Challenging the commonly held assumption that men and women hail from different psychological and social "planets," this illuminating work reexamines what the empirical research really shows about how the sexes communicate in close relationships. The volume highlights evidence of similarities/m-/as well as differences/m-/between the two groups, and shows that stereotypical beliefs about men and women fail to predict their actual interaction behavior.Defining key terms such as sex and gender, and reviewing the various meanings these terms take across a wide body of literature, the book first lays a clear conceptual foundation for the discussion to follow. The authors then draw from a wealth of social scientific research to explore such compelling topics as the ways men and women respond emotionally in relationships, communicate intimacy, control each other in conversation and conflict, and negotiate the division of labor in the household. Taking a balanced, careful approach, the authors assess the equality as well as the inequality that exists between men and women in their relationships, and show how reliance upon gender stereotypes in interaction changes in different situations and as relationships evolve. The volume concludes by setting forth the authors' theory of gender differences, which focuses on communication behavior as the means by which sex and gender role expectations are created and sustained.