Revisiting The Loves Me Not Season

For those of you who dropped by yesterday, here's a little warning, straight from one of the authors of this infographic:

Lee Byron, yes, the Lee Byron of McCandless & Byron, wrote to say the most dangerous day of the year for breakups is only a week or so away:

"Did you know," he wrote, "that the most likely day of the year to be broken up with is the first Monday in December?"

Somehow this news had escaped my notice.

Checking my calendar, this year's first Monday falls on Dec. 6. What's the deal with first December Mondays? Mr. Byron doesn't really know, but he offered this three-reasons-in-one guess:

Perhaps some combination of seasonal affect disorder and a case of the Mondays has warped the idea of you meeting their family over the holidays into something horrid.

(Woah! Could Lee be touching on a distant, but painful memory?)

How Will It Happen?

Some of you, Lee went on, will be broken up with during a face to face conversation. Others will get dumped by email, or on the phone. Using one of the saddest pie graphs you will see this week, Lee says older lovers (born before 1975) do it in person; younger lovers (born after 1984) -- not. (Well, less often.)

Why Don't You Like Me Any More?

Then, in a move rare for statistics jocks (unless they harbor a secret wish to write scripts for As The World Turns) Lee went on to collate the reasons why people call it quits.

"This information was collected using the publicly accessible, now defunct, polling app on Facebook, on which the question was asked to single members: "How did you end your last relationship" Collected from public tweets on Twitter which contained the phrase "We broke up because," it's clear that the reasons we part are quite varied, ranging from serious to bizarre.

Probably because these quotes are too messy for a data miner, Lee burrowed through Facebook polls, a recent U.S. Census and something called the Durex global sex survey to graphically describe "Why It All Comes To An End."

There are many opportunities for failure with 3 million first dates every day worldwide. It turns out that sex is pretty important as 56% of adults claim to be unhappy with their sex life and 22% of married people worldwide have had an extramarital affair. Turkey has the highest rate of affairs with 58% of married people, and Israel the lowest with 7%. Cheating is one of the most popular reasons for breaking up with 25% of women and 18% of men reporting it as the reason for their last relationship's end.

Many find success as 2.5 million per year vow "Till death do we part," albeit nearly half will break that vow. 5.4% of adults, for better or worse die having never married.

Lee schematized the Beginning-to-End Relationship Cycle This Way:

So a special thank you to Lee and to all the other folks who wrote about infographics. It's a weird thing to abstract something as specific, beautiful and painful as a love affair, but if someone has to do it, I'm glad it's not me.

Copyright NPR 2022.





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