In fact, Durvasula, a clinical psychologist in Santa Monica, CA, calls the international home store a “relationship nightmare,” citing it as a major source of stress for many of her patients.
Part of the problem, Durvasula says, is the layout of the store itself.
Walking through the kitchens brings up touchy subjects, like who does most of the cooking. Then you get to the children's section, which opens up another set of issues. And that's before you've even tried assembling anything.
There's a definite stress in assembling Ikea furniture, and the confusing instructions provided by the chain certainly don't help. The more complicated the assembly, she says, the more likely a couple is to fight while putting it together. (The worst: Ikea's Liatorp Home Entertainment Unit, which she calls "the divorce maker").
Durvasula says because so many couples have complained of fighting while building Ikea furniture, she's included furniture assembly in some therapy sessions.
The strain, however, can also be a relationship strengthener: According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, couples who successfully assemble purchases together as a team have stronger, healthier relationships.
If you must visit the retailer with your significant other, decide on purchases together ahead of time, suggests Ikea spokesperson, Janice Simonsen.