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For over a decade, David Tian, Ph.D. — a uniquely qualified therapist, life coach, and former university professor — has coached tens of thousands of people from over 87 countries to achieve happiness and success in their relationships, dating, psychology, and lifestyle.
Dr. Tian has been featured in international media, as well as co-hosting a radio show on national radio and a weekly dating advice column in a national newspaper in Singapore.
The show, “Man Up: Masculinity for the Intelligent Man” (https://www.davidtianphd.com/blog/), 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 (https://www.facebook.com/groups/manupcommunity/) and answers based on his experience coaching tens of thousands of students around the world for over a decade.
Connect with David Tian here:
DTPHD Podcast Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/dtphdpodcast/
Man Up Show Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/manupcommunity/
How To Succeed In A Long Distance Relationship
David Tian Ph.D. reveals the problem with long-distance relationships.
David Tian Ph.D tells us why creating rituals in relationships are important.
In this Man Up episode, David Tian Ph.D. emphasizes why you set goals in long distance relationships.
David Tian: Boom! Stop. I’m David Tian, PhD. And in this episode of Man Up, I answer the question: How to succeed in a long-term relationship? Welcome to Man Up Episode 185.
Masculinity for the Intelligent Man. I’m David Tian, PhD., and this is Man Up!
It’s David Tian, PhD., and for over the past 10 years, I have been helping hundreds of thousands of people in over 87 countries attain success, happiness, and fulfillment in life and love. Welcome to Man Up 185. Here I am in Singapore.
You can see it’s inside of a pretty cool mall here. I’m going to get some craft beer just after this down there. And the question for today is about long-term relationships. It’s been one that I keep getting asked.
I’m filming this myself on a phone so I can’t read the question directly, but it’s about, “How do I succeed, generally speaking, in long-term relationships?”
There’s quite a lot of generic advice on the internet, but what I can add is that I didn’t see very often there was: It’s important that you have an end-goal or an end-time so that it feels like it’s a bounded experience.
The problem with long-distance relationships… Well, there are many problems, but one of the things is it’s going to feel like there’s no end, that you don’t know how long you need to hold out for. I’ll give you an example.
If you’re doing an isometric hold on a workout, it’s so much easier to last through that time period if you know how long you need to hold it.
So, if you just do a wall sit and you’re sitting against the wall but without a chair, a wall sit, or some kind of other isometric hold, and you know that you’re going to do this for 30 seconds or 1 minute, it’s easier for you to count down in your head or watching the clock count down, the watch, rather than just holding it indefinitely.
If you have to hold it indefinitely, it’s going to feel like torture. So, that’s one of the things.
Even if it’s just the next time you visit each other, so you have a medium-term goal, it’s important that you have something to aim for so that you realize this is just an intermediate state; this isn’t something that’s going to go on for the rest of our lives.
If you just keep it a long-distance relationship for the rest of your life, then you’re just having basically a virtual relationship.
Like, what’s the point of having it if you’re never going to meet in person? Obviously, you’re going to meet in person at some junctures, and you have to have those in mind so you can hold out until those times.
It’s also good if you have a long-term goal; that is, you know that within one, or two, or five years, you’re going to eventually be in the same physical location at some point.
Even if it’s just a long-term goal, you need to have that in mind so that you can last; so that when the hard times come, you know this is just intermediate stage. If you get past this hard time, it’s going to be a lot better. Something like that.
So, you have to set for yourself that bounded end so that you have that to wait for towards the end. Now, along the way, of course, you should have rituals. One thing that pick-up artists are really afraid of is being taken for granted because they’re so insecure.
One of the things that they don’t like to do is predictable routines. Texting her in the morning, “Good morning. I love you”, or texting her at night, “Have a great night.” Those are actually really good things to do even though she will get used to them and she’ll start to take them for granted. That’s just human nature, as will you start to take those same things for granted.
But once they stop, you will miss it. It will be a vacuum. So then, you’ll want to go back to it. So if you want to keep your relationship strong, realize that you’re dealing with a handicap right now because you’re not physically in the same proximity or physical proximity.
Create these rituals. As an example, the goodnight and the good morning, but you can do it throughout the day; maybe have a noon-time message for her, or an evening message for her, or you can surprise her throughout the day – but she’s used to getting pinged by you over the phone, then when it doesn’t happen she’s going to miss it. That’s an important part of having a relationship; that regularity is important.
It’s also good to be unpredictable sometimes, to surprise her, but it is important to have that ritual, that ritual would really cement the tie even with the distance; you have that regularity. You can also do shared experiences.
Now, these are going to be virtual in the sense of, like, you’re not going to be physically in the same place.
But if for example, you’ve watched the same movie on Netflix and you press ‘start’ at the same time, and then you keep your Wi-Fi going so she can see you, just like put an iPad with the stand next to you as if she were there.
Those are kind of fun experiences. Like, you can eat a meal together and you both order sushi and you compare. I don’t know, something like that. Basically, when you can have actual shared events now with the amazing internet.
That wasn’t available back in my time when I was a teenager, but you can do this now virtually, virtual shared experiences with the internet and with our devices.
Take advantage of that. There’s a lot that you can do even though you can’t physically touch each other. You can still share in a lot of experiences. You can still do video calling.
Or if you want to leave a live show in a special group on Facebook just for the two of you so that you can leave these video messages.
Of course, you can do that through a lot of other platforms. You don’t have to just do Facebook. So, take advantage of the technology sharing these experiences, and create these rituals, create that regularity in each other’s lives. And of course, you have to pick the right person to do this with because it will require a lot of trust.
Don’t freak out when the WhatsApp shows two ticks and you’re wondering she hasn’t replied. You don’t know what’s going on there per se; don’t just jump to conclusions. You got to have a lot more patience with each other, a lot more trust, and a lot more maturity to follow through on the commitment.
And I started off with that big, most important point, I think; which is if that the only way you’re going to last through this intermediate stage, realizing this is not the ideal relationship, is if there is some deadline that you’re aiming towards that you know at some point this sort of torture will end where we will meet physically; even if it’s eight months away.
If it’s eight months away, start setting medium-term goals. Maybe you’re going to spend half a day together where you’re going to stay online, and you’re going to pay for the data, and you’re going to go out and both of you will go to a museum.
I don’t know, something like that, that you’re going to actually have something to shoot for.
It’s just like holding an isometric hold at the work out. If you don’t have the countdown clock, it’s going to feel like torture.
It’ll probably still feel like torture, but it’ll be a lot easier to last and to make it to the end of that minute if somebody is telling you the intervals as they are coming up, or you’re watching the clock, or you’re counting in your head.
And psychologically, it’s also even easier if you count backwards, so if it’s like 10, 9, 8… 3, 2, 1 than it is 1, 2, 3.
Because what happens when you count forwards, is it can go on forever. Whereas when you’re counting backwards, it’s a countdown. You know psychologically you can feel the end, because the guy says, “10, 9, 8…” and your unconscious mind is able to pace it.
Whereas if you’re going 1, 2, 3 your unconscious mind has to consciously say to itself “Oh, we’re stopping at 10” for instance, right? So, counting down helps.
You might even want to put a countdown clock until you meet again, right? That’ll help you actually in getting you excited and build the anticipation; to really work that anticipation and create that excitement towards the end.
Alright, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted. I didn’t realize how long. It’s been about a month. The issue was that we launched 10 Weeks to Freedom. It was just a live coaching, and that took a lot more time than I expected – but it has been awesome.
The guys have been great and I really enjoy doing it. I think I’ve been giving a lot more time than I had anticipated because the guys have been so awesome, and that took a lot of my recording time.
Also, we launched Rock Solid Relationships and Masculine Mastery, and that has been huge. That’s taken up a lot of my team’s time, so we just haven’t had the time to film any Man Up – and I’m here in-between appointments. I pulled out my phone, grabbed my mic, and shooting for you.
There are going to be a lot more episodes coming up. Thank you so much for all the support. The guys who are asking and messaging me, “Are you going to keep doing the videos?” We will.
Thank you so much for that and there are more coming up. It’s been amazing, the programs: 10 Weeks to Freedom, Rock Solid Relationships, but it’s been a lot of work. It’s starting to get more regularized as far as our workload, so you’ll see more episodes coming up.
Here I am in Singapore, signing out, David Tian, until I see you again. Man Up!