Thursday 17 October 2019

Ask Brian: I think a trip to Ikea has ended my relationship

Our no-nonsense agony uncle gets straight to the point of your most pressing issues

Brian O'Reilly

Brian O'Reilly

Myself and my girlfriend moved in together at the start of the year.

It's only a rental, we don't own the place and it's all furnished.

We decided we'd go to Ikea to get a few bits to put our own touch to the place, but I think it's made me want to end things.

She literally asked me for my opinion on everything in the shop, only to overrule me and pick what she wanted anyway.

Why ask me if you're going to choose what you want anyway? I honestly don't care what she gets.

I know it seems stupid but if this is what she's like on something so small it should be warning bells for me?

Am I signing up to spending my entire life with someone who'll want to control everything?


Brian replies:

There are few things more testing for a relationship than a trip to Ikea.

You'll disagree, you'll argue and you'll insult each other. And that's only about where to park the car.

I don't think I'd judge your girlfriend too harshly for her controlling behaviour, Ikea changes people.

There are always bumps in the road when you move in with someone. The old cliche exists for a reason - you don't know someone until you live with them.

There will be new stresses and strains on the relationship that didn't exist before.

She obviously gives a lot of thought to what she wants in the house, you've said you don't care. There's a lot to be said for the skill of humouring people. The outcome will still be the same, but you won't feel the sense of frustration that your opinion has been rejected.

If it does genuinely bother you, you need to talk to her about it. Explain that it frustrates you that she asks for your opinion but then does what she wants regardless.

I wouldn't take her actions while furniture shopping to be those of a control freak. But if this extends to other areas of your life - if she tries to tell you when you can go out and who you can see for instance - then that would be a cause for concern.

Ikea is fantastic. But you will disagree about what to buy. You'll also disagree about how to put your flatpack shelves together. You'll have blazing rows about what that little wooden bit does and how far you twist that metal yoke. But this process teaches you crucial life skills for a relationship. Compromise, team work and reconciliation. 

And look, my best Ikea-related advice is grab yourself one of those king sized bag of Dimes at the check outs. You'll quickly forget any strife.


Do you have a problem you'd like some advice on? Email  to submit in confidence.


Online Editors

Editors Choice

Also in this section