We’ve all been there: feeling down in the dumps after a bad break-up, fighting the urge to check your past love’s Instagram account and social media geo-tags. Snooping is real. Enter love expert Amy Chan, writer and founder of Just My Type, who has experienced the same perils as you. When she met a French artist, Amy bought a home for the two sweethearts to share, only to fall out of love as quickly as he fell into it. (It sounds like the plot of a Sex and the City episode, no?) Instead of wallowing in self-pity, Chan created the world’s premiere love intervention program. Renew: Breakup Bootcamp promises to dive deep into the scientific reasons why your brain has become dependent on love, how to heal old wounds, and to provide the necessary tools to progress through life with a rewired heart.
In the beginning, Just My Type‘s first iteration was a Myspace page. Then, Amy tenaciously forayed her posts into a seven year column at the 24 Hour Newspaper in Vancouver, Canada, touching on relationship subjects like, “Are You the Last Single Standing?” and “The Awkward ‘What Are We?’ Discussion”. Currently, her online magazine focuses on the psychology of love, lust and desire. Consider us intrigued.
So, we were invited into Amy’s cozy Chelsea apartment, recently featured on Apartment Therapy, for tea and sympathy. Surrounding her reclaimed wood dining table, the perfect spot for a cozy dinner party, we chat about her Carrie Bradshaw-like knowledge of dating, her travel desires, and mostly, her love of love.
Hey Amy! We’re obsessed with the idea of your Breakup Bootcamp. Tell us about it.
Renew takes a scientific and spiritual approach to healing the heart, mandating a digital device check-in so you can’t stalk you ex. We provide everything from a neuroscientist and psychologist, to yoga, meditation, and even tantra. An on-site chef prepares your meals while you take a holistic approach to processing your pain, getting to the original source of your wounds, and rewiring your brain.
Amazing. So like a yoga retreat focused on love?
There is yoga, but we offer so much more. When you’re in the break-up state, you’re actively going through withdrawals. When someone is going through a painful breakup, studies have shown that the same part of the brain is activated as a heroin user feening for their next fix. You are physically in withdrawal. You’re not going crazy! This is a normal, passing state. Understanding what is happening chemically can help you understand why you want to check your ex’s Instagram account constantly. You’re craving dopamine.
It’s a love rehab!
It kind of is. When this happened to me, I tried everything to cure my destructive thoughts, but nothing helped. We’ve all been there. I was able to look at my life as a blank canvas and paint my dream world here in New York. You need the support and tools to accomplish that. I want to heal hearts to allow other people going through breakups live their fullest life. This is stuff they don’t teach you in school.
Has your job changed with the new availability of dating apps? It seems that Tinder and Bumble could cause chaos.
There is more demand than supply for Renew Breakup Bootcamp. Women are instantly on board when they hear about our program and what we offer. These apps are just another way to meet people, to bring them into your awareness. The lonely, disconnected downfall isn’t because of apps – it’s our internal inability to connect. Swiping through endless shopping options, like your choosing dinner on Seamless, doesn’t translate to human connection. It translates to, “People are disposable.” You’ve got to make a decision in a split second on these apps, and subsequently on these dates.
As of right now, they’re not invited. We currently accept 16 women per retreat. Our next escape is the weekend before Valentine’s Day.
Has their been a shift in the size of the dating pool? We love international couples at The NuWa.
Definitely. I’ve met people from other countries via apps. They expand anyone’s ability to filter a larger, wider number of people. I rarely date people who live in New York. But my dating life is quite lovely.. I’m a romantic and believe that geography doesn’t have to be a barrier, but studies show that proximity is extremely important. Even an amazing spark dwindles without closeness.
And, if that long distance love is successful, what are your tips to handle a multi-cultural relationship?
I think it’s important to read up on your significant other’s culture. Handle it like a job interview, researching their background to understand how they do the world. I’m from a Chinese “guess culture”, unimposing and not demanding. If I’m asked for something by a partner from “ask culture”, I’m immediately uncomfortable and resentful. One isn’t right or wrong, but it’s helpful insight. To merge religious customs like Shabbat dinner or Ramadan fasting, try to understand the cultural history to develop compassion. Compassion is key.
So, what are you looking for in a partner?
Honestly, before my answer was quite ego based. Sure, I liked kind people. But that was before they’d checked the boxes of CEO or entrepreneur or people who had a specific archetype. But this didn’t leave me with the necessary emotional support, or an element of spirituality. I thought that was okay. But I now realize that I don’t have a pre-requisite of height, look, or whatever. I want to find an energy match to learn, evolve and grow.
Do you think that’s how you know if you’ve found the one?
I think there are many people you’re meant to be with. I think you can find a soulmate and not create a life partnership together. You can, out of free will, choose someone with whom to create a life.
Alright, Amy. Speed round. Where are you from originally?
I am originally from Vancouver, Canada where my parents immigrated from China.
Where would you like to visit?
Where have you lived?
Vancouver, San Diego and New York City. I’d love to be bi-coastal between LA and NYC.
What’s your relationship status?
I’m single and ready to meet someone to create a partnership with. I’m not a fling gal. I have an amazing life and I’m now ready to share it with someone else.
When can we attend your bootcamp?
Our December session is currently booked, but we’d love to have you February 9th. Pre-booking will be available, but if you can’t snag a spot, I do work with a few clients one-on-one.
Therefore readers, if you’re dreading another impending Valentine’s Day spent alone, sign up for Amy’s Bootcamp to teach you usable tools to get through it and prosper for years to come. Stop repeating your past behaviors, and examine yourself. Learn about the number one thing that drives our existence on this planet: love.
Photography via Rachel Kuzma