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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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Does She Love Me Unconditionally?
David Tian Ph.D. tackles the issue of transactional and unconditional relationships.
David Tian Ph.D. discusses the nature of most relationships.
In this Man Up episode, David Tian Ph.D explains what we need to know about unconditional relationship.
Boom! Stop. I’m David Tian, PhD, and in this video, I answer the question: Does she love me unconditionally? Welcome to Man Up Episode 210.
Masculinity for the Intelligent Man. I’m David Tian, PhD., and this is Man Up!
Hey, I’m 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. Here I am in a boat. I’ve been on the boat for a few hours already, and then we’re like, “Dang, we’re supposed to film a Man Up Episode.” So I’m doing it, but just came out rough and ready for the boat. Excuse my appearance if I look a little bit haggard. Anyways, I got a question here from the Man Up private Facebook group.
By the way, you might’ve noticed that we are the only boat on this gorgeous placid lake. We’re staying in that resort around the other end of the lake. That resort there. A beautiful resort. We keep hearing these cows. You probably can’t hear it from my mic, but they’re mooing in the background. I always wonder why cows moo. What are they trying to say when they moo? What makes a cow moo?
Anyway, a question from the Man Up private Facebook group. This one comes from Roger. Roger Moore. I don’t know why I said that. It’s a Lost in Translation reference. Okay:
“Thanks to what I’ve learned from David in both Limitless and Invincible, and I recently started a serious relationship with one of the most incredible girls I’ve ever met.” That’s awesome, man. “She’s incredibly affectionate, values loyalty and honesty. She’s compassionate, intelligent, and less importantly, drop-dead gorgeous.” Alright, “As far as I can tell, she’s also unusually mature for her age. We’re both 20.”
“So why am I writing? A recent conversation has me worried.
The other day, she texted me. “I love you more than anything. Always be faithful to me, okay? Never lie to me.”
Of course, I would never do such a thing and I told her so, but I didn’t know where this coming from. So I asked:
“Why are you thinking of this now?”
She said, “Because I miss you a lot.” We recently started doing long-distance. And sometimes, I have a hard time because I want to be with you. But if you do something that upsets me, all of it will go to waste. And if you don’t tell me, I will keep on missing you for nothing.”
This stung a little bit.”, Roger says, “Even though I don’t have any intentions to cheat on her, so I said – and I’m paraphrasing, “It sounds kind of harsh that you think everything would go to waste and you’re missing me for nothing. If you were unfaithful to me, I would be…”
Okay, so he says, “It sounds kind of harsh that you think everything would go to waste and you’re missing me for nothing” he says. “It sounds kind of harsh.” Based on what Roger wrote that she wrote, listen more carefully to what she wrote to you, “If you do something that upsets me, all of it will go to waste. And if you don’t tell me, I will keep on missing you for nothing.”
In other words you’re saying, “If you cheat on me, motherfucker, then it will go to waste, my missing you, and I will keep on missing you for nothing because I shouldn’t be missing you because you fucking cheated on me.” That makes sense, doesn’t it, Roger? But you’re like, “It sounds harsh. I think you should be missing me even after I cheat on you, bitch.” But anyway, that’s actually what he’s saying. I’ll show you why.
“It sounds kind of harsh that you think everything would go to waste and you’re missing me for nothing. If you were unfaithful to me, I would be so hurt by my love for you.” So now, he’s speaking to her. “If you were unfaithful to me, I would be so hurt but my love for you wouldn’t change because my love for you is unconditional.” Okay, so these are 20 year olds taking my words out-of-context. I’ve had other videos where I talk about unconditional love and the different kinds of love, the standard love that people get into relationships with, is transactional or conditional, and that’s normal.
Let’s just put that out there. Almost all relationships, romantic relationships, begin as conditional ones. That’s how they start. And almost all of them still are conditional, and that’s okay. Most relationships are. Now, what everyone wants though is everyone’s looking for unconditional love. Probably the last time you ever had that was the love of your mother. That’s a classic example. It could’ve been your dad as well who loved you unconditionally, even if you turned out to be an axe murderer, they’d throw you in jail but they’d still love you.
Now, if you are not forced to love that person in the sense of like, they’re not your blood relatives, so you can’t really get rid of them, and instead you enter into an agreement with another person, I’m pretty sure you didn’t enter a relationship saying on day one, “I will love you even if you cheat on me. I mean, that’s actually dysfunctional if you’re like that. There’s some other neediness issues and problems that you have if that’s the case, if you’re going around in a relationship like, “Cheat on me. I don’t care. I love you anyway.”
What a relationship has to do is to grow into an unconditional one, and that takes years. If you guys are 20 years old, and you’re very Romeo and Juliet here, and you’re like, “Even if I cheat on you, or even if you cheat on me, I will still love you. I will be hurt, but I’ll love you.” And that might be the case. You might still love the person. Now, if you cheat on her while she’s in love with you, she will still love you, actually. It’s not like you go one day loving somebody, completely being in love, actively loving somebody, and then the next day not loving them at all. That’s not how emotions work.
But if that were the case, she finds out you cheated on her, she’ll have a slow burn and she’ll go through a whole rollercoaster of emotions before she can get over that and come to grips with it. Even the reality of it will take some days for her to assess it, and to actually let it sink in that that actually happened, and then there’s the whole bargaining. “Why?” and all of those different phases. It’s not immediate. She’s quite right in saying, “I won’t stop loving it, but I’ll be hurt” and that’s true. That’s not meritorious in any way. It’s not like you’re in an unconditional love relationship just because you love somebody who has cheated on you.
But what happens is, what the unconditional love comes in, where you could now not choose to not love that person. You can choose to not. And it’s a good idea, if you’re in a romantic relationship, not to love somebody who has betrayed you. That’s a good thing. So, be very careful, in other words, who you enter into an unconditional love relationship with. As a 20 year old, I think you have no business in deciding who to do that with, except your mom, dad, or children if you have any. In a way, you are beholden to them for other reasons.
But if you have the choice, you’d meet some girl on the street or whatever, I don’t know where you guys met, and you enter into a relationship with her, I hope you are not in the position where you’re saying, “I will unconditionally love this random human being that I’ve chosen out of 7 billion people, to give everything I have to this person, even if they stab me in the back.” That’s not what I ever meant by unconditional love.
Unconditional love is so much higher than the bar you guys are setting. Don’t get mad when the person that you’re dating doesn’t love you unconditionally. That’s ridiculous that you would expect that. I mean, that’s why most dating relationships are just superficial. There’s something wrong with that. They are dating relationships. I don’t put dating up here on a pedestal like all of you youngins do. Dating is like when you’re 40 years old, you’ve gone through a lot of dating things. It’s not a big deal. It’s just all casual things. They don’t mean shit until it’s been through the fire.
So maybe two to three years at that point, you might be thinking, “Maybe I will stick with this person through thick and thin, and then that’s marriage.” You might as well be married then. Because if you’re really going to stick through thick and thin, you might as well get all the perks that marriage brings you. Otherwise, don’t play with that. Don’t think that this very rarified thing of the unconditional relationship, as if it were something that is easy to enter and is something you choose willy-nilly.
“This stung a little bit”, he says. She said, “I’m not saying my love for you would immediately disappear. I believe you won’t cheat, but my feelings would change if I got cheated on and it would turn to hate.” She is quite self-aware, as is usually the case, females mature quicker than males. This is quite true. She will likely, if you cheat on her, her feelings for you won’t change. In fact, she’ll probably get more addicted to you because she just lost out, so she wants to get back the thing that she’s now lacking, and she’ll get even more needing the love from you and get even more needy, and then she will turn to hate. It will turn to hate. It sounds like she’s been cheating on him before, at 20 years old, to know this.
But she will then turn into the roller coaster is part of that is, “I fucking hate you.” This is why when you’re in pick-up, if you get a very strong reaction that’s way out of proportion to what’s deserved, maybe he’s made a comment that any normal guy would just laugh at, but this one girl was like, “How dare you!” and she gets all mad. She really likes you because you’ve got under her skin. She’ll only care that much and get that incensed if she really liked and gave a shit about your opinion.
That’s an intense emotion. In fact, you might see this in attraction, when you study attraction, that intense emotions of hate, laughter, whatever it is, quickly can turn into any other intense emotion. This has actually been proven scientifically through studies on adrenaline and fear. So fear, it’s easy for the brain to interpret that wrongly as attraction. If you take a girl on a rollercoaster and she’s really scared, her heart is beating really quickly, and then she looks at you, her brain will get tricked into thinking the reasons why her heart is beating is because you’re so gorgeous. It’s actually been proven scientifically. So, the brain has trouble knowing the difference, just like you have trouble knowing the difference between real fear and the excitement fear of a rollercoaster. You’re actually really afraid but you’ll pay the money to take that rollercoaster, to give you that fear, because you like it. You like the fear. It’s very different.
It’s the same thing. Love and hate are very close. The opposite of love or hate is indifference, actually, not feeling anything, not giving a fuck, truly not caring. It will be hard for her to truly not care after being cheated on in a love relationship, or in a passionate love relationship, where she’s got the feelings of being in love. It won’t be so quick, like one day she’s in love with you, the next day she’s not. So, she’s quite right in saying that. She says, “I believe you won’t cheat, but my feelings would change if I got cheated on and would turn to hate, but they wouldn’t immediately disappear. The love would not immediately disappear.” And that’s just true.
And then Roger says, “This is where I really start to feel uncomfortable. On the one hand, it’s good for her to have boundaries, which makes sense to a limited degree. But on the other hand, it shows that her feelings of me are not unconditional, and that if I make mistakes later on in our relationship, it doesn’t have to be cheating, she might not be emotionally-mature enough to understand and forgive me.”
He’s like, “Bitch, if I cheat on you, you better fucking forgive me.” Like, where do you guys get this idea? Like, no, she’s not your stamping pad. She’s not for you to step all over. She got some self-respect here, and I think it’s in her best interest if you cheat on her for her to dump your fucking ass, Roger. And she shouldn’t enter into an unconditional love relationship with somebody she suspect or is afraid might cheat on her. And that’s okay. It sounds like you guys have just been dating for a little while.
You know how I know this? Because of the way you described her. Anyone who comes into a description of any other human being saying they’re perfect, basically that’s how you described her, doesn’t yet know that human being. You got to know the other human being’s dark side and then really accept that, and then you know somebody. I mean, this is just immaturity on your part. But you’re in love, and that’s a good thing. That means you’re probably within the first six months of dating, the way you’ve described, I would say, within the first three months.
You don’t say here how long you’ve been dating. I would suggest to her if I were her big brother to go slow with you, let you mature as you’re in the relationship together, and the two of you should mature together. You better not cheat on her. I mean, if you cheat on her, she shouldn’t continue to uphold her end of that relationship, unless you have some very good reasons why she should be patient with you and let you get over that and give you another chance. There are very few conditions under which that would be advisable for her. I would say no, she shouldn’t.
Now, if you make mistakes, like maybe you forgot her anniversary or something, that’s something maybe she shouldn’t dump you about. But if you cheat on her ass, I think that’s something that’s a very legitimate reason for her to dump you. Now, she might not fall out of love with you if she’s in a passionate love relationship with you and she has feelings for you, it wouldn’t suddenly change. Even if she wanted to fall out of love with you, she wouldn’t be able to if you’re the one who dumped her all of a sudden. It wouldn’t be all of a sudden, unless you’re just immature and you want to get more for your ego, maybe.
Anyway, she won’t just the next day fall out of love with you, but I think it’s in her interest to let that peter out and then hate you for a while and get over you. Basically, I think the bigger lesson for you, Roger, is that unconditional love is like agape, is like self-sacrifice, is like Jesus Christ in the fucking cross. That type of love. That’s not something you as a 20 year old just gets into it. Unconditional love relationships are very special and rare and should be entered into carefully.
Here’s another thing I’ve noticed inside the Man Up Facebook group. There are a lot of guys who have been ex-players. They have gone through a lot. They’ve been cheated on, they’ve cheated on other people. They’re in their late-30s or early-40s, and sometimes in their 50s now single having gone through two or three divorces, and they’ve been around the block. They’re given advice, and generally the advice is good. However, I’ve noticed that as a general trend among my advice from those types of guys, is that they say “Never let yourself be vulnerable to being hurt, so don’t put yourself in a position where you’re going to be hurt.”
In other words, always be the one up in that relationship. Never give her the upper hand and so on, and that’s all coming out of fear. It’s coming out of insecurity. They’ve been there before and they’ve been hurt, and one of the decisions they made out of those relationships is don’t ever be hurt again. That’s a mistake. That’s why they will never get into an unconditional relationship ever in their lives.
In order for you to be in an unconditional relationship, you have to open up to the possibility of getting fucked over. It should be a very slight possibility. These things are always possible, but you shouldn’t consciously say, “Okay, now I will unconditionally love you.” Until this possibility of getting fucked over is 1% or something like that. But it’s still there. The advice to Roger, 20 year old Roger, is be very careful about who you enter into unconditional relationships with.
Realize that these things are – you shouldn’t really decide whether to do so in a romantic relationship until three or four years, or I would say five years, really, into a relationship at 20 years old. If you haven’t experience and you don’t have that calibration yet to know whether it would work out with this woman, I would say wait until you feel the three to five year hump and know what that’s like when you go out of love, and now you have to transition from passionate love to companionate love. I go into the research on that in a lot of detail in other videos. You can YouTube search Love vs Attraction and YouTube search The Reality of Women, and you’ll see me do the lectures on that. To make that change, to feel what that’s like.
But for the guys who are older, the ex-players who have been around the block and who’ve been burned a bunch of times, and they have made the decision not to ever be vulnerable, I’ll tell you guys, the older guys: That’s a mistake in your relationships. It will actually ensure that you never actually get an unconditional love relationship, because you always have to open up and be vulnerable. You got to expose the jugular in order to hug. You can’t hug somebody and completely open up if you’re always on guard. You got to drop your guard and take the risk and you can get punched in the fucking throat. That’s real confidence. That’s real confidence and saying, “Okay, you might hurt me, but I’m going to do this anyway. When you make that decision, be very careful about who you enter into that relationship with.” Those guys to understand that. It’s not something that you just…
See, this is one of the biggest mistakes that guys make, the young guys, is that they still mistake the kind of unconditional love relationships of companionate love, the deeper love, that I’m talking about that would lead into marriage or something like that. They mistake that for the shit that they feel in the first three to six months or even the first year to three years of a dating relationship. They’re not even fucking close, man, especially if you’re 20 years old. You have no fucking clue what an unconditional love relationship in a romance relationship is like.
You might have gotten it, been on the receiving end of that love from your parents and not even known it. Because as a youngster, you don’t even know how to process that, but that’s probably the only person who has loved you unconditionally, your parents. That’s normal as a 20-year-old, let’s just be clear on that. Advice here for two different types of guys. For the younger guys, take your time. Do not expect her in the first year of dating for her to give you her soul, even if you fuck her over, she’s still there for you. That’s bad. The second type of guy, the older been around the block bitter guy, is you got to open up and be vulnerable if you want to actually find real love instead of just more like sex dating kind of thing.
And he ends, “It shows that her feelings for me are not unconditional, and that if I make mistakes…” Okay, right. “I’m really not sure how to handle this. I’m truly in love with this girl.” Yeah, in love. In love versus love, this is a distinction, a very important distinction, especially among modern young people that you should be aware of. If you’re not, YouTube search Love vs Attraction, my lecture on that, and Reality of Women According to Science lectures that I did.
“She has so many good qualities. Are my thoughts valid? Should I let it go? Is this a red flag? Will her feelings about this change as she gets older?”
No, I don’t think her feelings should change as she gets older about that. I think her thoughts are very rational. I think you need to mature and understand that you guys are just dating right now, and that’s totally cool. Neither of you should enter into an unconditional love relationship or make that decision at this juncture.
Okay, man. I’m going to enjoy the rest of the day. It’s so gorgeous out here. It’s just amazing. We’ve actually extended our stay in this area for another day just because it’s so beautiful. I think that’s one of the best parts about Europe. It’s not the cities. Because if you’ve been to Asia, Asian cities just rock. After Asia, it ruins you on the rest of the world as far as cities go, in my opinion. Food, the excitement, the energy, the phonetic pace. But the countryside, it’s still really special out here.
Anyway, I’m going to enjoy that. Join the private Man Up Facebook group as you’ll see the questions in there. Good advice also from the comments there, and I’ll interact with you in there. I’ll see you inside the Man Up private Facebook group. Click the link. Join the group. Until then, David Tian, signing out. Man Up!