Alex starts to feel put on the spot, and pulls away a little bit when conflict starts to bubble up.
Alex wonders why Morgan can’t just accept the way things are.
You can probably imagine the absurdity of this, as it could easily result in the other person appearing to chase you around the room in an awkward, unspoken dance.
But what John and Julie Gottman’s research shows is that actually, turning away is much, much worse.
It’s experienced as more painful in the moment, and it is more highly correlated with divorce. If you asked me if I’d rather someone be outright cruel to me or completely ignore me, the pragmatic part of my brain says that I’d rather someone ignore me.
I want you to imagine that you’re at a cocktail party, and you’re talking with someone you have just met.
As people naturally do, you stand a comfortable distance away and start chatting about work, politics, the weather, whatever.