85% of conversations between marital couples that deal with differences or difficulties are initiated by women. An unmeasured, but probably high, percentage of those conversations do not leave either party feeling satisfied. When conversations leave one or both partners feeling frustrated, disappointed, hurt, or angry, not only is there a feeling of incompletion, but a diminished willingness to re-engage at a future time. The accumulation of these “incompletions" diminishes optimism and lets feelings of hopelessness and resentment set in.
If one partner consistently refuses to participate in such conversations, either directly or by being unavailable, this pattern can hijack a relationship, creating a vicious circle spiraling down into entrenched feelings of resentment, alienation, and disappointment, or worse.
Methods of closing down the lines of communication can be overt or covert. Direct or overt refusals to engage in discussions ("I don’t want to talk about it”) often contain an implicit threat to leave, get angry, or punish the person initiating the conversation if they persist in their efforts. The situation could become either volatile or intractable, depending upon how each person responds.