The most breakups in 2010 are going to happen on Monday, December 13th. That is, according to Facebook.
David McCandless monitored the data coming from thousands of Facebook news feeds for terms like "is now single" and "breakup" for a period of 12 months, then plotted these on a graph.
Not only are there two main peaks around Spring Break and Christmas, but there are also a lot of mini-peaks that seem to be cyclical. It turns out that Mondays are the most popular days for relationship breakups.
Taking these two trends together, we can quickly come to the conclusion that the Monday closest to two weeks before Christmas should be the most popular day of the year to end a relationship. In 2010, this is Monday, December 13th.
So why before Christmas? And why Mondays?
The graph tells us what is happening, but it doesn't explain why it is happening.
As for Mondays: well of course it follows the weekend, which is when couples tend to spend the most time together (and hence get annoyed by each other the most). Add to this the fact that Mondays are the most miserable day of the week for work, and you can begin to understand why Mondays correlate to higher breakups.
As for two weeks before Christmas: perhaps the stress of approaching Christmas leads to a boiling point in relationships. Perhaps the coming of the New Year motivates people to make a new start. Or perhaps it is as simple as not wanting to spend money on a Christmas gift! As the graph shows, very few are cruel enough to dump someone on or immediately before Christmas, so this can force somebody's hand to do it about two weeks before.
Wouldn't it be interesting to graph this type of information for other occurrences – like when people actually start a relationship, or the time it takes between being "in a relationship" to "being engaged." There's a lot of data in Facebook just waiting to be unlocked.