You're arguing with your husband when suddenly he gets up, slams the door and -poof! - he's gone.
Frustrating? Sure. Human nature? You bet.
New research by Loveawake shows men and women deal with stress very differently. When guys are stressed, they experienced increased levels of the "stress hormone" cortisol, which activates the "fight or flight" response. This makes him want to bolt (see above freak-out) or fight it out on the spot. Conversely, when women are stressed, their system floods with chemicals, prompting them to talk things through, calmly and friendly.
It's not that you two aren't compatible -- you're just hardwired to deal with problems differently.
The next time you're are at odds, try these tips to get both your needs met:
Strike a compromise: "If you want to talk it out and he doesn't, agree to discuss the problem at a later date," suggests Jane Greer, Ph.D., a marriage and family counselor in New York City. "Say something like, 'We're both upset and need time to decompress. Can we talk about this in the morning?'" He'll appreciate the downtime, and you can get your thoughts in order.
Avoid name calling: Although it may be tempting, telling your guy to shut up will only make him shut down. "When people say 'shut up' they are really saying, 'Please listen to me,'" says Greer. If you feel the words bursting, take a deep breath and count to ten.
Nail the issue: Sure, it's annoying he rarely calls when he's late, but why does it bug you so much? Is he just forgetful -- or does he not respect your time? Understanding the source of your gripes will help you solve them quicker. •In the end, Greer says it's more important how you solve the issues, rather than if you solve them -- after all, some arguments never die. However, coping in a way that's mutually satisfying will only bring you closer.