Why So Many People Break Up In January


Over the last 37 years, I’ve been dumped a bunch. I’ve also had to break up with a bunch of people and learned that either way – Dumper or Dumpee – it’s not fun. If I were to chart these breakups on a calendar, they almost always occur during the winter months, and far more often, it’s in January. This is not coincidence. Here’s why:


1. The holidays are over. With them go the constant parties, the mistletoe, the need to kiss someone at midnight on New Year’s Eve. The holiday spirit of exchanging gifts, feeling festive and wanting to have some holiday romance after watching Love Actually and Elf too many times on television has passed.

2. The fear of being alone from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve has kept you clinging to someone. You wanted someone by your side as you put up a Christmas tree, lit a menorah or went gift shopping. Now that time has passed and you realize that your companion is not long-term relationship material.

3. New year’s resolutions. With a new year comes new goals and a renewed energy to carry them out. If a relationship is mediocre at best, January is the time to start afresh.

4. It’s dark out for longer, it’s cold and sometimes it’s easier to stay in and watch a movie under the covers than get dolled up for a date. The long dark days make it so much less motivating to go out and be social.

5. There’s not much going on January. The pressure to have a date to seasonal events is minimal. You’re growing bored with the relationship and Valentine’s Day seems a million years away and not worth the trouble of maintaining the union.

6. January often means that long awaited vacation and slow days at the office are done and the pressure of a new work year is bringing renewed stress. Stress at work often carries over to stress in a relationship, making January a ripe time for stress induced dumping.

7. The cold, dark January days also make it difficult to get out and exercise regularly and see daylight, leading to feelings of laziness, lack of energy and general melancholy. A budding relationship is like a plant that needs to be nurtured. A winter-like January can smother it if not carefully looked after.

8. Boredom. With the frenzy of the holidays over, individuals not good at coping with downtime may exercise a wandering eye. You’ve spent so much time just with one person that it starts to get very routine. The January Jitters have kicked in and one partner may seek excitement outside the relationship.

9. You’re broke. Lots of money is spent on travel and gifts during the holiday team. This often leaves people with a lack of funds come January. Lack of funds can mean less opportunity and options for spending on a relationship. The lavish dinners and dates have to be scaled back and all of a sudden the relationship is a financial burden.

10. Cabin fever. Staying in for too long during the cold hours mean that more arguments with more hours indoors together. Whether it’s about what movie to watch, how to spend a weekend evening or who is going to walk the dog – a small disagreement can quickly escalate into a full-scale war in a matter of minutes.

11. Getting sick. January is right in the thick of cold and flu season. It can all be roses and romantic gestures until you see your significant other with tissues stuffed up his or her nose for days on end. Seeing how someone handles being ill can speak volumes about his or her personality and can bring a casual relationship to a head very quickly. This is a glimpse into a person at his or her worst. It’s usually not pretty and can lead to the end of the romance.

12. The clinging phenomenon has passed. There is a fear of ending a questionable relationship with the holidays approaching in December. The holidays are all about feeling festive, being social and falling in love. Every holiday song on the radio, every holiday movie, every sale at the GAP – it’s all about falling in love.

13. Libidos are lackluster. Something about sunlight making people friskier. I’m no scientist, but I know that warmer weather means less clothing and therefore less boundaries to getting down and dirty. January is like the sex in molasses or something like that.