Man Up | Ep. 140 • September 19, 2016
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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 Asian philosophy 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. 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.
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David Tian: Boom! Stop. In Episode 140 of Man Up, I answer the question of: What to do when your woman changes in your relationship.
Masculinity for the intelligent man. I’m David Tian, Ph.D. and this is Man Up!
Hey, man! I’m David Tian, Ph.D. and for over the past ten years, I’ve been helping hundreds of thousands of people in over 87 countries attain happiness and fulfillment in life and love, through the application of ancient wisdom and cutting-edge research. And welcome to Man Up Episode 140. Man Up: Masculinity for the Intelligent Man. I’m in Beijing. I will attempt to show you the view, and let’s see if the camera can adjust as I move it. We shall see. It’s not on auto-focus though. So, there’s a little bit of Beijing for you.
Skies are clear, but it is polluted, so do not let the skies deceive you – but it’s not too bad. Autumn is the best time of year in my opinion in this beautiful city. I used to live here. I used to live in Beijing for over four years, but in my opinion – that was all before the Olympics. I lived here before the Olympics. Let’s see if I can get this thing to adjust a bit here. But in my opinion, it’s lost a lot of its charm, a lot of the history, a lot of the culture has been lost. I mean, that’s what was special about Beijing, in my opinion.
And you know, as opposed to some other modern Chinese city. So, it’s too bad. I don’t know if I’ll be back any time soon – is the camera adjusting? Cool, it is. But I’m enjoying it right now. Great food and I will see some museums and history. I’m going to try to bring the camera along to shoot when I’m out there, but we’ll see. Okay, so question from Cal in the private Facebook group. This has been a long time coming. I was supposed to answer this one last week, but I got it mixed up with another question. I thought I’d answered it but I hadn’t, so Cal, here we go. Here’s your answer.
So, let me just read the question first. I’m not going to read it all. It’s quite long. I will have to summarize it. It’s one of those things when I click on See More, it opens a new window. It’s that long. So Cal, he says, “Thanks for the add. I’m new and have a serious question.” Okay, so he’s married. He met his wife about four years ago. They fell in love quickly and were married two years later. Everything was going well, and then they tried for a baby in January of this year. In March, they went for the check-up, and it turned out the baby never formed. Instead, she had all the pregnancy symptoms and had to have the sac removed.
And I am just reading off his message here. “This required her to have surgery. They basically did it in the office. This basically involves shoving a metal-like beaker into her and removing it. I was with her the entire time. So, I saw it all as well. But she was the one who felt it physically and emotionally, so I can’t imagine how she was feeling.”
Anyway, fast forward to September. Okay. Let’s just pause there and understand what happened. So usually in Asia, they go under general anesthetic, but it sounds to me like she was conscious the whole time and you were just there. So, that’s not cool. Okay, this is a very traumatic thing that’s happening to her body, and it’s pretty cold of the doctors to do it like that. I assume also she didn’t have any kind of preparation mentally or psychologically for it, emotionally, no counseling or anything. That’s pretty unusual. I mean, most hospitals are pretty cold already. They’re not going to provide that sort of counseling for these things, but there’s a serious trauma going on here.
And it happens all the time. This is a kind of a miscarriage, abortions, things like that. So, it happens a lot more often than the average person out there realizes. And when it happens to you, you may even have some shame around it, like not be open about it. So Cal, I want to first of all respect your courage for posting this and for sharing it and for reaching out for help. So anyway, he says, “Anyway, fast forward to September. My wife starts acting differently towards me. She wants to go out with friends and party; practically drinking every weekend. This concerns me, so I try to talk about it with her and ask her not to go and instead spend time with me. But she still goes anyway. This was just the beginning.”
“This started a lot of arguments with her, saying I’m trying to shelter her and I don’t want her to have friends. When we first met, she didn’t have a lot of friends to begin with, so this was all different to me.” Okay, so that was September, fast forward to August. So then – I got confused on your timeline, man. You said fast forward to September, and then you said fast forward to August. So, September to August sounds like 11 to 12 months, but you’re saying this all happened in this year, so I’m confused.
Anyway, “She’s still acting oddly and differently towards me. We still argue. One day, I find flowers hidden in our spare bedroom. She says her coworker gave them to her as a bet. I kind of went along with it but was suspicious because it’s hard to call someone out, especially your wife.” This is bad. If the one person you spend the most time with, your best friend, your partner in life, is somebody you can’t speak the truth to and share your feelings with and emotions openly and vulnerably, then who can you share them with? This is not normal, but for you to say this like it’s normal also tells me…
I mean, the world is fucked up as it is and when it comes to relationships and psychology especially. I’m going to get into that more, but that’s just another thing. Okay, I lost my place here. “It’s hard to call someone out, especially your wife.” You say it like it’s just, “No, duh.” But I’m saying it like, actually, the opposite is my assumption. It’s hard to call someone out but not my wife, especially not my wife.
“A week later, she comes home with fudge that she says she got from her co-worker again. I don’t think much of it, but I confront the co-worker over Messenger as I’m friends with him as well. He immediately calls my wife and asks what’s going on, and I could hear her saying, “Oh, it’s the fudge. You got me, remember?” Which was a straight up lie and cover up.” Nice, you caught her in the lie. She says I don’t trust her anymore and then she gets upset and starts sleeping in the other bedroom.
A week later, she’s still staying in that different room. I come home from work early and find another man in my house with my wife, not naked or anything, but dressed inappropriately. The fact that you had to say not naked or anything is already you defending and explaining the situation. Dude, regardless, all you have to do is say “I found another man in my house with my wife in an inappropriate situation.” I mean, it’s pretty obvious it’s inappropriate. “This just causes more tension and stress.”
So, what I’m getting to is that you are already beaten down and not a man in this relationship. You got this helpless victim thing going on, right? And even before I get to the psychology of what’s happening between the two of you, the fact is whatever you were like before – maybe it was different. But right now, in this relationship, you’re not acting as a masculine person. So, just so you know. There’s a lot of fear and fear mixed with shame, but a lot of fear, a fear of her, a fear of the consequences of the relationship. You’re unable to walk away. You’re needy as fuck.
So, even in the best of circumstances, this is incredibly unattractive behavior and mindset. Okay, so it’s not all her fault is what I’m getting at here. I know a lot of the guys are going to hate on her, and she deserves all of the hate she’s getting here. Because regardless of the circumstances, you do always have the choice, in these cases, of taking the dark road of lying to somebody, of cheating on another person.
But it’s a lot more understandable once you understand the psychology of the situation which I’m beginning to – alright, got to move on. Okay, “This just caused more tension and stress and our already-damaged relationship.” Of course, you find a man in her room dressed half-naked or whatever. Of course it’s going to cause tension and stress. The fact that you’re saying this almost apologetically is pretty scary. “She said she was done with him”, yeah right.
“Later that week, I find them in a restaurant together having lunch. This made me so angry.” Finally. “At this point, I told her she needs to go to marriage counseling with me.” Ugh. So, you’re still hanging out for every little shred. “She goes once, but doesn’t commit.” Of course, there’s no reason for her to. You’re her bitch. “As of now, she’s not really talking to me and comes by maybe once a week but doesn’t stay long. She feels like I betrayed her trust because I reached out at her…” “She says she needs space. She wants to move out and I’m at a loss for what happened, but I don’t believe space will resolve the issue. I’m trying to avoid divorce, because I believe my wife is still in there somewhere.”
Alright, man, I feel you. “Maybe she is emotionally confused.” You think? “Maybe this guy is preying on her emotional stake.” Oh, god. Like, as soon as guys blame the other guy, that’s when he’s already weak as fuck. It’s not the other guy’s problem. I just need some sort of advice. I mean, to a certain agree, I’m going to address this in the next question. There is culpability on the other guy’s part, but you don’t have to worry about the other guy. She’s going to find some guy, that particular guy she found, it’s not his, it’s not about that particular guy.
If that guy dies for some reason, she’s going to find some replacement. So, the whole guys blaming their relationships failing on some other guy is really stupid, short-sighted, and of course – because no one respects psychology these days except – like, no one. So of course, this is what you get, some simple-minded bullshit. So, let’s get to it.
The very first thing is, she had what she thought was a baby turned out to not have formed. So, for two months, the two of you thought you were having a baby. All of the excitement around it, all of that and you say she’s 32, is that right? Well, in any case, she’s been waiting for this, right? It’s not like she just got knocked up by mistake and she’s like, “Oh, fuck.” She was preparing for it and there was a build up to it, and now she’s going to have this baby, and it’s a whole human being. It’s a big deal. A lot of guys don’t get that. A lot of immature guys. They don’t understand that. But when you have this baby, especially if you’re getting into your 30’s as a woman, you would really cherish it.
And then it turns out it never fully formed, and it took between six to eight weeks to find that out. And so, what happened was, she has this human being and it’s not there anymore. It’s going to be natural for any human being in that situation to internalize the guilt. She is, in some way, blaming herself – especially not consciously. It looks like most of what she’s reacting to is not conscious. She’s not aware of it. She has no self-awareness around it. And that’s because, like I said, the average person has no respect for psychology. It’s like you have an OS of your brain, of you, but you have no idea how to run or you have no idea what the rules are of it.
You’re using the wrong manual. You’re treating human beings just like people did in the enlightenment and forward, as if we were simply robots. Like everything was consciously and explicit, very simple-minded. It’s not how human beings are. We’re very complex things. So anyway, back to her. Miscarriage, or in this case the baby never formed. She’s internalizing the blame. Who else can she blame? She has to get mad at God if she believes in God, and that will help. She can at least get it out of her system and blame something else. But no, instead, there’s nothing else to blame. Who else is there?
She can blame you, and she will as she is, in fact. But of course, the most immediate target for blame is herself. And it doesn’t make any logical sense, right? It’s not rational, right? And that’s why most women are complete mysteries to themselves and to men, because that’s life. Life is not a fucking math problem. Or it is, but at a very, very complex level. You think it’s like arithmetic, but it’s much more like Calculus.
Okay, so she’s internalizing the blame. Furthermore, they did it like a quickie surgery it seems, right? So, there was no ceremony around it, there was no mourning around the loss of your baby. Now, physically, you didn’t have one, but mentally you had one. Emotionally, she had one and it died. And this is something you really have to understand in yourself as well. There’s also a deep guilt in you. I’m assuming this is helping feed your neediness, because there’s a certain part of you that wish you could do something more, and you should have in fact.
So anyway, let’s get to it. “This required her to have surgery; shoving a metal-like beaker into her, removing it.” And you’re aware that she was the one who felt it physically and emotionally, “I can’t imagine how she was feeling.” You must try to imagine. See, just by the way you described it, it seemed like, “Oh damn, this sucks. Okay, let’s hug. Oh, this sucks. Okay, let’s move on.” And that’s how guys deal with emotional problems, emotional issues that their woman is going through. “Oh fuck, this sucks.”
“And okay, that’s it. Alright, this sucks, alright, let’s go on.” But instead, she didn’t need you to solve the fucking problem. Because they say it sucks and there’s nothing they can do about it. They can’t solve it, they can’t fix it, so okay, let’s move on. That’s like a typical male. And the typical male reacting in that way is treating himself like a robot. That’s what I mean by that. But actually, he’s not a robot. He’s a complex cauldron of emotions, and he’s not aware of that. Because he’s not aware of that, he has no control over it.
Not that you need to control it, but you need to at least let it out, like ride that wave, like a good surfer. Instead, you’re getting killed like it was a tsunami. And that’s it. So you go, “So, I can’t imagine how she was feeling.” Fast forward to December anyway, right? So, that’s sort of like… So here’s the thing, then she’s acting differently towards you. She’s going out with her friends and partying. Of course she is. She doesn’t fucking care about her life anymore. What good is it? She’s worthless, in a way, to herself. She killed a fucking baby. There’s something defective she thinks about her body because it didn’t produce this baby. She let it down.
She can’t trust her own body, in a way. This is all going on inside her mind, but it’s unconscious. You’re not aware of it. But instead of letting her talk it out, instead of getting a therapist earlier on like every mature adult ought to, instead you wait until crisis time to go see her and it’s too late then. That’s like waiting until it’s like terminal cancer stage 4, and then you go see the doctor. You’re supposed to go as a preventative measure, right? Or early on, when you start to catch something.
Here, you had something from the beginning. And especially from this operation, but I’m sure before that you didn’t understand – and it’s not your fault, okay? Let’s just make that clear. It’s not your fault. Everyone’s like that. No one gets taught how to do relationships. No one gets taught in school or in society how to do psychology. Man, we’re so far ahead on this. I think maybe 30~40 years from now, hopefully, the average adult in the West, in a civilized Western world, industrialized nation, will understand and finally appreciate and respect the power of psychology and what’s driving him.
But I’m not optimistic about that. So, it’s not your fault. Everyone else is fucked up. I mean, they’re blind to what’s happening, so there you go. It’s not your fault. But what you should’ve done was to be present with her, work through it with her, talk it out with her, process your emotions together and mourn for the loss of that baby. Be present with her. That’s something you’re not doing. That would actually – pretty much the only thing you can do right now is to be present with her, to bring her back and look at her deeply in the eyes. And you don’t even need to say anything, but to feel what she feels.
The thing you can say is, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry for not being there for you. I’m sorry that I wasn’t there, fully present. I’m sorry that I was too afraid to confront what happened. I’m sorry.” That’s what you can say. You can say, “I love you”, because you do. So, you want to soften that, right? So, “I’m sorry. I love you. Please forgive me.” Actually, “I’m sorry” and “Please forgive me go together.” And then thank her. Thank her for everything she is already up to this point, and that’s all you can fucking do.
And I know right now, you want to get her back, you want all this stuff to happen. And because of that, just in terms of attraction science, it’s going to turn her off. So just in terms of arousal and attraction, the hardcore-y evolutionary drives, all of your actions and your mindset are weak. They’re not going to attract her. Now, what you need to do is to be ready to walk away because of the things that she’s done. I mean, the things she’s done basically are great reasons. You have great grounds for walking away. You really ought to walk away as a man with your dignity.
But except for understanding the context of her change in behavior, and realizing you’re a part in it, that the two of you do not respect psychology, and so you were not aware of all of the turmoil going on in you emotionally over the loss of this baby. Any sudden death is traumatic. Google “The widowhood effect”. Now notice, the widowhood effect, which is like, if your spouse dies or you become a widow, your chances of dying within the first – I think it was anywhere from three months to 12 months, that first initial span, shoot up something like 67 percent or something.
And the widowhood effect even extends to friends of friends. So, if your friend becomes a widow, your chances of dying within a short period of time go up. Now, the same thing goes with obesity. It’s insane. So, these things are contagious because of our peer group. Anyway, what I’m saying is…. What I was getting to was, the widowhood effect will not happen if you know that your spouse is going to die and you’re able to… Like if it’s a disease that you know, you got five years or three years or whatever, and you mentally and emotionally prepare for it.
Or like when your grandparent dies and you know it’s a matter of time, and then when she dies or he dies, it feels – I guess it’s sudden because you don’t know exactly what day it’ll be, but you’ve been preparing for it. But if it’s a sudden death, it is going to be traumatic. And in this case, I think, in your first – it’s sort of like your first love, your first boyfriend, your first girlfriend. Your first baby… I mean, people with lots of other babies, they’re like, “Ah, it’s just one baby.” “Oh, they only were with it for six weeks” or whatever.
But it’s like when you break up or you get dumped by your first girlfriend. Yeah, after you’ve had 100 girlfriends you look back, you’re like, “What a dick”, you know, “How weak I was.” But at the time it was happening, it was like your world was being ripped asunder, right? So, I respect and appreciate what you guys are going through. I was going to say have been through, but you’re still going through the effects of what happened in that March.
And you can’t drag her to therapy. Therapy won’t work unless you want it to work. You have to go there with an open mind. If you just keep closing up and you got your guard up, none of the jabs will get through. Nothing good will come through. So, she’s guarded, shielded. She is developing calluses emotionally. One way to not feel pain is to just abuse herself. And so, other ways of doing this are people actually internalize that pain. They start cutting themselves, they act a little bit suicidal. Or not a bit, I guess start to act a bit suicidal.
And in her case, she’s acting out in destructive ways because she has lost a lot of respect for herself. And there’s a lot of other things going on there. That’s just the surface level. Surface level’s what you’re seeing. This is just below that level. But there is deeper – it goes deeper than that. It goes a lot deeper than that. And there’s not enough information that you’ve given me here for me to know how much deeper, or in what ways it is, but it is deeper and you both need help. Professional help, counseling. Man, there’s so many people who need that professional level of psychological help, that I’m going to try to rope in as many top psychologists as I can to get on this show, to ask them questions; to help you see how that can help you.
So, that’s what I would say. Right now, you have to be present. You have to be present with her. Get her there. Tell her those things. This is from Ho’oponopono and it’s four phrases. You can Google it and find the Wikipedia entry that tells you more about it, but it’s basically you need to just get this out to her, so that it’s sort of like, “Okay, this is the way it is. I forgive you.” So it’s like, “I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.” And you make sure she understand each of those phrases when you’re saying them to her.
And you have to be fully present with her. Not thinking about yourself, not fears that you have or, “Oh shit, this relationship’s going to end.” Or anything else. You’re thinking only about what she’s thinking. You’re trying to ‘enter her soul’, so to speak. You’re trying to emphasize at the deepest possible level, and not have any other thoughts, but just be there, present, fully, with her. Bring that. That’s what you needed to bring back in March and earlier – through your whole relationship, really.
But that’s what you needed to bring back in March, because that’s when she needed you the most. And instead, it’s just like – most people who are dead to their own emotions, they’re just like little babies inside. And when something traumatic like this happens, they’re not prepared and they end up in self-destructive behaviors. So, takeaways: respect psychology. Second, respect trauma. All of us have been through trauma, by the way. And even if we have to look back through childhood, we’ve all been through trauma.
And part of that respecting psychology is respecting the fact that you got to deal with the trauma that you’ve been having since you were a child. Here is another case of trauma that was induced, or created, or happened, very recently in your life. The first step to dealing with trauma is to be present with it and to be present with your wife who is going through it more deeply than you as you correctly point out. Fifth, you got to be willing to talk away. This may not be salvageable, and the deeper you’re in it, the more compromised you are, the less you’re able to help her, actually.
And in some ways, you have to let her destroy herself before – she’s got to hit rock-bottom before she’s ready to admit that she needs help. And maybe she will wake up in time. I really hope she does. And the way to wake her up is to get her in person, get that presence there. Boom, don’t let her look away. Just get in her eyes and tell her the four things. You need her to understand and feel each one of those statements when you make them. You might have to repeat them because she may not understand you saying them or believe that you’re really saying those, when you’re actually saying them.
So, there you go. So, that’s a wrap. Remember, when you’re telling her those four things and expressing your emotions, you can sit there and feel your emotions. But your mind is in her, okay? Your mind is going into her empathizing at the deepest level you possibly can; being fully present and thinking what she’s thinking, feeling what she’s feeling. What she’s gone through. When you’re looking into her deep in the eyes, you want to feel what it’s like for her, what it was like for her to have what she thought was a baby die in her body, and then have it torn out. Feel that, and feel the pain, and be there with her, and then let her go.
Well, give her the decision, obviously. But stop clinging onto her like a needy codependent. You got to give her the freedom: the freedom to be an adult and to make her own life. Alright, so there you go. That was a lot deeper than I expected, but it’s a deep question. These are the sorts of questions I love. I was like, “Finally, a question that I’m doing this show for, I love.” The other questions I answer are the sort of pretty easy questions as far as I’m concerned, the kind that you could answer, like you could get the answer by taking one of our courses.
But this is a more special case, and I will be creating courses at this level of depth, but I haven’t released those quite yet – except for the guys in platinum partnership and mastermind. So, thank you Cal for your honesty, your vulnerability and for your courage in sharing this. And join the private Facebook group. You can see Cal’s full question there. You can also ask your own questions to me in the group, and I will answer them directly. A lot of other guys on there answering questions, doing a pretty good job. So, you got a good chance. It’s a great community right now, so go ahead and join that. We approve add requests on a daily basis.
So, I’ll see you inside the group. And until then, Man Up!