If you and your boo split up this month, you’re hardly alone.
According to new research, March and August are when couples are most likely to file for divorce.
The research, conducted by sociologists at the University of Washington and cited on The Atlantic, was presented at the most recent meeting of the American Sociological Association.
For the paper, which hasn’t yet been peer reviewed, the researchers looked at divorce filings in Washington state between 2001 and 2015. They found that the number of filings reliably increased in March and August.
The researchers say it’s meaningful that March and August follow holiday or vacation periods. In the paper, they suggest that holidays represent something like “optimism cycles” — we see them as a chance to start anew in our relationships, only to find that the same problems exist once they’re over.
The researchers also suspect that oftentimes our holiday experiences can be stressful and disappointing, laying bare the real issues in our marriage. As soon as they’re over, we’re ready to call it quits.
The researchers are currently investigating whether the same pattern applies in other US states.
Other analyses of relationship cycles have yielded slightly different findings. An oft-cited analysis by David McCandless and Lee Byron, published in 2010, found that couples tend to split up around spring break, summer vacation, and right before Christmas, according to their Facebook statuses.
On the other hand, research by the economist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, cited in The Washington Post, found that there’s an increase in Google searches for the word “divorce” in the 10 days after Christmas.
Meanwhile, in 2012, Facebook released data that found people are most likely to change their relationship statuses from coupled to single on the social network during the summer months.
None of these researchers can say with certainty why they got the results they did. But perhaps the spike in breakups during and after summer break has to do with our interest in meeting someone new around that time.
As Bat Sheva Marcus, the clinical director of Maze Women’s Sexual Health, told Business Insider, we generally feel more playful during the summer. And the fact that we’re wearing less clothing can make us more aware of our bodies, she said.
This research shouldn’t make you paranoid, assuming that the minute your plane lands after a vacation, your partner will drop the D-word. It’s more interesting from a macro perspective, thinking about the many surprising factors that contribute to — and allow us to predict — the dissolution of a marriage.