This Research Predicts When You'll Break Up


Gabrielle White

It is notoriously difficult to get good data on failed relationships – who wants to think about that? But The Washington Post recently  covered the research of Michael Rosenfeld, a sociologist at Stanford, who is trying to fill in the gaps. He started a longitudinal study in 2009, tracking 3,000 people in relationships of all kinds: married and unmarried, same sex and straight.

How Likely Is A Breakup?

In general, as time went on, all forms of couples were less likely to experience a breakup. The couples least likely to experience a breakup were straight married couples and same-sex couples in marriage-like relationships.

The 5 Year Mark

For the kinds of couples where enough data are present to gauge, chances of a breakup plummet each of the first 5 years of a relationship, after which point most relationships stabilize. At 5 years, unmarried couples hover around a 20% chance of splitting.

Breakups Are Normal

So if your relationships usually end early, don’t worry – most relationships do! And probably for the better: the less time we invest in something that isn’t working, the sooner we can move on to find something that does.

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