Spring Break and mid-December are peak times for getting out of relationships, according to Facebook.

An analysis of 10,000 Facebook status updates for the words and phrases “breakup” and “broken up” by British journalist and designer David McCandless revealed strong patterns in when people dump or get dumped.

McCandless stumped an audience at a TED conference of thinkers and inventors by asking:


“What rises twice a year, once in Easter and then two weeks before Christmas, has a mini-peak every Monday and flattens out over the summer?”

The wrong answers: “Chocolates.” “Shopping.” “Time off work.”

His graphic also shows that Christmas Day (“Who would do that?) and August are the least likely times for a breakup, at least by Facebook users, of whom Facebook says there are 480 million.

Divorce lawyers have long known that Feb. 15 is prime time for new clients. And snopes.com, the myth-busting website, has declared January the peak time to end relationships.

McCandless saw other patterns of human wreckage: A “clearing out for Spring Break” that starts building on Valentine’s Day and peaks in early March; a desire to be “single over the summer;” and a sober second thought come Monday.