Authorities on etiquette have long argued that politics and religion should be avoided at the dinner table to ensure harmony.
But according to behavioural psychologists, bringing up the topic of Brexit on a first date could be crucial to the future of a budding relationship.
Academics trawled through research into what makes or breaks relationships, and came up with five questions which identify values and key personality traits. And they placed ‘How did you vote on Brexit?’ as their top line of inquiry.
Dr Eric Robinson, a reader in psychological science at the University of Liverpool, said although the question may spark ‘fireworks’ it is worth finding out early to avoid a shock down the line.
“Our political views communicate our wider social values and worldview,” he said.
“Research also suggests that opposing political views can cause relationships to fail. The issue is most prominent amongst younger generations with reports showing 22 per cent of millennial couples having broken up with someone over political differences.
“So, the sooner you know your partner’s outlook the better.”
In the same vein, he also suggested discussing the economy, green issues and foreign policy can also help build a clearer picture of someone’s intellect and levels of altruism.
Other crucial questions suggested for a first date include: “What do you spend most of your money on?’ and “If you lost your wallet do you think it would be returned?”
According to psychologists the wallet question helps establish levels of openness, trust and optimism, while finding out financial arrangements can give hints as to personal levels of responsibility.
Dr Michelle Tornquist, of the University of Sussex, said: “Research indicates that people who feel that their partner spends money foolishly are 45 per cent more likely to divorce.
“Plus, if someone responds to this question with lengthy story about sports cars and designer clothes it could be a red flag if your values about money are very different.”
Other questions which can hint at incompatibility include ‘What was your last holiday?’ and “How did you spend Christmas and New Year?”
How a person chooses to holiday or spend the festive period gives insight into their levels of extroversion, adventure, and how they might spend time outside work.
Research also suggests that couples who share activities tend to have happier relationships.
“They key here is to ask someone about their last holiday rather than their future plans, because it gives you an idea of what they actually like doing rather than what they’d like to suggest they like doing,” added Dr Robinson.
“How people spent Christmas and New Year can reveal how close they are to their family and the likelihood that want to be in a committed relationship.
“In this research, we focused on ‘concrete questions’. By asking specifically about what a person did last weekend, rather than what they say they like to do at the weekends, we get a picture of a person that isn’t tainted by how they would like to look – a more real version of themselves so to speak.”
The key questions were commissioned on behalf of the dating website eharmony who urged caution when discussing Brexit.
Commenting on the findings, eharmony relationship expert Rachael Lloyd said: “ Be warned, asking someone how they voted on Brexit on a first date could lead to trouble in paradise.
“Our research suggests that the Brexit vote led to 1.6m Brits either breaking up with a partner or choosing not to progress things with a fresh romantic interest.”