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Statistics: How People Break Up

A Chinese Breakup Ceremony

You don’t need a big divorce ceremony to break up with your romantic partner like the rich people do in China. You can if you want. Those parties are usually pretty fun!

The clip is from If You Are the One 2 (非诚勿扰2), a Chinese movie. There are a lot of rich people in China and people just love an occasion to throw a party. The clip above shows two people officially divorcing at an “anti-wedding.”

The proper way to break up

If you read breakup advice columns, you’ll know the proper way to break up. Even guys take advice on how to break up.

In fact, break ups are such an important health issue even WebMD chimes in and advises:

Don’t Break Up Over Email

Social networking sites, including MySpace and Facebook, allow users to post comments on one another’s pages, but they should never be used to end a romantic relationship. Nor should web sites like Breakup Butler, which delivers several types of prerecorded breakup messages ranging from let-them-down-easy to downright mean.

“If it’s a casual encounter, a text message is OK. But to my mind, it’s better to call and speak or go out to dinner,” Lieberman says.

“The news of a breakup should never be broken over text or email,” says Alison Arnold, PhD, a therapist in Phoenix who is also known as ‘Doc Ali,’ the life coach on the VH1 series Scott Baio Is 45 … and Single. “Texting a breakup is the coward’s way out,” she says.

“Face-to-face or phone contact is a must,” Arnold says. “It’s important to give the person with whom you are ending the relationship the chance to ask questions and feel the sentiment underneath the words.”

Be as direct and honest as you can, she advises. “Don’t engage in tit-for-tat arguments. Stick to the facts: ‘It’s not working, it’s no one’s fault, we need to make a change.'”

Popular ways of breaking up

Ok, that’s the proper way to do it. But what are people doing? What are the most common ways girls and guys break up? Our analyst angels have taken some preliminary results from The Breakup Quiz and Fruit Ninja’ed it into this beautiful chart below.

How People Break Up Statistics

The How People Break Up graph shows what the most popular methods for breakups initiated by girls (bars in pink), initiated by guys (bars in blue), and when breakups are mutual (grey). It is totalled and ranked from most common on the left to the least common on the right.

Here are some interesting findings:

  • In-person talk is the most popular methods of ending a relationship by girls, guys, and when it’s mutual. The expert-recommended method is the most popular way of breaking up! The second most popular way is over the phone (including Skype and other VOIP services) and it’s also an expert recommended breakup method. The third most popular way of splitting up is over text message. For these top three breakup method there isn’t much gender difference or a bias by one sex.
  • The four most common way of ending a relationship is by ignoring the person or cutting the person off. It is definitely not a recommended way of ending a relationship.

Dr. Petra Boynton explains How to breakup with someone and How not to dump someone:

There are definite things to avoid when ending a relationship, including:
– cutting person out of your life with no explanation
– getting someone else to end it on your behalf
– using the threat of a break up to control your partner
– giving mixed messages (so saying the relationship is over while acting as though you have a future together)
– being unkind or disinterested in hope they’ll end it
– keep changing the boundaries/expectations of the relationship so they can’t measure up
– cheat on them in the hope they’ll find out and dump you
– telling everyone else you know it is over (including posting on social media) before telling the person yourself
– continuing to be emotionally or sexually intimate with them after the breakup if you know they still want to be with you
– fob them off with platitudes ‘it’s not you it’s me’ may not help them understand why things have broken down, and it is likely they will not believe you and still blame themselves

  • What’s interesting about this method of breakup is that it’s strongly preferred by women than by men. In fact, it’s the second most common way women break up and women are twice as more likely to do this than men. Perhaps it is because sometimes avoiding the person feels easier than the confrontation and awkward conversation. It may be guys are more confident about this or are more direct. Our guardian angels have interviewed couples that broke up by mutually drifting apart as well.

    One note about this is that, these break up methods are not mutually exclusive so perhaps some of those women used in-person conversations but then used the ignoring tactic to make it clear that the relationship is over for real.

  • About 32% of people use more than way one way to break up because sometimes it takes a few times to get it done. Note: You can not see that from the graph.
  • When a breakup is mutual, the method of splitting tend to be moving away or by writing (text message and email). However when a breakup is one sided, they tend to be through an in-person talk or conversation. Sometimes it’s a complete shock and you’re just left wondering “why”. There have been many songs written on this.

    It makes sense because if someone is moving away, you know there’s a chance the relationship may end. When you breakup over messages or email, you probably are both thinking the same thing and the communication is slower so you can get the hint.

    However, when one person wants to breakup and the other person doesn’t, then usually the person makes an effort to break the bad news in person or at least with a phone call to be respectful and give the other a chance to talk about it.

    In our data, only 22% percent of all break ups are mutual. Most breakups (78%) are initiated by one side. If you ask someone who ended it, they may answer it was a mutual decision because it protects their ego but when given the chance to be honest, usually one side wants out more than the other.

Significance and Considerations

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 people break up. Participants find the survey through our website, Google, Tumblr, Reddit, and through friends. Boys make up 32% of the sample size and girl make up 68%.

Despite having more female participants in the survey, we had an equal number of guys and girls in our graph because we looked at who ended the relationship. If the participant said the other side ended it, we attributed the break up method to the opposite sex. Since we did not ask if the relationship was homosexual or heterosexual we assumed it was a monogamous heterosexual relationship.

The sample size as of this moment is 226 people and the age distribution is below.

Sample Age Range

If you haven’t taken the quiz yet, go here now to take it. It’s fun and short!

Stay tuned for more news!

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