Christmas: 'Tis The Season Couples Break Up

Christmas is the most joyous time of year. Families gather, feasts devoured, presents gifted and — couples call it quits.

A data website gathered evidence from Facebook status updates that show the days preceding Christmas are the busiest for people suddenly going from "in a relationship" to "single" with the click of a button.

Over the course of the year, the week before Valentine's Day sees a spike (as does the day after), and the spring and summer breaks for schools prompt a rise (oh, you kids). April Fool's sees an increase, too, but maybe people are just pulling a prank. And Mondays are notoriously not good.

But during the couple weeks before Christmas, the changing Facebook status skyrockets. See this chart over at

"The Christmas holidays are replete with opportunities to signal how committed we are to our relationships. If many couples are breaking up before Christmas, the most likely explanation is that they are either finding themselves unwilling to pay the cost of sending the appropriate signals or they are not receiving the signals they would expect from a partner who really cared about their relationship," Time writes.

Take, for example, gift giving. Christmas gives us the opportunity to buy gifts that demonstrate how invested we are in meeting our partner’s needs. A person who is fully committed to his or her relationship probably already knows what those needs are and so can find a perfect gift fairly easily. A person who is less committed to the relationship, however, will find looking for the perfect gift less of a pleasure and more of an unwelcome chore.

While it is too early to know what gifts we will receive, it is not too early for gift givers to wonder why they are spending time looking for a gift when they don’t see themselves with that person in the future. After all, why send a costly signal that you are committed to a relationship when that is not, in fact, the case? Maybe it is just easier to end the relationship now and skip the hassle of trying to impress.

Christmas is also a busy time of year for socializing with co-workers, friends and family — meaning that social conflicts are inevitable. Being in a committed relationship generally entails attending social events together, even when your friend’s party sounds like it will be more fun than spending the evening at your romantic partner’s obligatory office party. However, not going to your partner’s party sends him or her a fairly clear signal that you are not committed to the relationship.

And if Christmas falls on a Monday, watch out!

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