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For 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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How Do You Open Your Heart After Being Cheated On In A Relationship
David Tian: Boom! Stop. In Episode 120 of Man Up, I answer the question of: How do you open your heart after being cheated on in a relationship?
Masculinity for the intelligent man. I’m David Tian, Ph.D. and this is Man Up!
Hey! It’s David Tian, Ph. D, and for the past ten years, I’ve been helping tens of thousands of people in over 87 countries find success in life and love. And welcome to Episode 120 of Man Up: Masculinity for the Intelligent Man. And I’m in Bangkok and let me just show you a view. This is a view I don’t think I’ve shown on the show yet, and it’s called the Temple View. See, there’s a temple there. It is now part of Chulalongkorn University campus. So, you got to take your shoes off before you go in, pretty cool. And here’s a view of the low-rise side of Bangkok. You can see the highway here. That’s fun to watch, the traffic go by.
Anyway, here you go. And the sun is coming down behind me, so it’s going to make a little tricky for the lighting. Hopefully, that will hold and hopefully I can finish the episode before the sun goes down. So, looking at the private Facebook group, question from Nelson. It’s a long question. It’s an intelligent question. So he asks, “How can I regain trust and faith in new relationships after being cheated and abandoned?”
Okay, background. Nelson says, “I noticed I’m having trust issues after having had a bad experience of being cheated on. I’m not playing the victim card. I know I fail to do my part as well”, and then he takes a couple of paragraphs to just show that he’s aware of the fact that a relationship is two-ways, and there’s some things that he’s learned as a result of this relationship. So that’s good, he’s learned some lessons. And he intellectually knows what he needs to go forward, he needs to work to regain and maintain attraction through a relationship, being more masculine, learning how to screen and qualify for his future relationship and so on.
So, he’s got these lessons, but his question is not the intellectual component but the emotional one. He says, “Trust and faith is an important element in any relationship.” He says that he knows it’s very immature and insecure to be stalking social media and checking her whereabouts and her calls. He says these are very taxing and eat away at his own self-confidence and belief in himself in the long run. “They’re like poison.” That’s correct. What he’s saying is that, “I know it very well that these are all negative thoughts and I should get rid of them. But as a result of this bad experience, I find it hard to have complete trust and faith in any new relationships.” It’s become a self-defense mechanism in his subconscious to be skeptical of someone new.
So, his question again is, “How do I regain faith and trust in someone new before going into any new relationships?” Alright, Nelson, great question, mature question, and it’s a helpful question because it helps us skip all of the usual things I would say to explain why you had this relationship fall apart in the first place. That’s the most important thing, to get the lessons from it. And it is not bad at all that you’re skeptical. Being skeptical is not a bad thing, being cynical is not a bad thing in itself. It’s sort of like you finally matured and wisened up, and you’ve grown up, and you realize there is no tooth fairy, or that there’s no Santa Claus, or you’ve learned the hard way not to touch the stove. And now, you’re weary of those signs and that’s a good thing.
The usual ways that you had been looking for a mate have not panned out, and so you’re sort of skeptical about the whole funnel, like the whole way of approaching it, and that’s a good thing. It will take time for you to meet somebody outside of the normal ways that you go and meet people, like how you met your original girlfriend, and it will take time for you to heal emotionally. And I get by the way you’re writing… This is relatively recent and that’s a fine thing that you are feeling the pain. The pain is necessary for the lesson to take hold, for the lessons to really sink in.
I’ve seen this in my over ten years of coaching, that I can give a guy the lessons verbally. Like, intellectually and theoretically he knows it, but emotionally if he doesn’t know it emotionally, if he doesn’t have experiential knowledge of the fact, then that knowledge is purely superficial and will not be effective in changing his behavior or his thoughts or his emotions. And at the end of the day, it’s all about the emotions.
You want to get a girl because you hope that, at the end of that, if you get a girl, you’ll feel better in some way. Whether that’s a sexual pleasure or actually emotionally feel better; it’s always emotions that you’re after, that are the end goal that you’re striving for, actually. So, it’s good. It’s good. Now over time, that pain will lessen simply because you’ll be further away from that memory. So, it won’t be as recent. However in the beginning, these memories, painful memories, will just keep popping up and that’s normal. Over time, it will lessen because there are other memories that come in and are more recent. What you need to do is now actually put into place, put into action, the plan that you’ve mentioned in the question.
So, go out and regain your masculinity. Challenge yourself physically, and mentally and emotionally. Do things that make you scared, empower through them, feel the fear and step forward. These things will, one by one, take you to the next level. Along the way, try to keep your heart open and try to be vulnerable. When you see that this person, this potential person, you might need six months later, does not have the red flags that you’ve learned to be weary of now… So, it’s not like a burning stove anymore. It’s like, “Okay, everything that I’ve seen so far is no red flags and I can proceed”, but you proceed with caution and that’s a good thing.
That’s a good adult thing to do, it’s a mature thing to do and it’s a good thing. So, the knowledge that you’ve gained and now the experience of seeing, or feeling even intuitively the warning signs of somebody like your ex that you want to avoid, will serve you in good stead and you need to hold on to those lessons. The emotional pain of not wanting to risk being hurt is also normal, but just like with anything else in life, whether it’s starting a business, whether it’s striking out on your own; where it’s engaging in MMA or BJJ or something… There’s always going to be risk in order to get reward. That just comes as part of being a masculine man; being comfortable with risk.
Right now, you got burnt so you’re weary. That’s normal. Emotionally, you take some time and over time that emotion, the pain will lessen. And if you keep your heart open, it will be easier for you over time to be more open and be more vulnerable, and there will be a woman – this is guaranteed – there will be a woman or women who will attract you. And if you keep your heart open… But always being weary of the things you’ve learned. So, don’t forget the lessons. That’s not the point. Just to put in some perspective. Before, you were more naive. You thought the pool of available women who are good for relationships is this big. Now, because of this relationship, you realize it’s this big. And now you’re like mourning the fact that you lost this group of people, this group of women.
That’s good, because that’s reality. Get rid of those people. Those women are no good for you. This is the subset you’re looking for. And then over time, maybe you’ll find that the actual subset is this big because you’re that picky, and throw away that subset. Great, and now you’re getting more experience. You get to know yourself better, and now you know a very specific, narrow band of things that you’re looking for and you react emotionally to those things and those things only, and that’s a good thing. There are a lot of guys who try to pretend that they’re here, that their standards are high and they’re picky.
But in actuality, they’ll respond to a great variety of women who aren’t good for them. So, it’s a good thing. This is over time, this is how you learn lessons the best way: through pain. And if you keep your heart open, looking for those women that you can trust with your feelings, but still always being cautious – because you don’t know them that well yet, but over time you begin to trust them more and more.
Here’s a great example I want to give just to close. Think about in terms of a business setting. So, I have many friends who’ve been burned in business and they’ve learned a lot of lessons about what to look for in a co-founder, what to look for in a business partner, what to look for in a contractor, the warning signs. There are a lot of tricksters out there in business trying to part you from your money, and they’re lying and deceiving and burning you. So, you start to learn those things and you become more weary and more cautious overall when getting into business situations, and you learn to cover your downside. Those are all good things.
The emotional shit, you need to separate from the rational stuff. So good, you got the rational lessons, now how to heal the emotions is time and being open to the possibility that a good business partner is out there, a good romantic partner is out there; you just need to look harder, be more picky and be more… It’ll take longer and that’s a good thing. Don’t rush into things.
So, if you think about it in a business setting, it’s probably easier to be more objective about the situation. It’s like being burned and now… Like in a business setting but it’s romantic, so it hurts more. Though, I know plenty of dudes, friends of mine, who’ve been hurt emotionally from the business setbacks, or being burned by a business relationship, but it really is not the same as being burned by the one person that you open up to the most. That’s what a romantic relationship is. And it’s like ripping the Band-Aid, taking the wound off or being wounded, you have to go through the pain period, but eventually you will heal and you got to give it time and patience.
And in the meantime, you remain optimistic that there is a group of women out there, out of the seven billion people in the world, who can meet the higher standards you’ve now set and it’s just a matter of time until you find them. Don’t become a hermit, okay? The one thing you can do is just give up on life and become a recluse. That’s not going to do it, but it’s good to be cautious, and it’s good to be skeptical and it’s good to cynical. Those are good lessons you do not want to forget, but moving forward while holding up your cynicism, just like when you have to find a new business partner or hire a new employee, having been burned by a previous one, you now are more careful and you have a trial period, you don’t give them all the access to everything right away, and they have to prove themselves and so on.
It’s a good thing to do. Now, you’re growing up and you’re maturing. So, I’ve learned I should be giving takeaways at the end. The takeaway is: time will heal, but keep your heart away. Time will heal. Keep your heart open. Now, keep the lessons. So three things: time will heal, keep your heart open and keep the lessons. Do not forget those valuable, hard lessons. Alright man, ask your questions in the private Facebook group. I love getting your questions. I live to answer them, alright? So until next time, I will see you in the private Facebook group. Until then, Man Up![MUSIC]