The Most Popular Years In A Relationship For Couples To Break Up

When you meet someone new, the butterflies in your stomach flutter each time you think of them, and you melt at the sound of their voice. We love the honeymoon phase, when you are both on your best behavior and it feels like you have finally found the perfect person ... and then they do something to seriously annoy you. After a few months, the rose-colored glasses fade and you realize they are horrible texters, or maybe they talk with their mouths full, and once you move in together, you discover just how gross a bathroom can really get. This discovery isn't always a bad thing — the best relationships evolve as the couple grows together, finding new ways to love each other and navigate through conflicts.

This relationship dynamic is ideal, but it also takes some serious work. After a certain point, many couples decide they just don't have the energy or effort to keep working at it, and they break up. While breakups might seem as different and unique as the two people in them, relationship experts have found that there are certain moments in every relationship when the bond is most fragile. While no one wants to imagine cutting ties with their sweetie, it is important to know when relationships are most likely to split so you can recognize the warning signs early on.

You may split with your partner earlier than you'd hoped

They say the first year of dating (or marriage) is the hardest — after the first year, couples are promised they can do just about anything. While dating data suggest that a majority of couples do break up within five months (via The Washington Post), couples who endure past their one-year anniversary still have many hurdles to jump over.

If you begin to question whether you're feeling your man anymore, it might be time to check the calendar. According to couples counselor Kim Polinder, years 3, 7, 11, and 15 are the breakup milestones to be aware of. This simply means that historically, couples have fallen into habits around this time in their relationship that can cause long-lasting problems if not properly addressed. In a viral TikTok analyzing the different breakup milestones, Polinder says that couples who break up after three years "generally have not learned how to resolve conflict." The newness and excitement of being together have faded, and without the ability to move through conflict, "past resentments start to overwhelm the relationship."

In year three, the best thing a couple can do is re-evaluate their fight language and understand each other's attachment style. When you're looking to feel heard and understood by your partner, remember they are wanting the same thing from you. Taking a pause and getting to know each other's ways of processing can seriously cut down on the amount of conflict.

The 'seven-year itch' isn't just an old movie

Each year, as you celebrate another trip around the sun together, your relationship grows and changes. Once you have hit seven years together, you most likely live together, and the thought of breaking up with someone you live with can feel messy and extra complicated. But the "seven-year itch" is a common trope for a reason — according to some researchers, the highest rate of breakups is right around seven years together. This is the most common time for couples to feel boredom in the relationship and experience infidelity. If couples can endure past the growing pains of the seven-year mark, things are (hopefully) smooth sailing until year eleven.

After a decade together, couples either feel like they have each other figured out pretty well or they can no longer find the fun beyond the monotony of a consistent relationship. Relationship expert Kim Polinder shared in her TikTok that by this time, these couples "will prove whether they have put in the work to move past that stagnation."

If you hear that a couple has broken up after 15 years together, it can seem rather shocking. Fifteen years is a long time to spend together, and most people would assume that something crazy and horrible happened to bring the relationship down. In reality, this breakup year is common because couples cannot remember how to enjoy each other. Maybe you have children together and have fallen too deeply into a routine to remember how to be romantic together.

Breakups are more likely during these times of year

Certain years are not the only times your relationship could be in danger — research suggests that there are certain times of the year when breakups are more likely, regardless of how long the couple has been together. According to researcher David McCandless in a TED Talk presentation on data visualization, one of the most popular days of the year for couples to split is Valentine's Day. One can only assume that when expectations are not met on a day dedicated to romance, couples naturally decide to look elsewhere. 

Another holiday on the list of most likely times of the year for a breakup is April Fool's Day. Well-intended pranks can quickly turn into relationship enders if the prankster isn't careful. As the weather warms each year, so does a person's desire to be single. According to McCandless' data, which was gathered from Facebook, couples are more likely to break up during the spring and summer months and least likely to split on Christmas Day. It's nice to see that cuffing season does have some merit.

Ultimately, couples will break up whenever they feel that they are no longer compatible — but learning that couples most commonly break up on Mondays rather than any other day of the week makes us question just how much of our decision to split was our own and how much was simply based on timing.