Going to Ikea Together May Destroy Your Relationship, Says Science

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Ikea prides itself on their “do it yourself” furniture, but the assembly process can either make or break a relationship. Business Insider has reminded us that “comedian Amy Poehler once joked that Ikea was Swedish for ‘argument.'”

Business Insider talked to different experts to investigate and possibly find reasons as to “why each step of the Ikea process is rife with emotional triggers and how, once identified, those triggers can be avoided.”

One of their experts, Don Ferguson — author of Reptiles in Love: Ending Destructive Fights and Evolving Toward More Loving Relationships — explained that “little things like putting a set of shelves together will bring up some ancient history with the partners.”

Furthermore, questions like, “Do you trust me? Do you think I’m stupid? Do you think I have no skills? Do you wish your old boyfriend was here doing this?” often surface and make couples bring out the worst in each other.

Clinical psychologist Ramani Durvasula told The Wall Street Journal that the Ikea trip and assembly “literally becomes a map of a relationship nightmare.”

Durvasula actually made trips to the store to find out why couples in her therapy sessions were fighting over the Ikea furniture. She found that the show room contained the most problems because the “themed areas triggered related arguments: bedding (sex), kitchen goods (chores), children’s gear (don’t even start).”

If couples don’t agree on their taste in furniture, they often wonder whether or not they even want the same things in life.

Furthermore, couples often argue before they start the assembly process. Gary Lewandowski of Monmouth University said, “the acute experience of stress undermines relationship behaviors, and furniture-assembly-induced stress is another way to undermine positive relationship behaviors.”

The assembly experience induces negative relationship behavior due to: couples blaming other things such as instructions rather than owning up to their own mistakes; couples may also be surprised to see the way their significant other handles stressful situations, and be turned off.

Business Insider also found that in any stressful situation, “Arguing with a partner can trigger the ‘fight or flight response,’ the physiological state of hyperarousal that evolved to help primates cope with acute stress. Inessential functions like maturity, patience, and reason temporarily switch off.”

This is primarily why couples “start arguing about a set of shelves and by the end of the fight they’re talking about each other’s parents and themselves and their kids.”

So, avoid conflict and find a company that comes to your house and sets up your furniture for you.

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Photo: Getty