The festive season is a time for giving, spending time with loved ones, and apparently ditching your significant other mere days away from Christmas. Holly jolly, huh?
According to recent data collected by digital statisticians, the day most breakups occur within the entire calendar year is December 11, which — we hate to break it to you — is just around the corner.
To conclude their findings researchers analysed Facebook data, looking at thousands of messages for signs of relationship turbulence and breakups. From that collected, they were able to determine most breakups occurred two weeks before Christmas, on December 11.
Those who made it to the big day, however, were in the clear — the least number of breakups in the entire year happened on Christmas day.
As to why December 11 seems to be a peak day for breakups? Well, there are a few competing theories.
Some newer couples may feel daunted by the prospect of having to introduce a new partner to their parents, and would rather break up than go ahead with a meet-and-greet. Others may already wish to pull the pin on the relationship and figure they’d better go ahead with it before having to splash out on presents.
Dan Auerbach, relationship counsellor with Associated Counsellors & Psychologists, says: “If the statistics around ‘Breakup Day’ are accurate, then it likely comes down to the time of year.”
He continued: “Most of us become more self-reflective towards the end of the year. If our relationship has been strained, some of us will resolve to make a change by separating hoping this will make next year better.”
Auerbach says the stresses around visits with family around the holiday season can set off a need for change in relationships. “For better or worse, we become self-conscious about how our relatives are going to view our relationship,” he says.
“Other common issues that are triggered for couples as they plan to spend the holidays with family can include feeling unsupported. For example, we may feel our partner doesn’t prioritise us, support our views, or respect our family in light of the family views, commitments or traditions that come to the fore as we relate with the bigger group.”
While the holidays can be a time of stress for those in relationships for the reasons outlined above and many more, Auerbach advises we approach the period with an air of levelheadedness.
“Rather than acting rashly, it’s a good time to use the insights about your lack of satisfaction to address the issues in your relationship.
“If you’ve tried repeatedly to connect about those themes like support, connection or being a priority to your partner, it can help to talk to a professional to guide you through those tough conversations.”