Published on January 30th, 2012 | by thevyne


No More Ikea Men (Or Women)

By K. Boyd

It never fails. Every time the girls get together and the conversation eventually gets around to chatting about someone’s love life, it sounds something like this:

Girl A: “So how are things going with you and Joe?”

Girl B: “<sigggghh>”

Girl A: “What? Noooo! What happened?”

Girl B: “Your guess is as good as mine. It started out great. But then…<insert stupid reason here, e.g. “he said he needed time to get his stuff together without me” or “he’s not ready for a serious commitment yet” or “he was hurt in his last relationship so he’s trying to just chill” or “he said he doesn’t want to put a label on us but we’re friends”> 

At this point the girls go into full on triage mode asking very reasonable questions like, “why can’t he get his crap together AND work on the relationship with you?!” or “what crap is it that he needs together and why is it taking so long?” Eventually what results from the story is the realization that the man Girl B was dating was an “Ikea Man”. 

Let me explain. Think about Ikea furniture for a second. It’s usually nice looking furniture, cheap, questionable quality and comes to you in a million different pieces. Then you get that furniture home and realize all those pieces have to be put together by you. So now you’re reading what appeared to be fairly simple instructions but they seem to be missing some steps. Once you’ve put the furniture together, according to the instructions, it never quite looks like it did on the box or display in the store and to top it all off its still rickety and shaky at best. Over time you hang in there with it, until it just looks straight crazy for you to keep moving it into your quality living space when you relocate, not to mention you can’t pick it up without a piece falling off anyways. This is Ikea furniture. Love it or leave it, it is what it is. Time and time again, this same description, unfortunately, can be applied to some of the men (or women) we choose. They looked great from the outside but over time we find out they’re in a million little pieces and like “super carpenter” we get to work trying to put them and subsequently the relationship together using instructions from them. Instructions that say “I want a woman who can be my friend, who I can be myself with, who is intelligent, good looking, etc. etc. etc.” and even after you serve up those elements the relationship is still in pieces or rickety and shaky at best. But you hang in there with it, determined to pull this lopsided relationship and man along with you until you get to a point where it’s just looking crazy and even your friends can no longer ignore the pieces of YOU that keep falling off. 

This analogy can clearly be used for a man OR a woman. The point is this, while it may seem noble to try to put someone together, to try to develop them into the potential you saw on the box/in your head, to try to create a quality relationship out of wounded egos, hidden insecurities and broken hearts…while it may seem noble, is it really the right thing to do? I don’t proclaim to have an answer to this one but what I will say is that I’ve seen many a person (myself included) play “carpenter” to an Ikea mate, only to come away with a gang of splinters, banged up thumbs and lessons learned. On the one, albeit splintered, hand a lesson learned is a great thing but couldn’t it also be a great thing to recognize the Ikea mate from the jump and make a choice to shop around? Can’t it be okay to get that box home, shake out the pieces and decide….”this is one too many pieces for me.” 

Making the tough decision early to walk away before investing your sweat equity in a piece of “furniture” that’s bound and determined to be only what it is and not what it has the potential to be, will allow you the time and freedom to find the piece of “furniture” that’s right for you. At the very least, you’ll come away from the experience with all your thumbs…figuratively speaking that is.

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2 Responses to No More Ikea Men (Or Women)

  1. brandi says:

    Truer words have never been spoken. I LOVE this article! I’ve thankfully rid myself of the IKEA man….the furniture on the other hand, I need intervention. That dresser should have never been brought to the new house. 🙂

  2. Lauren Morris says:

    So true kiesha! I never thought of a man this way, but the analogy certainly fits! Why do we always want the best item for the lowest price, its like they always say you get what you pay for!

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