SHAFAQNA – Heartache has long been a French speciality, giving rise to some of the country’s finest cultural works. Now a website has capitalised on the nation’s addiction to unrequited love and has become one of the most unlikely online successes in the country’s recent history.
Jerecuperemonex.com — which translates as Irecovermyex.com — offers advice on how to repair broken relationships. It has attracted more than a million users, featured in more than 200 articles in the French press, and turned Antoine Peytavin, 38, its founder, into France’s most popular agony aunt.
Le Parisien described the site as a “lifebelt” for people who were inconsolable after being dumped.
“This is the world’s biggest site on breaking up, even though there are just 65 million people in France,” said Mr Peytavin, a former telecoms engineer who created the site seven years ago after a difficult separation.
He said its success underlined the importance of love in a country that nurtured such figures as the troubadours in the Middle Ages and the romantic poets of the 19th century.
“France is the world champion in love and the world champion in break-ups,” Mr Peytavin said. He said the French tended to bombard their former partners with telephone calls, text messages and presents in an attempt to win them back. They behaved the same whether they had initiated the separation or not, according to his site.
President Hollande is typical. He sent Valérie Trierweiler numerous text messages after dumping her in January, she said.
However, Mr Peytavin said he was using the wrong method — as Mr Hollande discovered when Ms Trierweiler published Merci pour ce moment, a kiss-and-tell book on her time with the president.
Jerecuperemonex advises the lovelorn to cut all ties with their former partners and to concentrate on restoring their own self-esteem.
“Stop begging, drinking and sending presents, and instead go to the hairdresser or take up sport,” said Mr Peytavin. He claimed that about half of the users of his website said that their partners ended up coming back when they saw how well they were doing without them.
Mr Peytavin’s site offers online consultations with psychologists for €59 (£46) and this week launched a “rupture box”, which contains a USB key offering advice on splitting up at a cost of €29. The method does not work all the time — Mr Peytavin failed to get back together with his former partner.