Breakup Statistics

How Many Relationships Fail [Breakup Statistics]

In the intricate dance of relationships, breakups are an inevitable reality. Bedbible’s latest research offers a comprehensive look into the patterns, reasons, and aftermath of breakups.

Whether you’re curious about the most common reasons for breakups or the likelihood of couples reuniting, this statistical piece offers insights that might just change the way you view relationships.

Here’s what you can find in this statistic:

Top Findings

  • 70% of straight couples break up in the first year of their relationship.
  • 64% of Americans have gone through the breakup of a long-term relationship.
  • 41.9% of long-distance relationships break up (comparable to 41.2% of marriages).
  • 58% of Americans say breakups are messy.
  • 88% of Americans believe it is always necessary to break up with someone in person.
  • 94.3% of all couples that get together break up at some point.
  • 59% of people remain Facebook friends with their ex.
  • 71% of people say they tend to think about an ex too much (74% of women, 67% of men)
  • If a couple has been together for more than 10 years there is only a 14.9% chance they break up.
  • Breakups happen more often at Christmas and Valentine’s Day.
  • 36% of married people say that their attachment to their ex interferes with their marriage.
  • 65% of U.S. college students had broken up and then gotten back together again.
  • 37% of couples living together, and 23% of married couples have broken up and then gotten back together again
  • 10-17% of married couples separated and then got back together again, and about 40% of separated married couples attempted a reconciliation.
  • Married couples that reunite after divorce have a 72% chance of staying together for life.
  • 44% of young adults aged 17 to 24, reported breaking up and getting back together again, with 53% admitting to having sex with an ex.

How many couples break up, and don’t get back together

This first data shows how likely any relationship ever formed is to break up and how many relationships last forever (or are ongoing).

The data shows that:

  • 94.3% of all relationships go through a breakup and never get back together.
    • In other words, 94.3% of all couples will break up eventually.
    • On the positive side of things, 1 in 20 relationships last forever and never break up.

When put into context those numbers somewhat make sense, although the fact that almost 95% of couples will break up without getting back together can seem astonishing.

How many couples break up, and don’t get back together%
: Long-distance relationships63.9%
: Long distance relationships41.9%
: Marriages41.2%

What the data also shows is statistics on long distance relationships, long-term relationships, and how many married couples divorce. It showed that:

  • 63.9% of couples that break up were in a long-term relationship.
  • 41.9% of all couples that broke up were in a long-distance relationship.
  • 41.2% of all breakups happen to married couples and result in a divorce.

Breakups become less likely with time

The below table shows the likelihood of a relationship breaking down tabulated by the years the couple has been together. So, in the first year, there is a 70% chance that the couple break up after establishing themselves as a couple (short-term dating is excluded).

Years togetherStraight, unmarriedSame-sex, unmarriedStraight, marriedSame-sex, marriage-like

The average length of relationship before a breakup happens

In total, the data shows that the average relationship lasts 2 years and 9 months.

When asking different age groups, however, the numbers are completely different.

The average length of relationship (before the breakup)2 years and 9 months3 months4 years and 2 months11 years and 10 months

How are breakups – messy and dramatic, or casual and civic?

When respondents are asked about the former breakups they tend to agree that they are messy and dramatic rather than casual and civic.

The data also shows that the older the respondents the more messy and dramatic respondents believe them to have been.

Breakups tend to be …Total18-3435-5455+
… messy and dramatic58.2%52.1%60.4%63.0%
… casual and civic24.7%29.2%27.9%19.9%
… don’t know16.1%19.7%11.7%17.1%
  • 58.2% feel their former breakups were messy and dramatic, while only 24.7% thought they were casual and civic.
  • Couples that are older more often experience breakups as messy and dramatic.

Who breaks up most – men or women?

Who ends the relationshipWomenMen
I have broken up a relationship76%62%
I have never broken up a relationship17%33%
A former partner broke up with me67%30%
I have never been broken up with30%12%
  • While 76% of women have tried to break up a relationship only 62% of men have.
  • 67% of women said that they have experienced a former partner breaking up with them, while only 30% of men reported the same.
  • 12% of men said that they had broken up with before, while only 30% of women reported the same.

How have you been broken up with?

How have you been broken up with?Total18-3435-5455+
In person57%41%62%66%
Phone call29%27%37%24%
  • 57% have been broken up with in person.
  • 29% have been broken up through a phone call.
  • 17% have been broken up with a text.
  • 10% have experienced being broken up with via a letter, while another 8% were broken up with by email.

When are breakups more likely to happen

If we dig into the dataset and look at some correlations we find that breakups are more likely to happen at certain times, on certain days, and during specific seasons and changes in the relationship.

  • Breakups are more likely to happen on a few special days
    • Valentines day
    • April fool’s day
    • Christmas day (and the two weeks leading up to it)
  • We also found that breakups happened more often on Mondays compared to any other day of the week.
  • Some seasons also sparked more breakups than others
    • During the summer holiday, a relatively higher proportion of couples break up.
    • During spring breakups also seemed to be on the rise.
  • Long-distance relationships would seem like an obvious thing leading to a breakup, but the data shows that couples are more likely to break up after reuniting.

Why do breakups happen?

Through our data, we were able to compile a ranked list of the top reasons respondents gave for their past breakups:

  1. When your partner starts flaunting flaws more often
  2. After intense feelings of love faints that otherwise suppress activity in the part of the brain responsible for critical thinking
  3. Idolization meets reality, typical in long-term relationships
  4. When reality and everyday tasks set in
  5. Communication starts lacking
  6. Lack of understanding of partners’ wants and needs
  7. Realizing your partner is not as generous as you used to think
  8. Pre-set limits for how long the relationship was ‘meant’ to last
  9. Lack of self-love and happiness with own person
  10. Lack of physical attraction and intimacy
  11. Money issues

What happens after a breakup?

After a break up 37% of respondents said they cut all contact, while another 40% said they remained in contact.

The data showed that older people are more likely to remain in contact after a breakup. More than 50% of young couples that break up cut all contact with each other.

Cut all contactRemained in contact

Is staying in contact more beneficial or harmful

As a second step in understanding the dynamics of post-breakup relationships and getting through it respondents were asked to judge if they believed staying in contact was more beneficial or harmful for getting over the breakup.

  • 38% believe that it is harmful to stay in contact after a breakup.
  • 17% believe it is beneficial to stay in contact after a breakup.
  • 28% do not believe it’s either harmful or beneficial to stay in contact.
Was staying in contact was more beneficial or harmful?%
Much more beneficial to stay in contact3%
somewhat more beneficial to stay in contact14%
Does not help nor hurt to stay in contact28%
Somewhat more harmful to stay in contact20%
Much more harmful to stay in contact18%

The ex – thinking about them after a breakup

Respondents were also asked to think about an ex, and answer yes if they agreed with the following questions:

I think too much about my ex% that said yes
: Singles81%
: In relationship72%
: Married60%

71% reported that they think too much about their ex-partner after a breakup. Single people are more likely to think too much about their ex-partner (81%) compared to people in relationships (71%) and married people (60%). However, it is still quite astonishing that 60% of married people believe that they think too much about their ex-partner.

The most likely ways to respond to ending a relationship

Respondents were told to imagine future breakups and choose all options/reactions that they would likely have in that scenario.

How would you respond to a relationship ending?% choose this option
Delete my ex’s contact in my phone23%
Delete all photos from social media that include both my ex and me25%
Get rid of all presents my ex has given me11%
Update my relationship status on social media25%
Have a “rebound” or fling with someone else11%
Start online dating11%
Unfollow my ex on social media25%
Return possessions of theirs you have44%
Change account passwords that they may have access to45%
None of the above15%
Not sure12%

Images of your ex after a breakup

What respondents were asked more in-depth about was the relationship to images of their ex.

Have you looked at images of your ex after a break up?%
Yes, multiple times25%
Yes, also while in new relationship/marriage14%

Hooking up with your ex after a breakup

Respondents also admitted to having sex with an ex after a breakup.

Have you had sex with your ex after breaking up?
Yes, Multiple times20%

Breakup etiquette

  • 88% of Americans believe it is always necessary to break up with someone in person.

Even though Americans believe that to be necessary our data showed that only 57% was broken up with in person, as opposed to through text, phone calls, letters, or emails.

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