Carmel Valley entrepreneur’s startup aims to support couples’ relationships
A Carmel Valley resident is spearheading the development of an online application that encourages its users to get along better with their significant others.
Entrepreneur Sean Rones said he has been working over the last year with a group of other Carmel Valley men on bringing the app LifeCouple to life.
LifeCouple is an interactive platform that can be loaded at no cost to participants on their iPhones through lifecouple.net or the Apple App Store. The product is in its exploratory “beta” phase launched in early December.
“We have over 200 (users) without even mentioning it to anybody — just on the team’s Facebook pages,” Rones said in a recent interview at a Carmel Valley coffee shop.
“This is a plan to get a few thousand local San Diego users, and communicate with them, if possible, on a one-on-one basis on what they like, what they need and what we could do better, so we can iterate and make modifications of the current app as well as add the features and tools ... that could best create positive empowerment results,” Rones said.
He calls LifeCouple’s approach MMA — mixed marital arts. The app tracks and measures users’ interactions with their partners in four areas — trust, communication, intimacy and conflict resolution. Ultimately, the goal is to keep couples together for life, rather than split up and divorce.
“We (as a society) track and monitor all different aspects and important things in one’s life,” Rones said. “What we do not track ... is the health of our relationship. ...
“What LifeCouple is about is tracking and keeping you accountable for aspects that might be going a little bit in the wrong direction, or you might want to consider having the relationship going in a positive direction. ... It’s a ‘fit-bit’ for your relationship.”
Still, Rones said, the app is not intended to be a substitute for professional counseling and therapy, but rather as a method to complement such assistance or prevent the need for it.
LifeCouple has attracted interest and support from relationship professionals, including one of the company’s advisory board members, Dr. Chris Fariello. He is founder and director of the Philadelphia Institute for Individual, Relational & Sex Therapy.
“LifeCouple is a revolutionary, new idea,” Fariello said in an email. “Many people are unwilling or unable to do the work they need to do for their relationship.
“LifeCouple offers a simple-to-use app that gets people thinking and working on their relationships immediately.”
He believes LifeCouple is a system that counselors and therapists can use to assist their clients.
“In addition to being able to work on these issues on their own, couples who are working on their relationships with a licensed therapist can use the LifeCouple app for homework assignments (as assigned by the therapist) ... or in-between sessions on their own to enhance the therapeutic process.”
Rones emphasized that while LifeCouple is applicable to all ages, it is designed to appeal especially to millennials accustomed to using Internet-linked phones, watches and other devices to manage their lives.
Also, Rones says, the program was crafted with sensitivity to males because of their specific issues in relationships. Yet, LifeCouple works just was well for women and is LGBT-friendly, he stressed.
“It’s not focused on men; it’s not focused on women. But it’s developed in a way that makes men want to work on a relationship,” Rones said. “It’s developed to solve some of the challenges and that is men are normally not as proactive as women or are less apt to look at or work on a relationship.”
A San Diego native, Rones said he came up with the underlying concept of LifeCouple by reflecting on his own as well as others’ experiences in relationships.
He then began discussing the fundamental concept of tracking interactions in relationships with the other Carmel Valley collaborators with expertise in technology and other areas
Rones said he founded the LifeCouple corporation and serves as its CEO.
The firm is looking to complete the “beta” phase and begin commercially marketing the app by Valentine’s Day in February.
“We are reaching out to (the public) ... to not just help yourself, but to help pioneer and take part in building something that could change the dynamics of relationships on a global front, not just in the United States,” Rones said.
Information on LifeCouple is available at lifecouple.net.
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