Health & Well-Being

More Personal Baggage

Behavioral styles that can disrupt relationships.

In The Big Five, we talked about how personality traits are a form of baggage each partner brings to their relationships. The characteristics that define us are what’s underneath our thoughts and emotions, and so determine how we behave with others.


We also bring other stuff with us — behavioral styles that we’ve learned since childhood, and these affect our relationships as much as our personality traits:

Expressivity is one…

This is usually a problem for men, or more to the point, a problem that women have about men. Emotionally expressive people are in touch with their emotions and are comfortable showing them, and that makes their partners believe they’re emotionally engaged. They’re also betters communicators and that makes it easier to work through problems.

Inexpressiveness, the inability to make one’s true feelings known, can be interpreted as ambivalence. If your partner cannot express themselves, you’re never really sure of their thoughts and intentions, and that make it almost impossible to discuss problems. We can also develop a more generalized sense of insecurity, questioning how our partner feels about us and where our relationship stands overall. And when we’re not sure where we stand, we may distance ourselves emotionally to protect ourselves.

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