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Factors on Breakup Painfulness

How painful is a breakup on average? We take a look at the factors that shape how painful breakups are.


In general, breakups are very painful. In our public breakup survey, 59% of respondents reported Pain Scores of 8 or greater (with 10 being the highest). The survey asks a series of questions including relationship length, age, gender, distance, sexual activity, number of partners, and more.

With over eleven thousand responses, it’s a big data set! With a pivot table, we analysed several factors in relationships and how they are related to the painfulness of breakups. Today, we look at 3 factors that influence how painful a breakup is.



Although the average breakup painfulness stays consistently within the 6.5 to 8 pain range, painfulness peaks at ages 26 to 33. This could be attributed to the type of relationship one is in, life experiences, comparable events, social support, and other factors.

Sexual Activity


Respondents who were highly sexually active reported on average the most pain after a breakup, while those less sexually active reported less. This highlights the important and interesting interplay between physiology and psychology. After a breakup, those who were more sexually active probably experienced a larger shock to their physical and mental states and a noticeably starker disparity. Another explanation could be that those who are more in love naturally engage in more sex, and therefore, rated their breakups as more painful.

Relationship Length


Our analysis shows breakup painfulness steadily increases as the length of the relationship increases. The good news is that the average painfulness reaches its maximum Pain Score of just under 8 when the relationship length is 1-2 years old. This means a relationship longer than 1-2 years is unlikely to cause greater breakup pain. Good to know you can max out on pain at some point!

Final Thoughts

We also looked at gender and found breakups are hard on both sides, but women reported feeling more pain (7.59 average Pain Score, sd=2.43, n=6970 ) than men did (7.40 average Pain Score, sd=2.37, n=4199). You might think .19 pain points isn’t that big of a deal, but it’s extremely statistically significant (two-tailed p-value less than 0.0001). We actually have no idea what .19 pain points translates into. Maybe a roundhouse kick in the groin?



And very surprisingly, we found breakups resulting from long distance relationships were on average slightly more painful than those from non-long distance relationships. Even more interestingly, breakups where the relationship was sometimes long distance were the most painful. Perhaps those relationship tended to be longer (we have not adjusted for that), partners loved each other more which is why they put up with the distance, or partners got closer through having to deal with being both together and apart.

While we don’t claim this survey to be a completely scientific study because participants are self selecting, you can gleam some interesting insights on how different factors affect breakup painfulness. Participants found the survey through our website, Google, Tumblr, Facebook, Reddit, and friends. Guys make up 32% of the sample size and girl make up 68%.

If you haven’t tried LittleBook yet, go here now to check it out. It’s our answer to making breakups less painful and shortening the recovery journey!

Stay tuned for more news!

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