Relationship breakdowns: more frequent, but not earlier
For relationships begun in any given year, the risk of separation remains almost constant throughout the relationship. Whether they have been living together for only 2 years or for more than 40 years, couples today separate more often than they did in the past. However, this does not mean that couples are separating earlier on in the relationship. Marriage brings stability to a relationship, as does having young children. On the other hand, a relationship is more fragile if it is begun when the couple are quite young or when their situation is not yet settled (before finishing their studies or entering working life). However, the risk of separation is also higher for relationships begun after a long period of celibacy. For women, separation is more common amongst executives, whilst the opposite is true for men.