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The Surprising No. 1 Thing Couples Fight About Most, New Research Says

It's not money or infidelity that cause the most fights in relationships, according to a new survey.

Relationships always involve some give and take, and some healthy compromises, too. Of course, sometimes things get tense along the way, and while you may have heard that money issues are what tend to lead to divorce, when you're talking about the quantity of fights couples have, a much more mundane topic is at the center most often. According to a new survey of 2,000 Americans, the most contentious subject between partners is actually what to have for dinner. In fact, the fight about food is one 37 percent of couples said they have the most, with more than half of participants admitting that they dread hearing the question: "What do you want for dinner?" Read on for the details of these findings, and for more signs your relationship could be in trouble, check out If You Don't Have This in Common, Your Relationship Might Not Last.

The October survey, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Panera Bread, revealed that this kind of food-related tension in relationships seems to revolve around the topic of where to order food from (which plagues 37 percent of respondents). Meanwhile, 35 percent fight about what exactly to order. The research found that the average couple argues 156 times a year over where to eat, and it takes an average of 17 minutes for couples to decide where to order food in from.

But even beyond where and what to eat, shared meals are contentious. The survey also shows that 32 percent of couples argue about who will pick up the food, 30 percent see tensions rise over how much food to get, and for 12 percent, the question of "to share or not to share" ignites fights.

The research follows a similar survey from the U.K. that also found how significant a role food choices play in relationships and how often couples are arguing about food. Conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by Peperami Chicken Bites, questioners found that among 2,000 Brits, 22 percent of women would only consider dating someone who had similar taste in food. Half of respondents also said that they thought a date displaying similar tastes to them made them more attractive, and 17 percent would refuse to continue dating someone with radically different food preferences, even if they were a millionaire.

Amber Artis, a certified matchmaker and CEO of Select Date Society, previously told Best Life that food preferences are known to cause issues in relationships, whether it's what to eat or when. "Similar preferences make us feel connected," Artis explained. And, she added, "when you eat can matter just as much as what you eat. Having similar eating schedules allows you to sit down over meals together. Having dinner at the same time allows you to connect and reflect on your day together. When this shared time doesn't exist, couples often find themselves trying to find time to connect."

To learn more about which topics couples fight about most frequently, according to the OnePoll survey commissioned by Panera, read on. And for more issues that can cause relationships to dissolve, check out Half of Men Say They Would Break Up With a Woman Who Does This.

Holiday plans

couple fighting in bed
wavebreak media/Shutterstock

23 percent

And for more common fights this time of year, check out 17 Arguments Every Couple Has During The Holidays.


woman browsing the Internet late at the night while husband sleeps

24 percent

And for more on why this topic is an important one, check out Doing This One Thing With Your Partner Will Help You Sleep, Study Says.

Alarm clock sounds

woman sleeps through alarm while husband looks annoyed

25 percent

Which movies and TV shows to watch together

young couple watching tv, young man looks bored while young woman holds remote, smiling

30 percent

How much time to spend with extended family

dinner with in-laws

31 percent

And if you're determined to make things work, here are The 50 Best Tips From Couples Who've Been Married for 50 Years.

How long it takes to get ready

woman does her hair in front of the mirror while man sits on bathroom vanity looking annoyed at her and gesturing with his hands

34 percent

And for tips for navigating your relationship, sign up for our daily newsletter.

What time to leave home for an event or appointment

Busy couple walking in the city street, woman holding take away coffee and looking at her watch while man is talking on mobile phone

34 percent

What to eat

Mature caucasian gay male couple having an argument while having breakfast in the morning at home

37 percent

And for more red flags that should be on your radar, here is The No. 1 Warning Sign Your Relationship Will Fall Apart, According to Experts.

John Quinn
John Quinn is a London-based writer and editor who specializes in lifestyle topics. Read more
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