In today’s complex dating world, numerous men find themselves grappling not only with the intricacies of modern romance but also with deep-seated anxieties and fears that surround it.
They fear starting conversations with women. They worry about what others think of them. And when they do end up in a relationship, it eventually devolves into dramatic fights, falling apart, and heartbreak.
Well, the short answer is these men haven’t addressed and healed the burdens of their inner child parts. Suppressing these deep-rooted emotions only makes them lash out at the worst possible times.
Instead, they turn to YouTube and the internet for the type of dating advice that attracts women who only care about your looks or status.
That’s the bad news.
The good news?
The therapeutic process is the single most effective way to address and heal these disowned parts of ourselves, which directly makes you more attractive, confident, and happy.
In this new episode, I reveal 6 distinct ways therapy can transform your dating life, how to address neglected emotions before they self-destruct on you, and how to use therapy to attract higher quality women and people.
Show highlights include:
- The Notorious Big 3: Three ways the modern dating landscape misleads men into misery and heartbreak (1:05)
- The weird way using your looks and status to attract women makes them eager to ditch you as soon as they can (2:13)
- How “ego validation,” a wicked and sneaky form of neediness, sabotages a relationship before it even begins (3:34)
- 10 non-material things that women desperately crave from men (7:39)
- How your unresolved emotional issues manifest in and undermine your relationship—in 6 distinct ways (9:47)
- Why your “Attachment Style” can predict recurring patterns in your relationship (and how figuring this out can prevent your relationship from falling apart) (14:02)
- How neglecting your exiled parts instead of addressing them can ruin even the best relationships (19:40)
- Can therapy really help with your dating life? Here are two proven reasons it can… (21:08)
- Still doubting the impact therapy can have on your dating life? Here’s a real life example of how one former client went from an anxious wreck to a ladies magnet (21:54)
Does your neediness, fear, or insecurity sabotage your success with women? Do you feel you may be unlovable? For more than 15 years, I’ve helped thousands of people find confidence, fulfillment, and loving relationships. And I can help you, too. I’m therapist and life coach David Tian, Ph.D. I invite you to check out my free Masterclasses on dating and relationships at https://www.davidtianphd.com/masterclass/ now.
For more about David Tian, go here: https://www.davidtianphd.com/about/
Emotional Mastery is David Tian’s step-by-step system to transform, regulate, and control your emotions… so that you can master yourself, your interactions with others, and your relationships… and live a life worth living. Learn more here:
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Note: Scroll Below for Transcription
Welcome to the Masculine Psychology Podcast, where we answer key questions in relationships, attraction, success, and fulfillment. Now, here’s your host, world-renowned therapist and life coach, David Tian.
David: Welcome to the Masculine Psychology podcast. I’m David Tian, your host. In this episode, we’re diving into a topic that might just reshape your entire perspective on attraction, relationships, and even your own self-worth. By the end of this episode, you won’t only know how to become naturally attractive. You’ll grasp what you truly seek by being attractive. It’s not just about finding an attractive or appealing partner. It’s about what you hope such a partner could offer you, profound feelings of connection, happiness, joy, and love. [00:56.0]
Many men, unfortunately, are being misled. They’re immersed in a world filled with misguided, wrong dating advice. This misguided dating advice focuses on what I call the “notorious big three.” Let’s unpack that. What is the “big three”? The big three refers to money, status and looks, and in today’s globalized, democratic societies, money and status often get merged into one variable, so we’ll just look at socio-economic status.
So, it comes down to looks and socio-economic status, so most of the dating advice out there is obsessed about your looks and your socio-economic status. But in a non-short-term relationship, this simply leads to extreme uncertainty in yourself because of your vulnerability to the bigger better deal. There will always be a man out there who is better-looking than you, or higher status than you, so if your score on the big three is what you’re counting on to hold your woman, you will never be able to rest secure, because the bigger better deal is always lurking around the corner. [02:06.8]
Even worse, if you’re relying on looks and status to attract your partner. This means you’ve entered into a user relationship with your partner, not a relationship based on love for connection. Guys who count on their looks and socio-economic status to attract a partner will only attract women who use them for their looks and status. As you get older and time ticks on, this becomes a hellish nightmare of a relationship.
Now, speaking of relationship, I’ve addressed this point in many previous episodes, but it’s really important to get clear on whether you’re going to prioritize short-term hookups or dating with a view to a long-term relationship.
Now, some guys, especially younger guys, admit freely that all they want from a woman or women is sex, and if that’s you, hey, that’s fine. It’s just that this podcast isn’t for you and the material that I’ve been putting out for the past several years isn’t for you. What I’m covering here is much more advanced than that. [03:08.2]
If all you wanted was sex with attractive women, going through all of this trouble to turn yourself into a more attractive man is actually a very inefficient way of getting transactional sex than, say, just hiring sex workers or just figuring out how to make a bit more money so you could hire sex workers more easily.
Most men, especially in Western countries, will recoil at the mere suggestion of hiring a sex worker. But if you’re still insisting that sex is what you’re really after from women, but you recoil at the thought of engaging the services of consensual, consenting sex workers, then it turns out that you’re after more than just sex. Likely, you are after ego validation, which paying a sex worker would not give you. This need for ego validation is a kind of neediness and a sign of deeper core insecurities about your self-worth. [04:01.4]
So, it turns out that in addition to mere sexual gratification, you also want the woman to meet your need for significance. A common rejoinder I hear on that is “Well, don’t all men?” and my response is, no, not all men, not mature men, only immature, needy men. And it’s okay if you’re currently needy. I was needy in the same way for much of my life up until at least my mid-30s.
So, maybe we can admit that even some of those men who say that all they want from women is sex, even them, maybe we can begin to admit that what we want from a woman and from a relationship with a woman is more than just sex, but also a loving relationship or a deep emotional connection, or at the very least, some level of ego validation, meeting our need for significance. [04:49.3]
If that’s so, then even more hellish than the insecurity of counting on looks and status is the fact that the very things you are most hoping to get out of a relationship, right, not just sexual gratification, but more importantly, to feel certainty motions, like love, connection, significance, security, joy, happiness and fulfillment, by obsessing and relying on looks and status, you’re virtually guaranteed that you will only attract women who are focused on looks and status, in other words, users.
Of course, this explains the great fear and insecurity driving the manosphere of red pill, MGTOW, incels, the great fear that women are hypergamous. That is that she will leave him once a bigger better deal comes along, and a bigger, better deal in terms of looks and status.
Of course, women who prioritize looks and socio-economic status are going to be users, and sometimes even worse, gold diggers, and won’t really care about you as a person. But look in the mirror, you attracted these very women to you because you too prioritized looks and status in yourself. [05:57.2]
Actually, unless a woman just wanted a substitute for a sex toy that night, like a life-sized living sex toy, if that’s all she wants that night, then, yes, looks matter most and it’s probably best if you just shut your mouth and get it up for her. Or if she wants to use you for your money, like when a woman sees a rich man, does her vagina get wet? Does she actually get sexually aroused by the sight of a man’s Rolex? No, what these user women think is “Cha-ching, here comes that Chanel bag I’ve been wanting to get.” That’s not sexual arousal or sexual attraction. That’s just exploitation, and obviously, that’s not a high-quality person or woman.
Yes, high-quality women exist, and just like high-quality men, men have integrity and morals who would do the right thing even if it’s not in their self-interest or their immediate best interests, these high-quality men of integrity and morals are also rare, but they do exist. [06:56.8]
So too do mature women have morals exist—except if you whore yourself out to the values of looks and socio-economic status, emotionally-mature people detect that from a mile away and would steer clear of you. They probably don’t even land on your radar. You don’t even notice them because they’ve already decided to stay away from you. You’re already unknowingly repelling them because of the signals you’re putting out.
What good women want from a man is not a substitute sex toy or a shopping spree. Not really. They will settle for that, but that’s not what they really want. What non-user women, this doesn’t just apply to good women, but just to women who aren’t actively looking to exploit men for sex or shopping, what non-user, non-exploitative women want from a man is exactly what non-user men want from women, good emotions, like emotional connection, companionship, emotional intimacy, security, significance, happiness, joy, adventure, fun, and most of all, love. [08:01.1]
What we want most from an intimate relationship is actually good feelings. It’s actually what we’re all really after in a long-term relationship. These emotional needs, especially in the long run, are far more satisfying than a half-hour of meaningless sex or a shopping spree.
So, why is it so hard for us to connect on this emotional level? Why are we stuck at the level of treating ourselves in the opposite sex as mere transactional objects of sex, status and shopping sprees, the three S’s? What we need is a better way, a way that actually leads us to exactly what we want from a relationship, the good emotions we’re seeking.
Incidentally, this better way also repels the very women you want to avoid, the craven users who only use men instrumentally and transactionally, who only use men for their looks and status. This better way requires turning to what toxic masculinity is most afraid of, emotions, and the best way to do this is through another thing toxic masculinity is afraid of, therapy and the therapeutic process. [09:13.1]
Therapy has the power to help people understand themselves, heal deep-seated wounds and foster healthier relationships, so let’s look at this in more detail. How exactly does therapy help here in improving your dating life and leading you to a successful, healthy relationship?
Let’s face it, many men carry baggage, emotions that they haven’t addressed, scars from past relationships, childhood traumas, or experiences that they’ve tried to hide. But these buried issues don’t stay hidden. They often influence the dynamics of our intimate relationships.
Okay, so what are some of the downstream effects? What are some of the ways in which these unresolved issues may manifest themselves in the dating context? One is low self-worth. [10:05.5]
Sadly, many men enter the dating scene with false debilitating beliefs about themselves. They might feel that they aren’t good enough or that they’re not worthy, or they may believe that all women are out to get them. Past rejections or what they see as societal standards might have ingrained or conditioned these debilitating beliefs. But external factors don’t determine your worth as a human being or worth as a man. Your inherent value does. Therapy is very effective at unearthing these deep-seated false debilitating beliefs and viewpoints, and then challenging them and then helping to transform them into empowering perspectives.
I should throw a caveat in here. When I refer to what therapy can do, I hope it’s clear that it depends on the practitioner. Just as in the world of physical fitness and health, there are bad trainers and they’re good trainers, and hopefully, the bad trainers don’t make you just throw out trying to improve your health, physical health, overhaul just because you met a bad trainer. I would say the same with therapists. [11:13.5]
There are plenty of poor therapists or therapists who could use a lot of improvement, and then there are exceptionally-amazing therapists who could completely transform your life for the better. Hopefully, if you’ve met some poor practitioners of therapy, it won’t sour you on the whole thing and you want to throw the whole thing out. In this episode, I’m referring to what therapy can do for you in the hands of a good therapist and a client who is open to doing the work.
Okay, so far, I’ve mentioned how therapy can help you with low self-worth and I’m going to be rattling off a few more things that are super important for how therapy can help you in your dating life and to help you in your relationships, and if this interests you enough, maybe it will motivate you to find a good therapist or to get an online course to work through these issues, like the ones that I’ve got, or to join a therapy group, like the ones that I’m leading at the moment, or at the very least, to have an open mind and learn more about what therapy and the therapeutic process is all about. [12:17.7]
No matter their physical strength, for many men, emotions are too much for them to handle. It’s why they can’t give women the deeper levels of emotional intimacy and connection that they crave. It’s why they fail to be the man that modern women desire most: a man with inner strength, a man who has mastered his emotions.
Find out how to master your emotions through David Tian’s “Emotional Mastery” program. The Emotional Mastery program is a step-by-step system that integrates the best of empirically-verified psychotherapy methods and reveals how to master your internal state and develop the inner strength that makes you naturally attractive, happy, and fulfilled.
Learn more about this transformational program by going to DavidTianPhD.com/EmotionalMastery.
That’s D-A-V-I-D-T-I-A-N-P-H-D [dot] com [slash] emotional mastery.
Okay, so another way in which therapy can benefit you as a man in your dating life is when it comes to anxiety and the fear of rejection. For many men, dating is not just a journey, but a battlefield riddled with anxiety and fear. Each step, each message, each text, each date can bring trepidation. Therapy can provide the tools to navigate this landscape and reduce these anxieties.
Rejection, although difficult, is a part of life, and, actually, also a part of success and a part of learning. With therapy, you can handle rejection better, build better or stronger resilience, and learn how to maintain a strong sense of self-worth, even in the face of challenges. [14:02.3]
A third way is in getting to know your own attachment style. The research on attachment styles is so strong and well-supported that it’s almost taken for granted. It’s one of the few areas of consensus in the field, especially when it comes to developmental psychology, that is, the psychology of children as we grow up, and knowing your attachment style can help you a lot when it comes to dating and relationships.
Some people constantly worry about their partner’s commitment and exhibit anxious tendencies. Other people avoid intimacy. They run from it. Some people oscillate between both styles, anxious and avoidant. Identifying your own attachment style can clarify the recurring patterns in your relationships. Therapy can help you recognize your attachment style, and offer tools and techniques to develop more secure attachments. [14:56.6]
Fourth, good therapy can help you to recognize the unknown unconscious underlying patterns of behavior that have been running through your life. Have you ever wondered why you repeatedly choose the same type of partner or are repeatedly attracted to the same type of woman, or why you keep experiencing certain toxic dynamics in your relationships after certain points? These patterns might have deep roots in your psyche. Good therapy can help you understand the reasons behind these patterns and, once you recognize them, can help guide you in changing them.
Therapy isn’t only for those with significant traumas, or obvious mental health challenges or disorders, or any kind of pathological thing. It’s for everyone, especially those stuck in the complex world of dating and modern relationships. The therapeutic journey allows you to rediscover yourself. It reveals truths and gives you tools so that you can confidently and authentically navigate whatever relationships you find yourself in. [16:00.3]
Before we close, I’ve got two more big benefits when it comes to how therapy can help your dating life and relationships, and this next one is improving your awareness of yourself, deepening your self-understanding, strengthening your self-identity and self-concept—and the best way to do this and the best way to explain it is with the analytical model of IFS therapy.
If you’ve been following my podcast for any length of time, you must have heard me mention IFS therapy. It is one of the main modalities that I use as a practitioner, as a therapist, and I highly recommend it, obviously. IFS therapy helps us understand the multifaceted nature of our psyches and helps us get to know the parts of ourselves that serve different purposes, and understand how these parts interact.
Imagine your mind as a family with different members having distinct roles. Some might protect. Others might hold the trauma, while others still might possess your innate qualities and wisdom. These roles might sound abstract right now, but let’s break them down. [17:11.4]
The first category of parts of us are the protectors and these are the parts of us that have, over time, developed strategies to keep us safe. That could manifest as being overly critical or pushing others away, or even perfectionism. Their intentions are positive. They’re noble. They shield us from hurt. But in doing so, they can sometimes become overbearing or aggressive, and this could result in pushing potential partners away or being overly controlling, or being hesitant in expressing vulnerability.
The second major category of parts is exiles. Exiles are parts that hold pain, the trauma or the negative beliefs from our past experiences. Protector parts often act to keep these exiled parts at bay to prevent them from coming to the surface of our consciousness and causing us pain or distress. [18:06.1]
But in keeping them exiled, we often miss the opportunity to heal and understand them, and after all, they are parts of us that have lots of really great positive qualities as well, and by keeping them exiled, we prevent ourselves from accessing those or feeling those. Then if unaddressed for a long period of time, these exiles can unexpectedly pop up in relationships, causing unexplained fears or insecurities, or disproportionate reactions.
If you take the example of approach anxiety or date anxiety, like anxiety when you’re on a first date especially, this anxiety might be coming from an exiled part of you and there are protectors that try to keep that anxious exile, who really is anxious because this might be the promise of getting those needs of love and connection and significance and security finally met. That’s what she represents to that part of you. [19:03.0]
Then in order to protect this anxious exile to stop it from getting out, your protector parts jump in and engage in overcompensating behaviors perhaps, like talking too much or telling long stories or trying to tell jokes, or using a pickup line or using some kind of canned lines that you’ve learned somewhere, or they might try to protect you from the source of the anxiety by just making you freeze and so your mind goes blank and you freeze in the spot and you can’t approach.
These are all different ways in which our protector parts try to protect our more vulnerable parts, which are these exiles, and if you don’t address your exiled parts and help to heal them and help them let go of their burdens, and if you don’t help the parts that are protecting them, then they will make an absolute mess of your relationships and it will probably get in the way of you even getting into a relationship, because neither of these categories of parts are your True Self. [20:02.8]
At the core of the IFS therapy model is the belief in the True Self, capital T, capital S, the authentic and compassionate and grounded core of every person. This isn’t another part, but rather the essence of who you are untainted by life’s traumas or protective strategies.
When you operate from this space of the True Self, you radiate authenticity, compassion and confidence. When it comes to dating and relationships, imagine the attractiveness of a man rooted in his True Self. He isn’t reactionary. He isn’t swayed by every whim or hurt, nor is he building walls to protect himself because he doesn’t need to. Instead, he engages from a place of genuine understanding, both of himself and of his partner. He exudes a calm confidence that doesn’t stem from superficial accomplishments or material trophies, but from a deep sense of inherent self-worth. Such a man, as you can imagine, is naturally attractive, not just in a romantic sense, but in every facet of life. [21:08.0]
By engaging with IFS therapy, men can achieve at least these two profound outcomes. They can navigate their inner world, understanding the dynamics between their protectors, their exile parts and their True Self, and this can lead to incredible personal growth, healing from past traumas, dismantling of false debilitating beliefs, and neurotic behaviors and patterns.
Second, they become authentically attractive. Their relationships evolve from superficial strategic engagements into deep meaningful connections. They naturally draw emotionally-mature women to them, not because of some rehearsed lines or messages, but because of genuine emotional depth and understanding. [21:54.1]
To illustrate this, let me tell you a story about a former client named Harry. When Harry first came to us he was incredibly inhibited. Whenever he spoke, he stuttered. He looked down a lot at his feet or at the ground, and he mumbled a lot. It didn’t help that he was overweight and short, but far worse than the way he looked, which we could fix within a weekend, far worse than that was his anxiety that was incredibly crippling for him and that was sort of in the background all the time, inhibiting him from any kind of free expression.
Nor did he know much about himself. He kept asking us, “How should I be? What should I say?” as if he didn’t have anything there already preloaded and what he was doing was looking for what the target would want and so he could become that like a chameleon. It was amazing that even after his makeover, just because of his anxiety and these overriding overcompensating behaviors that his protectors were engaged and the anxiety that was exuded from many of his parts, not just the exiled parts. When he walked into a bar, I could see other men there in the bar were kind of snickering at him and the women didn’t even notice him, and the ones who he did approach wouldn’t give him the time of day. [23:08.5]
That was his first assessment, sort of session where we saw what we were dealing with. Unfortunately, for us, at that time, I was in my training as an IFS therapist, and I’m now a certified IFS therapy practitioner, so I took him through the therapeutic process of getting to know the parts of him that were engaging in these overcompensating behaviors that were showing up and kind of taking over his consciousness and his body when he was in dating situations, and we started from there, getting to know these protectors.
Then when we got their trust and understood them, they led us to the more vulnerable exiled parts that they had been protecting, and through a process of healing and unburdening of these exiled parts, the protectors that were protecting them were able to relax from their old roles and find more fulfilling, empowering roles, and his entire internal system shifted. [23:57.0]
Then we engaged in integration, giving them jobs or roles that they liked more, and Harry, like all of us, has many parts—most of us have a dozen or two dozen, or more parts of us—so as we got to know each group of parts, he was becoming more and more liberated inside, and instead of waiting to see how women reacted to him in order for him to be happy or confident, he was feeling this happiness and confidence, and courage and calmness within him himself already from the get-go, from the very beginning.
I recall one incident after we had begun the therapeutic process and we were doing some of the dating aspects of it for him, and we were at a bar that had a dance floor and a DJ. It was early in the night and the DJ started going, and he just jumped out there and just started jumping, jumping up and down and dancing in a kind of wild way with this huge smile on his face, and he was mostly looking up at the ceiling, but he was just having a good time on his own. [24:57.5]
I remember him telling me that one of the inner-child parts of his, one of his exiled parts, loved to dance and tumble and move in ways that were not allowed at school, because he was supposed to sit down and be quiet and all this, and he just wanted to run and play and sort of do gymnastics type of movements.
But for many reasons, he was brought up in a very restrictive home setting and school setting, and society, in general, so he developed all of these prohibitions inside, these internal rules for how he had to be that didn’t allow him to relax and have fun, and just be silly and stupid, or to appear potentially foolish. Part of the joy that he was tapping into was giving these child parts the permission to freely express themselves and to hold the space for them to do that, and in a very courageous manner, doing it in public.
Ordinarily, if someone were to jump up and down like this, I would think that they’d be kind of self-conscious, because it wasn’t like good dancing or anything. It was kind of like a kid in a man’s body, jumping up and down, and on an empty dance floor, but with people around, and the thing was, it was quite infectious. His sense of fun that he was exuding drew all these other people in and they started joining him on the dance floor, and then next thing he knew, girls were going up to talk to him and cracking jokes with him. [26:15.8]
The funny thing was, I don’t think he even noticed that they were drawn to him at first for, I don’t know, maybe the first 20 or 30 minutes, because he was just having fun, and that state of having fun he was only able to get into through this therapeutic process of allowing the many layers of parts of him that were previously restricting and prohibiting him, and releasing them from these burdensome protective roles that they felt like they had to do, but they didn’t enjoy doing.
Once he began to build, one by one, a relationship with each of these parts, they were able to relax back and allow the fun, loving, adventurous, spontaneous parts inside him that were previously being exiled to come out more, and that is inherently attractive. These are very attractive traits, and more importantly, he was happy in himself doing it. [27:09.8]
When I repeatedly say, “Yeah, this can improve your dating life. This can get you a girlfriend, the love of your life, etc. This is all great,” and I also say then, but more importantly, you’ll find happiness, fulfillment, love, joy, peace within yourself and that’s far more important. I’m not just saying that like some slogan or paying lip service to it. I really mean it, and hopefully, through this illustration of Harry, you can see why it was so much more important.
The reward is in the process itself, not in the thing that it gets you, which is nice to have. But you have to get to the point through the therapeutic process where are those things that you’re so obsessed and desperate to get now or needy for now, love from a woman or acceptance from a woman, or attraction by women, that that becomes just a side effect of the far more important thing that you’re experiencing right here in the here and now through the therapeutic process. [28:01.4]
That is, the gold that you’re searching for is already right there beneath your feet. You’re standing on it, but you can’t see it. Or more accurately, you are the gold and you’re not noticing it or you’re not able to see it. Instead, you see dirt that you’re trying to wash off, and we can start with that. We can start with washing off the dirt that you think you see, because as the dirt you see it begins to wash off, you will see that underneath it all was gold from the beginning.
Actually, I think this is probably a good place to conclude for today. I’ll leave that last point for another episode. To recap, we started by discussing the big three, looks, money and status, and while they might seem appealing, they often leave you vulnerable to the bigger better deal, and here’s the truth: there’s always someone out there with better looks, more money or higher status, eventually.
Anchoring our self-worth to these metrics sets us up for not just insecurity, but a lifetime of misery. But there’s a better way. It’s about looking inward, and bracing our emotions and seeking therapeutic pathways to understand them. [29:04.5]
Therapy isn’t just for fixing issues. It’s a tool for growth, deeper self-awareness, forging deeper connections, and we’ve delved into addressing those hidden issues that sometimes hold us back, and how, instead, to deepen our understanding of ourselves and the various beautiful parts of ourselves and to discover our True Self.
So, the roadmap to a fulfilling dating life and relationship and deeper emotional connections isn’t found in flashy cars or designer suits or expensive watches. It’s discovered within you in the corridors of introspection, understanding, reflection and emotional growth. The journey might seem daunting, but the rewards are immeasurable and immediate once you get going. Choose authenticity. Choose growth. Choose genuine connections. The true version of your life awaits. [30:00.5]
Thank you so much for listening. I look forward to welcoming you to the next episode. If this helped you in any way, please share it with anyone else that you think could benefit from it. Hit a like. Hit subscribe. Thank you so much for listening. I’ll see you in the next episode. Until then David Tian, signing out.
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