“We need to talk” is possibly one of the most dreaded lines in the English language. But the truth is that, according to relationship breakup statistics, we all hear it at least once in our lives. Couples break up all the time.
The average woman goes through seven relationships before finding “the one,” while men have dumped a partner or been dumped about eight times until finally settling down.
So, how and when do couples decide to go their separate ways? Has technology changed the way we end things? How did the pandemic affect our relationships? And most importantly, why do relationships fall apart?
Keep on reading for the answers to these fascinating questions and for more insightful information on one of the most devastating and yet inevitable parts of one’s dating life.
Top Ten Eye-Opening Breakup Statistics
- Couples that have been together for longer are less likely to break up.
- 58% of Americans (62% of women and 55% of men) say that breakups are usually dramatic or messy, or both.
- 64% of Americans have gone through the breakup of a long-term relationship.
- The average length of a long-distance relationship is 2.9 years.
- Long-distance relationships have a 58% success rate.
- Experiencing communication issues is one of the top reasons why people split up.
- 38% of respondents cited infidelity as the main reason for wanting to end a romantic relationship.
- 57% of respondents have broken up with someone in person.
- 72% of respondents in 2018 said they had been ghosted by a partner, and 65% admitted to ghosting someone themselves.
- A more recent study indicated that the majority of couples (70.68%) don’t get back together at all.
General Relationship Breakup Statistics
Breakups are never easy, and they are all individual and dependent on different circumstances. Still, there are some generalizations we can make when it comes to why and how people break up, as well as when their relationships will come to an end. Here are some cold hard numbers.
1. Couples that have been together for longer are less likely to break up.
According to one of the most comprehensive studies on relationship breakups, 60% of straight couples who had been in a relationship for less than two months at the start of the study were no longer together during the follow-up a year later.
However, this research discovered that once a relationship lasts a year or longer, the breakup rate drops by ten percentage points every year, eventually reaching 20% after the first five years.
2. Based on breakup statistics, same-sex unmarried couples had lower break-up rates than straight unmarried couples.
Just like straight couples, gay unmarried partners were more likely to break up at the start than later on in the relationship. After passing the 10-year mark, less than 10% of gay couples choose to break up.
3. 58% of Americans (62% of women and 55% of men) say that breakups are usually dramatic or messy, or both.
A quarter of respondents, on the other hand, disagree. Statistics of breakups show that older generations tend to see breakups in a worse light than younger age groups, with 52% of millennials perceiving breakups as messy compared to 60% of Gen X-ers and 63% of Americans aged 55 and over.
4. Couples that meet online are more likely to break up than partners that meet the traditional way.
(Mary Ann Liebert)
People who meet through online dating apps are also more likely to initiate a romantic relationship, but less likely to get married than couples that met offline.
5. Breakups are more frequent around certain holidays.
(Mashable; 10 daily; WeddingWire)
According to breakup statistics by month, numbers spike right before Valentine’s Day and in the weeks leading up to Christmas, with December 11 being the most common day of the year for breakups. Springbreak and summer holidays are also peak times for relationships to implode. Surprisingly, Christmas holidays and V-Day are one of the most popular dates for proposals, too.
6. 64% of Americans have gone through the breakup of a long-term relationship.
If you’ve ever wondered who the dumper in the average US long term couple is, breakup statistics say that women are more likely to call it quits than men. 76% of women said that they had ended the relationship, just like 62% of men. Women might end things more often, but they also feel more pain after.
When asked to rate the level of emotional pain from a breakup on a scale of one to ten, women ranked their pain at 6.84, whereas men reported slightly lower levels of 6.58.
7. An earlier 2007 study on relationship breakup statistics says it takes about three months to get over a breakup.
From the 155 undergraduates surveyed in the study who had broken up (or been dumped) in the last six months, 71% said they started to feel much better 11 weeks after the breakup.
The Facts and Stats on Long Distance Relationships and Breakups
Coronavirus pandemic had a huge influence on the rise of the number of long-distance relationships due to the travel ban and people spending a big amount of their time on dating sites.
On the other hand, this same ban placed a strain on long-distance relationships, making a drastic change in their dynamic.
8. Long-distance relationships have a 58% success rate.
(New York Post; CreditDonkey)
What percent of long distance relationships break up? Around 40% of the 14 million long-distance relationships in the US don’t work out.
9. 70% of LDRs fail because of unplanned changes.
(Metro.co.uk; New York Post)
66% cited a lack of intimacy as the biggest challenge in their relationship, and 31% said they missed sex the most.
10. The average length of a long-distance relationship is 2.9 years.
Couples in proximal relationships, however, stay together for an average of 7.3 years.
11. It takes about 4.5 months for an LDR to fall apart.
(New York Post; CreditDonkey)
According to a 2018 study on long-distance relationships, statistics on break up habits show that couples end the relationship roughly four months into the relationship. The good news, however, is that these kinds of relationships get easier after a couple passes the eight-month milestone.
How and Why Do Couples Break Up?
Breaking up with someone is not an easy thing to do in most cases. It takes a lot of courage to knowingly hurt a person whom you once held dear. This is why people take different approaches to it.
Let’s look into a list of reasons and strategies people use when it comes to breaking up.
12. Experiencing communication issues is one of the top reasons why people split up.
(Psychology Today; HuffPost)
How often and how a couple communicates is one of the most important aspects of a healthy relationship. In fact, the inability to communicate was pointed out as the most common reason why marriages and relationships end (65%).
13. Disagreements on essential issues can cause a couple to break up, statistics indicate.
It’s crucial to be on the same page in relationships. 67% of disagreements between typical couples never get resolved, and there is no need to. However, failing to address the remaining 33% that refer to lifestyle issues – one partner’s desire for a serious relationship, having children, and personal beliefs – could be the death of romance.
14. 38% of respondents cited infidelity as the main reason for wanting to end a romantic relationship.
Other reasons couples mentioned as potential deal-breakers include emotional distancing, breach of trust and incompatibility, statistics of relationship breakups reveal.
15. Being dishonest and disagreeing about money is another obvious signal that your romance isn’t meant to be.
As many as 71% of people in a serious relationship have committed financial infidelity on at least one occasion, the most common examples being hiding a purchase from your partner or hiding the price of a purchase.
16. 57% of respondents have broken up with someone in person.
(YouGov; Pew Research Center)
Unsurprisingly, people over 55 are more likely to end a relationship in person than younger generations (66% of boomers as opposed to 41% of millennials). In fact, statistics on adult breakup habits show that ending things face-to-face is the most common tactic across all age groups. Even 62% of tech-savvy teenagers have broken up with their SO in person.
17. 34% of Gen Y-ers have called it quits through a text, whereas just 3% of adults aged 55+ have done the same.
A total of 29% of respondents broke up with someone over the phone, with Gen X-ers taking the lead (37% of this age group ended a relationship through a phone call).
18. Letters and emails are the least popular way to break up, relationship break up statistics show.
Only 8% of respondents have ended things through an email, and 10% used a letter. Interestingly, 9% of millennials and boomers have broken up with someone by sending a letter, and so have 11% of Gen X-ers.
19. 72% of respondents in 2018 said they had been ghosted by a partner and a 65% admitted to ghosting someone themselves.
Ghosting, or breaking off a relationship without offering any explanation, might be a strategy as old as dating itself. Still, with the expansion of technology, it has become an increasingly common phenomenon.
How Often Do Couples Get Back Together?
Unless you were involved in a very messy break-up, you may often find yourself thinking about your ex. Time erases a lot of memories of bad experiences until only the nice memories remain, and we start fantasizing about getting back together for a romantic happy end.
However, as romantic as it sounds, it may not be the best decision. Here are some numbers about how likely it is that you will get your happy ending from this situation.
20. A more recent study indicated that the majority of couples (70.68%) don’t get back together at all.
(Ex Back Permanently)
14.38% of couples reconciled only to split up again a year later while the percentage of couples that get back together and stay together is around 15%. This study also showed that women (33.28%) have a higher success rate of getting an ex back than men (23.47%).
21. The likelihood of getting an ex back depends on the length of the relationship.
(Ex Back Permanently)
Couples dating between two and five years were most likely to break up and get back together, statistics indicate, while couples that were in a relationship for longer than five years had a lower success rate.
22. Most of the respondents (38%) in a 2018 US survey say that staying in touch with an ex is not helpful.
Only 17% believe that keeping in touch with a former partner is beneficial, and 28% say it is neither harmful nor beneficial.
23. Experts recommend waiting at least a month before getting back together with an ex.
(Elite Daily; Ex Back Permanently)
A few months is even better to gain some perspective after a breakup, statistics reveal. Even though it all depends on the reason for the breakup, a 2019 survey shows that most couples get back together six months after splitting up.
What percentage of couples break up?
70% of straight couples break up in the first year of their relationship. Once they reach the five-year milestone, the breakup rate drops to 20%.
How long does a typical relationship last?
Although there isn’t one rule that fits all, the average break up time for most couples is three months. This is when, psychologists say, most partners transition from casual relationships to exclusivity.
How many breakups happen in a day?
It would take some complicated math to determine the average number of breakups per day. However, based on Facebook surveys, Monday is the most common day for people to break up, giving all of us another reason to hate Mondays.
How often are engagements broken?
20% of weddings are called off. It is not the easiest thing in the world to do, but a whopping 82.7% said they do not regret their decision. That might be because only 7.6% say they are responsible for the relationship falling apart, whereas 40% think their partner is to blame.
How long is the average engagement?
In the US, people are usually engaged between 12 and 18 months. Globally, the average engagement lasts for about 13 months.
Is 2 years a long engagement?
A two-year engagement (or longer) was historically considered a long engagement. Even though two-year engagements are still prevalent, most couples don’t wait that long to walk down the aisle. This is probably because waiting for a long time to get married after the proposal is one of the most common reasons to call off an engagement.
Is it OK to break an engagement?
Breaking off an engagement is one of the worst experiences of their lives for many people. However, ending a betrothal is less messy and, in some cases, easier than going through a divorce. There are always telltale signs to call off an engagement, such as not being excited enough about the wedding or your future together, but more often than not, there is a nagging feeling in the back of your head suggesting that you aren’t making the right decision.
Is it OK to break up with someone during a lockdown?
According to break up statistics, quarantine is taking a toll on all aspects of our lives, including our romantic relationships. Ask yourself if the distance is causing problems, and carefully consider the future of your relationship before making a final decision, experts say. Most importantly, get a dialogue going with your partner and perhaps set up a virtual therapy session to try to work through your issues as a couple.
Breakups are hard, no matter whether you are the dumper or the dumpee, whether you’ve been together for three months or three years. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. As these relationship breakup statistics hopefully show, you are not the only one dealing with the emotional pain and haunting issues caused by relationships ending.
The crucial thing to remember is that there are plenty more fish in the sea, and the sooner you forget about an ex and get back out there, the better.
- 10 daily
- Best Life
- Best Life
- Daily Mail
- Elite Daily
- Ex Back Permanently
- Live Science
- Marie Claire
- Mary Ann Liebert
- New York Post
- Pew Research Center
- Psychology Today
- Reader’s Digest
- Washington Post