All good things come to an end. But how?

The likelihood of breaking up begins to decline after dating for three years

In Summary

• If you want your relationship to last, be prepared to put in the time, studies show

A couple breaks up
A couple breaks up


If you cook with gas, then you know the cylinder always runs dry in the middle of a late meal when all shops are closed, right? And if you drive, that reserve petrol on “E” almost always goes out in the middle of nowhere, where not even donkey carts patrol the roads. What about amorous relationships?

According to a Stanford study, How Couples Meet and Stay Together, the first three years of a relationship are touch and go. Up and down in terms of the likelihood of a breakup.

Couple that with another interesting study by one David McCandless, showing that breakups most frequently happen on Valentine’s Day, April Fool’s day, Mondays, holidays, two weeks before Christmas and Christmas Day.

That means, if you are in a relationship in its third year today, congratulations on surviving the Valentine’s and April Fool’s day hotspots. But, oh boy, you better wake up and smell the coffee, my friend. This year, Christmas falls on a Monday, and you know what that means. Two weeks before Christmas is also a Monday.

“But what if we outlive this year,” you ask, “then what?”

Not much better news, I’m afraid. The Stanford folks say the fourth year of a couple’s life is just as likely as the third to die a sad death. However a day passes, most likely unbeknownst to the happy couple as they go about their normal “couply” business, that something magical happens in the fourth year. That likelihood of going kaput begins to decline, falling sharply in the fifth year of their relationship.

Do you see where I am going with this?

What I’m trying to say is, a lasting relationship is a long-term investment (five years and over, to be precise). And do you know how long five years is? That’s how long it took to build The Hagia Sophia (look it up if it’s new to you). Five years is four years of college plus a year of tarmacking. It’s the end of a President’s first year of his second term. Kapish?

If on your second outing your date asks you, “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

Your answer better be, “Standing imara daima with you and a couple tots, in a three-bedroom house in (Ahem!) Imara Daima, discussing which private school best suits a brat that’s dangerous around a pair of scissors, and another who won’t quit sucking his thumb.” Otherwise, stop wasting each other’s time.

In other words, if you’re not prepared to put in the time, welcome to the club.

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