Of 1 500 men, more than half – 54 percent – said they would prefer to spend time with their friends than their wives or girlfriends. Picture: Flickr.com

London - It is the flashpoint for countless domestic rows – and now a survey has shown just how many men would rather be with their pals than their partners.

Of 1 500 men, more than half – 54 percent – said they would prefer to spend time with their friends than their wives or girlfriends.

And perhaps unsurprisingly, 44 percent of men have argued with their other halves about the amount of time they spend with their mates.

The average man has five friends who they typically see three times a week. But for many that isn’t enough, with 27 percent of those surveyed saying they would like to see their friends even more often.

Dispiritingly for women, 38 percent of the men said their best friend was the funniest person they know, compared to just 20 percent who chose their wives. And an astonishing 69 percent said that men are more loyal than women.

More reassuringly, 62 percent of those quizzed said they preferred to go on holiday with their partner than friends, and 84 percent said that it is their partner who knows them better than anyone else.

The average male friendship lasts for 19 years, but it is not always plain sailing, with 30 percent admitting to having had a punch-up with a pal – but still making-up afterwards.

The study was released to mark the DVD release of the Steve Coogan film Stan & Ollie, about the friendship between Laurel and Hardy.

Two years ago a scientific study found that young men get more emotional satisfaction out of "bromances" – close friendships with other males – than they do out of romantic relationships with women.

Researchers found the young men felt they could be honest with their friends and share emotions more easily, whereas they felt they had to put on a facade for their partners.

Mail On Sunday