'Tis the Season to Become Single: Pre-Holiday Breakups

Why do people break up right before Christmas?

ByABC News
December 3, 2010, 3:22 PM

Dec. 6, 2010 — -- To those of you who have significant others, watch out. According to a "Peak Break-Up Times" chart created by David McCandless and Lee Byron, we are entering the year's second highest break-up time, second only to spring break.

The weeks before Christmas are a bad time for relationships. To those single ladies and gents out there, the market is about to get a lot meatier.

The chart was first posted on David McCandless' Information is Beautiful website, and has since been reposted on several other news sites. McCandless and Byron searched for the frequency of "break up" and "broken up" in Facebook statuses, and also set up a program that logged the dates of changes in relationship status onto a calendar.

Does the study rely too heavily on Facebook?

"I think it relates to real life, probably, really closely," said Byron. "Just based on anecdotal evidence, it seems to match up. Anyone who has looked at the chart tends to have a positive reaction. I've also had an expert in relationships look at the graph and tell me that it maps very close to reality.

"There's no way of validating this, but it's more of a curious exploration than it is a truth," said Byron.

McCandless seconded that opinion. "I wouldn't call it a study," he said. "The intention was not to claim anything is true, it's just an interesting pattern that happens. There are all kinds of biases, Facebook was very much primarily used by young people, I'm just simply saying 'cool.'"

The chart is one piece of a larger project on breakups. The series of information graphics on ending relationships includes topics like breakup methods and "We broke up because," as well as a flow chart on how relationships come together and fall apart.