Updated: Dec 30, 2018
Does this happen at your house?
I hope not. It's a predictor of divorce and breakup.
The typical situation: Your significant-other brings up something they want you to do.
Take out the garbage.
Clean the cat litter.
Call your family.
Wash the car.
In response to hearing this AGAIN, you pretend to do something else, putting up a conversational blockade. You're hoping that the request will just disappear and go away, right?
John Gottman, the country's leading relationship researcher, says that you're actually trying to soothe yourself and calm down. Something about the request is overwhelming. Maybe you don't like being told what to do. Maybe your dad used to nag you about the trash (Are you reading this, Dad?).
The problem is that your attempt to blockade the request will actually make your partner MORE mad. It is seen and felt as an act of aggression, be it a passive one. When researched, it's also one thing that couples tend to do as their relationship is on the decline.
As a suggestion, rather than blocking out the request, turn to your partner and tell them that you're overwhelmed by the request. Compromise on a time to deal with it later (then follow through and do it). I've seen this tactic help many couples in the past move beyond this 'blockade behavior'.
- Gay Couples Institute Research Team