issues face to face?

With a baby on the way, Kayla Ramos and her fiancé use technology everyday from talking over text to making memories.  "We use technology a lot to keep in touch."

So when they started having communication problems, Kayla turned to her phone -- downloading a relationship app to help her deal with their issues. "You can just be anywhere at anytime. You can talk to an expert. You can message your significant other through the app. They give you all these ideas."

Apps to help couples work on their relationships are growing says therapist Marigrace Randazzo-Ratliff who introduced the Couples Counseling and Chatting app earlier this year.

Each application offers different tools, like questionnaires to help compare partners priorities,   or rules for success to access in the heat of a fight.

Some even offer pre-written romantic text messages to send to your significant other. "When you're in the middle of a fight, and you're having a hard time or a struggle, if you have, in that phone, something available to walk you through an argument in an effective way, now the device becomes an asset."

Marigrace says the "Ask The Expert" section of her app has been the most popular feature. "There's an expert on the other line, and when problems come up in the moment, people need help in that moment."

But some psychiatrists, like Carole Lieberman, worry that people using this technology may become less inclined to work out their relationship issues face to face or in person with a professional. "An app can't tell you things about yourself that might be hurtful to hear or scary to hear. The technology itself is a block to getting to the most intimate, the most difficult parts of the problems in a relationship."

She worries about apps that have not been created by a professional therapist. "Anyone who knows how to do the technology of creating an app can call themselves a love coach or a life coach or a relationship expert."

Both Carole and Marigrace say they hope people will use the apps as a kind of therapy gateway that will inspire them to find the face-to-face help they need.

As for Kayla, she says, the app helped her and her fiancé deal with their issues, and she will continue to consult it in the future. "We don't have all of our issues worked out yet. I don't think anyone ever really would. So as long as the app is around, I'll be using it."

Marigrace says people all over the world are using her app. She says she hears from people in Africa and India, mostly men, asking for advice about how to better connect with a partner.

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