Man Up | Ep. 35 • November 18, 2015
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or over a decade, David Tian, Ph.D., has coached tens of thousands of people from over 87 countries to achieve happiness and success in their dating and love lives.
Once a nerdy, skinny professor of philosophical psychology who couldn’t hold a conversation to save his life, David is now director of Aura Transformation Corp., and a world renowned dating and life coach using therapeutic methods. Dr. Tian has been featured in international media, including AXN, Cosmopolitan, Psychology Today, as well as co-hosting a radio show on national radio and a weekly dating advice column in a national newspaper in Singapore. Formerly a professor at the National University of Singapore, Dr. Tian is actively researching, speaking, and publishing in the areas of philosophy and psychology.
The show, “Man Up: Masculinity for the Intelligent Man,” is David’s way of helping as many people as possible enjoy empowering and fulfilling lives, while contributing to the global understanding of masculinity in modern times. In the show, he takes your questions posed in The Man Up private Facebook group and answers based on his experience Coaching tens of thousands of students around the world for over a decade.
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Bill Murray’s Advice On Relationships
In episode 35, I give my thoughts on Bill Murray’s advice on relationships.
Masculinity for the Intelligent Man. I am David Tian, Ph.D., and this is: Man Up.
Welcome to Man Up, episode 35 and I’m David Tian, Ph.D. I’m here in Seoul, Korea. Like I’ve been mentioning past few episodes, I’m on the way to Toronto, long flight coming up. Let’s just dive into it. This is a question from Mike and he asks: What do you think of Bill Murray’s advice on relationships? Which is this, I’ll just read out the Bill Murray quote: “If you have someone that you think is the one, don’t just say ‘Okay, let’s pick a date. Let’s get married.’ Instead, take that person and travel around the world. Buy a plane ticket for the two of you and go to places that are hard to go to and hard to get out of. And if, when you come back, you’re still in love with that person, get married at the airport.” – Bill Murray.
I love Bill Murray. I love all his movies. I love the dry humor. I don’t think he’s being humorous here. This is actually decent advice. I’m going to give my thoughts on what could be improved but I think it’s great advice. There’s a reason why it appeals to us and it’s because of adversity and adventure. So adventure and adversity, the two As. You want to see what your mate is going to be like; your partner is going to be like under adversity and/or adverse conditions. And you can find those while having fun. So if you travel a lot and you go to places – what did he say, “…go to places that are hard to go to and hard to get out of.” I’m assuming that that means partly because of adversity but it could also mean because of isolation.
Here’s another thing. So you go to an isolated place, it’s really tough. I don’t know, kind of like Survivor Island and you find out what you’re really about there. Here’s the deal, adversity is good for actually forming bonds. So if you want two people to get along really well, just throw them on the same team against a challenge and they will bond. If in peace time they wouldn’t get along, in war time because they’re allies and there’s a threat and they have to team up to make things work, they will. And that’s part of human psychology.
I mean, most of the times they will. Sometimes they’ll get into a big fight and argument but if the challenge is pressing enough, they’re usually going to have to rise up to meet the challenge if they’re on the same team. They have to see themselves as on the same team.
If it’s the two of you, you go and buy a plane ticket, you go to some isolated place and there’s some adversity there, it’s going to be challenging but it’s also going to be fun. That’s why the peace time/war time analogy is good because it’s actually really easy to give a girl and a guy a great relationship if you’re always travelling. I should know – I’m in a different country every week. It’s always exciting. New, new, new, uncertainty, variety and drama is built into the rhythm of the relationship just getting on day to day. That’s actually not a great way to test the relationship because you’re having lots of fun when you’re travelling.
When you’re in a strange place and it’s just the two of you and you have to cling to each other for support and survival, of course you’re going to feel that emotional bond. In fact, for the sneaky guys who are wondering, “How do I make a girl fall in love with me?” That’s one way to do it. Take her on vacation somewhere isolated, just the two of you and make her on your team and you have to complete challenges.
That’s really easy then she’s got to bond to you. I don’t know if it’s worth the trouble of thinking of that as an actual strategy or if it’s feasible for some guys. I travel every week so I’m telling you that this works. It’s best if you don’t do it as a strategy. It’s just got to be part of the way your life is.
Here’s the deal. It’s not a great way to test a relationship because relationships will always be good if there’s a challenge that the two of you need to come together to face and if it’s fun and new. If you’re going to uncertain places with a lot of variety and unpredictability, it’s going to be a lot of spontaneous adventure. Especially if you have to overcome some challenge it’ll be a bonding experience.
The real challenge comes from peace time. When the mundane, the routine, the habits set in. Where you have to work five days a week from, whatever, 8-6 and she does, as well, and you come back tired at the end of the day. And these little nagging things happen.
And you compromise in some way at work or your career and that comes across that you’re compromising your masculinity. She feels it, in her feminine essence, she starts to act out; she starts to complain or nag about things that really aren’t the problem. They’re just excuses or red herrings, like covering things up.
The deeper problem is this discontent with your lifestyles. And there’s so many great movies that illustrate this but there’s a great one called “Reservation Road” which is quite extreme, especially towards the end but encapsulates, for the first half of the movie, that kind of discomfort of the routine, of the settling, the feeling of settling and all that.
Now, if you took those two, the old Titanic couple in fucking Titanic. You know like you put them in some crisis situation while they’re travelling, they’re going to have fun again. They’re going to come alive again. And that’s part of the plot line of that movie that they’re both looking for a way to feel alive again. But they’re actually doing it separate from each other because the routine has killed all the passion and the sexual tension.
So I would say that that’s not great advice for a relationship. It’s obviously good to build a relationship that way and it’s great to have these memories and experiences but the true test of the relationship is when there aren’t – built into the time together – there aren’t these exciting new things that are going on. But instead you’re pursuing your thing and it’s steady and strong. Can you survive the steady and strong? Can you stay strong during that steady, routinized, habituated lifestyle? That’s what I would say. Look for how you do during peace time.
Okay, so this is Man Up. I’m David Tian, Ph.D. Make sure you join the Facebook group. We approve requests regularly. In there, you can ask your questions to me and I’ll answer them for you personally. All right, until the next time – man up.
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