My Account

‘Sliding Door’ Moments

Sliding door moments are the seemingly inconsequential everyday moments that make or break the most important relationships in our lives.

Share this post:

Sliding Door Moments

Following more than 40 years of research, Dr. John Gottman discovered something surprising and counter-intuitive to many. Even those who are aware of its occurrence rarely pay it any attention. Dr. John Gottman calls it the sliding door” moment, referencing the 1998 Gwyneth Paltrow film “Sliding Doors,” in which a woman lives two alternative lives after missing a train. Here “sliding door” moments are the seemingly inconsequential everyday incidents or decisions that affect relationships negatively or positively.

Many couples focus on the blow-outs, like shouting matches, door slamming, and worse. According to Dr. John Gottman’s studies, this is both totally understandable, yet only gets to part of the issue.

Bids for attention and emotional connection create “sliding door” moments. When you say “I love you” or complain about your boss, you want a response from your partner that both acknowledges and/or validates your bid.  How your partner responds can set your relationship on a few different trajectories (hence the “Sliding Doors” reference). When your partner does not respond or they turn away from the bid, you naturally begin to lose trust in them. The reasons for failed connection are often the result of mindlessness, not malice; however, they add up over time, creating complex and all-encompassing systems of Positive or Negative Sentiment Override.

In “What Makes Love Last“, Dr. Gottman gives readers the tools to help couples recognize bids and turn towards them, not away.

Watch Dr. Gottman explain “sliding door” moments:

Share this post:

Ellie Lisitsa is a former staff writer at The Gottman Institute. She holds a PhD in Clinical Psychology.

Recommended products

Original price was: $199.00.Current price is: $149.00.

Now on Sale! Drs. John and Julie Gottman’s Art & Science of Love couples workshop is available online for you and your partner to take together from the comfort of your own home.

You and your partner will learn how to foster respect, affection, and closeness in your relationship. You will build and share a deeper connection with each other. You’ll learn how to keep conflict discussions calm, how to break through conflicted gridlock, and how to strengthen and maintain the gains in your relationship


Increase intimacy and improve connection in any relationship.

Due to popular demand, this product is currently out of stock. 


These cards enable partners to connect emotionally, and increase intimacy and understanding in a fun, gentle way.

Due to popular demand, this product is currently out of stock. 

Related posts

Young couple on a couch

The Two Gottman Ideas You Should Be Talking About

The Gottman Institute

Dan Wile, developer of Collaborative Couple Therapy, shares his two favorite Gottman ideas. ...

Read More

Bid Busters: Ways You Unintentionally Turn Away from Connection

Satira Streeter

The people you love are making bids for your attention. Can you hear them? ...

Read More


5 Tips to Keep the Friendship Alive

Genesis Games

Can you be friends and lovers? Yes! ...

Read More

The Easiest Way to Improve Your Relationship

The Gottman Institute

What's the one thing happy couples do the most? ...

Read More

better bids

3 Ways to Make a Better Bid for Connection

The Gottman Institute

Take the guesswork out of connecting with your partner. ...

Read More

Lonely Marriage

Are You Lonesome Tonight?: Loneliness in Marriage

Terry Gaspard

No one wants to feel alone in a relationship. ...

Read More

Subscribe to Gottman Love Notes

Sign up and start your relationship transformation. Subscribe and get the latest on relationships, therapy, and much more from the experts. Includes a free download and access to special pricing on Gottman products every month