Gottman and Levenson (1988) theorized that many commonly noted gender differences in relationships can be derived from a hypothesis about gender differences in autonomic nervous system (ANS) reactivity. The weak form of this hypothesis is that males recover more slowly from ANS arousal than females. Their review of the literature on gender differences in physiological responses to stress provided some support for this hypothesis. If this gender difference is true, and if chronic ANS activation is considered to be harmful, unpleasant, and undesirable, then men might be more inclined than women to avoid situations that would be associated with repeated high levels of ANS activation, and to withdraw from negative affect in marital conflict. Taking this argument a step further, if intense negative affect is seen as activating high levels of ANS activation (especially in men), then men may try to manage the level of negative affect to which they are exposed. They may try to create a rational, as opposed to an emotional, climate in relationships (Kelley et al., 1978), which can be a major source of repeated high level negative emotions and of concomitant high levels of ANS activation; they may become more conciliatory and less conflict engaging than females; and they may try to terminate negative affect encounters by withdrawing, that is, by stonewalling. Gottman and Levenson (1988) presented instances from the marriage research literature that show that each of these behavioral characteristics has been ascribed to men. In direct contrast, women in this literature have been described as being less conciliatory, more conflict engaging, and less likely to withdraw from negative affect.