The Emotional and Physical relationship model. Why do you want what you want? And more importantly, how do you get it?


So we have all heard about the idea that little boys grow up to marry their mothers, and little girls grow up to marry their fathers. However, the E&P model claims that both little girls and little boys grow up to marry their mothers. The theory is based on the work of Dr. Kappas, a couples therapist from California in the 60’s, who observed that in any given relationship you would have one party with a certain set of traits, and the other had an opposite set of traits that when you looked at them as one, the whole is bigger than the sum of it’s parts.

Just by getting to know one of the people in a relationship, he could quite accurately predict the behaviour of the other. Traditionally, we would say that the man in a relationship displayed a certain behaviour and the woman displayed a different kind of behaviour. However, the E&P model claims that behaviour depends on whether or not you are emotional or physical, and has less to do with the sex of the person.

This model is of course a spectrum of behaviour, and nobody is strictly emo or strictly phys. We are all made up of a certain percentage of traits from each behavioural model, but one will be predominantly phys and the other predominantly emo. The reason for this is simply that where the one is strong, the other weak, and where the one is weak, the other is strong. That way you make a more complete unit containing all of the facets one needs to succeed in life. It also is the basis for deep misunderstandings and disagreements, especially when the honeymoon period is over.

By understanding this model you can easier predict your partner’s behavior, plus you can easier make decisions regarding your own behavior in order to illicit the response you want from the other person.

Physical sexual behaviour

The physical person in a relationship is the touchy, feely kind of warm personality. They oftentimes have to have physical contact with people when they have conversations, because they feel that by touching someone else they really get to convey the message of what they are talking about. They have a direct connection to their physical bodies, meaning they know exactly how they feel at any given point, because their emotions give a concrete physical sensation in the body. When a physical is hurt, they feel an actual pain in their heart. They use their physical bodies to protect their emotions, so they typically put their bodies forward when meeting new people to figure out how they feel about them before letting them into their inner sphere of emotions.

They respond to rejection by reaching out and trying harder to do more in the relationship. They are typically the givers of the relationship sometimes to their own detriment. The most important thing in their lives is sex, because sex for them is the same as the relationship and this is how they express their love. It is also how they perceive being loved by their partner, by this intimate physical contact which happens during sex.

Their priority list when in a relationship looks a little like this:

  1. Sex/relationship
  2. Family/children
  3. Friends/hobbies
  4. Work/Career

This means that for them the relationship with the other is their first priority, and lets say they have issues in their relationship. All their energy will now go straight to priority #1 on their list, and there will be very little left for #4 on their list, career. This is why we typically see when couples go through break-ups, one of them could very well be on a sick leave for a spell.

The negatives of this behaviour type is that they can often become clingy and not give the emotional space to breathe. They can become insecure and constantly ask their emotional spouse for some kind of validation and attention.

The emotional sexual behaviour

The emotional behaviour is the subconscious opposite of the physical. They have an indirect or disconnected connection to the physical body, meaning they very often do not have a physical sensation when they have an emotion and so it can sometimes take them some time to figure out exactly what they are feeling. They use their emotions to protect their physical bodies, so they put their emotions forward when relating with others, because they need to figure out how they feel about someone before they allow them into their intimate zone close to their physical bodies.

They respond to rejection by pulling back, building walls and shutting down. They can sometimes seem like shy or even aloof people. They have much more need for a personal space around them which they don’t feel comfortable sharing with people they don’t know. The most important focus for them is the practical aspect of the relationship or their careers.

Their list of priorities looks like this:

  1. Careers/work
  2. Hobbies
  3. Family/friends
  4. Sex/relationship

So you can see that they really have an opposite priority list than the physical. Be aware that for an emotional woman who is for example a stay at home wife, the children can then become her “career” or she might even get involved in her husband’s career in order to make him more successful.

For emotionals this would mean that if something would go wrong in their careers, all their energy will go to the first priority on their list, leaving very little energy for the relationship (not wanting sex etc) with their physical spouse.

The negatives of this behaviour type is that they can forget about their own emotions since they have an off-switch, to the point where their physical spouse feels very rejected and hurt. If the physical then responds with becoming clingy, this can cause the emotional to become even more aloof and reject their physical spouse even more.

The relationship

When everything works well, this is a very good combination and the only combination that will give this intense chemistry which also allows for the possibility of getting hurt. Since one will be strong where the other is weak and vice versa, when together the whole is bigger than the sums of the parts. This is why in the honeymoon period everything seems so great, because then both partners are more towards the mid-range of their behaviours.

The emotional partner seems much more physical in the beginning, because the hunt is still on, causing the emo to come out of his/her shell. The physical partner is more emotional, since the emotional partner is being more aggressive in the relationship, allowing for the physical to just sit back and enjoy the attention. However, when the honeymooon period is over, and the emotional reverts back to his/her more aloof behaviour where attention is naturally more on the practical aspects of life, it causes the physical to reach out and try harder. This can be annoying to the emotional since personal space to breathe freely is very important to the emotional and they don’t understand that their aloof behaviour makes the physical feel rejected, causing them to reach out and try even harder; and the physical doesn’t understand that by reaching out and trying harder the emo can feel suffocated.

The emotional typically cycles, meaning that they have days they are more available for physical contact than others. For example, in a well-rounded and good working relationship an emo might cycle for example every 3 days. This means that on the first day he/she is completely immersed in their priority #1 and are not available for physical closeness. If their physical spouse would approach them on a day like this, they might very well get rejected because the emo is not in that head-space at all. On the 2nd day they come a bit more out of their shell and on day #3 they are available for physical contact.

The physical spouse can very often be perceived as annoying to the emotional, since they have this incessant need for physical contact. If the physical doesn’t have work or hobbies that take up a good part of their time, the emotionals can start to feel suffocated and bored of the relationship.

The emotional can often be perceived as cold or aloof to the physical, their rejection even being equalled to cruelty and attributed to mind-games. If the emotional doesn’t take time to nurture the relationship with the physical he/she might very well find they have created a monster with time, a crying, hurt monster demanding to be seen, heard and felt, causing the emo no small amount of stress.

When in a fight both parties are driven to the extremes of their behaviours, causing communication to be even more challenging. So in order to get the result one wants when dealing with their significant other, it is important to understand their behaviour and know how your behaviour will illicit a response from the other. So if you know that saying or doing a certain thing will have a particular effect, one will easier be able to discern what would be smart things to say and which things are better left unsaid. Always keep at the forefront of your mind what you desire out of the exchange and do your best to behave in the way that will illicit that response.

So bottom line is that the physical really wants to become more emotional, and the emotional wants to be more physical. This is the basis for the attraction in the first place. This is where we are when we are in the honeymoon period, we are more balanced. So the physical needs to give the emotional space and the emotional must learn to be more emotive towards their physical partner.

So how do you know if you are emotional or physical?

Well, there is a questionnaire that has been developed for this purpose, but right off the bat you can look at certain core traits to determine whether you are phys or emo.

First off look at your relationship to your physical body. Physicals have a direct relationship and emos have an indirect relationship. This is why physicals always know what they are feeling and they are also unable to turn off emotions, like the emo can. They also use their physical bodies to protect their emotions. The emo sometimes even needs to be reminded about how they feel, because they are so much in their heads that they can tend to forget. They use their emotions to protect their physical bodies.

Secondly look at how you respond to rejection. Do you move forward and try harder, or do you pull back and build up walls.

Thirdly look at your father. Was he the more touchy-feely huggy person in the relationship with your mother and you, or was he more the aloof working-dad who seemed to be very preoccupied with his work/hobbies/studies and your mother was more the touchy-huggy type? We generally mimic the behaviour of our fathers in a relationship, because we see what kind of behaviour will get our mother’s attention. So if your father was reaching out, trying to get your mothers attention by being more physical, warm and seeking, chances are he was physical and so are you. If your father seemed to be more of the type to ignore your mother’s advances and be more preoccupied with the practical aspects of life, chances are he was emotional and so are you. This is why this model claims both little girls and little boys grow up to marry their mothers.

So if you suspect you are a physical, then most probably your father was a physical and so was your grandfather and so on. Sometimes one can deviate form the model, say if you are raised by someone else than your parents, where they display an opposite way of emoting than your natural parents. And children will normally primarily take on their mother’s sexuality and this secondary sexuality generally doesn’t manifest until one hits puberty, so anywhere between say 10-14 years of age.

Fourth, what you can also do is map out your relationships and rate the intensity of each relationship. If the person with whom you had an intense relationship and wound up getting hurt, you will then most probably be that person’s opposite.

And lastly, if it barks and wags it’s tail, it is probably a dog. Meaning, look at all the patterns in your life, from your family to your own relationships and from that you should be able to figure it out.

Surface traits

From these core traits spring a lot of surface traits, however, one must be careful not to judge too superficially, otherwise one might make a fundamental mistake and then your whole model is skewed. Still, there are some surface traits that generally spring from core traits, but are not definite parameters; for example the way you dress, your line of work, the type of hobbies and sports you get into, and so on.

Typically physical men will go around in packs of several at a time, play team like sports and are attracted to emotional women like flies to a honey-pot. They are very comfortable in their own bodies.

This doesn’t mean emotional men don’t play team sports, but it is not within their comfort zone. Emotional men typically will have fewer friends, maybe even only one (typically a physical male), and most of the time they will be with their physical partner. They might seem right off the bat as a tad more stiff and formal than their physical male counterparts.

Physical women have many physical male friends, and is typically “one of the guys”. She has probably slept with many of them, but because they were too much alike the relationship quickly became platonic. They are very aware of their physical appearance and can oftentimes feel insecure around other women, seeing them as competition.

Emotional women typically hang with their girlfriends and talk about their impossible physical male partners who want sex all the time. They naturally feel equal to their male counterparts and don’t have this same sense of jealousy towards other women like the phyiscal female might have.

In my next section I will map out some of the different scenarios for each of the relationships and some tips on how to model your behaviour in order to get the result you desire.

Write a response