When my boyfriend sent me an email invite to “join him” as his partner on a relationship app called Couple, I thought he was joking. A cutesy messaging app isn’t exactly his style, so I let the email sit in my inbox for a few days. Then he nudged me and asked when I was going to download Couple. He was serious.
I kept the sarcastic comments to myself and finally succumbed to being the other half of his digital pair. I laughed and rolled my eyes at Couple’s features, like a “thumb kiss” where you touch thumbs to your screen at the same time, and the “thinking of you” button that sends your partner a message letting them know you are doing just that.
But 11 months later, it’s one of the most used apps on my phone. My boyfriend travels a ton for work and we’re constantly in different time zones, so having a single place to drop by and leave a note, a photo, or add an item to our grocery list is really convenient. Could we do these sorts of things in other messaging apps? Sure, but there is something unique and far more intimate about your own private social network rather than using one filled with the noise of your friends, parents, and colleagues.
Since our first relationship app experience, we’ve tried out a bunch more to see how they compare.
Couple was the first and still my favorite relationship app. The design is primarily based around the chat function, which is what we use most. Like most relationship apps, Couple allows you to do things like sketch an image, share a voice memo, snap photos and apply various Instagram-esque filters. The list function on Couple makes it easy to keep track of groceries, movies we want to watch, or places we’d like to travel. On Couple’s home screen you can see your partner’s location and what music they’re listening to, if you turn on those sharing functions.
Couple is also integrated with Foursquare. You can drop a pin on your address and find restaurant recommendations nearby or send your partner your location. Couple makes money by selling sticker packs inside the app, and I admit we’ve already bought four of them. Couple doesn’t have quite as many bells and whistles as some of the other relationship apps out there, but it does what we need it to do really well. I plan to keep it around.
HowAboutWe launched their version of a relationship app a few months back. Coming from a company that does a lot of cool things for those looking for or in love, I was excited to try it out. The app’s design isn’t my favorite, but it does feel young and fresh. You&Me has a ton of photo features if you and your partner really like sending each other images. You can take a “halfsie,” which is a selfie you each take stitched together (yes, that feature makes me gag a bit, too). It also has a cute photobooth option to take a few shots at once and share your photo strip. Another photo feature is a “secret,” or an image where your partner has to wipe away steam from the screen to see what you shared.
My favorite You&Me function is the ability to send songs to your significant other. Though the catalog isn’t extensive, it’s a fun little feature. My biggest pet peeve: I have push notifications turned off, yet the app continues to pester me daily about turning them back on. You&Me might be best for couples in long-distance relationships who need a lot of media functions to fill the gap.
Everything about Avocado is cute, including its name. This app includes the basic functions you’d expect, but manages to be extra adorable with its “hug and kiss” features. When you want to send your partner a hug, Avocado has you hold your phone against your chest—yes, I know this sounds so absurdly cheesy—and it sends a message letting your significant other know you’ve hugged them. The “send a kiss” feature allows you to plant virtual wet ones all over your partner’s face by either kissing the screen (gross) or just tapping their photo. It’s far more endearing than it sounds, I promise.
Avocado also sends you an alert to let you know if your partner’s phone battery is running low, which is great but kind of odd. It seemed a tiny bit too intrusive, though you can shut this function off, but also might be useful for people who worry if their partner hasn’t texted them back in a while.
Avocado falls short compared to other apps for couples because of its freemium nature. To create more than five lists, share more than 200 images, or unlock unlimited messaging features, you have to sign up for the premium subscription, which is $15 for a year. It’s not worth it when there are so many other free options without sharing restrictions. Since chat functionality is what we mainly use, I also wish it would let you resize the chat screen to fit more text on it.
Korean messaging app Between has a different feel and way better emoji packs than other apps for couples. It also has a beautiful home screen, which tells you the weather forecast in the place your significant other is located, lets you set up a countdown until a big event like a vacation, and has a box where it can deliver you special offers, though I haven’t gotten any yet. Between’s sticker store offerings are the most impressive with dozens of sets to pick from. Where the app falls short is in the photo department—it doesn’t have as many cool functions as some of the other apps I’ve tried. It also lacks a list feature, which is one of the main reasons my boyfriend and I use a relationship app, so we’re sticking with Couple.