Love, Hate and Ikea

Nothing makes me relish my single status more than a trip to the Swedish, mid-range furniture Mecca. I have seldom left Ikea’s premises without witnessing at least one lovers’ spat. Most of which are completely absurd arguments over which trivets would go better with the Värde theme, or if this duvet cover effectively reflects both individual styles.

Recently my friend got a glimpse at an argument that escalated to the threat of physical violence. In the window treatment section a man raised his voice loud enough to make sure everyone in search of the perfect valance could hear that “sometimes I wish I could just punch you in throat.” Now assuming he would never actually hit a woman (domestic violence is no joke kiddies), this statement is slightly amusing.

I mean let’s really consider the disagreement that lead to this point. The trip must have started innocently. “Sugar plum, let’s go find some mod Scandinavian curtains to liven up our little love nest.”  “Sure, sweetiekins that sounds delightful.” Before you know it he mispronounces an umlaut and they are one snide comment away from smacking each other with the 2010 catalog while other home furnishing fanatics begin placing bets like it's the Rumble in the Jungle.

I’ve been guilty of the Ikea battle myself. In my defense, it was my significant other at the time who picked the ludicrous fight over my desire to split a Swedish meatball meal when he was so obviously famished. Staying true to the passive individual I was at the time and not wanting to cause a scene, I immediately apologized for my inconsiderate suggestion. He persisted and I became another contender in the Ikea ring.

Perhaps there is something about Ikea itself that raises the ire within unsuspecting couples. After all, the store is set up like a sadistic labyrinth, which is bound to cause lab mouse syndrome, rubbing raw every last nerve. In addition, it’s nearly impossible to make a trip at a time when every model room isn’t packed with 20-somethings furnishing their first home. Then there is the frustrating scavenger hunt in the Ikea warehouse.

Finally, it all culminates with the strain of knowing that even if they successfully navigate their way through the store experience, when they get home their relationship will be tested to its limits as they attempt to assemble their new furniture.  

Or maybe angry, resentful couples just tend to be really into reasonably priced, assemble-at-home furnishings. Either way, this scene is blatant lie (curse you Hollywood). No couple leaves Ikea more in love than when they arrived, they are lucky to just make it out with their relationship intact. So if you are thinking of picking out a new entertainment center with your pooh bear, here are a few tips from a clinical psychologist on how to make it out without coming to blows, good luck.