Facebook On Relationships: The Longer They Last, The More Likely They Won’t End


FBDataRelationshipEndingProbablityDurationThe Facebook Data Science Team’s study of love on the social network during Valentine’s Day week continued with a look at the relationship between the length of relationships and the success of relationships.

Not surprisingly, the Facebook Data Science Team found that the longer couples were in relationships, the more likely those relationships would last, as relationships that are shaky tend to dissolve early on.

Here are more details from the post by Bogdan State:

What determines the life of a relationship? By far the most important aspect is the relationship’s current age. The more you and your significant other have stayed together, the less likely you two are to split up. It’s easy to see why this might be. As the days since the two of you “made it official” (on Facebook) fly by, the relationship gets more opportunities to dissolve. Life circumstances and personal incompatibilities may lead to the relationship ending. Alternatively, maybe your couple is one of the lucky ones and your relationship chugs along to happily-ever-after.

With every month that passes, more and more shaky relationships end, leaving an ever-larger proportion of solid relationships around. This is exactly what we see in our data. We measured relationship starts and ends using changes in relationship statuses from “single” to “in a relationship with” and vice-versa.

We only look into relationships that lasted at least three months on Facebook, and only consider relationships where both individuals were at least 23 when they began the relationship, and only relationships in which individuals did not list their first relationship status as “married” (to try to capture something closer to true relationship starts, rather than the recording of long-existing marriages).

This sort of question about secular trends in the dynamics of relationships cannot be settled with one graph and remains open to further investigation. What is certain is that most relationships end in only a few months, but also that relationships that have lasted past their first few months have a lower risk of ending than new relationships.

Readers: What did you think of the findings by the Facebook Data Science Team?


Image of seniors holding hands courtesy of Shutterstock.