How Long the Average Relationship Lasts (by Age)

Turns out those early teen relationships may pay off in experience and longer relationships later!

Updated April 10, 2023

Meeting that special someone is just the beginning. While everyone wants love to last forever, how long the average relationship lasts can be related to your age (plus lots of other factors).

One of the biggest factors in assessing the potential for a lasting relationship is the couple's level of maturity. Some of that is based on your age, and some is on the wisdom gained from experience.

Relationship Length Averages Change Dramatically With Age

Studies can help us understand a bit about how long most relationships last and how that changes a people get older, and from there, we can make some inferences about why. Scientific data exists that can be used as a baseline for how long the average relationship will last, but it depends a lot on the age and the experiences of the people involved.

Among adolescents, the average length of a relationship is only a few months, while it can be several years in people's 20s, 30s, and beyond.

Need to Know

It's important to remember that relationships are as unique as the individuals in the relationship. This means your relationship may fall within the statistical parameters or fall outside to be the exception.

How Long Do Relationships Last at 12 to 14?

Some of the earliest romantic relationships might be among the shortest. We're talking weeks or months.

Teenagers between the ages of 12 and 14 have a difficult time staying together. According to Assistant Professor Kate Fogarty, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences of the University of Florida, the average romantic relationship span for a 12- to 14-year-old is five months.

How Long Do 15- to 16-Year-Olds Stay in Relationships?

As people get older, their skills at being with another person improve. Some 15- to 16-year-old teenagers stay together for two years or longer, but a small study of adolescent girls found that the average relationship length at this age is about 5.87 months (just a little longer than for younger teens).

A determining factor in how long a teen relationship lasts is partly dependent upon people's ability to communicate and resolve conflict, a skill some teens see in parents with healthy and strong relationships. Their conflict resolution skills may be imbued to their teenagers.

Need to Know

Interestingly, the study of adolescents in relationships found that having been in previous relationships and having more sexual autonomy may be associated with a longer relationship.

How Long Do Relationships Last at 16 to 18?

How long the average relationship lasts for the age group of 16- to 18-years-old is actually quite a bit longer than 15- and 16-year-olds. According to the National Institutes of Health, teenagers 16 years old to 18 years old have relationships that last 1.8 years or about 22 months.

Again, more experience and autonomy can make a huge difference here. Every relationship is a learning experience.

What Is the Average Relationship Length in Your 20s?

It probably won't come as a surprise that young adults in their 20s have longer lasting relationships that teenagers. One small study of 103 adolescents found that 21-year-olds have an average relationship length four times that of 15-year-olds.

These relationships can last two to four years. Support from peers and family can have a huge impact on the length of the relationship with people who have greater social support for their romance generally having longer relationships.

Maturity also breeds greater patience in relationships, but this age has its own challenges. 20+ young adults are still searching for their place in society and setting a career path and typically aren't ready to settle down with a mate.

What Is the Average Length of Relationships in Your 30s?

The longevity of relationships may increase when individuals reach 30+, although there aren't studies to give a specific average. As people delay marriage or consider never marrying, romantic relationships can become longer.

Among those who think about finding a partner to start a family and build a future, this is sometimes the age at which they are hitting their stride in their careers (and settling down becomes an attractive idea).

30+ year olds have learned about relationships through trial and error and have a better idea what they want in a life mate. According to the Washington Post, once the relationship passes the one-year marker, statistics for breakups decrease. In fact, the five-year-marker for unmarried couples has a breakup rate of 20 percent. Unmarried couples who have been together for 20 years have a 10 percent breakup rate.

How Long Does the Average Relationship Last in Your 40s, 50s, and Beyond?

Although there aren't clear statistics or studies about the average length of a relationship in your 40s or 50s, a survey featured on Statista for the United Kingdom (UK) was conducted for the age range of 30-years-old to 59-years-old. While singles were included in the survey, those reporting to be married had been so for 10 years or longer. Others within the 30-50 age range who were in a relationship stated they'd been in a relationship for more than a year.

It's likely that age differences tend to even out after a point with people have great skills at resolving conflict and plenty of past relationship experience to lean on.

Age and Experience Lead to Relationship Success

Although the romantic relationships of teenagers tend to last the shortest of various age groups, they are gaining the experience that will help them have longer and longer partnerships. The inexperience and immaturity that time eventually remedies becomes the confidence and self-awareness that makes someone a great romantic partner at any age. Every person and every relationship is different, so it's all about finding what works for you and making the most of that.

How Long the Average Relationship Lasts (by Age)