"Humor is a tool like any other," says Robert L. Weiss, a psychologist at the University of Oregon who studies humor in relationships.
When a couple falls into a pattern of demand and withdrawal, says Weiss
, one partner-often the man-will deploy a joke to avoid addressing problems or to let his
partner know he's
not going to deal with her
A woman reminds her
partner to do the laundry, and he
hums the NFL theme, as if to say, "I have a football game to watch.
No way I'm doing laundry now.