The Science Of Breakups, Explained In Three Simple Images

36 percent will leave you for your looks.

Everything was going perfectly.

You met their parents, and they seemed to like you. You enjoyed going out with their friends (sort of) and no longer despised that co-worker who was obviously too flirty. You even got weirdly accustomed to their strange habits and felt totally at ease in front of each other. 

But one day, for no particular reason, it all fell apart. Just like that, your relationship ended and now you want to know: who's to blame?

It might sound weird, but a little bit of math could help you answer that question. Information designers David McCandless and Lee Byron compiled some interesting statistics on breakups that actually explain a lot.


If you survive the first Monday of December, you might be meant for each other.

The image below explores the likelihood of breaking up throughout the year. It was made by measuring "the frequency of the words 'breakup' or 'broken up' out of all Facebook status updates on each day."

The results? Well, you might want to refrain from buying super expensive Valentine's Day gifts, as the breakup curve only climbs after February 14th. It peaks in March and then spikes up again on April Fool's Day. (It's no joke!) 

After all the careless summer flings, everyone starts to long for some true romance, so the autumn months are favorable for love. But things get dicey against as fall approaches, surging again in November and December.

"Perhaps some combination of seasonal affect disorder and a case of the Mondays has warped the idea of you meeting their family over the holidays into something horrid," Byron writes.

If you're dating someone under 30, there's a 53 percent chance that they won't even bother to dump you in person.

While this is not entirely unexpected, the distribution in numbers is still shocking. The information in the chart below was collected using a polling app on Facebook in which single users revealed how they ended their last relationship. 

All in all, if you date someone under 30, be ready to end it "via the digital world."

3 million first dates a day doesn't sound so bad, does it?

The most intriguing of all the findings is summarized in the last graph, which delivers some positive and some negative news for all the lonely hearts out there.

The world sees around 3 million first dates every day. If you don't freak your date out by blabbering something about your ex, you might be among the 2.5 million annually saying "I do!"

But if you're in a relationship and you do get dumped, chances are you'll be dumped due to poor looks, bad sex, or just plain boredom. In the end, 5.4 percent ofAmericans die having never married. 

Byron says the goal of their work was not to outline the hurtful nature of breakups, but rather to pay homage to solid, durable relationships.

"I hope that by making the big picture of how we breakup more clear, we can take comfort in just how special the relationships that last truly are," Byron writes.

To help people achieve just that, David McCandless, founder of Information is Beautiful, compiled a list of most commonly repeated advice across 25 popular relationship guides. And if that's not enough, check out our own 19 Ways To Make A Relationship Last Forever.

To see more of David McCandless' and Lee Byron's work, please visit their websites: andTwo Lovers Mathematically Prove That Finding A Soulmate Is Almost Impossible.

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